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Summer 2015

After a very easy winter in terms of snowfall and low temperatures and a very warm spring so far this year we are set for a trouble free start to the season.

 

This was the winter that never really happened after a disastrous Christmas with no snow it finally arrived in time for New Year. With very sparse snowfall during the rest of the season this years skiing wasn't the best.

 

And then for the spring... Amazingly warm with temperatures in April of 20 degrees in the Chamonix valley it felt more like summer.

 

This all spells good news for our forthcoming summer season as it means the snow on the high ground will clear quickly making the Tour du Mont Blanc easily accessible in June and the Walkers Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt doable in early July.

 

We offer a wide range of guided & self guided options for the Tour du Mont Blanc, Walkers Haute Route & Gran Paradiso from June to the end of September. For more information see www.montblanctreks.com

Above Les Houches

Above Les Houches


Summer 2014

Another busy summer season comes to an end in the Chamonix valley and ends on a high with superb weather throughout September & October however this wasn't always the case!

 

After a warm spring the trails were relatively free of snow in time for the arrival of our first clients at the end of June. Our first guided and self guided clients enjoyed good weather on the Tour du Mont Blanc but this was soon to change with the arrival of July!

 

Generally July is a great time to do the TMB we have settled warm weather the trails are not mad busy however this year July was a test! The western Alps experienced some horrendous weather lots of rain and cold temperatures and snow on the high ground. It seems our Haute Route treks from Chamonix to Zermatt faired better as they were trekking further east they seemed to miss out on most of the poorer weather, lucky for them!

 

August brought improvement but still unsettled at times with one of our August TMB groups experiencing high winds, rain & snow on the first section, fortunately for the group the weather changed and for the second half of the trip they enjoyed magnificent views.

 

We hoped and prayed for an Indian summer & boy did we get it with amazing clear & sunny weather for all our groups on the TMB and Chamonix to Zermatt in. September.

 

We are always asked the question which is the best month to do the Tour du Mont Blanc and Haute Route however there really isn't an answer to that question. Every year is totally different. Everybody who has mountain experience knows that weather can be fickle and temperatures can change rapidly with good weather an be replaced with bad fairly quickly but on average you would expect to have one or two day poor weather for the duration of your trek. 

 

With that in mind this year certainly wasn't the norm and don't let it put you off, the Tour du Mont Blanc and the Walkers Haute Route are without a shadow of a doubt two of the best multi day treks worldwide.

TMB August 2014

TMB August 2014

TMB August 2014

TMB August 2014


Summer 2013

It's hard to believe that it is October already and after a very busy season we have now time to reflect on the trials and tribulations of this summer.


June Winter remains!

June is always a tricky time to undertake any of the high level trekking routes in the Alps, for example, people presume the Tour du Mont Blanc will be fine by mid June but in reality that is often not the case, depending on the amount of snow during the winter and the weather and temperatures during the spring therefore with the snow abundant winter of 2013 and the extremely cold spring the start of the season was a challenge. After spending some time recceing the route mid June and passing this information on to our self-guided clients starting later in the month we found that there were three main areas of concern... Day 3 Col du Bonhomme, Col de la Criox du Bonhomme & Col des Fours, day 4 via the Col du Seigne & the Mont Fauvre Spur and day 6 via the Grand Col Ferret. Self guided clients who started towards the end of June had a challenge on their hands and were advised to hire crampons and walking roles to aid balance on steep slopes where a slip or fall could be problematic. On a recce to the Col du Bonhomme on the xx June it was still snowing at 2000m just making the problem a whole lot worse, when would spring and summer finally arrive?

 

July, Straight into Summer

The start of July brought a total change to the weather, it was as though someone had flicked a switch bypassing spring and going directly into summer with temperatures of 28 degrees. This made the routes more achievable however the amount of snow would take sometime to abate on the more sheltered shady slops and high Cols.

Our self-guided treks

Both our Tour du Mont and Walkers Haute Route proved popular again this year and during late June and July we had many groups undertaking each trek, with or without crampons!! During summer 2013 in addition to our own clients we also provided self guided TMB treks for Macs Adventure providing accommodation, self guided packs (daily route cards, maps and important trek information), bag transfers and on hand support during the trek for all clients.

 

Our guided treks


Walkers Haute Route: July 7- 21 July, excellent weather and snow abundant cols.

After a recce of the high sections of the Walkers Haute Route we realised that it really wasn't advisable to take our guided group over the Fenetre d'Arpette and on the section between Cabane du Mont Fort and Arolla. The week before we amended the route by taking the Bovine route from Trient to Champex and arranging a minibus from Le Chable to Arolla then adding an extra night in Grimentz which created an additional day of walking. The rest of the trek remained unchanged although the group came across large amounts of snow on the on and around all of the high Cols en-route. The Europaweg (high level route from Grachen to Zermatt) continued to be a problem throughout the season, the section between Europa Hutte remained closed and new stone fall between Taschalp and Ottanwen made this section impassable. This meant that the low route had to be taken for the majority of the season.

Tour du Mont Blanc: 11-26 July & 28 July- 4 August, always be prepared!


You would have through that by mid July that we would manage to get around the tour du Mont Blanc without seeing that much snow, how wrong! Our group that departed 7 July had fabulous weather and a great deal of residual snow to deal with especially on day 3 from Contamines to Refuge Mottets. The descent from the Col des Fours was epic and clients perfected the art of glissading for the best part of 600m, this of course made that section of the descent quicker than usual! Our only bad weather day was day 4 via the Col de Seigne where wind, rain and low temperatures prevailed, this was a timely reminder that having good kit with you at all times is essential and some of the group who had decided to travel lightweight were cold and damp! Thanks to LaBet and here sparkling wit we laughed our way through most of the day!

August and September to be continued...

Tour du Mont Blanc July 2013

Tour du Mont Blanc July 2013

Walkers Haute Route July 2013

Walkers Haute Route July 2013

TMB August 2013

TMB August 2013

TMB September 2013

TMB September 2013


Walkers Haute Route, August 2012 (Part 2)

To continue from our last post...

Day 7: Les Hauderes to Zinal, another beautiful morning as today's challenge was the Col de Torrent and on via the Barrage de Moiry and on to Zinal. Climbing quickly & steeply we soon found ourselves above La Sage with great views of where we had come from the day before, towards Arolla & the Pigne. Once above the tree line the path moves steadily up and leftwards for a long while through open high pastureland. Finally the path changes direction bringing you to the Col with fantastic views of the Dent Blanche to the west and Pigne Arolla to the North. The south side of the col reveals more amazing views towards Zinal Rothorn, Weisshorn & the Moiry glacier. I personally think this is one of the best views on the trek, 360 deg of awesome scenery.

A fairly straightforward descent took us to Lac Auternes and a welcome lunch stop. From here you descend quickly to Lac Moiry and if time allows a quick ascent if the Col de Sorbois and down through the ski area to Zinal. Our other alternative was to have a drink at the cafe and take the bus from the dam. We decided on the second option and arrived in Zinal in good time for beers at the bar!

Day 8: Rest day in Zinal, however some of the group decided to punish themselves further & went back to do the Col des Sorbois! Taking the bus back to Grimentz & on to the Barrage de Moiry and walking over from there.

Day 9: Zinal to Gruben, from French to German speaking area of Switzerland! The weather again was truly on our side and the views as we climbed out of Zinal towards the Forcletta were absolutely stunning. Views of the Zinal Rothorn, Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn were second to none. We were treated by a religious service & music as we passed the memorial at Alpage Nava, giving us reason to rest a while before climbing the last section to the Forcletta. A long yet steady descent through high pastureland with stunning views of the turtmattal glacier. We continued our descent through the trees and on to the little hamlet of Gruben and the hotel Schwarzhorn. 

Day 10: Gruben to St Niklaus & Gasenreid. The forecast had threatened to be bad on the Thursday & today we were not disappointed as we awoke to heavy rain. Glad we had a chance to use the waterproof gear we had all carried for the past 10 days! If ever there was a day to have rain & low cloud this is the one as due to the nature of the terrain the views come after the Augustbordpass & when on the traverse high above the Matterhorn valley. The weather had started to clear & we got the views on our descent to Jungen before taking the lift down to St Niklaus. By the time we reached our hotel in Gasenreid the weather had been restored to its former glory.

Day 11: Europaweg, Gasenreid to Randa. The Europaweg is a strange route indeed and not for the faint hearted! Initially the terrain is easy (although very steep up through the trees) you then arrive in a lofty position high above the Matterhorn valley at Grat. The views here are out if this world... especially with the weather as it was. View to the east over towards the Bernese Oberland and to the west and the mighty Wiesshorn & Matterhorn. The route continues idyllically past the statue if St Bernard & then turn the corner & all hell lets loose! Gully after gully of broken shattered rock and a mountain full of house sized boulders in precarious positions, this is not a place to linger long! Following the Grosse Grab couloir you are treated to a network of exposed & loose traversing ledges that seem to go on forever. The group handled it well and moved stealthily over the tricky terrain. 

