MY WALKING WORLD David Preston

THE WALKERS HAUTE ROUTE- CHAMONIX TO ZERMATT

 

Part two -  La Sage to Zermatt

 
CHAMONIX TO ZERMATT - Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, the route is over 180 kms and crosses 11 mountain passes and ascends more than 12000 metres in height. My inspiration was the Cicerone guide THE WALKERS HAUTE ROUTE by Kev Reynolds. Once you get your hands on one of these little blue guide books you are hooked. I noticed that a lot of walkers from various nations use it as reference book, checking their route for the following day against the relevant map. After my walk last year from Chamonix to La Sage I returned again in July 2007 to complete the rest of the walk from La Sage to Zermatt
   20/07/07 - Flight Liverpool to Geneva, train and bus to La Sage    25/07/0-  Gasenreid to Europa Hut                             14km - 1031m ascent
   21/07/07 - La Sage to Cabane de Moiry                10km  - 1617m  ascent    26/07/07- Europa Hut to Zermatt                               18km -  348m ascent
   22/07/07 - Cabane de Moiry to Zinal                    14km   - 455m  ascent    27/07/07- Rest day in Zermatt                                         
   23/07/07 - Zinal to Gruben                                   14km   - 1199m ascent    28/07/07- Train to Visp, train to Geneva
   24/07/07 -Gruben to Gasenreid                            20km    -1604m ascent    29/07/07- Flight Geneva to Liverpool

Walk Details

In 2006 I set off from Chamonix to walk part of the Walkers Haute Route which goes from Chamonix to Zermatt. The route is more than 180kms and crosses 11 passes and gains more than 12000 metres. That year I walked as far as La Sage which took me seven days and was a superb walk through wonderful mountain scenery. In 2007 I returned to walk the rest of the route from La Sage to Zermatt. This is my account of the journey


Friday -  20/07/07 - Macclesfield to Les Hauderes Switzerland - My son Mark took me to Liverpool Airport for the 1100hrs flight to Geneva where I arrived at 1450hrs. After collecting my rucksack from the Baggage reclaim I walked down to the station which is situated beneath the airport building. I was in the queue for tickets at 1515hrs,. and I waited anxiously as the minutes ticked by and as soon as I bought it I walked quickly to the platform .and boarded the train for Sion. It was good to be back and heading for the mountains again after a 12 month absence. In Sion I waited 30 minutes outside the train station for  the 50 minute bus journey to Les Hauderes where I had booked a room at the Hotel Des Hauderes. The bus stop in Les Hauderes was right outside my hotel and I was soon in my room, had a shower and was down in the restaurant below for my evening meal. It had started to rain and the village was quiet and peaceful. For my meal I had Rosti which is a potato based meal originating from Switzerland, mine was with eggs and chopped bacon, very nice. 17 CHF and beer was 4 CHF a bottle. My total bill including the meal and 122 CHF


Saturday -  21/07/07 - Les Hauderes - La Sage to Cabane De Moiry -  After breakfast of cereal, bread, butter and jam I paid my bill and caught the 0935hrs bus to La Sage from the square outside the Hotel. The journey took 4 minutes but it was all uphill and I had walked it last year.  After a few photos in La Sage 1667m I set off at 1000hrs up the path through the forest, it was great to be starting out on the final section of the walk and the weather was excellent. It was a steady uphill walk through forests and pastures and then on up the mountainside. Occasionally cloud swept in but did not remain and I had no difficulty finding my route. I arrived at the Col du Tsate 2868m  at 1330hrs and had my lunch looking down on Lac du Moiry.  The path then wound down the mountainside to the Barrage De Moiry where there is parking and refreshments. The path then leads uphill along the moraine wall alongside the glacier before zig zagging up the steep mountainside to the Cabane  de Moiry which is not visible until you almost arrive outside it. The weather was clouding over and a storm was brewing. I was shown my bunk and lay there  for over an hour. I was pretty tired as it had been a strenuous day. I had a wash in the washroom under a cold tap. There were no showers.  The evening meal was excellent, starting with vegetable soup, roast lamb, red cabbage, pasta and beans/mushrooms. Desert was tinned pears. You could purchase drinks or just drink water from the tap outside. - Cost was 50cf for bed and half board. Good value considering the superb location overlooking the Moiry Glacier

