Approaching the Tré la Tête Glacier
Mixed mountain forests
You can observe beautiful mixed forests, in which coexist deciduous trees, which have their leaves falling in autumn (such as beeches) and evergreen species (such as spruces or firs).
Be discreet and pay attention, you might have the opportunity to hear a Woodpecker or the Hazel Grouse which very difficult to observe!
the Sycamore Maple
This tree can be recognized by its 5 smoothy lobed leaves, as well as by its fruits called ‘samaras’; their forwards bended wings spread them by a helicopter drop!
Some maples have an arche shaped trunk because it grew under the weight of the snow. These were used to make "sledges" which were once used to transport hay in the mountains...
The Hazel Grouse
It is much less known than the Black Grouse or the Rock Ptarmigan because it lives exclusively in the forest!
But it is as important as the others from a biological and scientific point of view: it is an indicator species of environmental changes. Its specific demands in terms of vegetation and diversity of tree species ask for an adapted forest management. Bad preservation management of this habitats is one of the main causes of regression of the species.
When danger overcomes, it can flee on the steepest rocky slopes thanks to this equipments.
And thanks to its cardio-respiratory capacities, this species is able to gain 1000 m of altitude in 15 minutes when a human does it at the average speed of 350 m in 1 hour!
The Alpine Accentor
Present in the mountains all year round between 1800 and 4000 m altitude. It nests in rock holes and comes down to milder altitudes during the winter.
Its diet varies according to the season: it feeds mainly on insects in the summer, seeds in the fall and knows how to take advantage of the resources available around the cabins when winter comes!
It is not very shy, and it is not uncommon to see it come nearby humans.
The refuge of Tré-la-Tête
Created in 1907 to welcome mountaineering pioneers, it now brings together all mountain cultures. Alpinists heading for the summits, hikers doing a stopover for the day or on a itinerant journey, this is the location where your paths may cross.
Ideally located, it offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding peaks and the village, settled 900 m lower!
A glacier and humans
It is indeed surrounded by the mythical peaks of the Mont-Blanc massif such as Dômes de Miage or Aiguille Nord de Tré-la-Tête, the highest point of the nature reserve with an altitude of 3892 m.
It is the crossing point for many classic high mountain or ski mountaineering routes.
Since the end of the nineteenth century this place witnesses the evolution of mountaineering activities.
A water intake under the glacier
In 2011, the nature reseve, in partnership with EDF, carried out a program to dismantle the industrial infrastructures (dormitories and cable cars)linked to the creation of this water intake.
The glacier of Tré-la-tête
Its health, monitored by the nature Reserve since 2014, is determinated by the volume of ice gained or lost. This is called the mass balance.
8 km long, it spreads its tongue of ice from the mountain pass Infranchissable at the Italian border at 3300m of altitude, to the place where you are standing!
- At the intersection, take the trail on your right signposted "Refuge de Tré-la-Tête".
- Turn left on the signposted trail "Tré-la-Tête par les plans".
- At the junction, follow the direction of the refuge by the "Chemin Claudius Bernard".
- At the refuge, take the trail on the left towards the Glacier de Tré-la-Tête.
- The start of the return is by the same trail.
- At the bifurcation, go down the left path to the starting point.
Access and parking
The parking is located on the left of the road just before the town exit sign.
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