Col des Rognes

We absolutely love the route we took yesterday up to Col de Rognes.  There are several ways to get on the high trails one of them is to ride the train to Refuge du Nid d’Agile which is where the train ends then it heads back down to Bellevue station.  You can also take the Bellevue lifet up to the train station and start the hike from there or start hiking from Les Houches.  The trail we took was right from our backyard, behind our apartment.  This trail is also not in our paper map we purchased from the store so it was really cool to find people on the trails and it’s also well marked.

It’s approximately 5 miles from our apartment to where we stopped.  We had about 800 ft more to go to the Col des Rognes so it was still quite a ways.  We stopped and re-assessed with our food, energy and clothings to decide whether we would go further.  We stopped at a corner behind some rocks, away from the cool wind and had our tuna sandwich for lunch.  We’ve been hiking along with a family and they, too had lunch where we were.  It was an absolutely beautiful day for a picnic lunch up in the mountains.

There were four climbers also on their way up to probably one of the refuge past the Col.  They had full-on packed backpacks and climbed with poles.  They all had ice ax and boots so they were climbing Mont Blanc.  Col des Rognes is 2768 m (9134 ft).  We were at 2454 m (8100 ft) so we had about 313 m (1,000 ft) to go.  Once at the Col, we can go back down the same way or loop around to Refuge du Nid d’Agile then head down down the back side of Bellevue, back up to the Bellevue lift then down to Les Houches.  We’ve already climbed for 3 hours then another hour to go back down to Les Houches so we decided to call it the day and enjoy the downhill.  4 hours is a good day for us with most of the time spent climbing!

Now that we viewed what it looks like in the map online, it is definitely another trip up there looping around Refuge du Nid d’Agile.  It will be a long day but we will be more prepared next time.  In the mountains, measurement of effort is based on time, not distance specially with long climbs.  We learned that from trekking so many times in the himalayas.  A mile is not really a mile!

The climb up was fantastic and we took it easy to admire the views.  We can see Aguille du Midi from where we were as we followed many switchbacks going up.

There was a cross on one corner of a switchback facing out the mountain about half way up the climb.  I don’t know what it symbolizes but it makes quite a dramatic approach for us hikers.

The wind was cooler, was breezy and the rocks help blocked the wind as we ate our sandwiches.

The downhill was fun and quite rocky all the way down to the junction where we saw the train coming up.  We stopped and waved at everyone on the train and they all waved back.  It was packed and looked like fun!

Our legs felt great considering the last two big days we had running downhill was not that great but yesterday we ran all the way down.  Some steep sections, some technical, some really nice smooth section (very short!) and some slippery sections.

Looking forward to climbing this route again and going farther up as we gradually build up our stamina and endurance.  It is one of the top of our favorite climbs among others in Chamonix Valley.


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