You will gain to do this hike on a day when it is not too hot and to leave around 9.00 am from the pass to picnic at the Arpette window before going down.
The path is well signposted, starting from the Forclaz pass on the right when you come from Chamonix.
From the pass to the Glacier’s chalet-bar (50 minutes), the trail is flat and runs along the Bisse du Trient (small artificial canal) built in 1895, overlooking the village of Trient.
You arrive just before the Glacier chalet at a fork on the right towards the Col de Balme. Go straight ahead and do not cross the wooden bridge that crosses the stream (stay on the right bank of the stream); however, there is a beautiful view of the glacier from this footbridge.
After the Glacier chalet, the trail runs in the middle of a thin forest of larch trees.
After walking 1h30 one arrives at the chalets of Vésevey (2,096 m), starting point of the steep climb (2h) in the middle of fallen rocks. On the way down you cross many hikers because Champex-Fenêtre de l’Arpette-Trient is a TMB Alpine version. During the climb, if you turn around there is a beautiful clear view of the Emosson dam. The slope becomes steeper, the vegetation disappears.
The arrival at the “Window”, a narrow passage from one slope to the next, hence its name, is rather disappointing view wise from the Swiss side! (It is up to you to discover what lies behind the Arpette window, that’s the aim!).
Time is not necessarily gained going downhill compared to going uphill because one must be cautious on the steep and stony slopes.
For those who do not feel able to go up to the Fenêtre de l’Arpette, the walk along the Trient glacier is sufficient unto itself, one can stop uphill between the Vésevey chalets and the Fenêtre de l’Arpette when you see the Emosson dam behind you in the distance. The more adventurous, can say “I made the Arpette!”
2h30 from the Fenêtre de l’Arpette to Champex.
See the variant loop of two days with a night at Champex before the return to Forclaz pass by Bovine (Hike N° 22).
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