As the path is closed (due to rockfall) just past the Europahutt we descended to Randa for the night and the comfort of the hotel Alpenblick.

Day 12: Europaweg, Randa to Zermatt. We ascended once again picking up the Europaweg past the closed section. The route then traverses high and cuts around to the hamlet of Tashalp with an odd little cafe. Stop for refreshments if you dare & dont expect service with a smile. Mock & you might end up in tomorrows meat stew!! It was a frightening experience!

From here the route heads back towards the Matterhorn valley for the very best of endings to this fabulous trek. This part of the route is second to none, the views are amazing all the way to Zermatt. Weisshorn, Breithorn, Matterhorn, Caster & Pollux, the list of mighty mountains seen from this last day on the Europaweg is endless. A fitting end if ever there was one!

Thanks to the group, Katrina, John, Amanda, Tzvetan, Jude, Carmel, Lynette, Michael & Keith... you were a dream to guide through the mountains and such good fun.

Col du Torrent

Col du Torrent

Above Zinal

Above Zinal

Augustbordpass in the mist

Augustbordpass in the mist

Views of the Weisshorn from Grat

Views of the Weisshorn from Grat

St Bernard on the Europaweg, day  12

St Bernard on the Europaweg, day 12

Europaweg

Europaweg

Europaweg into Zermatt

Europaweg into Zermatt

Arrival in Zermatt

Arrival in Zermatt


Walkers Haute Route, August 2012

It seemed a little optimistic to discuss the good weather to come as Chamonix was shrouded in low cloud and rain, somehow I don't think the group could believe my optimism! 

little did we know at that point in time that we would be blessed with two weeks of almost near perfect weather, fabulous views, blue skies with a total of 2 hours of rain all the way from Chamonix to Zermatt!

The Walkers Haute Route is a tough undertaking, much harder than the Tour du Mont Blanc in terms of terrain, daily height gain, distance and trek duration. Its definitely not for the faint hearted and un seasoned trekker. We had a few of those thankfully.

Day 1: a relatively easy day we took the bus from Chamonix to La Tour and made our ascent of the Aiguillette des Possettes with fabulous 360 deg views of Mont Blanc, Aiguille Rouges and the Valaisian Alpes. We made our way to Trient via the Col du Balme, Alpage Catogne and Alpage Tessepes an great belvadere before making our descent through the trees to the Relais du Mont Blanc.

 

Day 2: a toughy, taking the steep path from Trient we made our ascent of Fenetre d'Arpette. 1300 meters of ascent from Trient to the Col followed by a long and tricky descent on the other side to Champex Lac, the blueberry pie was our only encouragement at the Relais d'Arpette 40 minuits from our final destination. A hard day deserves good accommodation and the Hotel du Glacier did not disappoint.

 

Day 3: an easy a day today which is not a bad thing as I knew what was to come! A descent in to Sembrancher followed by a valley walk through alpine meadows to Le Chable before taking the lift via Verbier to Les Ruinettes saving a slog up through the ski resort which is never pleasant. A 4k ascent to the Cabane du Mont Fort and a relax on the sun terrace taking in the views was a fitting end to the day.

Day 4: There is never a dull moment when trekking from Mont Fort to Prafleuri & today was no exception! Normally the weather has something to do with it but the forecast was perfect so what could go wrong?... path closures! As in my previous post the Sentier des Chamois has been temporarily closed due to rock fall our only option was to take the path via the Col des Chaux. Residue hard packed snow made the top section tricky, the descent was no better steep and loose and this was only the first Col of the day! the rest of the day went according to plan although long and tough as we tackled the Col de Louvie, Grand Desert & the Col de Prafleuri. Beers were order of the day on our arrival at the Cabane as our group had risen to the challenge!

