The Tournette summit: a must above the lake
The particular shape of the top has earned it the name “armchair”. The Tournette range is also a major site for caving. In winter, hikers enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The Tournette climb from Talloires Bay is a sporting event that has been bringing together hiking and trail enthusiasts every year since 1996. Apart from this event, there are two hiking routes up the mountain: one from Les Clefs, which takes 3 hours to reach the summit via the Rosairy refuge; the other from the Montmin valley, which climbs to the tip of La Bajulaz. Hiking on the Tourette is an opportunity to meet and get close to ibexes.
Hiking: the Tournette ascent
A not-to-be-missed hike in the Annecy region, the ascent of La Tourette is traditionally via the Col de l’Aulp. Located 17 km from the L’Idéal campsite, in the hills above Talloires, it can be reached by car in around half an hour. The chalet parking lot is often full and can be reached via a steep, unpaved path. It is therefore possible to park upstream, at Les Prés Ronds, and walk to the Chalet de l’Aulp following the indicated itinerary: in this case, allow an extra 30 minutes or so!
The hike is a full-day affair: with 9 km each way, it will take you at least 5 hours to complete: around 3 hours for the ascent and at least 2 hours for the descent. A signpost marks the start of the hike beside the Chalet de l’Aulp.
Expect a steep ascent from the very first kilometers, but also a sublime panorama of the lake very early on. You’ll be able to take full advantage of this view when you return, as it will be facing you rather than behind you.
A good hour’s walk brings you to the Blonay-Dufour refuge, at an altitude of 1774 metres. This first part can also be made into a shorter hike for walkers who leave later or are accompanied by children, for example.
The second part of the hike will be more technical. Some passages are equipped with ladders or hanging chains. Some slippery rocks require vigilance on the part of every hiker, all the more so on steeply sloping trails.
After the Châtelard stone, a picturesquely shaped rock, the path skirts a high cliff: a passage that can be unpleasant for those prone to vertigo. After a few more technical passages, the summit can be reached. To climb to the very top of the granite “armchair”, a ladder is carved into the rock. In high season, you may have to queue to climb it.
The arrival at the summit is ideal for a break: the 360° panorama is breathtaking at the highest point, with views of the lake, mountains, ridges and surrounding massifs.
After a 2-hour walk downhill, the Chalet de l’Aulp awaits you for a cold drink or a well-deserved snack. You can continue with a lakeside walk, a paragliding tour or a rock-climbing session!