After a long hiatus, guest posts are back with Mike’s account of this lesser known, but stunning trek in the Swiss Valais. Mike blogs about his hikes in the Valais and elsewhere on his blog A little bit out of focus. Many thanks Mike! ^marketa
Like many European countries, Switzerland is criss-crossed with a number of National and Regional walking routes. However, even though it’s a relatively small country, it can still take 2 or 3 weeks to complete some of the routes. Not many people can afford the time or indeed the energy to undertake such a long distance walk. So, as a much more practical alternative, I can highly recommend the Tour des Muverans.
The length is much more manageable (52k) and it has a total height gain/loss of 3,650m. Scattered all along the route there are at least 12 mountain huts, which can be used to break your journey into as many different sections as you like. Though, it is normally done in 5, 4 or even 3 days by strong walkers. The full route is estimated to take between 20 and 22 hours of walking. It’s characterised by a series of cols, which take you from one valley to another, where the scenery changes constantly, from one amazing view to another.
My good friend Pete and I did this walk in September 2014, starting at Derborence and staying in the La Tourche and Lui d’Aout cabanes. At that time of year the route and mountain huts are usually very quiet, but I’m sure it could be done any time from June through to September (maybe even October if the huts are still open).
As you can see from the pictures above, we set out under grey skies but, after a couple of showers, the weather steadily improved as the day went on. We’d certainly dried out and the clouds had almost lifted by the time we arrived at La Tourche. Here we had our own room, which could have slept 4, with 2 on the top bunk and 2 below. As is almost always the case, we had dinner and breakfast included in the price, which I recall was around 70 Swiss francs per person.
In the morning we awoke to a ‘mer de nuage’ or sea of clouds and THE most fantastic views over to Mont Blanc and the southern Swiss Alps. This had to be one of the best and most varied days walking one could ever wish to do. Although still at 1,957m, the Lui d’Aout cabane is set in a small hollow, so it doesn’t have the glorious views of many cabanes, but the hospitality we received was second to none. The sleeping accommodation here is just one big room, which can sleep up to 36 people, but we had it all to ourselves! So when we asked the Guardienne what time dinner would be, she said “What time would you like?”
Our onward journey on day 3 took us above the ski resort of Ovronnaz (which is another possible entry point to the circuit) and up to the Cabane Rambert. It was another blue sky day, so the views were equally awe inspiring – especially of the Petit and Grand Muverans themselves. Once over the Col de la Forcla, the descent back into Derborence seemed to go on forever, but it did not detract from the incredible scenery.
Footnote: You may notice in the photos that some of the footpaths appear to be quite precipitous. This may well be true in one or two very short sections, but my mate Pete suffers a little from vertigo and he was not unduly concerned.
- Official TDM website – with cabane accommodation details
- Swiss public transport timetable and tickets
- Hiking in the Valais
- What I did last summer: Tour de Combins on the Swiss-Italian border
- The reverse Kesch trek: 4 days, 3 huts and 1 dog blanket