Pointe noire de Pormenaz
View on Le Dérochoir
These various landslides created a passage making it possible to cross the Fiz ridge.
The mont Blanc before mountaineering
The Griffon Vulture
This bird lives in colonies of different sizes, the closest of which are located in southern Vercors. Especially the young individuals who explore new territories. To feed, this bird is also able to cover hundreds of kilometers thanks to its gliding technique, depending on favorable weather conditions.
The Common Raven
Alternately feared or venerated, it is the hero of myths and legends in many cultures. Persecuted for a long time, it is now protected. The size of a buzzard, it can be specifically recognized by its diamond-shaped tail and its hoarse call. It is an omnivore, which means that it feeds on carrion, eggs, chicks or berries!
The couples, which are united for their life time, carry out aerobatic courtship rituals! Apart from humans, the Golden Eagle is its only predator.
The Golden Eagle
The Black Woodpecker
It is easily recognized by its entirely black plumage enlivened by a bright red spot, limited to the nape on the females and more extensive on the males.
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.
The Mountain Ash
The fruits can be used to make to make brandy, jelly or jam. But be aware that they are toxic at maturity, so you have to pick them earlier!
In the nature reserve, the Mountain Ash is part of a participatory science program intended to measure the impact of climate change on the ecosystems of the mountain.
The Downy Birch
In the reserve, birches are monitored as part of the "Phénoclim" program implemented by CREA and intended to measure the impact of climate change on plant cycles.
Architecture of mountain pasture chalets
Construction features at high altitude are strongly related to the immediate surroundings: stones for the walls, basic – but resistant to winter conditions! – framework made out of spruce.
Originally, the roof was covered with ‘tavaillons’, a kind of wooden tiles.
These buildings, used for agricultural activity during the summer, were of rudimentary comfort and housed the shepherd and its owner’s family.
The alpine cabin
The whistled language of groundhogs
Always vigilant, standing up, it surveys its environment to avoid to be caught. Thanks to a very wide field of vision, and excellent hearing and smell abilities, nothing goes unnoticed. In case of alert, it warns the others with an alarm call: very high-pitched and brief for a danger coming from the sky, whistled and repeated for a danger on the ground. And that danger may be you!
The history of the Passy nature reserve
The national nature reserve of Aiguilles Rouges was created in 1974, and a few years later in 1977 the Sixt-Fer à Cheval / Passy nature reserve.
A small territory, settled between these two areas, will become the nature reserve of Passy in 1980.
Livestock guardian dogs
When approaching the herd, it’s very important to observe carefully the dog’s behavior and to take it in account while respecting the following instructions:
- Stay away from the herd (bypass it if possible) - Announce your presence by speaking out loud to avoid surprising the herd and dogs
- Keep calm and avoid sudden movements, keep walking without running. Talk gently to the dogs so that they get used to your presence and accept it.
- Avoid looking straight into the dog’s eyes and hold an object between you and the dog.
Since the summer of 2019, there is evidence of its presence in some of the nature reserves of Haute-Savoie, which explains the presence of livestock guardian dogs watching over several herds.
Indeed, the wolf is carnivorous. It feeds mainly on wild animals such as Chamois or Roe Deer. But it can also consume ewes or sheep, especially from unprotected herds.
So in order not to interfere with the work of the dogs, please follow the instructions!
Mountain pastures, a mountain tradition
The breeding of milk producing cows was once a tradition. Nowadays, in the Passy Nature Reserve, you can find rather large herds of sheep for meat production.
The Great yellow Gentian
Used in phytotherapy, it should not be confused with the highly toxic False Helleborine – also called White Hellebore-, next to which it grows and which looks very similar!
Only the flowers are not alike, those of the Gentian are yellow. When not flowering, you can use the leaves to distinguish both species: Gentian is opposite-leaved, while the leaves of the False helleborine borne along the stem alternately (alternate-leaved plant).
The Alpine Ibex
Various successive reintroductions in the entire Alps region have made it possible to increase the numbers of the populations although the stability of these populations is still threatened.
In the nature reserves of Haute-Savoie, Ibexes are included in the monitored species and research programs intended to study its health conditions or to improve the management of its populations
The Bearded Vulture
Exterminated from the Alps at the beginning of the 20th century, this harmless and majestic bird is back in the alpine skies thanks to the largest animal reintroduction program initiated 30 years ago in Europe.
