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Monte Fortin and Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini in Val Veny

A sensational panoramic terrace overlooking Mont Blanc and the Himalayan Miage Glacier.
7:30 h


The Val Ferret and Val Veny have something surreal about them. Two linear and perfectly symmetrical furrows, framing the rocky wall of Mont Blanc. Closing off these two valleys is a curtain of peaks that offer incredible views of the Mont Blanc massif.

One of these peaks is Monte Fortin, relatively unknown but of great value for its easy access and the fact that it sits directly opposite the Miage Glacier valley, perhaps offering the best view of it.

By car, we can continue to the parking lot in the Visaille area. For the past few years, access to the Visaille parking lot has been allowed only until all spaces are filled during July and August. From Visaille (1659m), we have to endure 3km of tedious dirt road, accompanied by a noisy crowd of tourists, hikers, and cyclists.

Once we finally reach the beginning of Lake Combal, near a small bridge, we can choose to take a half-hour detour to visit the nearby Lake Miage (2019m, 1.30 hours), which is often crowded with tourists due to the beauty of the ice wall (the Miage Glacier) that closes the lake on its northern side. Being in contact with the glacier, the lake changes over time along with the glacier — for example, the lake almost completely emptied between 2012 and 2015, refilling in 2018.

Back at the bridge, we cross it and shortly afterward, we find a deviation on the left: we leave the flat dirt road that leads to Rifugio Elisabetta, which we will take on the way back, to steeply ascend towards Monte Fortin. As we gain altitude, the panorama becomes increasingly beautiful; soon we have a view of the entire Miage valley. We pass the lower Arp Vieille, continuing first through flowered meadows, then on increasingly steep scree slopes. After numerous switchbacks, we reach the broad summit of Monte Fortin (2758m, 2 hours).

On the vast summit plateau, we find the remains of an old military barracks, the Ricovero Maggiore Sonza. The view from Fortin is one of the most incredible panoramas of the Mont Blanc group; this is complemented by an impressive view of the underlying Lake Combal and the road that runs alongside it, dotted with small black dots. Walking inside the barracks, the doors and windows frame the surrounding snow-capped peaks, offering unique views.

For the descent, we can traverse to Col de Chavannes, from which we descend to Elisabetta and from there to Visaille. For this route, we descend from Fortin on the western side and traverse the wide meadows at the foot of Monte Percè. Few hikers venture this far, and the marmots feel free to roam these meadows without too many worries.

From Col de Chavannes (2603m, 1 hour), we descend steeply into the Vallone della Lex Blanche along a beautiful switchback trail. Once in the valley bottom, we ascend the opposite slope for about ten minutes to reach Rifugio Elisabetta Soldini (2197m, 1 hour) below the Lex Blanche Glacier. From here, we have 7/8 km of dirt road to return to Visaille (1659m, 1.30 hours).






The mountains are a dangerous environment: make sure you always have the right equipment — hiking or trail shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a small emergency kit.


I've made an Amazon "shopping note" to make sure you have everything — ps if you buy from these links, 3% goes to support the development and maintenance of Hikes of the World 🙏.


  • Breathable t-shirt ( example )

  • Sweatshirt, fleece, or light jacket

  • Waterproof windbreaker (for example: men / women )

  • Gloves and hat (you never know)

  • Backpack with rain cover

  • Trekking poles (not essential, but they help to unload the weight of the backpack and ease the impact on the joints)

  • Trekking or trail running shoes (in great vogue lately because they are lightweight. These Salomon ones - for men and women - are an excellent entry-level, preferably Gore-Tex)

  • For via ferratas: complete via ferrata kit (I have this one , very light and compact, with this harness and helmet — or you can buy complete kits ). Buy in store to receive ad hoc support

  • To sleep a night in a refuge: sheet or light sleeping bag

  • Water bottle or thermos

  • Light crampons if you think you will find ice or snow on the route

  • Power bank or cell phone charger

  • Camera

  • Drone, for those who love to "fly" (used in moderation and at a distance from other people. I have had the DJI Mini 2 for over 2 years and have found myself very happy with it. The DJI Mini 3 also allows you to take vertical photographs)

  • Small emergency kit ( example )

  • Sun cream (essential)

  • Sunglasses


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