 

Day 5: another beautiful morning, a short sharp climb over the Col de Roux and steep descend to Lac Dix on the other side we were treated to some fantastic views of Mont Blanc Cheilon and the Pigne Arolla. After a 4k interlude walking along the banks of Lac Dix we started our second climb of the day towards the Cabane des Dix and the Col de Reidmatten. The installation of the new footpath makes so much more sense (see previous post) and keeps you away from the loose & dangerous gully over the other side of the glaciated valley. The trail winds it's way up over moraine on either side of the Cheilon glacier bringing you out at the junction below the Col de Reidmatten & Pas des Chevres (ladders). From here we made a short and very steep final ascent of the Col over loose and precarious rocks and boulders making use of the fixed chains to pull us up the last final section where views of the Matterhorn awaited our arrival. The descent from the col is straight forward yet long as the path descends into Arolla. Nice hotel with good food was just what we needed after another fantastic day on the high route!

 

Day 6: A very easy day in comparison as we headed for Les Hauderes via Lac Bleu. This is the most beautiful traverse through the woods at high level (gaining a little height at times) the path finally brings you out at Lac Bleu with stunning views back towards Mont Colon. So attractive was the lake it was worth a quick icey plunge in the crystal clear 5 deg waters. We made our easy and leasurely descend to Les Hauderes and a 2pm arrival gave us all time to relax & recover from the challenging days that had gone before on our trek from Chamonix to Zermatt.

 

Part 2... Les Hauderes to Zermatt, to be continued.

Fenetre d'Arpète

Fenetre d'Arpète

Col des Chaux

Col des Chaux

Grand Desert

Grand Desert

Lac Dix

Lac Dix

Col de Riedmatten

Col de Riedmatten

Col de Riedmatten

Col de Riedmatten

La Bleu

La Bleu


Walkers Haute Route July 2012

After a snowy start to the trekking season no route was more affected than the Haute Route. There was so much snow left over from the winter making the days much longer as trekking over large snow patches rook lots of effort and was time consuming! 

However we were blessed with some fantastic weather with some of the best views ever of Mont Blanc, Grand Combin, Dent Blanche, Zinalrothorn, Weisshorn & of course the Matterhorn.

We just hope that the same applies to our August trek which departs 7th August from Chamonix.

Sentier du Chamois

Sentier du Chamois

Col du Louvie

Col du Louvie

Grand Desert

Grand Desert

Below the Col du Reidmattern

Below the Col du Reidmattern

Matterhorn, Zermatt

Matterhorn, Zermatt


walkers Haute Route current conditions

As with the Tour du Mont Blanc snow has been more of an issue so far with some parts of the Walkers Haute Route. 

The main problem being the section between Cabane du Mont Fort & Arolla as this section of the route goes & stay high for a number of days.

Mont Fort to Prafleuri via the Col des Chaux: Not too much snow on the Mont Fort side but lots on the back side & descent to the junction where you ascend to Col de Louvie. The snow is steep at the top so great care needs to be taken on the descent. See photo.

Sentier des Chamois: Is a better option, less snow & much better views if weather allows. 

Col de Louvie & the Grand Dessert: Snowy & steep descent on to the plateau. Snow patches all the way across & on the rock step between before the Col Prafleuri. See photo taken looking back at Col de Louvie.

Col Prafleuri: Lots of snow on the ascent (see photo), no problems on the descent to the Cabane.

Prafleuri to Arolla: No issues with snow but path has been routed from last year and now heads up towards the Cabane des Dix and cuts across below the glacier (new bridge) and up the moraine to the Col Reidmatten or Pas des Chèvres.

No problems with descent into Arolla.

Rest of the WHR no real problems, patches of snow on shady north facing slopes but ok.

Europaweg: First half open but it's usual loose & horrible self, stone fall danger in the gullies. 2nd half still closed so you will need to descend to Randa & then back up towards Tashalp & on into Zermatt.

For more specific info contact: sara@montblanctreks.com

Col des Chaux

Col des Chaux

Descent from the Col de Louvie

Descent from the Col de Louvie

Col de Prafleuri

Col de Prafleuri

New footpath to the Col de Reidmatten

New footpath to the Col de Reidmatten


Looking forward to a summer of trekking

Although the winter is far from finished here in the Chamonix valley and snow over the past two weeks has crept back down to 1500 meters summer is very much on the forefront of our minds. 

 

Both guided & self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc & Walkers Haute Route so far has been equally as popular from end of June to mid September. Self-guided has proved popular where independent groups want the freedom to got at a time to suit and to tailor a route and timescale to suit their needs.

