Hike and Bivouac at the Lac Blanc, Chamonix

This summer, we are trying to enjoy the post-lockdown as much as possible and get back to our outdoors (relatively) adventurous life.

After spending one day in Lyon, our road led us naturally to the somptuous Alps and in particular in Chamonix, where we decided to hike to the famous to the famous Lac Blanc (2352m) and spend one night bivouacking. Little did we know how stormy and cold the night there would be.

The Lac Blanc – literary, the White Lake – is named due to the snow that often remain there late in summer. It offers a spectacular view over the Mont-Blanc (if you are lucky) and the lake itself is spectacular. It is also a great opportunity to meet ibex on your way.

Practical information about the hike to the Lac Blanc

  • 🗺 Localisation: Near Chamonix in the French Alps
  • 🥾 Distance: Around 16km
  • 📈 Elevation: 1,150m
  • 😰 Difficulty : Average to difficult, but not dangerous.
  • 🕰 Time: 5 hours of walk
  • 🌡 Season : June to September
  • 🏕 Bivouac: It is not possible to bivouac by the Lac Blanc, only by the Lakes de Cheserys

Lac Blanc – Itinerary

The itinerary we selected started from Tré-le-Champ and is laddered which could scare the less experience hikers. It is also possible to shorten the walk by taking the lift directly to the mid-station Les Cheserys.

Our hike to the Lac Blanc

Driving from Thonon-Les-Bains, we arrived at the parking of Tré-le-Champ after passing by Chambéry at around 12pm. The parking is spacious but almost full and we are lucky to get the last parking spot available – the hike is starting well!

As we leave the parking, we enter in a Alpine forest, in a gorgeous path covered with mountains flowers and, truth be told, pretty steep. After a dozens of minutes, we realise we will have a though time with our heavy bags and the lack of training but well, that’s life! Next time – we should train before.

As the elevation increases, the pines become more sparse and we are lucky to get a stunning view over the Mont-Blanc and the rest of the mountains. Ibex are everywhere – they are probably very acclimated to human now, and many of them follow and observe us on our way to the Lac Blanc. Mid-walk, we stop for a well-deserved lunch and sat down on a small balcony – what a view!

After a couple hours of a relatively though walk, we reach the Lac de Cheserys, which sit on a platform below the Lac Blanc. This is where we will eventually spend the night after we reach the Lac Blanc as bivouacking directly on the Lac Blanc is forbidden (it is a protected reserve). As we arrive at around 4pm, we already see a couple of other tents set there by the early risers.

The last part of the walk is probably the most difficult one, it includes climbing up one ladder (relatively safe, but scary) and walking in the remnant snow of the winter. As we arrive at the refuge at the stop, we are exhausted but the result is worth it! The Lac Blanc is beautiful with its melting snow and pure blue water, and the refuge a great stop. At the refuge, we enjoy a delicious chocolate cake and a beer – a delight.

After a short stop of around one hour up, it is time to climb down from the Lac Blanc to Lac des Cheserys to put up our tent as it’s getting late. Also the weather is changing by the minute. Fortunately, we are pretty quick at finding a good spot by a little stream and we put up the tent in only a few minutes. As we open our bags, we discover, horrified, that one of the water pocket exploded on our spare clothes and that we have nothing warmer available than our t-shirt. Nevertheless, we enjoy eating our diner, some pasta with pesto and a good cup of warm tea. As we are now freezing, and a thunderstorm is starting, we hide in our tent praying that the tent will keep us dry. The night is pretty agitated as well, as it is the first time we spend a night in a tent in a thunderstorm.

We love the hike to the Lac Blanc and definitely recommend bivouacking there! It is a gorgeous first walk to discover the Alps, not too difficult but still pretty challenging.

  • Reply
    Stefan (BerkeleySqB)
    October 21, 2021 at 7:44 am

    Hiking with ibexes on snow with close views of Mont Blanc, climbing via a via ferrata style ladder, bivouacking up on the trail all sounds like a great adventure.

    Being left without dry warm clothes is scary, but great to hear you managed, despite cold night.

  • Reply
    Lannie
    October 22, 2021 at 8:35 am

    What an incredible hike!! The views!!! And 16km is not too bad at all. 😍

  • Reply
    Postcard Stories
    October 31, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    Those photos are amazing!!! Loved your adventures here and thank you for sharing your experience.

  • Reply
    Wendy White
    November 1, 2021 at 4:56 am

    Lac Blanc looks stunning and what a great hike. Sorry to hear the water leaked and you didn’t have nay warm clothes though! Not sure I’d like to stay in a tent in a thunderstorm either.

  • Reply
    Chalk and cheese travels
    November 2, 2021 at 11:06 am

    No dry clothes thunderstorm in the tents but well worth the trip for them views fair play to you

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