Trail des Aiguilles Rouge: Race day
On Sunday 30 September at 4.30am, 2000 runners will start and the Place du Triangle de l’Amitie (in front of the Mairie) in Chamonix for the Trail des Aiguilles Rouges. The Trail des Aiguilles Rouges is very much a local race and is towards the end of the trail running season in Chamonix. Weather can vary considerably at this time of year with the likelihood of reaching the snowline.
Name: Trail des Aiguilles Rouges
The Aiguilles Rouges, meaning Red Peaks, are opposite the Mont Blanc massif. It is the colour of the iron rich rock that gives the Aiguilles Rouges its name. In 1974, the Reserve Naturelle des Aiguilles Rouges (Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve) which covers 3279 hectares was created to protect this range. There are numerous lakes and is home to many climbing crags.
The route changes each year which keeps it interesting as the scenery is stunning, but it never fails in being one of the most grueling and demanding 50k race.
On leaving the comfort of Chamonix the runners will head towards Flegere (1877m) mid station via Chalet Floria on the Petit Balcon Sud. Due to the early start it will be dark for at least the first 2.5 hours of the race. With head torches the runners stay shoulder to shoulder along narrow trails and become a thread of light winding its way up the mountain. It usually takes until dawn for the course to become stretched out.
From Flegere the route traverses to Tete du Vent, the most easterly point of this race, before heading up to Lac Blanc at 2352m and then on to Col de la Gliere (2461m). On reaching this point runners will be rewarded with a stunning view of the peaks of Chamonix and Mont Blanc.
Over the next 5km the route descends to Planpraz where there is a food stop, before the climb up to Col du Brevent (2368m). Heading deeper in the Aiguilles Rouge Nature Reserve, Refuge Moede Anterne is the next checkpoint. When they reach this refuge and most welcomed refreshment stop, runners will know they are over half-way!
The descent of 1190m from Refuge Moede Anterne (2002m) to Servoz (812m) is punishing. This 10km descent takes runners into the town of Servoz to a well-deserved food stop. From here, the only way is up. A 1157m climb takes runners from Servoz to le Prarion (1969m). This is the last ascent of the race. With a cheeky descent to les Houches, the race finishes at Lac des Chavants where runners are reunited with family and friends, and enjoy a beer and bowl of tartiflette to celebrate!
It is an amazing race.
Good luck from the Peak Transfer team.