A day of great contrasts. Starting in the rugged landscape of Val Ferret with the imposing southern cliffs of the Mont Blanc Massif in Italy we cross the Grand Col Ferret into the more genteel and lush countryside of the Swiss Val Ferret.
Todays walk will be around six to seven hours and twenty kms. A longish day with 900m of ascent and 1400m of descent into the lovely village of Le Fouly.
From the Rifugio you can see the path traversing round the hill side to the north. It is slightly uphill to some beautiful ruins at Gioé then cross a small bridge before the rising traverse takes you through some open woodland and starts traversing high above the valley.
In front of you the view is dominated by todays main objective, the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) at the top of the valley and the towering south face of the Aguille de Triolet. After just over an hour of beautiful walking, the path starts to descend through some woodland to reach the end of the public road at Arouva. From here it’s a another hour up the track to the Rifugio Elena and a welcome break.
Steeply uphill after this, but fairly short, and you will reach the Col in around one and a half hours. The view from the Col is spectacular, looking down the full length of Val Ferret and Val Veny, all the way to the distant Col de la Seigne with the towering cliffs, glaciers and rock spires of the south side of Mont Blanc. In contrast, the view into Switzerland is of green pastures and a more gentle and calmer landscape.
A gentle descent from the Col leads to the summer dairy farm of Alpage de la Peule after forty five minutes.
As you arrive at La Peule, the next section of path takes a sharp left, although you may be tempted to stay for some light refreshment before continuing.
The path traverses round the hillside high above the valley floor with tantalizing views of the snowy peaks through the beautiful woodland. As you reach the first ridge crest you are rewarded by views of the peaks and glaciers of Mont Dolent and the Tour Noir.
Follow the path down the valley until crossing the main river and a short walk down the road to the enchanting village of La Fouly.
Bad Weather Options
There is no alternative for crossing the Grand Col Ferret. The section from the Rifugio Bonatti to Arouva could be avoided by descending directly from the Rifugio to the road then walking up the road. This is unlikely to save any time but would be less exposed to the weather.
And tomorrow......... Well, a very different day from what you have been used to so far -
through peaceful pastures and old villages.