08 - Grand Balcon Nord



A path that starts at

At the Montenvers station, take a oneway ticket to Mer de Glace and a return from the middle station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan de l’Aiguille, the first section).

Take the little red trammel train which brings you to the foot of the Mer de Glace in 20 minutes. The site is very popular with tourists, so it is better to leave early to avoid the crowds and enjoy the points of interest before the hike.

From the Montenvers Grand Hotel, follow the direction of the Forbes Signal. Do not take the path specified « escarpé » (steep) that travels above the Chamonix valley, because as much as this trail is nice for people not suffering from vertigo, you miss the signal de Forbes view point.

The stroll begins with a winding climb up to the Signal of Forbes (2,198 m) marked by a multitude of cairns. The Signal of Forbes offers a 360° panoramic view opposite the Mer de Glace, the Drus and the Grandes Jorasses pool.

(After having your eyes full), you go downhill to the intersection with the « escarpé » trail coming directly from Montenvers.

The trail then travels in an obvious manner virtually on a balcony under the Aiguilles de Chamonix, facing the Aiguille du Midi and the Mont-Blanc, between lawns and boulders left behind by an ancient glacier.

It is recommended to picnic along the way before the Plan de l’Aiguille refuge. From the Plan de l’Aiguille refuge one dominates all the valley of Chamonix, facing the Brévent and the Aiguilles Rouges.

Before coming back down to Chamonix by using the first section of the Aiguille du Midi cable car from Plan de l’Aiguille, you can leave the path and get closer to pylons to the left, for the fantastic view over the Glacier des Bossons.

Once in Chamonix, you join the station of Montenvers where you left from in the morning being 10 minutes by foot, from the center.

The itinerary for the crossing of the Grand Balcon Nord is described in the guides the other way around. But then it is a real hikers’highway with a congested arrival at the Mer de Glace among a crowd of tourists. Thus, the direction proposed here makes more sense.

© All reproduction prohibited.