This is a follow of my my previous post which described a day walk doing half of stage 1 from Les Houches to Col de Tricot and return to Les Houches. The route here is also the alternative TMB stage 1 route from Les Contamines to Col de Tricot which effectively completes the Tour of Mnt Blanc stage 1.
The route is approximately 15 km and suited for a day walk. I started the route at the Espace Animation in Les Contamines (1167m altitude) as there is readily accessible parking and made my way onto the Chemin du P’tou which leads to the small hamlet of La Frasse at 1263m altitude. In La Frasse there is a public car park and a useful source of drinking water, which I used on the return leg of the journey.
Nearby is a large sign giving details of the Reserve Naturelle Contamines-Montjoie with routes and glaciers described. The green TMB signs are well placed at key locations on the climb out of La Frasse, on a 8 foot wide trail before turning right into woods; TMB signs indicate Chalets du Truc and Chalets de Miage. From La Frasse the signs said 1.5 hours to Chalets Du Truc which seemed about right.
The Auburge du Truc provides accommodation and refreshments, with magnificent views of the Domes de Miage and associated glaciers. The torrents running off the glaciers were in full flow on a hot day in July 2015. The route descends to the Chalets de Miage through a wooded area on a narrow path. The refuge du Miage provides accommodation and useful refreshments/food and is in a beautiful location in the valley with views towards the glaciers. The power of the run-off from the glaciers can be seen when crossing the small bridges. There is also eau potable available near the public toilets.
The formidable climb to the Col de Tricot (1.5 hours from Chalets de Miage) ascends to 2120 m, so a 560 m ascent on a narrow path that zig-zags up the mountain. There is no shade on this route so appropriate clothing and sunscreen is needed on a sunny day. The climb although difficult, steep and slow was not as challenging as the hike to the Chalet Du Bovet at Sixt Fer Cheval.
There is a useful landmark of a cross at the Col de Tricot and provides a very useful focus on the climb. The path is quite stony and thereby difficult if carrying heavy loads, and in a few locations small steams had wet the path making caution advisable. The glacier shed rocks and moraine become more prominent as the top is in reach.
Reaching the top feels like a well worth it challenge that has been overcome, the views are far reaching but the glacier views are better at the Chalets de Miage or on the ascnet from the valley.
The return to Chalets de Miage is equally tricky as the ascent and I was glad to have some good quality hiking poles which provided balance and stability on some of the steep parts of the path.
A cold beer and relaxation at the Chalets de Miage provide welcome relief on a very hot day (which again reached 36 C in Les Contamines) before the return leg of the hike.
I returned to Les Contamines 7.5 hours after the start, so ideal for a day hike.