Aiguilles Rouges

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The Aiguilles Rouges ("Red Peaks") are a crystalline mountainous massif of the French Prealps, opposite the Mont Blanc massif. The color of the iron rich gneiss (metamorphique) mountains gives the range its name. The highest summit is the Aiguille du Belvédère at 2,965 metres (9,728 ft). At the southern end of the range, Le Brévent at 2,525 metres (8,284 ft) is accessible by a cable car in the Planpraz and the Brévent sections.

Morphology[edit]

Unlike the massif of the Mount Blanc, the Aiguilles Rouges have no significant glacier. The alpine stage begins around 2,000 metres (6,562 ft) with rough boulders, above which a series of broken needles springs, from the Col des Montets to Brévent. The northwestern side of the massif has less vegetation because of its weak exposure to the sun. The other face abounds in vegetation which developed from a multitude of biotopes. Among the typical flora, hikers can discover sundews, martagons and many varieties of orchids. In order to protect this range, the Aiguilles Rouges National Nature Reserve (Réserve naturelle des aiguilles rouges) was created in 1974 covering 3279 ha.

The Aiguilles Rouges offer a splendid view of all the peaks of Chamonix, the glaciers of Mont Blanc, and the roof of Europe. The French artist Samivel is known for his paintings of some of these splendid views. The highest point in this range is named Belvédère ("panorama", literally "beautiful viewpoint") because it offers a 360° panoramic view of the mountains surrounding the Aiguilles Rouges. The mountain path running from Planpraz to the Col des Montets via La Flégère, just above the treeline of the Aiguilles Rouges, is called Le Grand Balcon Sud (Grand Southern Balcony).

The eastern part of the range has numerous mountain lakes, of which the most remarkable is Lac Blanc at the foot of the Aiguille Belvédère.

The range is home to the principal climbing crags of Chamonix, which ascend the pinnacles of Planpraz made famous by the mountaineer Gaston Rébuffat.

Panorama of the Aiguilles Rouges and the Arve Valley from the Aiguille du Midi.

Sights[edit]

  • Lacs Cornus ("Horned Lakes")
  • Lac Blanc
  • Le Brévent
  • Le Grand Balcon Sud

In fiction[edit]

Ian Fleming, when writing the fictional biography of James Bond, mentioned that Bond's parents were killed in a mountain climbing accident in the Aiguilles Rouges near Chamonix, when the future secret agent was eleven-year-old. He also mentions them in his novel From Russia, with Love.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°58′N 6°52′E / 45.967°N 6.867°E / 45.967; 6.867