Buthier - Punta Chaligne


  • Difficulties:
    E - Excursionist
  • Best period:
    June - September
  • Departure:
    Buthier (1350 m)
  • Arrival:
    Punta Chaligne (2608 m)
  • Difference in level:
  • length:
    6.710 m
  • Ascent:
  • Duration coming back:
  • Trail sign:
    3 - 3A - 4 - 5
  • GPS tracks:
    GPX , KML

The plague epidemic that decimated the populations of Europe in 1630 was terrible and did not even spare the Alpine people. The Aosta Valley paid a very high price in victims, risking being almost completely depopulated; the small surviving groups retreated higher and higher, to almost inaccessible places. It is to this dramatic occasion that the custom of invoking divine help is linked, reaching, after a long and tiring climb, the crosses of Punta Chaligne (2,608 m).
The procession leaves on August 16th from the church of Gignod in the predawn hours: the bell rings at 3.30 am while the departure is set for 4 am. Afterwards the faithful head towards the oratory of Chez Percher, where a prayer for the deceased. Here a family takes turns offering the blessed bread. He continues to Planet, where he stops a second time to receive the blessed bread again offered here, in turn, by a family from Planet-Tercinod. After an hour of steep climb, still in the dark, he stops for the dawn break in Ronc Palmy (or Parmé), where passages from the Bible are read and a hot drink is distributed. At sunrise the procession stops at Pian della Griva before continuing towards Plan du Débat, a plateau dotted with mounds which popular imagination indicates as the tombs of fighters who died in a battle due to the dispute over the direction towards which the cross should have been facing which stands on Punta Chaligne: Gignod or Aosta. Finally, the long line with the cross at the head heads towards the summit where the meeting takes place with the faithful who have climbed from the hamlets of Aosta, Arpuilles and Excenez. Up there, next to the cross and in front of the grandiose scenery of the peaks and glaciers of the Graian and Pennine Alps, mass is celebrated. The ritual of blessing the water is interesting and, collected inside a bell, is partly drunk and then sprinkled on the faithful and the surrounding land, almost as if to recall an ancient propitiatory rite to invoke rain.

Description of the route

From the state road for Gran San Bernardo, take the road that leads to Buthier and leave the car in the square at Buthier Gorrey (1350 m). Take route 2A which soon comes to Clemencey, where the trail joins routes 3 and 3A. Continue up until you reach Alpe Mendey (1547 m). Near the residential area, take route 3, which goes into the woods. You soon come to the private road for Alpe Chez-Tognette, which you leave after a few metres to take the path that leads up alongside the pastures of Grangette. When you get to a crossroad, c. 1715 m, keep to the right-hand branch, which goes past Alpe Meriau Damon (1740 m), and up Alpe Collet (1919 m). From here, leave the forest track, and continue in the woods, until you come to the agricultural road for Alpe Tza de Chaligne. Follow this road briefly, then leave it for the path on the right which leaves the woods, just after this point. Go up to Cresta Tardiva, towards an antenna tower that is clearly visible from below, until you come to the large saddle of Col Tardiva (2410 m). Continue on the same itinerary, veering left until you reach Punta Chaligne, marked by two large crosses (2608 m).


Tourist Areas
Tourist Areas

Mont Blanc

Gran Paradiso

Great Saint Bernard

Aosta and surroundings


Monte Rosa

Central Valley

Tourist offer
Tourist offer

Webcams map       Resort
Saint-Rhémy Crevacol

Webcams map       Resort

Webcams map       Resort
Saint Oyen - Flassin

Webcams map       Resort