Tuesday, 22 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE. DAY 8, ZINAL - GRUBEN

Weisshorn from The Meid Pass
Dent Blanche above Zinal
Touru 
Bishorn & Weisshorn 
Weisshorn Hotel

Turtmantal 
I've guided the Haute Route many times but never walked the route over the Meid Pass. The usual Route from Zinal to Gruben goes via the Forcletta Col. The beauty of having a small, fit and adventures group like on this trip is they are up for the bigger days. So we headed over the Meid Pass via the Weisshorn Hotel. Fabulous clear skies all day with warmer temperatures than yesterday.  The views out of Zinal are stunning.  The Dent Blanche,  Point de Zinal,  Matterhorn and Zinal Rothorn are all on show in a sweeping seeing circle around the Val d'anniveres.  At our usual elevenses break we were going smacked when a young Golden Eagle was acompanied by the adult, just 50 metres away from us. We watch for a full 5 minutes as they soared at eye level! Then two Alpine Choughs made an appearance but were quickly seen off!  Great stuff. We mingled with the tourists at the Weisshorn Hotel before heading over the pass. The views from here of the Weisshorn's north ridge are superb.  The descent down to Gruben in the Turtmantal was just beautiful in the afternoon sun. Another brilliant day.

Monday, 21 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 7, LA SAGE-ZINAL

Val de Herens 
Beautiful 


With ease 
Lac Moiray
Another glorious morning. Today's stage of the Haute Route goes from La Sage over the Col de Torrent,  down to Lac Moraiy then a second col, Col de Sorbois and down to Zinal in the Val d'anniveres .  A 2000m ascent and almost the same descent day. Some of the big mountains of the Valley now in view. The Matterhorn is getting closer! 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

WALKERS HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 6, EASY DAY

Wonderful traverse path above Arolla
Lac Bleau
Plenty of old buildings today 

Easy descent into Les Hauderes 
Good summer for Butterflies 
End point today,  La Sage
Half way through the Haute Route and after the last two big days it is always a well timed 'rest day' for groups. The section from Arolla to La Sage is very easy. Despite it being an easy day it still has many fantastic points of interest and amazing views. From Arolla we head back up to the tree line, on the friend of Alpine meadows.  The views back to Mont Collon and the Pigne d'Arolla are just wonderful.  Within a couple of hours we come to Lac Bleau.  A Local beauty spot and very popular with folk at weekends. We missed peak hour as we descended to Les Hauderes on An easy,  quiet path. After lunch we have just a 40 minutes easy up hill to La Sage where we stay for the night and amazing views.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 5. PRAFLEURI TO AROLLA

Nearing
the Col Reidmatten 

Mont Blanc de Chiellon 

Fabulous cloud & sun 


Overnight thunderstorm and quite windy as the window rattled at the Prafleuri Refuge. The weather forecast was 'changable' with much cooler temperatures has the winds veared to the NW. We woke to cloud and poor visibility.  Two cols today.  The first, the Col de Choux,  is just 20 minutes from the hut to the top. We arrived to a wonderful panorama of cloud swirling,  a broken spectre and ibex roaming about above the Col. Stunning visability when the sun broke through in the crisp air. By the time we had descended to Lac Dix the cloud had all burned off and the marmotts had woken up. After the stroll beside the lake it's up hill again and onto the moraine below the impressive Mont Blanc de Chiellon. The second col today is the steepest, narliast of the Tour, the Col de Reidmatten.  It's short but higher than the adjescent Col de Chevres which most people go up. If you go via this col you aren't doing the Haute Route proper! A descent down to Arolla is easy and we enjoyed plenty of marmotts and Eidelweiss before reaching civilization again. A brilliant 3 days of the Tour.


Lac Dix & cloud


Friday, 18 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 4.

