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La Thuile > Planaval

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This stage is even harder than the previous one: in addition to the length, there are three challenging climbs, with a truly impressive overall difference in height. Luckily it is possible to break it.

Once again the landscapes are of unprecedented beauty: in addition to the magnificent Rutor waterfalls, the glacier that originates them stands out. To crown it all, the Col des la Crosatie, from where we see all the four thousand Valle d'Aosta.

Special Notes

A stage to be faced in its entirety only if well trained and experienced: otherwise it is recommended to break it at the Rifugio Deffeyes. In any case, it is good to leave before dawn.

Some short uphill stretches along the Rutor waterfalls are equipped with ropes and steps (very easy).

The last stretch of the climb to Col de la Crosatie is steep and aided, with some exposed passages.

The only water point is at the Rifugio Deffeyes: bring a great supply.

when to go
June - September
Suitable for
how to get there
description of the route

We start with a long stretch on levelled road (or almost), walking southward along the Rutor stream. When we reach the La Joux depression, the view opens up and we see the imposing Rutor waterfalls. On Alta Via 2, we start the climb (approximately 900 m height difference) to the Rifugio Deffeyes, quite decisive but on an excellent path (some very short sections are equipped with ladders). We pass three gigantic waterfalls. After the third one, instead of following the AV2, we take the small path that goes up the Rutor stream to get to the plateau of Lac de Seracs and Lac du Ruitor, immediately after which we arrive at the beautiful Rifugio Deffeyes (where those who are tired can stop: the stage is still very long and tiring). In front of us, the immense Ruitor glacier.

We resume along the Comba des Usselettes, towards the Passo Alto. The climb is demanding (approx. 350 m height difference), but without technical difficulties (just be careful not to lose the path: keep an eye on the trail signs). The last stretch, on scree, is a little slippery.  Passo Alto (2,856 m) rewards us with a splendid view of the Lacs des Usselettes below.

The subsequent descent is long (approx. 800 m drop) and steep, on a mixed stone path, up to the plain of the former Bivacco Primoud. From there starts again the second substantial climb (approx. 800 m height difference) to Col des la Crosatie: a long but regular ramp, on an excellent track. The last stretch is on stony ground, steeper and more exposed (and therefore equipped with a safety cable).

From the Col des la Crosatie (2,826 m) the view is spatial and embraces all the four thousand of Valle d'Aosta. For the insatiable ones, the nearby Pointe De la Crosatie (2,926 m) offers a 360 ° panorama.

We then approach the long descent (approximately 1,250 m drop) on a beautiful path. The section following the Lac du Fond, along the Torrente du Fond, is very enjoyable and bucolic. Finally, we are in Clusaz, from where we reach Planaval following a short stretch of road.

What to know

The Rutor glacier is the third in the Aosta Valley and measures 829 hectares. Thanks to its regular and leveled extension, it is visible from most of the Aosta Valley peaks and is used by pilots for ice landing exercises.


On the rocky promontory overlooking Lake Rutor stands the Chapel of San Grato and Santa Margherita.

Between the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a rise in temperature which melted part of the Rutor glacier, causing a terrible avalanche that engulfed the village of La Thuile. Following this tragedy, the Bishop of Aosta granted the exposition of the relics of San Grato in a procession to Lake Rutor, to ask for divine protection against the devastating force of avalanches and rockslides.

What to see

The Rutor waterfalls are a true wonder of nature. The erosion of the waters coming from the glacier has sculpted the rocks according to their different hardness (the enormous steps that the water has not crumbled are made up of rocks more resistant to erosion).

what to eat

The motsetta ( or mocetta) is a typical product of the Aosta Valley: it is an ancient cured meat consisting of a piece of dried meat preserved in brine and flavored with different herbs (garlic, bay leaf, rosemary, sage). It was created over ten centuries ago from the need to preserve meat for a long time for the family's winter needs.

There are various types, depending on the seasoning and the meat, which can be bovine but also goat, sheep, donkey, horse, or game (chamois and ibex).

where to sleep

Rifugio Deffeyes, just above Lac du Rutor. Tel. +39 0165 884239


Paramont Hotel, in Planaval. Tel. +39 0165 97106

How to Reach

Starting point reachable by car.


Starting point reachable by bus, starting from the city of Aosta with a change in Prè Saint Didier.

Here the LINK to check the timetables.


Starting point NOT reachable by train.

“The deafening waterfalls of Rutor are both spectacular and terrifying: they confront us with our human limits”

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