Trient - Refuge Les Grands - Col de BalmeWalk 8105
Canton - Valais / Wallis - Vallee du Trient
Author - Trient Office de Tourisme
Length - 7.5 km / 4.7 miles
Ascent - 1160 metres / 3828 feet
Descent - 200 metres / 660 feet
Time - 4.50 hours
Grade - moderate
A hike to the Col de Balme that can be combined with walk 8103 or walk 8104 to provide a good full-day circuit.
Start & End - the village of Trient, 10 km. southwest of Martigny (VS).
From the village church walk up to the main road. Turn right in the direction of Forclaz. After a short distance along the road, take the signed track on the left which directs you to the Sentier du Bisse-Glacier. This leads you uphill to reach the main road to Forclaz. Go straight across the road and onto the track/footpath.
Height is gained as you zig-zag upwards. Meeting the transverse path from Forclaz, turn right and follow the drainage channel (bisse) south towards the Glacier du Trient. Almost level the path threads through trees with occasional views across the valley to the Col de Balme.
You reach the Chalet du Glacier (1583 m.) where refreshments are available in season. A grand view of the Glacier can be enjoyed whilst you take a break. Backtrack a few metres and turn left to cross a footbridge. Reaching a further path junction turn left again and begin a steady climb through trees to reach another path junction. Turn left and continue climbing to reach a hanging valley with the Glacier des Grands above.
The path becomes steeper using zigzags to gain height with a section of fixed cable offering a safeguard on the most exposed section. Soon you reach the Refuge Les Grands. With most of the climb now complete the path undulates across the mountainside to enter the Nant Noir valley at high level. Turning southwest the path continues to the Col de Balme.
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