Thursday, September 29, 2011

montblanctreks' photostream

Col du BalmeCol du BalmeCatogneTrient GlacierFenetre d'ArpetteFenetre d'Arpette
Fenetre d'ArpetteFenetre d'ArpetteTour du Mont Blanc in snow!Fenetre d'ArpetteVal d'ArpetteFenetre d'Arpette
Val d'ArpetteIssertLa PeuleCol de FerretCol de FerretCol de Ferret
Refugio BonattiCourmayeurViews of Val FerretD'Arp VieilleD'Arp VieilleVal Veny

Tour du Mont Blanc September 2011, stunning weather allowing the very best views and photo opportunities we even got a little snow along the way just to give us a reality check!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Walkers Haute Route Trek: July 201, Part 2

Team Haute Route

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:
Above Gruben
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.

Europaweg waymarker
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: