Trail Run: Mont Buet

(I planned to run Mont Buet as a decent run to break my legs into the mountains and to start the first day of acclimatization for my Matterhorn plans).

21st July 2013, France

Known locally as Mont Blanc des Dames (the ladies Mont Blanc);  Mont Buet is regarded as an arduous undertaking and used to be considered an essential part of a Mont Blanc training programme. At 3096m above sea level, it is the highest peak in the Aguilles Rouges Massif. It is quite a beautiful mountain but the views really come into their own the higher up the mountain you venture. It is a wonderful challenging walk and most normal ramblers will do this over 2 days with a night stay at the Refuge de la Pierre a Berard and then continue the hard part of the day early on the next morning.

Mont Buet can certainly be done in a day from Le Buet (which is what I usually do). Last time I did this was in 2008 and I hiked it. This time however, I decided to “Run the easy stuff and walk the harder stuff”. When one gets off the train or the bus at Le Buet you will cross the road and head straight into green pastures and the first sign that hits you says it will take 1:45 mins to the Pierre Berard Hut and 6 Hrs to the summit of Mont Buet. After the sign post follow a bigger track until signs to the Cascade de Berard . Follow this to the cascade and the cafe next to it. It’s worth taking a minute to have a look at the waterfall for some peaceful energy before one heads off up to the mountains.

The path all the way to the hut is straight forward and climbs up a bit but then descends and then stays quite level all the way to the hut. The hut is 5km from where you started. I reached the hut in under 50mins. It’s a nice place to either change from soft boots to stiffer boots or in my case stick with my trail shoes but have a nice can of coca cola and take a few snaps and a quick toilet stop.

After the hut it can be a little more difficult to route find. The path is signed and it zig zags up a grassy and rocky hillside. The way tends to head towards the left and up into orange rocks under the Col de Salenton. It is easy to lose the way, so look for cairns or people 🙂 The trail traverses under the Aguille de Salenton and eventually arrives at a small col under the Table au Chantre. You can see the route from here and you know the rest of the way. There is a weather station which sticks out like a sore thumb, that too can be a good guide.

Traverse along the snow slopes will eventually get you to a nice place to drink some fresh water (if you have run out like I did). After this quick stop the last part of the climb will zig zag on quite steep terrain. This is by far the only difficult part of the route because if unfamiliar with altitude then this will be your first feeling of it. After some time and a few short stops to catch your breath and take in the views behind you, you will near the last part. You will reach the weather station and in front of you only a 150m or less is the giant cairn which marks the summit. Although I always feel it’s about 20m short of what looks to be slightly higher.

Return by exactly the same route, and take care not to get overly excited because it is all downhill and it can get pretty fast. I washed out on a turn just metres above the hut. There is a nice trough with fresh running water to wash your wounds, fill up on some water and prepare for the last 5km which will be fast and painful, because by this time you have already ascended and descended a fair bit and your feet and legs are bound to have taken a hammering as mine had.

Quick Notes:

Starting Point: Le Buet 1350m

Finishing Point: Le Buet 1350m

Height Gain: 1: Refuge 580m and Le buet 1170m

Maps: IGN Topo 25 3630 Chamonix Massif du Mont Blanc

Distance: Approx 21km

Time: 1Hr 45 hut and 4:15 Hut – Summit (Walking)

50mins to Hut and Hut to Summit 2hr 30mins run/walk

Total time for me that day: 5 Hrs 20 mins (up and down)

IMG_6658 IMG_6668 IMG_6671 IMG_6673 IMG_6674 IMG_6675 IMG_6682 IMG_6687 IMG_6688 IMG_6690 IMG_6694 IMG_6695 IMG_6706 IMG_6707 IMG_6714 IMG_6722 IMG_6737 IMG_6738 IMG_6742IMG_6718

2 Responses to “Trail Run: Mont Buet”
  1. Great View! Looks Inviting! 🙂

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