Mont Buet is a 3096m tall mountain located on the west side of the Chamonix Valley. The hiking trails starts right across the road from the train station at Le Buet which means that this hike is a great option if you are staying in Chamonix. Most guesthouses will give you a card which gives you free access to the train for a month which means you can get to Vallorcine for free.
Mont Buet is known to be a good warm up hike for those wishing to climb Mont Blanc and the elevation gain is quite substantial at over 1800m from Le Buet to the summit. a
This hike can get busy in the summer with a lot of families making the hike up to the Refuge De La Pierre Bernard but after this point you’ll just find hikers and mountain runners. a a a
The trek begins through pine forest and follows the river all the way to the Refuge De La Pierre, which is 8kms from the Le Buet train station. Along this trail, you’ll find a lot of people so better to go later in the day if you plan to camp on the summit or early in the morning if you’re just going for a day hike. The hike is very peaceful and the scenery is very beautiful.
At the Refuge de la Pierre you can book to stay in one of the bunks overnight and there are also some spaces for you to camp if you want to. It is only open for the summer season from the 15th of June until the 25th of September. Overnight accommodation will cost 14 euros and there is space for 38 people. You can prebook at this website.
From the refuge, it is a further 4km to the summit of Mont Buet. The path after the Refuge changes a lot and you’ll be going through a big boulder field and the trees disappear after here. The views to the other side of the valley are amazing from the trail. a I went to the top of Mont Buet on 2 occasions. The first time was to try and paraglide from the summit but the weather was a total whiteout so I had to walk back down and abandon. The second time I actually camped on the summit and it was one of the highlights of my whole trip to France. There was only one other couple on the summit and the views over to the Mont Blanc massif is one of the most beautiful mountain scenes you’ll see. a
Once you get to the summit, you can either go down the other side to Six-Fer-a-Cheval or continue back the way you came from. I was staying in Chamonix so I decided to go back down the same way that I came. If you cross the mountain you’ll have to take a bus or train back to Chamonix.
The summit of the mountain does get very cold, even in the summertime. Camping on the summit is allowed between the hours of 7pm and 9am the next morning. The night I went and slept up there it got down to 2 degrees so you’ll need a good sleeping back and jacket to keep yourself warm at night. a
Logistics for the trip
How to get there
Take the train to Le Buet station. You can get a free pass from the tourist information centre in Chamonix that gives you a month of free use between Sallanches and Vallorcine in the valley. Once you arrive cross the highway and the trail head is right there on the other side of the road. It is well sign posted and the trail is pretty big so there is no chance that you can get lost. You can also check the GPX track above and download it to your phone or GPS device.
Where to stay
I was travelling alone so I chose to spend my time camping in the valley. I paid 7 euros a night to camp at Camping Des Montets. I also camped at Camping Les Arolles in the heart of Chamonix. . They have storage available for 4 euros a day so if you want to leave some things there that you don’t want to take up the mountain its totally possible.
The gear I used
– 2l of water (There is one spot to fill up right near the top. Someone told me there was no water so I carried up 4 litres but then discovered there was a stream right near the path.)
– Sleeping Bag
– Tent – Head Torch
– Dry food
– Warm Clothes
– Hiking Poles
If you want to check out what gear I use see the gear guide page here.