With the summer in mind and the Sierre-Zinal drawing me to the Alps once again this summer and I'd be interested to collect some recommendations and thoughts on great mountain runs (not particularly races which are well generally well documented). Although sometimes easy to find routes it's not always easy to find opinion - those trails that through combination of access, scenery and runnable terrain seem to offer it all. All slightly subjective I know but regardless, I'd be interested to collect some ideas around the sweepingly general category of Great Alpine days out.
To start things I'll recommend the Grand Balcon Path running high above the South side of the Chamonix valley. Familiar to many I suspect particularly UTMBers (although coming at the end possibly not always a memory of the great views and effortless glide high along the valley.) I've ran this a couple of times from Argentiere running the valley floor along the Petit Balcon Sud trail to climb up and along to access the Grand Balcon Sud around Flegere. From there I've generally run along the high Balcony trail to drop down and loop back into Argentiere. Hardly a hidden corner of the Alps I know but there can't be too many more spectacular views of the Mont Blanc range to accompany a 15K run.
My second offering should you find yourself in the Ecrins would be to suggest the path that goes up the from La Berarde to the Glacier de la Pilatte. La Berarde a small village about 30km from the cycling hub of Bourg d'Oisans sitting at the end of a beautiful valley. The trail climbs gently out of the village for about 8km with a big climb towards the end to the refuge Pilatte. The refuge sits on a rocky promontory overlooking the huge glacier and is an easy place to find an excuse to draw breath for a while before running back down the opposite side of the valley with a possible detour to take in the Glacier du Chardon. Overall about 20km - this is a superb trail in a gorgeous location. I'd say well worth a trip just for this run alone.
Any thoughts welcome!