 

Accommodation has so far proved a challenge in particular on the Tour du Mont Blanc where accommodation options are at a minimum. Hotel Mont Joly in Contamines is not operating this summer which has put an extra load on the other hotels resulting in limited spaces at busy times. Auberge de la Nova in Chapieux always poses a problem, as it is the only accommodation available in the village so becomes fully booked very quickly from June through to the end of the trekking season. When that is the case we opt for alternative route over the Col du Fours, resting at Refuge Les Mottets.

 

So we are looking forward to the first multi day trek of the season Tour du Mont Blanc on June 23rd, lets hope we get some warm weather before then to clear the snow away from the cols & high level traverses.

 

Until then we continue with the office work in organising logistics and sorting accommodation.

Gentian

Gentian


Whats hot, whats not this week in the Chamonix Valley

What's hot: lots of interest in the Walkers Haute Route trek from Chamonix to Zermatt. 190 kms, 9,000 mtrs of height gain, 14 high mountain cols, 2 countries. This is the ultimate tough long distance trek and is fast becoming as popular than it's nearby rival the Tour du Mont Blanc. 

What's not: Chamonix has see its lowest winter temperatures for many years. Dropping to a cool -23 and staying at a constant -15 for the past 10 days. It's played havoc with car drivers with the wrong type of fuel that will not cope with such low temperatures. 

Chamonix a cool -23

Chamonix a cool -23


Walkers Haute Route July 2011, part 3

Day 7- 17th July, Grimentz to Zinal:

The weather forecast indicated heavy rain arriving by mid morning so the second week of the Walkers Haute Route started with a bus ride from the barrage du Moiry to cut out some of the route we had descended the day before. From the dam we ascended steeply to reach the Col du Sorbois at 2847m by the time we reached the Col the cloud had descended and the air was damp. We descended through the Zinal ski area in the rain and made a welcome coffee stop at the telepherique café before our final damp decent through the trees to the village of Zinal.


Day 8- 18th July, Zinal to Gruben:

With the weather still far from perfect we started the day from Zinal with a fairly hefty ascent through woodland and open pastures towards the Col du Forcletta 2875m.  The Weisshorn and other great views eluded us today, low cloud and cold weather hampered the day from start to finish. We made our descent through the high alpage into the trees and on to the small village of Gruben in the Turtmanntal valley.  The Turtmanntal valley is truly remote and unlike the other valleys of Grimentz & Zinal who offer skiing through the winter and spring. The Turtmanntal valley is only inhabited in the summer months and once Autumn arrives the villagers retreat to the Rhone valley.


Day 9- 19th July, Gruben to Gasenreid:

A cold start but with clearer skies at last, today we would see some of the fabulous views on offer whilst ascending the Augustabordpass 2894m. The day started with a beautiful steep ascent through larch, pine & birch woodland to reach the alpage. Beyond the high pasture lead us to a rocky ascent of the Augustabordpass with views of Turtmann glacier. A tricky decent across a boulder field made progress slow with a narrow exposed path leading to Jungen 1995m high above St Nicklaus. With the weather changing again we decided to take the little local telepherique installed and used by the locals of Jungen to gain easy access to the Valaisian Village of St Nicklaus in the Matterhorn Valley. From hear a short bus ride took us to Gasenreid and our accommodation for the night.

 

The Europaweg dilemma!

We carried out a recce at the beginning of July after hearing information about the route being unsafe & partially closed. When we visited the first section of the route from Gasenreid to the Europahutt the route was in very poor condition with high risk of stone fall and paths that were non existent in places. The second half of the route from Europahutt to Tashalp is totally closed for the foreseeable future so trekkers need to descend to Randa from the hut and find an alterative route to Zermatt either via the Matterhorn Valley back up or via taxi to Tashalp.


Day 10- 20th July, Gasenreid to Randa:

With this prior knowledge we decided not to take any risks and take the mid level Wanderweg route from Gasenreid to Randa which was lovely, we then descended to the valley floor and followed the valley route to Randa. The later part of this route was a little disappointing because of its close proximately to the rail & road making it a little noisy at times. We arrived to a warm welcome at the Matterhorn Golf hotel, great atmosphere and great food.


Day 11- 21st July, Randa to Zermatt:Rather than continuing in the valley bottom to Zermatt the hotel offered us a taxi ride to Tashalp so we could complete our journey on the last section of the Europaweg into Zermatt. What a great choice, the views were fantastic and the high level route into Zermatt was a fitting end to the Walkers Haute Route trek. We arrived in Zermatt for a celebratory drink.