Sunday - 22/07/07 - Cabane de Moiry to Zinal - After breakfast of bread, butter, jam and tea I left the Cabane at 0730hrs. It was still misty and the view to the glacier was obscured which was disappointing. The route retraced the way I had come yesterday afternoon for about a kilometre and then branched off to the right to follow the mountainside high above the lake. The path then climbed the mountainside in a series of zigzags. The guidebook said the path branches off to the left from the main track but somehow I missed the marker and after 10 mins I realised  that I was heading south not east, I retraced my steps down the track and spotted the paint marks on a boulder indicating the side path. It was a steep walk up the mountainside in generally clear weather with occasional bank of cloud drifting past to obscure the view. I arrived at the Col De Soirbois 2840m at 1200hrs and had my lunch looking down into the Val De Zinal. Beneath me on the slopes were all the chairlifts and ski lifts silently awaiting the winters snow. I could see the village of Zinal below but it was to take me 2.5 hours of downhill walking to get down to the valley bottom.  Once on the main street I saw the Hotel Pointe de Zinal with a signboard outside stating rooms available, I went straight in and opted for an en suite room with TV for 87 CHF which included breakfast. An excellent hotel which I can recommend. After a shower I relaxed on the terrace with a lager. I was a lovely village and I then had a walk round and a look at the shops. For my evening meal I chose Rosti again with egg, bacon and cheese 20 CHF, beer was 5.80 CHF. I was in bed by 2100hrs tired but well pleased with what I had achieved so far..

Monday - 23/07/07 - Zinal to Gruben -  I left Zinal at 0845hrs after buying sandwiches at the supermarket and drawing some cash from the ATM, The path wound uphill through the forest for about an hour before emerging onto the open hillside. There then follows a superb belvedere heading north to the isolated farm called Barneuza Alpage, from here the path continues and then  and then climbs steadily up through pastureland passing an isolated dairy farm Tsahalet 2523m. The Forcletta 2874m can be seen from here and the path eventually rises in a series of zig zags to the saddle on this rocky ridge. I arrived here after 4 hours and stopped for lunch looking down into the next valley. It was overcast at times and there was a cold wind, I put on my fleece and set off downhill crossing the occasional snow patch. The path wound its way along and down the hillside until I eventually reached Gruben where I had booked a bed in the dormitory at the Hotel Schwarzhon. On my arrival I was allocated my bed and after a shower and a lager I relaxed for an an hour before my evening meal which consisted of soup, chicken in mushroom sauce with rice and salad followed by fruit salad and ice cream. The cost for half board was 55 CHF and my lager was 5.40 CHF. A few spots of rain fell this evening but it didn't amount to much.

Tuesday - 24/07/07 - Gruben to Gasenreid -  After breakfast of cereal, bread, butter and jam I set off at around 0730hrs heading for the Augstbordpass 2894m and after a steady climb through woods and up the mountainside I reached the pass in around 3 hours, the path then descends through a wild and rock strewn wilderness, always well signed and then climbs along the valley side to Twara 2500m which is a well known viewpoint, the path contours along the hillside and then descends in zigzags to the hamlet of Jungen 1955m perched spectacularly high above the valley, it is linked by cable car to the valley floor. It took several hours to walk down to St Niklaus where I arrived at 1445hrs. It was decision time now and the guidebook reccomends a short 2 hour day for the St Niklaus to Gasenreid stage but I decided to climb out of the valley up to Gasenreid high above the valley. This would allow me to complete the Europweg Footpath which goes between Grachen and Zermatt in 2 days walking. Grachen is a small village next to Gasenreid.  I had always allowed for 1 extra day which could be spent anywhere on the trail in case of bad weather or tiredness and I quite wanted to spend that day relaxing in Zermatt. I rang ahead to the Hotel Alpenrosli and they had a bed.  The decision was made, I would add the short  2 hour stage to today, I spent the next 2 hours plodding slowly up the hillside to Gasenreid. A wise decision even though I was really exhausted. I arrived in the small village  which is set on the steep hillside and was soon asleep on my bed after what was a very long day. The evening meal which was served in the restaurant across the road was excellent and consisted of tomato soup, salad, roast lamb with potatoes, cabbage and gravy, afterwards I had apple pie  with cream.

