Not far from the place I call home, is a lake surrounded by mountains. Lake Annecy or the blue lake as we sometimes name it, is the cleanest lake in Europe. A natural gateway to the northern parts of the French Alps and a perfect playground for outdoors lovers and adventurers.
The lake and mountains around offer countless opportunities to hike, run, swim or bike. It is also a paradise for paraglider, mountain bikers, kayakers and skydivers.
Its highest peak is called La Tournette and rises at 2,351m. Hikers who undertake the 6hrs return hike are rewarded with grand views of the Northern Alps, including Mont Blanc, the roof of Europe, and a breathtaking 360° panoramic view.
A wise man once said “If you don’t climb the mountain, you can’t see the view”. Going up La Tournette is probably the best way to enjoy the said view on Lake Annecy. When I asked a good friend if he was keen to have an early start on a saturday morning to hike up there, it didn’t take long to convince him.
Depending on the route you’re taking, the hikes takes about 6hrs return from the Chalet d’Aulp. You can either walk by the Refuge de la Tournette for a gentle ascent or climb the steeper Varo’s Pass. We decided to avoid Varo’s Pass and went up following the track towards the Mamelon Vert which passes by the Refuge and then turns back toward the massif ridge (actually that wasn’t a proper decision, we just wandered and ended up on the track…).
You then have to use your hands to climb through some more technical parts and reach the summit ridge. The summit is a huge rock called the “Fauteuil” (the chair) and indeed looks like a chair placed on the ridge. It is only accessible after a short climb using ropes, life chains and ladders, which brings some fun that to last part of the ascent.
Some snow remained from first season falls that occurred a week before. We went down from the Fauteuil and sat on flat rocks for lunch, sheltered from the wind, with a awesome view of Mont Blanc and the Alps. It couldn’t have been a better start to the weekend…!