At the ticket office, take a one way ticket to the intermediary station of Croix de Lognan. When leaving the middle station of Grands-Montets (1,976 m), turn right onto the Grand Balcon Nord trail towards the la Pendant / le Lavancher chalets.
It is not unusual to see marmots at the beginning of the hike.
On your right, ignore the path going down towards the Chosalets.
The balcony trail crosses a larch forest then after crossing the stream, it joins the La Pendant pasture and its chalets (1,778 m).
After the chalets, leave the Grand Balcon Nord trail and take left towards the Têtes des Prapators (1,844 m) which is reached after passing through a thick forest.
Take the path that climbs to the Chapeau refuge by the Tête des Prapators.
From the lookout, the descent to the chalet is made through woodland. Views emerge and reveal the Mont-Blanc, the tip of the Mer de Glace glacier and in the foreground one can see Les Drus, in the background La Dent du Géant (Giant’s tooth). One can easily observe the retreating glacier replaced by rock debris torn from the mountain.
Before joining the bar, La Buvette du Chapeau, one arrives at the crossroads leading to the Mauvais Pas, former lookout on the tip end of the Mer de Glace glacier before its retreat. This part is a round-trip of about an hour.
Back at the crossroads, you reach the bar, la Buvette du Chapeau (1,576 m) below.
One passes the lovely Chapeau waterfall with rock climbing cliffs at its feet.
Soon, one joins the Grand Balcon Nord trail that leads to the right. Carry on towards the village of Lavancher (1,243 m), a small and stylish village which has managed to keep its character and authenticity. In the village, turn right on Petit Balcon Nord to reach the parking of Grands Montets at Argentière, through meadows and forests,.The trail goes along the valley floor and on the left you leave the hamlets of La Joux, Les Iles, Le Grassonnet and Les Chosalets. You can also combine this hike with Hike N° 10 (Argentière glacier view). In this case, start by walking Hike N°10 and go on to do Hike N° 11.
© All reproduction prohibited.