The refuge of Moëde-Anterne
The "laouchets" of Pormenaz
Locally they are called "laouchets", which means "small bodies of water". Shallow, these bodies of water are home to a rare and protected species, the Sparganium or Narrowleaf Bur-reed, as well as to significant biodiversity. Eventually, these “laouchets” will fill in and become peat bogs.
The Narrowleaf Bur-reed
The 'Lac sentinelle' program
The Fitz ridge, a cliff that came from the sea
As Mont-Blanc uplifted, this stack of layers creased and broke. Erosion then exposed this magnificent wall, the fossils of which testify to its oceanic origin.
The mines of Pormenaz
There are two stages in their lifecycle: a "larva" (or nymph) stage which is aquatic followed by a terrestrial stage, when the adults are grown to adults.
Dragonflies are predators: they are carnivores that feed on different types of prey depending on their stage. They eat other insects as well.
Their distribution is strongly linked to climate conditions and any change has a strong impact on their presence. Destruction of their wetland habitats is one of the main threats to dragonflies.
The Grass Snake
It's a protected species, like all reptiles!
It can be identified by its round pupils, its olive grey color and its double black and white or yellow collar shaped pattern. Or by another special feature: when it feels in danger, it spits out a foul smelling liquid and pretends to be dead, revealing its two-colored piano pattern on its ventral surface!
There are several explanations for its emerald green color, including the surrounding vegetation consisting mostly of spruces, which are reflected in its waters. But the presence of blue algae or cyanophyceae in the lake is also a probable cause.
The water comes from sources providing the lake by its surface and underground.
The common Toad
But you can look it in the eyes to observe its horizontal pupil and its orange iris. You will also notice its parotid glands on the back of its head. They are used to secrete a venom, the "bufotoxin" intended to keep away any possible predator.
The toads and frogs are not the same species; toads live mostly in the forest, out of the water, joining it only during the breeding season !
The Common Minnow and the Common Chub
The Chub is a rather large fish, very widespread in France. It is an omnivore, which means that it eats everything. In many European countries, especially in the east, it is of highly culinary interest.
The history of Plaine-Joux
As early as the 1930’s, the inhabitants of Passy were already practicing ski activities in this location enjoying a magnificent panorama. It was around 1965 that it officially became a communal ski resort. Even nowadays, Plaine-Joux remains, as well in summer as in winter, a popular family resort for skiing, hiking, paragliding... and contemplation.
The mont Blanc
These two so-called crystalline rocks come from the core of the Earth in fusion.
- Take the paved road in front of the restaurant "Lou Pacheran".
- Direction Moëde-Anterne refuge, Col et Lac d'Anterne. Take the track up towards the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col et Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 102.
- At the orientation table, continue straight ahead on the track towards the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col et Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 103.
- Continue on the track towards the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col et Lac d'Anterne.
- Continue on the track towards Ayères des Pierrières, Col et Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 16.
- Cross the hamlet of Ayères des Pierrières.
- Take the track on the left towards the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col et Lac d'Anterne. Beacon 121.
- At the basin, stay either on the track that goes up to the left, or take the path straight ahead. Caution, aerial passages! Beacon 134.
- Stay on the track towards the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Col d'Anterne.
- Stay on the track towards the refuge of Moëde-Anterne, Lac de Pormenaz.
- At the refuge, take the track towards Lac de Pormenaz. Beacon 124.
- Take the track straight ahead towards Lac de Pormenaz. Beacon 125.
- Take the track on the left towards Lac de Pormenaz. beacon 99.
- Take the track on the left along the lake of Pormenaz in the direction of the chalets de Pormenaz, Pointe noire de Pormenaz. Beacon 127.
- At beacon 128. Head towards Pointe Noire de Pormenaz. Follow the track which is marked with yellow-tipped stakes.
- For the return, go down to point 13 - beacon 99. Either take the direction of Chalets du Souay par les Argentières. Aerial track. Either take the direction of the Moëde-Anterne refuge and go down to Chalets d'Ayères. Then head towards Le Châtelet d'Ayères - Le Lac Vert.
- Beacon 97. Head towards Châtelet d'Ayères - Lac Vert.
- Beacon 95. Direction Lac Vert.
- Take the direction of Plaine Joux. By paved road. Beacon 94.
- Beacon 93. Take the track to the right towards Plaine Joux.
- Take the direction of Plaine Joux by the road, on the left.
Asters, CEN 74 can not be held responsible for the occurrence of an accident or any inconvenience on this itinerary.
The trail les Argentières has aerial passages on the way back. An alternative trail to go back down is possible.
Access and parking
Parking at the entrance of the station.
Bus line L85 (SAT Mont-Blanc).
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