Label Terre d'alpinisme

Since time immemorial, men have crossed the passes in Bessans, climbed to the top of the mountains, and walked on the surrounding glaciers.
Here the peaks often reach more than 3500m! Recently labeled "Land of Mountaineering", the inhabitants of Bessans continue to commit themselves to help as many people as possible discover the assets of this beautiful mountain.


For many, mountaineering is a sporting practice that consists of making ascents in high mountains through different techniques of progression: climbing, crampons, skiing, rope climbing ... But mountaineering is not limited to sport.
It is based in particular on these elements that mountaineering has been included in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO in late 2019. In the Alps, few resorts are recognized by Unesco as "Land of Mountaineering": Chamonix, Courmayeur, Orsières ... but also Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc since June 29, 2021.
To qualify for this label "Land of Mountaineering" awarded by the Comité Alpinisme Unesco France and the FFCAM (Fédération Française des Clubs Alpins et de Montagne), Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc had to demonstrate a history, alive through its traditions, a local anchoring and local structures: clubs, specialized schools, websites ... Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc checked all these boxes.

"Mountaineering is the art of climbing mountains, by one's own means, physically, technically and mentally, in full responsibility and respect for the environment. It is a traditional physical practice that is also characterized by a shared culture, an art made of knowledge, know-how and essential acquisition of various knowledge on the environment of exercise and its environment.

Association Bessans-Bonneval sur Arc Land of Mountaineering.
The assets of a territory

A strong local history with mountaineering
Local guides who contributed to the birth and development of mountaineering in France at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. With notably Jean Joseph Blanc (1842 - 1914) known as "Le Greffier". His son Pierre Blanc (1881 - 1966), known as "Le Pape" not only contributed to a better knowledge of the summits of the high valley, but also led expeditions to the Himalayas. Great names in mountaineering have also traversed the summits of Haute Maurienne Vanoise, such as William Auguste Coolidge or Lionel Terray, contributing to the promotion of mountaineering in the valley.
Natural assets
- A territory surrounded by more than 50 peaks over 3000 meters and many glaciers.
- An excellent terrain for discovery, initiation and improvement for a "soft" and family mountaineering. In the land of the new French ski mountaineering champion Thibault Anselmet, Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc also offer exceptional terrain for ski touring and ski mountaineering from beginner to expert. With notably the Avérole valley "one of the most beautiful spots for ski touring" according to the French explorer and mountaineer Jean Louis Bernezat.
- The guarantee of snow for the next 50 years according to the latest models of Météo France which allows winter mountaineering, ski mountaineering and ski touring.
Guides and guides: professionals present in the area all year round
Take advantage of this exceptional territory and label by the Comité Alpinisme Unesco France and the Fédération Française des Clubs Alpins et de Montagne to discover mountaineering, summer and winter, with the high mountain guides of Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc.

Ski touring
Discover ski touring with the ski schools of Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc

Land of Mountaineering
To find out more about events, races and mountaineering offers in Bessans and Bonneval sur Arc, go to

Land of Mountaineering

Ice climbing

With our different professionals at the Bessans waterfall, come and learn ice climbing in complete serenity and safety.

  • 5 good reasons to practice mountaineering :
    Contemplate, surpass yourself
    Summits attract your eyes, why not go there? Mountaineering calls upon your mental and physical capacities to progress and contemplate landscapes that you thought inaccessible, and to discover new sensations. Mountaineering is the school of surpassing oneself, of commitment.
    Showing humility
    In the high mountains, nothing is easy, nor is anything taken for granted. In winter, the immaculate expanses call for contemplation. The mountain is king and mountaineering also teaches you to listen to it. When the safety conditions are not met, one must know how to give up the summit or the initial objective out of humility.
    Reliving the thrills of the great climbers
    Premier de cordée, Alpes magazine... stories that make you dream of summits. You dream of ascents: with the guides of Bessans or Bonneval sur Arc, go to the Pointe des Fours, the Albaron, the Charbonnel or the Aiguille Rousse.
    Meet a high mountain guide
    In love with his "Territory", with a chiselled face and a diploma from the National School of Skiing and Mountaineering (ENSA), he inspires confidence: he is the high mountain guide. Starting mountaineering with a guide is the best approach to become a mountaineering "adept". He will teach you the different techniques (roping, cramping, ice axe handling...) and will also teach you to respect the high mountains.
    Sharing a human adventure
    Nature, sharing, sensations and human adventure: mountaineering, which is above all a story of solidarity and human relationships, meets these expectations. The expression "rope companion" carries with it all the weight of the importance of the other in the practice.

The Nordic soul

Recently labeled "Land of Mountaineering", the people of Bessans continue to commit themselves to help as many people as possible discover the assets of this beautiful mountain.
The Nordic soul

Averole and hamlets of Bessans

The valley of Averole is an important valley that you can discover on the right side at the exit of Bessans in the direction of Bonneval sur Arc.
Hamlet and Refuge of Avérole

The devil of Bessans

Country of altitude and legends, it is said that Bessans is the country of the Devil! Do you know why ? Let us tell you the story...
The devil of Bessans

The International Biathlon Stadium

Thanks to the advantages of the altitude and snow cover of the Bessans plateau, the inter-communal project for an international biathlon stadium, supported by the Community of Communes of Haute Maurienne, was born in 1998, with the help of the medal-winning athlete Hervé Flandin, a native of the valley.