Wednesday - 25/07/07 - Gasenreid to Europa Hut - After breakfast of cereal, bread cheese and ham I left the Hotel at 0845hrs eager to start on the high level path in the mountains above. It was 32kms to Zermatt and I was planning to stay at the Europa Hut which is around halfway along the route. I had phoned ahead the previous night and was told the hut was full, however I could sleep on a mattress on the floor if I wanted to. I agreed and it was perfectly OK. The path wound its way up though the forest for 1.5 hrs before emerging out onto the open mountainside. The views were magnificent and the weather was perfect. I arrived at the St Bernards statue and had my lunch gazing at the mountain path that stretched out before me. A switchback path lay along the mountainside and I was a little apprehensive about the fixed rope sections as I am not keen on steep drops, however once I was on my way I had no problems at all. Where it was narrow with steep drops to my right I walked slowly gripping the handrail lightly with my walking pole held well away so from my feet, my bootlaces were well fastened and there was nothing protruding from my rucksack to catch on the rock face that could throw me off balance. Never took my eyes off the path at my feet and if I wanted to admire the view I stood still. Absolutely no problem but care would be needed if the path was wet. There were several areas where signs warned to proceed quickly in case of stonefall and I did as I was told. There was a long suspension bridge over one of the gorges which was very well maintained but it did sway quite a bit, I ignored the movement and walked slowly across. I eventually arrived at the Hut at 1600hrs and was shown to my mattress on the floor, I had a hot shower ( 4 CHF) and then spent an hour on the terrace with fellow walkers I had met during the course of the last few days . On the trail I did not see many other  walkers but it is fascinating to realise how many other walkers are walking the same route and yet you hardly see them during the day. The sun was very warm by this time and the view across the valley was amazing. The evening meal consisted of Soup, followed by rice with strips of pork, afterwards there were tinned pears for desert. The cost for half board was 75 CHF which included 2 beers at 5.50 CHF each. I was in bed by 21.30hrs and slept well. There  was plenty of snoring going on in the mixed sex dormitory but I swear it wasn't me.

Thursday - 26/07/07 Europa Hut to Zermat - After breakfast of cereal, bread and jam I left the hut at 0745hrs on my final days walk, the weather was superb with clear blue skies and great views up the valley to Zermatt.  The path went along the mountainside occasionally descending and then climbing up again but the gradients were not steep, there were quite a few places where the path crossed areas of rockfall and these were well marked with all the necessary warning signs, at one stage on a narrow path along the rock face a tunnel 100 metres long had been engineered through the cliff. It was illuminated by several bulbs placed at strategic intervals and powered by a small solar panel on the cliff face at one end.  Other interesting features further down the trail were avalanche tunnels built along the mountainside, these consisted of corrugated iron tunnels with a concrete lip over to deflect  stones. Very well built and a credit to the Swiss engineers who built them. Eventually the path emerged into the Tascbach valley and drops down to a service road in the small village of Tascalp where there is a Restaurant and accommodation. I ate my lunch here on the banks of the stream surrounded by the incredible beauty of the area together with all the wild flowers and butterflies which are so common on these mountains. The Europweg footpath then continues out of the side valley and climbs slowly above the Mattertal valley with Zermatt far below. About 2 hours from Tascalp I arrived at Tufteren which is a small alp hamlet, the broad path then contours easily along the mountainside eventually reaching Sunnegga where you have the opportunity to take the underground train down to Zermatt. I carried on down to the small village of Findeln where there are superb views across to the Matterhorn. The path then winds downhill for over an hour before reaching the Winklematten which is a suburb of Zermatt. I carried on for about a kilometre before arriving in the town square and the Tourist Information Office  at 1500hrs - Journeys End - A superb walk and certainly my trip of a lifetime. The Tourist Information Office gave me several phone numbers for Hotels and I chose the Hotel Carina, a very nice 3*hotel about five minutes walk from the centre.  I had a nice en suite room single room and after a shower I went out for a nice slow walk around the town. After carrying my rucksack for the last seven days it felt strange without that weight on my back. In the evening I ate at the local Macdonalds as I quite often find that in a bustling town it can be a lot easier when you are on your own to get a meal. There is a vast number of bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and together with the bustling shops and quaint parts of the town I think this is one of the best places you could choose to spend a holiday. After my meal I found a lively pub and celebrated the completion of my walk with a few lagers.

