Last updated: 02-Jun-17
By Elsa Trujillo
If you’re heading to Chamonix next weekend to run or enjoy the 4th edition of the Mont-Blanc 80km ultra marathon as a spectator, please note that the route has been altered.
After a very unusual spring, visitors to the area will be welcomed by the rare view of really white mountains in June, just days before the Mont-Blanc 80km ultra marathon.
Although the courses for the 10km, 23km, and 42km races will remain the same, the Mont-Blanc 80km race course, which starts on Friday June 24th, has been modified to guarantee safety and also to protect the environment in the area. To ensure runner wellbeing, the safety commission met on June 14th to issue a final ruling regarding changes to the 80km route as a result of the abundant snow in certain sections of the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve.
Significant amounts of snow remain above 2200m and many snow fields are still present between 1900m-2200m, and many running trails have deteriorated this past spring. The trail maintenance crews of the Chamonix Mont-Blanc valley are working non-stop to guarantee the best course conditions for runners.
The Col de la Terasse (2648m) is under snow from Loriaz (2020m) and in this 2016 edition runners will reach the Emosson dam by re-descending from Loriaz to Vallorcine and then climb up to Col du Passet. Due to the amount of sloping snow fields in the final access to the d’Aiguille refuge (2233m) runners will now descend to Chamonix and pass by the Blatiere pastures.
A final visit of the safety commission will decide on other sensitive sectors of the race: access to Brevent (2525m), la Tete au Vent (2110m), la tete de l’Arolette (2333m) and the Montenvers/Blatiere traverse (2100m).
Final changes to the 80Km route
Approved on June 20th, the security commission has made the following final changes:
Access to the Tête de l’Arolette (2333 m) is blocked. Shortly after the Alpage de Catogne, runners will turn right in the direction of the Plan des Reines ski lift summit.
Although not presenting any objective danger, the organisers have identified sections where snow will be present during the event:
- Tête de Bellachat/Brévent (2525 m) /Planpraz: permanent snow.
- Flégère/Tête au Vent traverse (2110 m): residual névés.
- Alpage de Catogne/Summit Plan des Reines ski-lift: residual névés.
Montenvers/Blaitière traverse (2100 m): residual névés.
The final distance of the route, following these modifications, is 81km with 6 000m of ascent.