Grand Combin from Col Termin

Lac Louvie & Grand Combin
Col Termin 


Col Prafleuri 

Descending Col Prafleuri 

The Grand Desert 
For me the finest days of the Haute Route are from Cabane Mont Fort to Arolla.  This section is high, wild, remote,  fabulous mountain scenery and wonderful wildlife. Another cracking day in store for the day between Mont Fort and Cabane Prafleuri. 3 cols to cross. The day started with a beautiful sunrise on the Mont Blanc Range. The trail from the Cabane to the Col Termin is known has the Sentier de Chamois. It runs across the hillside in a massive traverse high above the Val Bagnes with constant views of the Grand Combin. Our team of 3 just loved every minute. At the Col the trail runs towards the next Col, Col Le Louvie.  You need to keep looking back as you walk along here for the stunning view of Lac Louvie with the Grand Combin in the background.  The descent from this col goes into the lunch landscape of the Grand Desert,  at the edge of the retreating Glacier running from the Rosa Blanche. The final pull up to the Col Prafleuri gives another view of high glaciated mountains,  moraine and meadows.  Brilliant day. We got into the hut well before the lightening storms and rain. Top day. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 3, CABANE DU MONT FORT

Fab views of Grand Combin
Cabane du Mont Fort 
Sunset from the Cabane 
Tomorrows route
 A quiete refuge 
Second Adder this trip
Meadows enroute to the Val de Bagnes
Another glorious day on the Haute Route.  Hot sun and blue skies all day. Day 3 ID an easier section of the trek. A long descent into the Val de Bagnes.  After lunch it's a cablecar ride up to Les Ruinettes, above Verbier, at over 2190m. Great views of the Grand Combin from here which we get even better views the following day. A lovely easy walk to the Cabane du Montfort. A great spot with stunning views and stunning sunset tonight. Another Adder spotted today, two in as many days. Lots of wonderful raspberries and myrtles out in the meadows this time of year. My favourite day of the entire trek begins tomorrow.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, DAY 2, FENETRE ARPPETTE

Descending the Fenetre Arppette 
The Fenetre Arppette 
Fenetre Arppette 
Trient Glacier 
Trient Valley 

Day 2 of the Walkers Haute Route.  A big day over the Fenetre Arppette.  I love this day. Big views, steep ground. My big team of 3 folk sailed over. A couple of Ibex on the rocks near the Col.  Last night of 'luxury' before we head off onto the finest stages of the Toeur, the 'wilderness'.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

HAUTE ROUTE, NO. 2

Aiguillete de Posettes 

Mont Blanc & AIGUILLE ROUGE
CROIX DE FEUR RIDGE 
FAB RIDGE WALKING 
The team on the summit 
Fine views
Mont Blanc 
Cows at Tseppes
Back in the Alps again and the start of another Walkers Haute Route.  With just a small group of 3 this trip. Another lovely sunny skies day. We headed for the summit of the Croix de Feur as Chloe, Meridyth and Matt had made easy work of the Aiguillete de Possettes and Col de Balme. The top gives splendid views of the Trient Glacier. Grand first day, more to come! This second Haute Route this season, guiding for Mont Blanc Treks.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

HIGH SUMMER SWIMMING IN LOCH AVON

Shelterstone Crag and Loch Avon

Fiacaill Buttress from the Goat Track

Shelterstone Crag and Loch Avon basin

Northern Corries, almost Autumn colours

Shelterstone Crag

Hells Lum Crag
Pinnacle Gully

b video
Karen and I had a wonderful day down at Loch Avon. There are many routes down into this wonderful glacial trench which lies in the heart of the Cairngorm Mountains. One of the finest ways to get down to the loch is via the Goat Track and then across the plateau into Coire Domhain. From the top of Coire Domhain you get great views of the Shelterstone Crag. We set off early to avoid the crowds, not that you get many folk wandering to here. The main reason for our wee expedition was for Karen to go for a swim in the loch. Despite it being mid summer the water was still chilly, well the loch does lie at 700m above sea level. We got a few showers in the afternoon but the light this morning was lovely.