The High Way n.1, called THE GIANTS HIGH WAY, is a hiking trail with an incomparable scenery: it develops at the foot of the highest massifs of Europe, such as Monte Rosa, Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. This itinerary offers, alongside the superb examples of natural architecture in the Alps, incomparable examples of rural architecture, closely linked to the pastures life.
It goes along the left bank of the Dora Baltea river, The High Way n.1 is viable by anyone since it follows well-marked and fully signaled footpaths. It develops in 17 daily stages, from Donnas to Courmayeur (requiring on average of 3/5 hour walk each) providing hikers resting stops and dining options for every need.
The high natural value of these environments and the high and famous mountains, full of history and companies, which act as a superb setting, offer a picture of the past that the hiker will simply have to admire and appreciate.
8th STAGE: Grand Tournalin Mountain Refuge - Valtournenche (9 km)
Technical description: You descend for a short distance from the Grand Tournalin mountain Refuge (2,535 m.) on a dirt road and then you turn right into the trail. After a long diagonal through pastures, you reach a rocky cliff, beyond which the trail continues to climb on grassy and rocky humps until it reaches Colle di Nana (2,773 m.).
From here, you descend into the grassy valley located just below the hill, then you climb slightly to Col des Fontaines. The route now begins its descent, among wide open meadows, reaching the summer pasture of Champ-Sec and, further down, the town of Cheneil (2,105 m.) Then you continue your descent entering a conifer wood, passing by the pasture of Promindoz, situated on a grassy panoramic plain, and then continuing until you reach the village of Crétaz, a hamlet of Valtournenche.
The 'Col de Nannaz' is an ancient and important mountain pass, located at 2.775 meters above sea level on the Ayas-Valtournenche ridge. Its a very popular alpine pass for hikers because it offers a wonderful vantage point of the numerous 4,000 included in the Mount Rosa massif.
Its a place of outstanding natural beauty, located in a plain where you can enjoy a wonderful view over Valtournenche, the Matterhorn and over the peaks of Roisetta and Tournalin, through dense forests, rhododendrons and flowering pastures. Since it is located on the mule track that leads to the summit of Grand Tournalin, Cheneil has been crossed and remembered over the centuries by mountaineerings great names. It is one of the few Valle dAostas villages that cannot be reached by car but only through a path.
A town made up of several boroughs located in a beautiful valley overlooking the plain below, among vast pastures and coniferous forests, Valtournenche is a popular winter and summer destination for lovers of skiing (Breuil-Cervinia) and high-altitude excursions which owes the development of its tourism sector mainly to mountaineering, which developed in this area from the mid-1800s. The village is overlooked by the bell tower of the parish Church of SantAntonio, rebuilt in 1856 on the foundations of a 15th-century building. A plaque in the main square, instead, honours the birth of the most famous Cervino (Matterhorn) Guides including Jean-Antoine Carrel, the first to reach the summit from the Italian side.
City of departure: Ayas
Departure: Rifugio Grand Tournalin
City of arrival: Valtournenche
Length (Km): 9
Type of Itinerary: Half Day
Difference in height (m): 351
Difference in downhill (m): 1360
Highest point (m): 2779
Lowest point (m): 1512
Duration (h.): 4