We will hike around Cerces. The name of this massif certainly will not mean much to you. Yet it is a hiking "mecca". If I ask you about La Clarée, about Nevache.... do you know now?
We will be right next to Briançon, so close to Italy that we will pop over the border just to taste the Salsiccia alla Polenta.
On the program : mountain lakes almost everyday, incredible panoramas of the Meije, the Ecrins massif and many other prestigious peaks. As a bonus gift, we will treat ourselves to crossing Mont Thabor, culminating at 3178m.
The minibus support offered throughout the hike ensures their baggage transfers thus allowing them to carry only a small, light backpack with their daily belongings. (Except for the 3 nights where we sleep in a mountain hut).
Day 1: Nevache - Chalets de Buffère
This first day will allow us to discover the Clarée valley, which will be revealed before our eyes during the ascent. We will follow this pretty torrent that is the Clarée before climbing 400 metres to reach our first refuge, the Buffère chalets at 2076 m. No access to luggage.
Elevation gain: 400m
Day 2: Chalets de Buffre - Porte de Cristol - Nevache
Here we are really in the Cerces massif. We will climb to the Col de Buffère before making our first summit, the Grand Aréa at 2869 m. What a view ! In front of us, so many mythical peaks: Les Agneaux, Pelvoux, the Barre des Ecrins. One of the most beautiful panoramas that one can have on these mountains. But you will have to go back down to Porte de Cristol (and yes, the second pass is going down!), Then the very pretty Lac de Cristol, a great place to have a picnic. We will then descend to Névache, overnight at the campsite.
Elevation gain: 793m - Vertical drop: 1290m
Day 3: Nevache - Refuge Re Maggi
We start directly from Névache at 1600 m. A beautiful trek awaits us in a mineral universe. We will go up along the Vallon valley to pass the… du Vallon pass at 2645 m. This is where we fall into the Narrow Valley. At first, it won't seem that narrow to us. But it gradually narrows to the refuge of the Re Maggi (1765 m), otherwise known as "the three wise men". Indeed, the peaks that surround us are: Gaspard, Melchior, Balthazard. We are still in France and yet here people speak Italian! This small valley has had a troubled history and did not become French until 1947. The Italian shepherds did not move and the refuge belongs to the Italian Alpine Club. No access to luggage.
Elevation gain: 1045m - Drop: 880m
Day 4: Tre Alpini Refuge - Mont Thabor - Drayeres Refuge
Today is a big day ! Hoping that the weather is fine, we will reach the summit of Mont Thabor at 3178 m. Then cross the Col de Valmeinier and the Roche du Chardonnet. To our right, the ski resort of Valmeinier. We will be at the border of Savoie and Hautes-Alpes. But we will stay on the south side! Tonight, we sleep at the Drayeres refuge at 2167 m, back in the Haute Clarée. No access to luggage.
Elevation gain: 1413m - Elevation drop: 1011m
Day 5: Refuge des Drayeres - Col de la Ponsonniere - Col des Berudes - Fontcouverte
After this day of anthology ... here is a calmer one. Two passes on the program. But rest assured more distance than height difference. The first pass is at 2613 m and we will see no less than 4 lakes on the climb. Our route passes through the Guisane valley, above Serre Chevalier and Monnetier les Bains, for those who know. We will have to climb a little further to reach the Col des Béraudes at 2890 m. yet another breathtaking view! We will switch to the Clarée valley side, passing by the superb Béraudes lake. We will meet the bus in Laval for a very short transfer. Night at the Fontcouverte campsite.
Elevation gain: 723m - Vertical drop: 890m
Day 6: Fontcouverte - Lac de la Cula - Nevache
It's the last day. But today, festival of lakes! We will climb to the first lake, that of Cula at 2467 m, then the Gardioles lakes, Serpent lake and finally Laramont lake. How can you have so many lakes in one day? Thanks to a carefully planned route, do not look for the trail on the map, ours does not exist but it is the most beautiful. A route, through beautiful high meadows. But every great adventure comes to an end and we will take the so-called “Chemin du Ronde” path to find Névache, our bus and finally Chamonix, with our heads full of memories.
Elevation gain: 600m - Elevation drop: 1100m
The guide may have to adapt the route to weather conditions and/or to group physical and/or technical ability.
Group session associates several people who don’t know each other. It allows for a planned program to benefit from an attractive price on fixed dates. This formula is ideal for people looking for the friendliness of a group.
Dates in 2021 : From Sunday July 25th to Friday July 29th
Price for 2021 : 750 € per person - based on a minimum of 10 participants.
This price includes :
- The organization and supervision by 2 state qualified trekking guide,
- half-board accommodation in campsites,
- picnic lunches,
- transfers throughout the hike,
- luggage transportation throughout the trek (1 piece of luggage per person, maximum 15kg). (Except for the 3 nights where we sleep in a refuge).
