Follow us to the Italian province of Coni and discover one of the most beautiful hikes of the Piémont region. The highest peak in Mercantour –Argentera range is Mount Argentera (3297m/10 880ft), deep into ”Parc des Alpes Maritimes” and part of the long chain of peaks spreading from Mount Viso to Tende mountain pass. At the most southern tip of the Alps, It is an extraordinary place, a wild life sanctuary that spreads across France and Italy. The influence of both Mediterranean and continental climates produces a peculiar yet natural paradox. The Mercantour range is the home of unusual wildlife combinations: species such as the alpine rhododendron, the mountain goat and the ibex cohabit naturally with the Mediterranean lavender, cicadas and… the famous sardines of Menton!
We selected a route that will show you the best of the region. It reveals the charms and secrets of this remote and seldom visited range, and the beauty of its 3000-meter peaks and glaciers of the most southern region of the Alps. From some mountain passes, one can even see as far as the Mediterranean sea, the Pô river plain, mount Viso and Monterosa, all the way to Gran Paradiso and Mont-Blanc.
Join us to discover this unique natural alpine environment, around the high peaks of Argentera, and Mercantour range, and near Mount Gélas …
In order to immerse ourselves fully in this unique alpine environment, we carry our belongings for the week. We use public transportation for transfers and get food supplies from villages or from the huts.
This destination is not scheduled for this summer, however :
If you're a group of friends, you can ask for a "private formula", and have your own guide !
Advantages : Exclusive guide - Choose your departure date - Flexibility all along the trip.
For any further information, please contact Déborah.
Day 1 : CHAMONIX - ST ANNA DI VALDIERI
After an early start leaving Chamonix with our minivan, we drive through the Mont-Blanc tunnel into Italy, and to Cuneo and the Valletta alpine valley (3 hrs approx.). We stop at the small village of Saint Anna di Valdieri and start our hike. We wave our driver goodbye while we load our packs onto our backs, and start hiking up to Valle della Merris, the beginning of a great hiking adventure.
Up : 850 m / Hiking Time : 3 H 00
Day 2 : REFUGIO E.QUESTA
Ready for a “big day”, we leave the hut early and pace ourselves throughout the day. Our efforts will be fully rewarded by the beauty of the landscapes and the extraordinary views. Thanks to a gentle yet steady pace we reach Lago Sup de Sella, Paso della Valletta and later on Rifugio Questa (2361m).
Up : 1200 m / Down : 640 m / Hiking Time : 7 H 00
Day 3 : ARGENTERA RANGE
We start this rather “alpine” day with a hike over Pas de Préfouns (2615m) and continue on to Pointe de Bresses (2816m). We are now on the Mercantour peaks and ridgeline, and the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys are absolutely unbelievable ! After hiking down to Lago Fremamorta and further down to get across the valley, we hike back up to Plan del Ré to connect to the trail leading to Rifugio Remondino (2485m), just at the foot of Mount Argentera (3297m). We spend the night at the hut.
Up : 1200 m / Down : 1200 m / Hiking Time : 6 H 30
Day 4 : PAS DE BROCAN
Our trail meanders through rocky terrain, scattered with big rocks and remaining snowfields. It is wild and beautiful ! We follow a series of rock cairns and reach the Brocan mountain pass (2892m). A long and superb downhill section leads to Brocan Lake and refuge Genova (2010m).
Up : 500 m / Down : 900 m / Hiking Time : 5 H 00
Day 5 : COUGOURDE MOUNTAIN HUT (Mercantour National Park)
Our hiking adventure continues and leads to Pas de la Ruine (2724m). At the pass, old abandoned buildings show evidences of WW2 military activities in these strategic and remote mountain passes. On our way down we hike across grassy alpine pastures of the most secret corners of the Mercantour preserved area. We stay at the Cougourde hut for the night (2090m).
