Aiguille des Calvaires and Combe de Borderan

A La Clusaz walk posted on 02/09/18 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 07/09/18

A great pointy summit with a cross on top and good views followed by a descent of Borderan Combe. This could easily be done in reverse and/or without the use of the cable cars.

Technical sheet
Calculated time Calculated time: 3h25[?]
Distance Distance : 7.3km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 571m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 932m
Highest point Highest point : 2293m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1425m
Average Difficulty : Average
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Areas Areas : Alps, Aravis et Bornes
Location Location : La Clusaz (74220)
Starting point Starting point : N 45.8906° / E 6.452006°
Arrival Arrival : N 45.89659° / E 6.441126°
Map IGN Map (Click to buy) : Ref. 3531OTR
Download :

Description

From La Clusaz take the ski lift to the Cret du Merle then the second ski lift to Cret du Loup. (Alternatively you could walk up to Cret du Merle and then make the ascent via the Combe de Borderan.)

From Cret du Merle (D) take the piste/track which heads up the crest of a broad ridge to a junction where the track splits (1). Take the right hand track which ascends gently and then zig-zags up to another junction (2). At the second junction go right again onto a less prominent track which soon becomes a path as it passes through a fence and into the pasture on the west facing slope beneath the Aiguille des Calvaires. (3)

Zig-Zag steeply up through the pasture heading for the ski lift station up and on the right (this will be closed in summer) and the path will pass through a section of scree just before you get there (4). Follow the path up and left to join the sharp south ridge leading up to the summit. Near the top there is a very steep cliff edge on the right so take care in strong wind. The summit has a cross and lovely views West and also of the Aravis mountain chain.

Descend the same route to the shoulder with the cabin (4) and then take the path which leads south east and down. There is one section where there are cliffs on the left and the path has suffered from a landslip where care needs to be taken before the path is repaired but this is short and you are soon on a good path again as you descend. The Grotte de l'Eglise is across the scree slope up and on your right as you descend the next section into the Combe de Borderan. The path is obvious as it zig-zags down through scree and then into pasture. You will have steep crags on your right and slabby craggs on your left which lead up to the Pointe des Aravis. Keep descending until the path moves towards the right hand side of the Combe beneath some smaller crags and you start to enter the trees. (5).

Shortly after entering the trees you will come to a junction in the track (signpost) (6) take the right hand path (left leads to the via-ferrata). The obvious track zig zags through the forest passing another ski lift station (Cote 2000). Continue on the good piste/track to another two junctions (7); turn left at the first and right at the second. The track will lead to a junction with the road coming up to la Frasse and the Cable car station Cret du Merle (8). Take the road to Cret du Merle and catch the cable car down. (In summer 2018 the return journey was free if you had paid for the ascent.)

Alternatively you could walk down to the village.

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. km 0 - Cret du Merle
1 : km 0.54 - alt. km 0.54 - Take right-hand track at junction
2 : km 1.25 - alt. km 1.25 - Go right at junction
3 : km 1.36 - alt. km 1.36 - Through fence and into pasture
4 : km 2.06 - alt. km 2.06 - Scree
5 : km 4.38 - alt. km 4.38 - Enter the trees
6 : km 4.76 - alt. km 4.76 - Take right-hand path at junction
7 : km 6.21 - alt. km 6.21 - Left at first junction, right at second junction
8 : km 6.58 - alt. km 6.58 - Turn right along road
A : km 7.3 - alt. km 7.3 - Cable car

Useful Information

Ski lifts make this summit easily accessible and useful for a short half day walk. Please take note of any time tables and lunch time closures if you are hoping for a lift back and time your walk accordingly. Using the ski lifts means you can take in the interesting parts of the walk and avoid the less interesting bits through the piste.

You could make it more challenging by walking up to Cret du Merle, ascending via the Combe de Borderan and then the Summit of the Aiguille des Calvaires before descending to Cret du Loup and then down through the piste and eventually back to the village.

We advise taking IGN maps with you on this walk. Click here to buy : 3531OTR.

Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

Great views from the top and it feels like a proper summit. Combe de Borderan is peaceful and worth the descent or ascent.

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The walk is best done in the direction described, and best done a clear, dry day.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.