Tour du Mont-Blanc Variant: The Fenêtre d’Arpette

The Fenêtre d’Arpette, located in the canton of Valais in Switzerland, is a mountain pass offering a route between the Val de Trient to the northwest and the Val d’Arpette to the east. Nestled between Pointe des Ecandies to the south and Sommet du Dru and Génepi to the north, in the majestic Mont Blanc massif, this natural window stands at an altitude of 2,665 meters.

Ascending this steep pass is a true challenge for hikers, especially those who choose to traverse the Tour du Mont Blanc via this variant. Indeed, the steep slope of the pass, its high altitude, and the cumulative elevation gain of this stage can test even the most seasoned hikers. However, those who take on the challenge are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views, notably of the Trient Glacier to the east and the Émosson Dam and Lake to the northwest.

The Fenêtre d’Arpette is more than just a mountain pass; it’s an unforgettable hiking experience that offers hikers a unique opportunity to connect with nature while testing their physical limits.

View over le Glacier du Trient

Directional Sign for the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2665m)

Example of the Route from Champex to Tré le Champs via the Fenêtre d’Arpette

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Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage



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Stage Summary

Leaving Champex, you embark on a 6-kilometer ascent, climbing a positive elevation of 1,100 meters. This ascent represents a real challenge, with certain sections leading to the Fenêtre d’Arpette being tricky and the GR trail markings potentially difficult to spot. It is crucial to be vigilant on the route, to carefully check weather forecasts, and to assess the terrain’s practicability before committing. Some passages may still be snow-covered and become dangerous if the weather worsens.

Once at the Fenêtre, take a moment to rest and appreciate your accomplishment. Then, you face a descent of about 4 kilometers with a negative elevation of 1,000 meters before reaching the Chalet des Glaciers. Here, you can reward yourself with a deserved cheese crust and a good beer.

After this rejuvenating break, you will start another ascent to the Col de la Balme, covering 2 kilometers with about 600 meters of positive elevation. The panorama and the refuge here are splendid, and it’s recommended to fully enjoy them.

Finally, you have “only” 6 kilometers and 800 meters of negative elevation left to reach Tré le Champ. As always, make sure to book your accommodation for the night in advance, whether in a refuge or bivouac, as these places fill up quickly. The bivouac space is not the largest, so it’s advisable to set up your tents quickly. Once settled, you can enjoy a magnificent meal at the inn and take advantage of the showers if you wish. This stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers a memorable hiking experience, with physical challenges, stunning panoramas, and well-deserved moments of relaxation.

Points of Interest on the Stage

Fenêtre d’Arpette
Col de la Balme

Where to Sleep?

Auberge de la Boerne (hostel)
Auberge de la Boerne (camping)


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This article was written by Hugo, a hiking enthusiast and co-creator of This site is your gateway to your adventure on the Tour du Mont Blanc. We strive to share as much information as possible about the Tour to help hikers prepare for their trips.

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