Pointe Ronde

Pointe Ronde: Big Vert - Little Distance

Close to Chamonix, but without the crowds

→ 11.5km   

↑ 1200m

Δ 2700M 

♦ Medium


Pointe Ronde is a well-known ski touring peak, and with the knowledge that the northeast ridge is an easy cross country descent, it becomes a quick hit for quality running and decent vertical. Best of all, once you descend the cross country, you link up with a fast-flowing section of the Tour du Mont Blanc that takes you right back to the start. It’s a Chamonix-esque run on the Swiss side of the border.

Starting from Col de la Forclaz, a steep farm road switchbacks through the forest and leads to even steeper single track through low alpine rose bushes. The trail's lack of overuse is only noticeable when you have to side step a few shrubs. Quickly, you pop up onto an open, grassy slope towards the first rocky top. Scramble up to the smaller summit on big blocky, and occasionally scary talus, or stay low to the right on a faint trail. If you choose the trail, it's worth cutting back from the saddle to the crossed peak before continuing along the ridge to the second summit (T4 or American 3rd class).

From the summit, look for a well defined trail dropping off to the northeast. Once you really get running, the trail suddenly ends in a wide open grassy flank. Aim for the low saddle with a trail visible across it. Once on the saddle, continue descending west on faint but obvious paths to a small farm at La Giète where you’ll join the Tour du Mont Blanc Trail and return by smooth pine-needled trail to Col de la Forclaz. Local specialties and ice cream are waiting back at the pass.

You can see the refuge at Col de Balme across the valley and the whole loop of our Col de Balme run. Are you thinking about a potential link-up now?

Detailed GPX Track

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GPX Track
Start:  46.058509, 7.002244
Town:  Col de la Forclaz
Canton:  Valais
Country:  Switzerland

  • If you're coming from Chamonix by public transport,  it takes about an hour to get to the start. There's a bus from Le Châtelard VS, Frontière to Col de la Forclaz.

  • No food or water on the route, but plenty back at the pass.

  • It can be hard to find a private spot for skinny dipping in the Alps, but Lac de Bovine just might be it!

To save routes, download GPX tracks, and navigate offline subscribe to SwitzerlandMobility Plus.

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Things get scenic fast


Time to gain some meters


The steep, grassy trail ends in rocky terrain before the first summit - in the distance is the real objective


Short sections of scrambling are an option to the first summit, or stay on the trail low on the west side and bypass this


After the rocky scramble, a quick backtrack leads to the first summit


Early sections of the descent are on good singletrack before becoming grassy, open running. And, if you look carefully, the Matterhorn is in the distance.

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