Arc Alpin

Facilitate everyone's access to the Alps' nicest spots



A look at a typical tour

Let's take a look at a typical tour where everyone can enjoy some fabulous mountain views from the safety of marked trails. This is a perfect example of the kind of itineraries we offer throughout the Alpine Arc.

Tour of the “Jonction” from Chamonix

One day hike

Length of ascent : about 4 hours
Length of descent : 3 hours
Moderate degree of difficulty

Site description

The Jonction is the spot at the bottom of the highest peaks of the Mont-Blanc Massif where the Bossons glacier meets the Taconnaz Glacier. The Bossons glacier and its 50% angle is a continuous ice cascade that starts at the top of Mont-Blanc at an altitude of 4810m and finishes down in the Chamonix valley, at approximately 1400m. With a vertical drop of about 3410 meters, this is Alps longest and lowest glacier, its tongue even going as far as the forests on a vertical drop of more than 600m. Its unusual length is mostly owed to ice falls from the north face of the Mont-Blanc Massif.

The Jonction is also known for being the only bivouac spot on the original itinerary of the first ascent of Mont-Blanc in 1786. Up until 1980, this trail to reach Mont Blanc remained highly popular, though it isn't used as much today as the crevasses above the Jonction are often too wide to cross. This itinerary is still used a lot for ski touring in the spring as the crevasses close up a bit.

Tour description

Early start at 9am at the Lac des Gaillands from where we can not only see our route through the forest, but also the Jonction, which looks like "a small plot of land in the heart of the glacier". Hike through the forest at 1400m overhanging above the first seracs, big ice pyramids of the Bossons Glacier.

We make our way through the forest until the Chalet des Pyramides at 1900m, right above the tip of the glacier's tongue.

 

We will soon turn right into a forest path just above the Taconnaz glacier.



The path turns to the right again until it reaches grazing fields at an altitude of 2200m. From there we can enjoy the view of the glacier's left bank and its tall ice pyramids.

 

Shortly after, we arrive at the "gîte à Balmat" (2550m), a granite block under which Jacques Balmat and Dr. Paccard set up their bivouac on the first ever ascent of Mont-Blanc in 1786.

Another 15 minutes until we reach the top of the Jonction at around 1pm and its amazing crevasses on the left bank of the glacier.


We take a break at the top to have some lunch and admire the view.

 
 

We are at the bottom of (from left to right) the Mont Blanc du Tacul (4248 m), Mont Maudit (4465 m), Mont Blanc (under the perpendicular airplane track in the distance) and Dôme du Goûter (4304 m).

Back at the base, we can look back and admire the sunset and the rock spur where we stopped for lunch.


As our pictures clearly demonstrate, the hike was a real treat for everyone alike: adults, children, parents, grandparents, and even the dog !

We found ourselves above some pretty spectacular glaciers (1,1bio cubic meters of ice for the Glacier des Bossons and 400mio cubic meters of ice for the Glacier de Taconnaz). This also gives us the opportunity to think about global warming and it effects on nature. Over the last century, the Bossons glacier has retreated about 250m from its lowest point in 1920. It is now as long as it was back in 1740, which might be a sign that although very real, the melting of the ice might not be a final phenomenon. In fact, all the Chamonix valley glaciers located at above 4000m have not lost any of their volume, and over the last few years, the Mont Blanc has even gained a few meters !

Thanks to Tiffany, Maude, Abigail, Edmée, François, Louis, Odile, Charles and Alexis for sharing these precious moments !