Col du Bonhomme - Traverse from the Contamines lifts and via La Gitte
Take the Contamines Montjoie ski lifts. From the summit of the Bûche Croisée chair lift descend to the South via a long traverse on the side until Grande Pierrière plateau where you put on skins. Go up this plateau by skirting the foot of the western face of Tête de la Cicle for 1500 m until a poorly marked pass at 2283 m. Descend towards the South (while pulling slightly to the right) to reach Croupe de la Laissetire. Descend it until La Gitte (1665 m).
Cross the torrent via bridge 1635 and climb to the east to the ruins of La Planta (1784). Continue to the north and enter the gorges of the Sausse (summer trail more or less covered by sluffs). Go back up the dale towards the east until the Sausse chalets (1991 m). The go completely north via a short steeper slope for 100 m, then skirt the Croupe des Cavets on the right which leads to Col du Bonhomme (small shelter).
Descending the pass: Start to the north via a slight descent for a distance of 300 m, then turn to the right to cross a short steep pitch. Via the flat area of Plan des Dames and a small slope under the Tumulus (2043) you reach Plan Jovet. Traverse to the left to reach an electric pylon. Descend behind it until the Balme chalets. Descend completely north via the trail which returns to La Rollaz and, via the Roman trail, the Notre de la Gorge parking lot. Via the road or the pedestrian path you can find the ski lift parking lot.
Climb variant via Col de la Fenêtre, without the ski lifts: - From Notre-Dame de la Gorge (1210 m) take the Roman path (often icy, crampons sometimes useful), traverse Nant Borrant hamlet to reach the flat area of La Rollaz (1530 m). At the beginning of this plateau go right towards the SW (sign Les Prés, Col de la Fenêtre). Climb 50 m in the meadow then follow the track of the path which climbs in wood until the Prés chalets (1797 m). Continue west until Plan de la Fenêtre (approximately 2000 m) that you traverse towards the southwest (1 km), to reach the foot of a corridor leading to Col de la Fenêtre. Go up 150 m of this corridor to the pass (rather steep end). Descend the other side of the pass to the west crossing a small rock band. You reach the initial route on the Grande Pierrière.
Total time span: 7 hours
Two slight slopes: Grande Pierrière during the ascent and the flat area of La Rollaz during the descent.
No particular difficulties. Many people walk on the Chemin des Romains. It can be very icy and require the use of crampons. Ascending the gorges of the Sausse can be complicated by the sluffs which cover the trail. The route is difficult to find in the fog without a GPS.
Loop route offering all orientations. The last descent is northern and rather safe.
Access: Saint-Gervais > Les Contamines > Le Pontet. Go to Contamines Montjoie on D902, 8 km from Saint-Gervais. You reach the hamlet Pontet at the end of the village (bottom of the gondolas). Ski lifts: SECMH 04.50.47.02.05 www.lescontamines.net
Accommodation: Numerous accommodations and restaurants of all categories in Contamines. Small inn at Notre-Dame de la Gorge, pleasant terrace. Snack bar in Nant Borrant is open on weekends at the end of the season. Refuge de la Balme is closed during the winter season with no possibility of accommodations.
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