July 10 2006 Argentiere to Col de la Forclaz
After a lunch break at Argentiere we literally hit the road and began the two mile walk up the road to Le Tour (ca, 4765 feet), a ski area just below the Col de Balme. After a short ride up the chair lift we traversed over to the Col de Blame (2:40; ca. 7230 feet) and enjoyed the view across to the Aiguilles Rouges and the Dent du Midi rising to the west. Superb views were also to be had to the south toward Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley. The Col de Balme also marks the Swiss border with France and on the other side of the col we could see down to the Trient Valley.
From the Col de Balme we started down through alpine pastures on trails and farm tracks until at last the route steepened into a long series of switch backs which continued down through a forest until coming out into pastures on the valley floor about a mile outside Trient (3:45; ca. 4195 feet). We followed the trail system to the edge of town and then turned and began climbing the opposite side of the valley steeply upward until we at last topped out at the Col de la Forclaz (4:30; ca. 5005 feet). We checked into the Hotel Du Col De La Forclaz and spent the next couple of hours drinking beer and smoking bad cigars on the patio while reminiscing about the long day we had just finished and the even harder day that we expected to come.