Snowshoe Traverse of the Beaufortain

  • A 6 day traverse of the Beaufortain mountains on snowshoes
  • An unforgettable experience in spectacular mountain scenery.
  • Starts near Megeve and ends in the Tarentaise valley.
  • 2 nights will be spent in mountain huts or refuges.
Tour Type: 

Tour Description

This snowshoe traverse of the Beaufortain in the French Alps.  Our route starts not far from the chic ski resort of Megeve in Haute Savoie and crosses the Beaufortain.  You will finish at the village of Grand Naves above the Tarentaise valley.

The first day you will climb gradually to a ridge with views over Megeve and towards Mont Blanc.  We stay high on the ridges today before a final descent takes us down to the village of Haute Luce and the end of our first day.  A contrast awaits you for the next day through woodland and clearings before descending to the village of Beaufort in the heart of the Beaufortain.  We continue to the village of Areches, host to a famous ski-mountaineering competition each year, the Pierra Menta, named after the dramatic rock tower in the middle of the massif.

You will now enter into more remote country as we leave Areches.  We pass by the Lac de St Guerin and climb gently to the Cormet d'Areches.  A short descent takes us to our first refuge, the Refuge de la Coire, home for the night.  Simple basic accommodation but an unforgettable experience away from it all surrounded by the mountains.

Tomorrow we tackle the "crux" of the traverse passing 3 passes (or cols) to reach the Refuge du Nant du Beurre (2075m).  Here we have more comfort and can celebrate our achievement.  The final day sees us descending to the village of Grand Naves and the culmination of our trip.


Day 1

Arrival and transfer to our first nights accommodation in Albertville.  Any luggage not needed for the trip can be left here.

Accommodation: Hotel **

Day 2

Today we start our snowshoe traverse of the Beaufortain near the village of Notre Dame de Bellecombe. Our route starts up through clearings and pine forests to cross the ridge between the Mont de Vores and the ski resort of Les Saisies. A descent then leads the village of Haute Luce with its Baroque church spire.

Accommodation: Gite / Chambres d'hotes; Distance: 8 km; Ascent: 800 m; Descent: 780; Time: 7 hr.

Day 3

Our route goes down into the valley before climbing up through pine woods to below the Montagne d'Outray. A traverse brings us out high up in the snow-covered alpine pastures and a descent to the village of Beaufort in the heart of the Beaufortain.

Accommodation: Hotel**; Distance: 13 km; Ascent: 980m; Descent: 1350m; Time: 7 hr 30

Day 4

From Beaufort we will wend our way to the village of Areches. Our route starts directly from the hotel on an old footpath rising up the broad spur in the direction of Mont Mirantin. We will take the opportunity to practise using our avalanche transceivers in a search. Today is a gentler day after the last two days and gives us a breather before two more demanding days.

Accommodation: Hotel**;  Distance: 6.5 km; Ascent: 650m; Descent: 375m; Time: 5 hr 30 min.

Day 5

Today our route becomes more remote. We follow the valley gently up to reach the Barrage de St Guerin, one of the dammed lakes in the Beaufortain. We skirt the lake past frozen waterfalls before emerging into broad, snow-covered alpine pastures. Our route continues to climb steadily passing the Lac des Fees (the lake of the fairies) before a final pull brings us to the Cormet d'Areches. A “Cormet” is the local Savoyard word for a col or a pass. A short distance below is our home for the night, the Refuge de la Coire. The refuge has no guardian at this time of year so we will need to carry food with us for our dinner and lunch the following day. The refuge is equipped with a wood burning stove for heating and simple cooking facilities. Two small dormitories with mattresses, blankets and pillows provide our sleeping quarters. An authentic mountain experience!

Accommodation: Mountain Hut (un-guardianned); Distance: 9 km; Ascent: 1100m; Descent: 160; Time: 5 hr 00

Day 6

Today we will leave early after breakfast in the hut. Leaving the refuge as dawn breaks over the mountains is an unforgettable experience. Our route climbs under the Cret du Rey towards the Roc des Boeufs to gain our first pass of the day, the Col de la Grande Combe. A slight descent allows us to traverse on gentle slopes to the Col des Genisses. From the Col we can look South to the Grande Casse and the Glaciers de la Vanoise. A short traverse brings us on to the Col des Tufs Blanc. A brief descent, and a longer traverse in a remote feeling combe leads to a short steeper but brief climb and an unnamed col. Close by is the summit of Le Grand Cretet, a great view point of the surrounding mountains. The Lauziere bounded by the Col de la Madeleine and looking back to Mont Blanc. A steady descent brings us to the Refuge de Nant du Beurre and its lovely south-facing terrasse. The hut is modern and the guardian is there to provide meals and refreshments. A well-earned drink the reward for today's efforts. You can look forward to a hot shower too!

Accommodation: Mountain Refuge (guardianned); Distance: 6km; Ascent: 400m; Descent: 360m; Time: 5 hr.

Day 7

We say goodbye to the refuge as we make our way down the south-facing valley above the village of Grand Naves.

Accommodation: Hotel**; Distance: 5 km; Ascent: 30m; Descent: 780m; Time: 3hr 30.

Day 8

Depart after breakfast.


Duration: 6 days walking / 7 nights

Min / Max Group size: 4 - 8 (Private group departures at your convenience, please contact me).

Accommodation: Huts (shared dormitory type rooms); Hotels (twin rooms).

Meals: Dinner, Breakfast; packed lunch

What's included:

  • Guiding by Mark
  • Hotel or Chambres d'Hotes accommodation for 5 nights.
  • Mountain refuge for 2 nights.
  • Group transfer from and to Geneva airport (picking up at Albertville railway station).

What's NOT included:

  • Personal equipment inc. boots, etc.
  • Insurance

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