A good friend joined me in July 2016 for a series of walks, this one from Courmayeur required us driving through the Mont Blanc tunnel to start the walk. This adds to the days cost as a return trip through the tunnel was about 50 Euros.
The Cicerone guide suggests starting the walk in the centre of Courmayeur near the church at an altitude of 1226m, this would be a 18km walk out to Rifuigio Elisabetta (altitude 2195m) and same on return to the car. In order to make this more conducive of a day walk we made or way on the Via Val Veny, past the Hotel Val Veny and parked up just past the beautifully located Chalet Del Miage commencing the walk initially on road at an altitude of approximately 1400m. We decided to walk past Rifugio Elisabetta and to the La Casermetta (which once served as an Italian customs house) at an altitude of 2365m and up to Col de la Seigne (altitude 2516m), total return distance of about 24 km.
This was the first time exploring the Italian side of the TMB so I was looking forward to seeing Mont Blanc from the Italian side.
The path moves off road quite quickly to a track which runs parallel to a fast flowing stream and small lakes and TMB signs saying 55 mins to Rifuigo Elisabetta and 1 hour 50 mins to La Casermetta. Just past here the glaciers came into view, glacier du Miage namely.
A while later the path climbs steeply past some interesting mountain chalets with curved roofs and fantastic views back down the valley.
Rifugio Elisabetta which provides refreshments and accomodation, manned mid june until mid September and was a good place for a mid-morning break. Just past here was an evocative mountain chapel sitting forlorn amougst the splendour of the glaciers and Mont Blanc peaks.
After a break, we continued climbing until La Casermetta, where from the balcont was a splendid view of the valley. Inside was details of the local geology, history and some great descriptions of alpine flowers in the region. One being Gentiana Verna which I photograhed further along the track.
At Col de La Signe the usual TMB signs gave distances to Les Chapieux (alt 1554m) in France of 2 hours 30 mins, (stage 5 of TMB) and spectacular views across to the Italian side of Mont Blanc.
We descended back to the car and called in at Chalet del Miage for an ice cream & drinks, set in spectacular views of the glaciers it was a wonderful finish to a challenging hike in one of the most beautiful places in the Alps.