Up : 730 m / Down : 650 m / Hiking Time : 5 H 30
Day 6 : GÉLAS BALCONY TRAIL
We hike to Trécoplas Lake and then to Pas des Ladres (2448m) and finally reach the Fenestre mountain pass (2474m) just on the border between Italy and France. A succession of typical Mercantour rock cairns marks the direction to the Gélas lakes at the foot of Gélas Peak (3143m). We follow the balcony GR trail and enjoy breath-taking views, all the way to Lac Long and Refuge de Nice (2232m), where we stop for the night.
Up : 1000 m / Down : 900 m / Hiking Time : 6 H 00
Day 7 : COL DE PAGARI
We hike uphill and later on across the border at Paso Pagari (2562m), leaving the wild Mercantour region behind us. On the way down we walk past Rifugio Pagari (2650m) and continue downhill all the way to the hamlet of San Giacomo and the mountain resort of Entracques further down the valley. We transfer back to Chamonix with our private minivan.
Up : 600 m / Down : 1600 m / Hiking Time : 6 H 30
For safety reasons, the guide may modify the trek itinerary due to terrain, weather or other conditions.
Download the trip description
LEVEL : The Argentera Range hiking trip is a strenuous trek. . 6 to 8A minimum of 800m (2700ft) vertical gain and about 8 hours of hiking daily day. Hiking on maintained trails with off trail hiking sections, in scree and bouldery areas. Mountain terrain can involve difficult and exposed trails, for sure-footed hikers. Good physical training and multiday hiking experience on mountain trails are required.
ACCOMMODATION : 6 nights in mountain hut (in dormitory). Mountain huts provide hot shower and blankets. Each hiker carries daily his personal belongings, and the picnic.
GUIDING : Maximum 10 people per guide. For maximum safety and quality guiding.
MEETING PLACE : In Chamonix for an early morning start, or directly in Santa Anna di Valdieri. Free transfer from Chamonix to Santa Anna di Valdieri and back (8 people max). Please contact Deborah for further information.
You are welcome to come and meet your guide the evening before at our office at 6 pm.
No scheduled date for this summer.
PRICE : Please contact Deborah at the Compagnie des Guides for a private departure.
Here's an example of our all-inclusive price per person :
The organization and supervision of each tour by State qualified trekking guide/s
Drinks and personal expenditure (souvenirs…)
Half-board accommodation in mountain hut (dormitory)
Repatriation insurance (mandatory)
Transfers from Chamonix and back
- ID or valid passport.
- Repatriation insurance (mandatory). Cancellation insurance is highly recommended.
We provide optional insurance contracts for repatriation and trip cancellation (see booking form).
EQUIPMENT : See attached list.
Note : Due to the elevation of the trek, a good equipment is strongly advised.
INSURANCE : Our mountain leaders are self-employed professionals, and therefore covered under a liability insurance via the French Mountain Leaders Association (SNAM). As a tour operator, the Compagnie des Guides is also covered under a tour operator liability insurance contract (MMA IARD).
Repatriation and cancellation insurance are available from our office. Repatriation insurance is mandatory. We strongly recommend the purchase of cancellation insurance.
TRAINING : Good physical condition will allow you to make the most of your holiday. A month before the hike at least, we suggest you walk upstairs, rather than use the elevator. During the weekends you can run, walk or ride your bike to train for the hike. Doing a medical check-up before signing for the trip is recommended. Your guide should be informed of any medical treatment.
CLIMATE : Alpine weather can change suddenly, involving wide temperature variations. Temperatures also drop with altitude, and snow falls in summer are not rare. A high pressure moving in can also bring in cool air. You should anyhow bring warm clothes and be prepared for cold or very hot weather, while minimizing additional weight gain.
Please, feel free to contact the Compagnie des Guides for any further information.
You are a private group, you can ask for a customized trip, and have your own guide !
- Exclusive guide
A more individualized relationship between your group and the professional.
- Choose your date of departure
You can choose your date of departure within the limit of the hut availabilities.
- Flexibility all along the trip
Depending on weather conditions, your level and your expectations, the guide can suggest you some different options of itinerary.
For any further information, please contact Déborah :
Tel : +33 450 53 00 88 or E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org.