Friday - 27/02/07 - Zermatt - This was my spare day for the walk, I could have used it anytime on the walk but it was not necessary and I am glad to have used it in Zermatt. I spent the day having a leisurely wander around, during the morning I visited the local Churches, the gravestones in the grounds told amazing stories of the climbers who had perished achieving their dreams on the peaks around the valley. Over the last 150 years climbers from all over the world have come here to climb and experience the wonderful scenery that abounds in this area. In the afternoon I visited the Museum and again it was a moving experience to read all about the first successful climb of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and his companions in 1865, sadly three fell to there death after the ascent. In the evening after my meal I tried a few different pubs just to get the flavour of the town, they were all good.

Saturday - 28/02/07 - Zermatt to Geneva - As my  Easyjet flights would leave at 10.25hrs and allowing for check in 2 hours it meant that is not possible to get from Zermatt to Geneva and catch the plane home the same day, therefore today was to be a leisurely day travelling to Geneva Airport, I was at Zermatt railway station at 0900hrs and purchased my ticket for Geneva Airport - 89 CHF- the journey commenced at 0930hrs and the train cruised leisurely down the valley to Visp , quite slowly at times but I realised that the track went down hill quite steeply and I was full of admiration for the efficiency of the Swiss Railways. At Visp I had a 25 minute wait and then boarded the Express train for Geneva Airport where I arrived at 1330hrs. The Railway Station is under the Airport and I went up to the Tourist Information and asked for a hotel room nearby. They phoned the Nash Airport Hotel and booked me a room for the night, A minibus arrived with 15mins to collect me, although it is only just over 5 minutes walk I was not sure which road to take. The Nash Airport Hotel is where a lot of the aircrew from the Airport stay and was modern and very clean, as a guest you get a runabout bus ticket so after a shower I was outside the hotel and boarded one of the frequent bendy buses (No 10) to take me straight into the centre of Geneva. I spent the afternoon wandering around  the city and the Lake shore, nice place and somewhere I must go back to for a longer look round. I took the bus back to the hotel and had an excellent meal in the Hotel Restaurant in the evening. The holiday was drawing to a close.

Sunday - 29/07/07- Geneva to Macclesfield - After a breakfast of cereal, bread and jam I checked out of the Hotel and walked to the Airport in just over 5 minutes, I checked in and the flight left at 10.25hrs, the flight was fine and I arrived in Liverpool at 11.20hrs. My son Mark was waiting outside and within an hour I was back home in Macclesfield. This had been a superb holiday and I was feeling quite pleased with myself. I had seen some magnificent scenery, stayed in some wonderful places and met many friendly people from all parts of the world. If you want a good holiday I can definitely recommend it
Equipment

Lowe Alpine Rucksack 35 litres

2 pairs of walking socks

Meindle Borneo Walking Boots

3 pairs of lightweight socks for evening

Mountain Equipment  Fleece

4 pairs underpants

Zip off walking trousers

Sleeping bag liner (silk - very light) and pillow case

Spare pair of shorts

Lightweight waterproof trousers and jacket

Lightweight trousers for evening wear

Travel towel and toiletries, pack of wet wipes

Lightweight shoes for evening

Compass, whistle, maps and guidebook

3 T shirts

Head torch, compass and sunglasses

Short sleeved shirt best shirt

Sun cream

1 Long sleeved shirt

Mobile phone and charger

Rab Micro fleece Sweatshirt

Binoculars

Food was purchased daily

2 Cameras - Fuji film 602 Pr0 Zoom and small Nikon Coolpix 5600

2 litre Platypus water container only full when on the long stretches plus a 1 litre Sigg water bottle

Spare AA batteries for cameras

Survival bag

Hat and gloves

   

Maps -  Matterhorn Mischabel 1:50000 - No 5006 published by Landeskarte Der Schweiz - This map covered the whole section from Les Hauderes to Zermatt and was adequate for the purpose, however  I found the print very small due to the close contour lines of the steep terrain.  You can buy 1:25000 maps but need quite a few to cover the area. The maps printed in Kev Reynolds Guidebook were invaluable for general guidance but it is very important to carry the correct map as  listed above.

