Chalet de l'Epée Refuge
Difficulties:EE - Expert Excursionists
from 01/03 to 30/04
Departure:VALGRISENCHE: Parcheggio diga (1770 mt.)
Arrival:Rifugio Chalet de l’Epée (2370 mt.)
Difference in level:600 m
Duration going there:2h30
Duration coming back:1h30
How to get there
Aosta Ovest motorway exit. Take the road towards Courmayeur as far as Arvier, and then turn left towards Valgrisenche. Once past the main village, continue on the right going towards Bonne. Cross the barrier before the houses on the left, and park your car at the end of the road.
Springtime route to be taken during the period when the refuge is normally open: in this way you can appreciate the refuge’s beautiful setting and the warm welcome and courtesy of those who run it.
Description of the route
Continue along the lane leading to Usellières going alongside the artificial lake of Beauregard. The first part of the route is amost flat and after going through a tunnel carved in the rock, you reach the junction for Rocher and from here you start to climb.
You turn left and start to climb along a snowy track often beaten by ski-moutaineers on their way home. After four hairpin bends you reach a junction: you turn right following the directions towards Plontaz and Quattro Denti. You enter a wood of mainly larch trees making your way along a lengthy, almost straight section; after going past a avalanche mound, you reach a splendid clearing below the abandoned Alpine pastures of Bouque, which you come to after taking a long bend to the left. Once past Bouque, you enter the wood again and climb up the ridge taking a number of hairpin bends until you reach the turn-off for the refuge: you follow the directions for Epée leaving behind the path followed as far as here.
Following the track, which is generally visible, you enter the Bois de Mugner among some imposing larch trees and a few red spruce trees. This stretch, which is slightly uphill, is a mixture of easy level sections and some not-so-easy transverse sections. Gradually you begin to go round the slopes of the Truc de la Seyaz emerging from the wood in view of the summer road which climbs up from Usellières. You take another brief section across the mountainside, entering the snowy bed of the Torrent de Bouque, which you climb along to the foot of the Epée. Your destination is now almost in sight: you make your way across the level area below and finally come to the Chalet de l’Epée.