The Tours d'Aï and Mayen are twin peaks visible from afar. The Tour d'AÏ is slightly higher than its neighbour, and also visited more frequently. It's a progressive climb which offers an aerial tour at the very end. Amazing views of Lac Léman, le Chablais, les Dents du Midi and the Mont Blanc massif from the summit.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
Park in the rock climbing area's car park, at the upper end of Leysin resort, at the junction between Route des Chamois and Chemin de Prafandaz. Arriving from Aigle by "la route du Col des Mosses" (Mosses pass road).
Yellow indication signs provide direction information and travel times here and there.
(D) Go past a livestock fence and take the small paved road leaving the car park heading north-east, surrounded by meadows. Motorised vehicales are forbidden on the road except for those of the alpine livestock farmers. After your first hairpin turn to the left, you'll get to a branch trail: follow the hairpin turn to the right. The slope gets steeper and the trail continues through forest cover. After a hairpin turn to the left, you'll reach a mountain chalet (admire the wooden shingles roof-covering).
(1) Keep heading north-east passing under Berneuse cable car cables.
(2) Shortly after the cable car line, leave the trail to go left up a steep grassy pasture ("Aï" sign, ski resort sign). Pass through a very narrow path and head north-west reaching Aï Lake and Aï chalets, with an impressive overhanging cliff above.
(3) Go through the chalets on a small sloped path heading north (ignore the large path to the right which heads back to the Mayen Chalets). After the chalets, the path becomes a trail and heads north-east bypassing the cliff to the right. Ignore the trail that goes left towards the base of the cliff (rock-climbing area called "Le Sphinx"). You'll reach the base of a rocky passageway.
(4) Steer left going up the passageway. It's a narrow trail but no need for rock climbing prowess. You'll reach a downhill grassy plateau. First walk along the edge of the plateau (west) then turn right (north-west) and go up a few bends to the foot of a ladder at the bottom of a rocky ledge.
(5) Climb up the ladder. Keep going on the aerial trail (some areas equipped with barriers or chains) which regularly heads back up to the top due north-north-west. Outweigh the power of the summit and take a sharp turn to the left reaching the top.
(6) The way back follows the same route you came on.
D/A : mi 0 - alt. mi 0
1 : mi 0.38 - alt. mi 0.38
2 : mi 1.16 - alt. mi 1.16
3 : mi 1.6 - alt. mi 1.6
4 : mi 2.17 - alt. mi 2.17
5 : mi 2.34 - alt. mi 2.34
6 : mi 2.63 - alt. mi 2.63
7 : mi 3.02 - alt. mi 3.02 - Tour d'Aï -
D/A : mi 6.04 - alt. mi 6.04
It takes around 2 and a half to 3 hours walk to get to the top (not counting rests)
Water at the Aï lakes and chalets (3), where you can also get drinks and a simple meal.
Hiking gear and boots a must.
The last part of the climb, after the ladder (5) has passages aériens (aerial sections). Although these sections are well equipped (barriers, chains) you should stay vigilant.
A map is necessary (at least the one found with the current description).
Hikideas and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
Aï Lake, overhung by the cliff called "Le Sphinx" which is a renowned rock-climbing area.
Unobstructed panoramic view from the summit: Lac Léman, Vallée du Rhône, Chablais massif, Dents du Midi, Mont Blanc massif...
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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.