The weight of my loaded rucksack was just over 20lbs without food and water and everything carried was necessary although I did not use the sweatshirt and gloves I would still recommend carrying them. I had generally good weather throughout but there were occasional  storms in the late afternoon
The Guidebook used was Chamonix to Zermatt -The Walkers Haute Route by Kev Reynolds - published buy Cicerone. I my opinion this is essential reading if you are planning to do this walk
The weight was just over 20lbs without food and water and everything carried was necessary although I did not use the sweatshirt and gloves I would still recommend carrying them. I had generally very good weather throughout but there were occasional  storms in the late afternoon

Costs

BMC Treking Insurance - covers you for Treking in the |Alps Don't go without it £27.00 £27.00
Easyjet Flight - Liverpool to Geneva return Great flight £164.93 £164.93
Train from Geneva to Sion (47 CHF), bus from Sion to Les Hauderes (15.20CHF) Usual Swiss perfect timekeeping 62.20 CHF £26.58
Hotel Les Hauderes - single en suite room - half board Nice Hotel 122 CHF £52.13
Bus from Les Hauderes to La Sage A five minute ride uphill 3.20 CHF £1.37
Cabane de Moiry - half board 50cf - packed lunch 7 CHF Great location - Half board 57 CHF £24.35
Hotel Pointe De Zinal  in Zinal - Bed and breakfast 87CHF - evening meal 20CHF Nice Hotel - Halfboard 107 CHF £45.72
Hotel Schwarzhorn , Gruben Impressive Half board 55   CHF £23.50
Hotel Alpenrosli, Gasenreid Hotel OK - Half board 90 CHF £38.46
Europahutte on the Europaweg Trail above Randa Great location - half board 68 CHF £29.05
Hotel Carina, Zermatt. A good 3* Hotel 5 mins from town square. - 2 nights @ 85CHF Good Hotel - Bed and Breakfast  170 CHF £72.64
Zermatt to Geneva Airport by train Great journey 89 CHF £38.03
Nash Airport Hotel Geneva - Bed and Breakfast 5 mins walk from Terminal 102.30 CHF £43.71
Evening meals in Zermatt and Geneva cost around 50 CHF in total 50 CHF £21.36

Approximate costs for nine nights of a superb walking holiday

£608.73

       
Costs are based on an exchange rate of 2.34 CHF to the pound when I bought my Swiss Francs in Macclesfield a few days before I left, the prices  above do not include coffee, snacks and beer.
       

I hope the information above will be of interest to anyone thinking of walking in Switzerland, if I can be of any help with other information please  e-mail  me on davidpreston@mywalkingworld.com


   Saturday 21/07/07

 
I stayed at the Hotel Les Hauderes in Les Hauderes which was in the village square. The bus stop is in front of the Hotel
   

At the start of the walk in La Sage,

This is where I finished part one of my walk last year

   
Petite Dent de Veisioi on the right with Grand Dent de Veisivi on the left from the slopes above La Sage

 

   
The cross at Le Tsate overlooking La Sage and Les Hauderes. A good place for a short rest

 

   

Looking up towards the Col du Tsate . Quite big animals all with bells around the neck. I walked through them with a wary eye but they just ignored me

   
Further up towards the Col du Tsate and when I looked back down the cloud was filling the valley. Thats a different cross
   
The Col du Tsate is getting closer
   
On the Col du Tsate looking down towards Parking Du Glacier. Once down in the valley the path to the Cabane de Moiry leads off uphill to the right
   
A closer view of the Moiry Icefall, the Cabane De Moiry is on the bluff in the centre of the picture
   
The Cabane De Moiry and the cloud is dropping, in a few hours we had torrential rain and thunder
   
I had a single bunk high of the floor and on the other side of the room there were Communual bunks top and bottom
   

Summary      Distance 10km - height gain 1617 metres - Started at 1000hrs from La Sage and after a long uphill walk to the Col du Tsate the path wound steeply down the hillside to Parking du Glacier where there are refreshments available and also a bus stop. After a brief stop the path climbs again along the narrow moraine wall before dropping down and then back up the mountainside in a series of steep zig zags. The Cabane does not come into view until you are almost upon it. A very friendly warden and with excellent meals. No showers unfortunately but it is only for one night. A cold water wash is very refreshing when you have no alternative


