First impressions from an impromptu trek in the Swiss Valais

It was last Sunday morning 9:30 am, we were at the bus station in Sion, the bus to the Lac des Dix was leaving in 15 minutes and we finally had our route for a six day trek through the Swiss Valais. The trek was a little bit impromptu, but it was a good one.

Glaciers

In the six days, we walked reasonably close to at least one glacier every day. We crossed the easy Glacier de Cheilon, were impressed by the Tsijiore Nouoe, looked down on the Glacier de Moiry, were surprised by the Glacier de Moming when it popped out of the cloud, strolled under the Glacier du Weisshorn and were somewhat underwhelmed by the Turtmanngletcher.

Mountaineering routes

One of the reasons that we saw so many glaciers during the trek, aside from there being very many in the Valais, was the fact that we stayed relatively high throughout the trip. With the exception of day 2 when we descended to Evolène (1,381 m) and day 4 when we passed through Zinal (1,675 m) we stayed above 2,000 m, often walking around the 3,000 m mark. This also meant that we walked some more difficult routes. We scaled the menace of the walkers’ Haute Route – the ladders at the Pas de Chèvre. We got some amazing views from the ridge towards the Sasseneire summit. We clambered up the via ferrata at Pas du Chasseur, scrambled over Col de Milon and rounded things off with more scrambling to the super modern Cabane de Tracuit (3,256 m).

Tricky weather

The whole trek was foremost about dodging bad weather. One of the reasons for its impromptu start was the weather. Initially we planned to walk for 7 days, starting on Saturday. However, there was a thunderstorm warning so we decided to set off a day later. After that Valais was greeted by the arrival of a cold front. We had a bit of sun, rain and fog every day of the trek.

Starting on Sunday meant re-planning the first couple of days and effectively cutting two days of walking from the original plans. Hence we ended up with 6 days to do 5 days of walking. This wasn’t too bad. The shorter day stages gave us the flexibility to often wait until the weather improved.

We waited for the fog and rain to move off the Glacier de Cheilon on day 2 and had enough time to first let the morning sun thaw the frost on the way to Col de Milon on day 5. The morning at the Lac de Moiry on day 4 had the worst weather – fog and very heavy rain. We just avoided that altogether and took the bus to Zinal instead of walking over the Sorebois ridge. In the afternoon we continued from Zinal nearly without a drop of rain.

Like this we managed to avoid most of the really bad weather and actually enjoyed quite a bit of sun and plenty of great views. Many of them made even better by the surprise of suddenly popping out of nowhere aka the fog.

The route

Day 1: Lac des Dix (2,437 m) – Cabane des Dix (2,928 m)

+ 500 m; 3.5 hrs

Day 2: Cabane des Dix (2,928 m) – Arolla (1,998 m)

+ 150 m/ – 1,100 m; 3 hrs – via Pas de Chèvre

Day 3: Evolène (1,381 m)  – Lac de Moiry (2, 250 m)

+ 1,500 m/ – 700 m; 5.5 hrs – additional ascent along the Sasseneire ridge (+/- 200 m; 2 hrs)

Day 4: Zinal (1,675 m ) – Cabane d’Arpitetta (2,786 m)

+ 1,100 m; 4.5 hrs – via Pas du Chasseur

Day 5: Cabane d’Arpitetta (2,786 m) – Cabane de Tracuit (3,256 m)

+ 750 m/ – 250; 3.75 hrs

Day 6: Cabane de Tracuit (3,256 m) – Zinal (1,675 m)

– 1,600 m; 3 hrs

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2 comments

  1. uh, amazing!
    love your blog very much

    1. Thanks! Glad you like the blog. 🙂

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