 

Day 12- 22nd July, free day in Zermatt:Just when you thought it might be time for a relaxing day off in Zermatt some of the group decided to RDV at the telepherique at 7am meeting their pre-booked mountain guide to take them up the Briethorn at 4165m. Others had a more leisurely day looking around the shops in Zermatt and taking a relatively short walk to the picturesque village of Zmutt. 


For more information on the Walkers Haute Route trek visit: www.montblanctreks.com

The Team

The Team


Walkers Haute Route July 2011, Part 2

Day 4- 14th July, Cabane du Prafleuri to Arolla:

A cold and moody start with low cloud and missal as we ascended the Col du Roux 2804 meters, no fabulous views today of Lac Dix from the col although the weather was set to improve as the day went along. Once we had descended to the lake we enjoyed a 3 kilometres of easy walking as we contoured the shore. Unfortunately easy walking doesn’t last long on the Haute Route as wemade our way steeply (very steeply at times) up to the Col du Reitmann 2919 metres. Still no views to be had for the majority of the day which was disappointing for the team as views are stunning all day long given the right kind of weather.

Day 5- 15th July, Arolla to Les Hauderes:

We normally class this day as our day off with an easy descent to Les Hauderes, with 2 hours easy walking maximum… or so we thought, when a topless youth who guarded the path below Guineele told us that the path was closed for maintenance and we had to ascend back to the road and walk to Les Hauderes through avalanche tunnels via the main road, not the best of routes!! Nonetheless although this set us back time wise we still managed a free afternoon.


Day 6-
 16th July, Les Hauderes to Grimentz:  

A long, long day ahead as we climbed up out of the valley bottom from Les Hauderes a 1600 metre ascent to the Co du Torrent 2916 metres. Fabulous weather gave us great views all the way to the col, we looked back towards Arolla and beyond finally getting to see some of the peaks and glaciers we missed on day 4, Mont Colon, Pigne d’Arolla and Dent Blanche truly stunning. Once we reached the col we enjoyed fabulous 360° views with the Weisshorn to the east, Zinalrothorn to the south east and Mont Blanc to the west. An easy descent took us down to the barrage du Moiry and following the river we reached our destination, Grimentz.


Mont Blanc Treks Walkers Route trek information

Col du Torrent

Col du Torrent


Walkers Haute Route July 2011, part 1

July saw the first of the Mont Blanc Treks summer Haute Route’s a tough two weeks ahead covering more than 160 kilometres, ascending and descending over 7,000 metres and passing over 11 high mountain cols.


Day 1- 11
th July, Le Tour to Champex Lac:

We started from Chamonix on a sunny Sunday morning and headed for the first of the cols , Col du Blame 2191metres on the French/ Swiss boarder and down to Trient before ascending more than 1400 meters to our second col of the day ‘Fenettre d’Arpette’ at 2665 metres. 21 kilometres later we arrived tired and weary in the beautiful Swiss village of Champex Lac.



Day 2- 12th July, Champex Lac to Cabane du Mont Fort: 

An easier day today as we descended from Champex Lac to Chable where we took the telepherique to Les Runnettes above Verbier and completed the short walk to the Cabane du Mont Fort at 2473 metres. We enjoyed fantastic views back towards the Mont Blanc massif and the Grand Combine over on the Swiss/ Italian boarder.


Day 3- 13
th July, Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane du Prafleuri:  

A tough couple of days ahead so and poor weather forecast getting worse after midday meant an early start in order to get to our destination before the heavy rain and low temperatures.  We were soon at the first of today’s 3 cols, Col du Termin 2648 meters via the Sentier du Chamois, the weather was better than expected and we even enjoyed views of the Grand Combin massif. From here we headed up steeply to the Col du Louvie at 2921 metres before descending into the Grand Desert a stunning expanse of moraine and glacial lakes that have been left by the receding Grand Desert Glacier. From here the weather turned cold and wet and we knew we had to get the Cabane du Prafleuri as soon as possible. The group were moving well as we climbed up to the Col du Prafleuri 2987 metres we arrived at the Cabane below the Col in a very respectable 6 hours from hut to hut. A well-timed day of high level trekking as the worst of the weather came in within 15 minutes after we had arrived. Heavy rain, hail, snow & strong winds took hold making it very difficult for those groups we had passed en-route.

 

More to follow...

Col du Balme

Col du Balme