Sunday 22/07/07  
A close view of the Moiry icefall from The Cabane de Moiry. It was overcast when I was there, I would love to see it in bright sunlight
   
The Moiry Glacier from The Cabane des Moiry

There are 3 climbers crossing at the foot of the cliff in the centre of the picture

   
 
The Cabane Des Moiry in the mist just as I was about to leave
   

On the way down towards the Barrage des Moiry. You can see the edge of the Glacial Moraine. It almost looks manmade, its fantastic that nature can leave it this way after the glacier recedes

   
Looking back up at the Cabane des Moiry. If you look closely you can see the zig zags going up the mountainside
   
Walkers ahead on the way up to the Col De Sorebois
   
The Col De Sorebois getting quite close
   
Looking down on Zinal and it takes a long time to get down there
   
My Hotel for the night, I was tired and they had a sign on the pavement stating rooms available. It was excellent
   
   
   

Summary         Distance 14k - height gain 455km -  Left Cabane Des Moiry about 0800hrs and after descending down the mountainside I followed the moraine wall and then turned right along a path high above the valley, above the Barrage de Moiry the path ziz zags up the mountainside and I was looking for a side path off to my left, I missed it and eventually had to get my compass out. It confirmed that I was heading south so I had to retrace my steps and eventually found the side path. I then followed this all the way up to the Col De Sorebois. Once on the top I had my lunch looking down on a vast network of ski lifts and cable cars and beneath that was my destination Zinal. It took several hours to get down and I walked wearily into Zinal looking for somewhere to stay. On the pavement outside the Hotel Pointe De Zinal I saw a welcoming sign in German " Rooms available" No second thoughts I just went straight in  and within five minutes I was stood in the shower. Thirty minutes later I was relaxing on the terrace with a pint of lager. Now thats what I call a good day. 7 hours walk and I can recommend the Hotel  


Monday 23/07/07  
 

The main street in  Zinal looking south

   
 
The track leads up through the forest above Zinal
   
 
Rising up above the forest and looking south again, Zinal is below
   
 
Looking across the valley to the ski-ing area that I had come down yesterday. The Col De Sorebois is in the centre of the picture to the right of the small peak
   
 
Looking north towards Barneuza Alpage an isolated farm on the hillside
   
 

Path junction, its Gruben I want. The weather is looking good at the moment

   

On the Forcletta 2874m and the weather has gone a little dull

 

   

Lunchtime on the Forcletta looking east and its clouding over

   

Walkers on the Forcletta

   
Looking back up at the Forcletta from where I had just descended
   
After descending a short way I stopped and looked back up, These loose rocks were quite unstable and care had to be taken to avoid dislodging them as you followed the path down alongside the rock face
   

A last look up the mountainside to the Forcletta

   
The vast array of flowers on the mountainside never cease to amaze me
   
Hotel Schwarzhon in Gruben where I stayed on the Tuesday night
   
The mattresses on the floor of the Dortoir in the Hotel Schwarzhorn. Suprisingly comfortable
   
 

The little Church in Gruben

   

Summary          Distance 14km - height gain 1199metres - Left Zinal at 0845hrs and after a pleasant walk up through the forest the path then contoured along the mountainside before climbing again through pastureland and then up to some farm buildings with a large cross nearby. This is Tsahalet 2533m. The path continues and the rises in a series of zig zags to reach the Forcletta 2874m. I had my lunch here but it was a cold wind and I soon left to descend down the mountainside into a glen called Bluomatttalli, very stony and barren but with some amazing wild flowers. It took several hours to get down into Gruben and to my accomadation at the Hotel Schwarzhorn


Tuesday 22/07/07  
Hotel Schwarzhorn at the start of the day which would take me over the Augstbordpass and onward to St Niklaus

 

   

Setting off from the Hotel up through the forest

 

   
Looking back down into the valley with Gruben below
   

Behind me is the valley heading north and the sun is coming out

   
 

 

   
Higher up the mountainside looking South

 

   

The Augstbordpass ahead

 

   
   

The sign on the Augstbordpasspass 2894m

 

   

Looking East from the Augstbordpass

   

Looking back up at the Augstbordpass

 

   