Not included in the price :
- Drinks and personal expenditure (souvenirs…),
- repatriation insurance (compulsory).
In this section, find all the information about this activity. For further information, please contact our advisor (contact details above).
Meeting point : meet at 8 am at the Compagnie des Guides office, 190 Place de l’Eglise, 74400 Chamonix.
Ability level : 3/5 - The Tour des Cerces Junior hiking trip is a moderate trek. A minimum of 700m (2350ft) vertical gain and about 5 to 7 hours of hiking daily. Hiking on generally well-maintained mountain trails, sometimes including easy out-of-trail sections. For active people who do not mind training to prepare for the hike. A great multiday hike for people with trekking experience.
Guiding policy : minimum of 10 and a maximum of 14 children per group. The Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix's guiding policy is one of the strictest in the mountain guiding business. It guarantees the most balanced groups as possible as well as high-quality personalised advice.
2 state qualified trekking guides for each group are dedicated to our junior tours.
Accomodation : 3 nights in refuges (dormitories) and 2 nights under tents in a campground. Our campsite is equiped with 3/4 people tents and a large group tent used for meals and meetings.
Meals : our guiding team prepares healthy balanced meals daily, using fresh local products as much as possible. Naturally, food preferences of the children are taken into consideration.
- Participants must have sports insurance with repatriation cover. We strongly recommend that this also includes cancellation cover. You can take out insurance offering both of these types of cover when you sign up.
- Participants must also take valid ID with them.
Parents also need to provided us with the following completed and signed documents:
- Parental permission
- Authorization to leave the country
Preparing for the trip : There is an information meeting with your mountain leader the day before departure at 6pm at the Compagnie des Guides Office.
Valid ID or passport + authorisation to leave the country (these documents will be collected before the trip and kept safe by the mountain leaders throughout)
We recommend that you take special care in choosing your equipment because it contributes greatly to the success of your trip. As alpine conditions can be highly variable with sudden changes, it can get very cold in altitude, it is preferable to have numerous layers rather than one thick piece of clothing. It is not uncommon to have snow in the middle of summer, do not skimp on warm clothes even if the weather seems favourable. Contrarily, the sun can be scorching hot. Without weighing too much, you should always have sufficient equipment in your backpack to deal with the capricious and severe weather.
- A comfortable backpack with sufficient volume for the days belongings which is properly adapted to the childs morphology. . Make sure you have enough space for the picnic. A small tip in case it rains : even if you have a backpack cover, always protect your belongings in a plastic bag (a big rubbish bag) inside your backpack.
- A compact and solid travel bag, maximum 15kg, with the childs name. If the sleeping bag is too latge place it in another bag.
- A pair of hiking boots with Vibram or Contagrip soles. For new shoes, we strongly suggest that you wear them beforehand to mold them to the shape of your foot. If you are prone to blisters : talcum powder applied to dry feet and in your shoes before you start your days hiking. Provide elastoplast to put on their heels and sides of their feet.
For added comfort regarding underwear, (t-shirts, boxers, socks), avoid cotton which is heavy, cold and dries very slowly. Opt for synthetic technical fabrics or wool, which is making a comeback. They are warmer and dry quickly.
For the hike :
- 1 short-sleeved t-shirt
- 1 long-sleeved t-shirt (technical fabric)
- 1 polar fleece
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 pair of hiking trousers
- 1 pair of hiking socks (technical fabric/terrycloth)
- 1 Goretex jacket (waterproof windbreaker)
- 1 poncho (large rain cover that fits over your pack) or 1 pack cover
- 1 pair of waterproof trousers (although light Gore-tex trousers are expensive, other types of light waterproof trousers will do)
- Sun hat or baseball cap
- 1 warm hat
- 1 pair of gloves
For the entire trip (spare items for the luggage in the bus) :
- 6 pairs of socks
- 5 underpants
- 5 T-shirts
- 3 shorts
- 1 pair of jogging trousers and sweater
- 1 sweatshirt
- 1 warm jumper
- 1 undershirt/jumper
- 1 warm outfit for the evening (down jacket or thick fleece)
For the day :
- Sun cream and lip salve
- 1 water bottle (minimum 1 litre but 1.5 litres is better)
- 1 knife
- 1 fork (type "spork")
- 1 pair of telescopic poles
For the entire trip :
- 1 sleeping bag
- 1 ground sheet/matress (optional)
- 1 pair of comfortable shoes or flip flops
- Toiletries, hand towel, bath towel
- Flashlight or headlight
- Games, playing cards, book ....
- Personal pharmacy : elastoplast, (stretchable strapping tape), band-aids "second skin" kit, compresses, medicines for common ailments : diarrhea, constipation, sore throat, headaches, pain relief, allergies and any prescribed medication. The mountain leader always carries a first aid kit with them. Remember that packing light is essential.
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