Guides

Our Run the Alps team has dozens of years of experience, trail running throughout Switzerland, France, and Italy. Take a moment to meet them!

Alex Langdon

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

From the top of the Brevent lift in the Chamonix valley, down the GR5 long distance hiking route, across the top of Mont Pormenaz, and finally down to our home in Servoz for tea and scones.

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Favorite Alp trail run

I love the more remote places close to Chamonix. My favorite trail is the Tour du Mont Ruan, which is a high mountain route on the border of France and Switzerland, starting and finishing from the Emosson dam. To add excitement, the route can be turned into a two-day run by incorporating Mont Buet, Le Cheval Blanc and the Haute Cime.

 

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Favorite Alp trail run

The trail run up from Servoz to the Alpage at Ayères des Rocs beneath the towering Fiz massif, located in the larger Chamonix valley. It always provides a good workout in a beautiful setting. The first half, up to Lac Vert, involves a sustained grind through quiet, shaded pine cover before giving way to increasingly open views of the Mont Blanc massif. If time allows you can contemplate gathering your reserves and continuing up to the Col d’Anterne or making the boucle, or loop, back to Servoz over the Lac de Pormenaz in the distance.

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Favorite Alp trail run

It’s so difficult to choose, but it is hard to beat the experience of running the last section of the UTMB and CCC race route. Arriving at the top of the long climb from the Col de Montets, you come round a bend to be almost stopped dead in your tracks by the truly awesome view across to the Mont Blanc massif. I absolutely love blasting down the final descent from La Flégère as well – if my leg muscles allow it, that is!

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Bruno Yates

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

It might have to be the simplicity of being able to run out the door, skirt the north end of Lake Annecy and run up the steep end of Mont Veyrier, at first through dense woodland and gradually thinning until… wham! Suddenly, you’re hit with a stunning view down the lake from the Col des Sauts. A final push to the summit leads to a spectacular 2-km ridgeline along Mont Baron, then the run finishes with a descent to the historic Col des Contrebandiers.

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Cam Bevan

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

Pointe Noire de Pormenaz, above the village of Servoz in the Chamonix valley. After taking a lift up from Chamonix, the run starts from the bustling tourist hotspot of the Brévent gondola viewpoint, but the route soon disappears into stunning, quiet wilderness. Beautiful, flowing single-track leads through the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve to the Refuge de Moëde Aterne, where a refreshing beverage fuels the final ascent to Pointe Noire. From here, a 360-degree panoramic view awaits, with the Mont Blanc Range, the Arve valley, the Aiguilles Rouges mountain range and the rocky Fiz stretching away in all directions. A technical descent leads to a beautiful trail through the beech forests above Servoz, for the finish. It’s what I’d call a “cracking” day in the mountains!

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Favorite Alp trail run

Coming up from La Fouly, Switzerland to cross the Swiss-Italian border at Grand Col Ferret is just amazing. The view down the valley towards the Grandes Jorasses and Dent du Geant is stunning, so dramatic!

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Favorite Alp trail run

For me this has to be the classic Grand Balcon Sud, linking Flégère to Brévent above Chamonix Valley.  This gently undulating trail has stunning views of the Mount Blanc massif and is a welcome ‘flat’ section for runners on the Chamonix marathon, being the last leg of the race.

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Gary Daines

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

There are so many from which to choose!

A route I really enjoy is from Courmayeur, Italy to La Fouly, Switzerland across the Col du Grand Ferret. It’s a big day on the Tour du Mont-Blanc, and absolutely wonderful from start to finish. On the first climb through the forest above Courmayeur,  you have to temper your drive, because of what else the day has yet to bring. The climb takes you up to alpine meadows. When you arrive at Rifugio Bertone, the views across to the Mont-Blanc massif are jaw-dropping. Plus, seeing my friends who work there, and having a coffee, always makes the climb worthwhile.

From here, the balcony trail opens up and you can really let your legs do their thing while the views of the south face of the Grandes Jorasses grow more and more impressive. At one point, you can look behind and see the Col de la Seigne – where just a day before you crossed from France into Italy if you came via the Tour du Mont Blanc. Ahead is the Col du Grand Ferret and the border crossing into Switzerland.