Cloud sweeping in as I descend from Augstbordpass

   
A glimpse of the valley far below but it is many hours away
   

The path contours along the mountainside

   
Further along the path heading towards the viewpoint of Twara
   
In the village of Jungen lower down the mountainside
   
Hows that for a view from your home in Jungen looking down into the valley
   
A litle restaurant in Jungen with another great view
   

The little Church in Jungen

   
After desending down from Jungen into St Niklaus I climbed up the hill on the other side of the valley on my way to Gasenreid

This is the view back over the valley with Jungen  in the cleared area on the top to the right of the gully

   
   

Summary - Distance 20km  - Height gain 1604m - Left the Hotel Schwarzhorn at 0730hrs and walked up through the forest, once above the tree line it was an enjoyable walk before the final climb up to the Augstbordpass. I had my lunch on the Col before setting off down the other side , the path drops down in a series of zig zags before contouring alon the mountainside to the right, eventually I arrived in the village of Jungen. A spectacular setting overlooking the valley, it took over 1.5hrs to get down to St Niklaus where I made the decision to carry on up the valley side to Gasenreid, I was tired but wanted to be able to set off the next morning nice and fresh for the high level section to the Europa hut

   

Wednesday 25/07/07  

 My Hotel in Gasenreid

Hotel Alpenrosli

   

 The Restaurant in Gasenreid where I had my evening meal.  - Excellent

   
Looking down towards the main valley from Gasenreid
   

Some of the houses in the village of Gasenreid

 

   

A little Chapel on the outskirts of Gasenreid

   
Looking north from the path up through the forest

 

   
Zooming in on Gasenreid below, looking north from the path

 

   

The path winds its way along the hillside

Now that I was out of the forest I could see where I was heading

 

   
Looking south from the path, the Breithorn showing its summit in the distance

You can just see the statue of St Bernard on the ridge at the very left of the photo

   

The statue of St Bernard at 2660m

   
   
Looking across the valley at summits in the distance
   
The path contours along the mountainside and follows the route of the Europaweg which is a 31km route from Grachen to Zermatt
   
My first proper view of the Matterhorn. taken with the zoom on my camera
   
The Matterhorn behind me, taken near the statue of St Bernard which stands at 2460m
   
Looking along the path I was beginning to wonder how the path would lead across the rock face. I was apprehensive but once you get up to it. Its not difficult at all, you just have to take care and watch where you are putting your feet
   

There are many areas where you are warned to cross the danger quickly and I did as I was told.

Although I saw no falling stones or rocks these signs were reminder to take care and to move carefully and quickly

   
The fantastic path wound its way around the mountainside
   

A quick photo as I crossed the danger area

   

Part of the path is protected by a fixed rope. I used it as I crossed the areas with a steep drop

That's what its there for

   

More danger areas

   
Looking back the way I had come. The path came round the shoulder at the base of the cliff
   

Another unstable area

   

The Matterhorn showing again in the distance

   

The path in the distance

 

   

Signpost showing 40 mins to the Europa Hut

   

The path follows the contour along the mountainside

   

More danger signs

 

   

One of the danger areas, quite large rocks that have come down the mountainside

   

Looking up from the path, there is a glacier just over the cliff

 

   

The Europaweg

Grachen to Zermatt

   

A wire rope bridge over a gorge

   

"Not Swing" it says, I crossed this very carefully, the bridge comprised of two wire ropes with a steel net slung between, the walk boards were then secured to the netting, very ingenious and no doubt quite safe but I still crossed slowly

   

A view of the glacier above

   

Further along the path

   
Another view of the glacier above the path
   

10 mins to the hut

   

First sight of the Europa hut

   

Although I had phoned through the day before I was told they were full but they would put me up on a mattress on the floor of the six bedded room. That was my mattress on the floor by the window.

Quite comfy, there were quite a few others on the floor downstairs in the restaurant

   

Summary      Distance 14km - Height gain 479m.  Left Gasenreid at 0845hrs and and after climbing up through the forest for 1.5hrs I emerged onto the mountainside to have clear views of the valley below and the surrounding peaks. This was the Europaweg Path which starts in Grachen and finishes in Zermatt. It is a truly superb high level walk along the mountainside with fantastic views, The distance is around 26 Km and conveniently there is a mountain hut, the Europa Hut about halfway along. There are many exposed parts with rope and handrails along as my photos show. However if you take normal sensible precautions there is nothing to fear. My golden rule when on the exposed parts was common sense. If you want to admire the view,  don't keep walking, stop and enjoy,  no loose bootlaces, proceed steadily across the rockfall areas, I never saw anything fall but just be aware. The weather was superb and I arrived at the Europa Hut at around 1600hrs. After a shower I spent and hour on the terrace overlooking the valley with a lager and the good company of several other walkers I had seen in varios places over the last few days. A truly superb day

   

Thursday 26/07/07  
The view from the Restaurant in the morning before I left
   

"Cross the danger distance without stop"

I am getting used to this now

   

This seems to be a  a warning sign meaning cross at you own risk and you can't sue the council

   

 Another tricky area

   

Looking back over the rockfall area, as you can see the distance is not great and providing you cross sensibly and keep a careful eye open for any stones coming down

   

Another bridge but this time more sturdy

   

The path goes through a tunnel in the centre of the picture, it is now lit by several bulbs powered by a solar panel, but take your torch just in case

   

Looking across the valley to the Randa Rockfall

In 1991 millions of tonnes of rock slid down the mountainside cutting off the valley

   

Avalanche protection

   

Getting closer to Zermatt

   

A close up of the Matterhorn

   

The village of Taschalp in one of the side valleys, the path goes up to the village then crosses to the mountainside on the right and then emerges back into the main valley

   

The clouds on the Matterhorn are constantly changing

   

Close up of the Matterhorn

   

There were quite a few of these drystone walls which I assume are to channel any falling rocks into a certain direction. The photo does not give any indication of scale but the blocks in the main wall are about a metre long and the wall was about 2 to 3 metres high

   

Walkers ahead with a good view of the Matterhorn

   

Some of the beautiful flowers that are everwhere on the mountainsides - I could spend a whole holiday in these mountains just looking at these amazing flowers and the millions of butterflies and insects that are fluttering about.

   

Just above Findeln on the way down into Zermatt

   

Myself in Findeln

   
The main square in Zermatt with the station at the far end
   

Summary    Distance 19km - Height gain 348 - Height loss 962 -  Left the Europahutt at 0745hrs - The path wound along the hillside towards Tashalp where I stopped for lunch, I then continued out of the side valley and back round the mountainside with Zermatt below, eventually I reached Tuftern, and Sunnega, the path then wound down the hillside through Findeln and down through the forest into Winklemartin which is a suberb of Zermatt. I arrived outside the Tourist Information at 1500hrs. I was given some phone numbersa nd I chose the Hotel Carina which was an excellent 3* Hotel. After a shower and a rest I went out for a few lagers to celebrate. I  was feeling quite pleased with myself. At 64 years old I had walked on my own through some fantastic scenery, met many people of all nationalities, stayed in some great places and enjoyed myself immensely. The world is certainly your oyster. Everybody I met was so helpful and I really appreciate their kindness.


Friday 27/07/07 - A Day in Zermatt  

Looking up at the Matterhorn from Zermatt

   

The river running through Zermatt, icy cold from the glacier

   

 There are some lovely Chalets in Zermatt

   

 A view of Zermatt

   

 Zermatt

   

Another view of the Matterhorn

   

A really unusual cloud formation above Zermatt

   

 The English Church in Zermatt

I had a look around the Graveyards of this Church and also the main Zermatt Church, a very moving experience.

Such a lot of the headstones describe the deaths on the Matterhorn of many climbers from England and other European countries over the last hundred years

   

Inside the English Church

   

 One of the main streets in Zermatt

   

 Zermatt

   

The main square outside the Railway Station

   

 That's the way to travel

   

My Hotel in Zermatt for two nights

I can recommend it,

   

The electric vehicles are amazing, here is a bunch of them, all different types, there are vans, taxis, tippers, flatbeds and little tankers

   

Plumbers van I think ?

   

A little light music

   
Book the right Hotel and they will collect you from the station with this
   

Taxi Rank

   
 
Summary - I stayed at The Hotel Carina on Thursday and  Friday night and took the opportunity to have a good look round the town. Its a lovely place, very lively with plenty of bars, restaurants and shops. I visited the Museum where there is a fascinating account of history of the town and the ascent of the Matterhorn by Edward Whymper and his companions on the 14th July 1865. Well worth a visit.
   

 

   
   
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