This is a day of three Italian Rifugios: Bertone, Bonatti and Elena – three opportunities for great Italian coffee or super thick hot chocolate – all in one day of trail running! From Rifugio Elena, your tired legs must climb up to 2537m high Col du Grand Ferret, before cruising down to the Swiss Ferret valley. The last kilometers follow a beautiful river track all the way into La Fouly, where a cold beer awaits. This day has it all!

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Giles Ruck

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

My favorite trail run starts on the trail system in le Buet, on the French-Swiss border not far from Chamonix. The run through the Vallon de Berard and on up to Mont Buet is fabulous. From the hot pine smells low down, past glacial pools, coffee at the refuge and on up to the desert-like landscape around 3,000 meters – complete with views of Mont Blanc and its satellite peaks – gives a day out for all the senses. It links really well to other trails for a point-to-point, from Servoz, or Chamonix, with the advantage of a valley train to get you back to your start.

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Heather Ohly

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

The Tour du Mont Blanc is such an obvious choice! The first time will always be memorable for me. We ran it over four days, taking all the high alternatives. The last day was long: We ran from Relais d’Arpette to Les Houches. I was feeling very tired at Flégère, but a cold drink and tarte aux pommes perked me up. We reached Brévent to see an amazing sunset, before descending to Les Houches in the dark.

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Marion Giraud

Assistant Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

It’s hard to say, because I enjoy exploring different spots. So, I’m going to pick three! First, I’ve got to include the Grand Balcon Nord from the top of the Plan de l’Aiguille to the Montenvers train station. I also love the Fiz Massif above Servoz, a village in the Chamonix valley – it’s one of my favorite places and it’s wilder than much of the rest of the valley. Finally, even though it’s a classic route, I love running on the Grand Balcon Sud with a stop at Chésery lake. Here, the views are breathtaking and you often run with the famous and friendly Bouquetins.

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Favorite Alp trail run

In 2016, I ran through a beautiful section of Switzerland’s Italian-influenced Ticino region. We ran from the Ticino River to Verzasca River via a 2000m climb over the Passo de Gagnone. We battled hail, wind, cloud, snow and gravity to reach the pass, by which point we were cold, wet, tired and doubting our sanity. Crossing the watershed everything changed. The sun broke through, the wind abated and we made fresh coffee at the Campanna d’Efra. An unprecedented state of flow ensued during the magnificent descent to the Verzasca: a slowly rising euphoria, the like of which I have been searching for ever since!

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Favorite Alp trail run

I get so much pleasure just running from my front door into the mountains of the Fiz above Servoz. There are so many trails that connect our village to the Aiguilles Rouges and the Chamonix Valley, and they are all beautiful. If I had to pick, it would probably be the traverse from the village of Buet back home to Servoz, via the Col de Salenton.

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Sam Hill

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

The Pigne de la Lé in Switzerland above the Cabane Moiry. You get to run across some great mountain terrain, crossing glaciers and scrambling up alpine ridges to a lovely summit. It has everything I want from a mountain run. Plus, the Cabane Moiry has to be one of the nicest places in the Alps to stop and enjoy a post-summit beer.

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Simon Conroy

Guide

Favorite Alp trail run

My favorite Alp trail run is the Tour de Argentière near the Grand Muveran in Switzerland. It challenges you in so many ways, as well as exposing you to the fantastic flora and fauna that you can find in this gem of an area.

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Favorite Alp trail run

My favorite trail run is “Deux Glaciers,” which is just my name for the run! Here is the route, for those of you who know the area: Chamonix to Gare des Glaciers, to Plan d’Aiguille, then on to Le Signal, Montenvers, and finally back to Chamonix.

I just love this dog-friendly route, especially when it is a roasting hot “grand beau temps” day, since the steep climb is in the shade. I’ve never seen more than four people on this climb. In fact, I often see a lot more marmots, ibex and chamois than people. You gain almost all the height in the first couple of hours, then are rewarded with an up-close view of the Bossons Glacier that you just can’t get anywhere else in the valley. Finally, there are some technical trail running sections, before you relax and grab a coffee (and a tart, of course!) at the Refuge Plan de l’Aiguille. After that, it’s plain sailing home – across the “Grand Balcon Sud” to the huge pavement-style rock slabs at Le Signal and the mega view over the Mer de Glace, before an easy descent back to Chamonix, far below.

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