Autumn rambles

After an unusually warm start to November, a cold change got to Switzerland. When it arrived, the rain blew in sheets across the road as I walked home, and tried to pluck the umbrella from my hands. The next day, a Saturday, the rain turned to snow that came and went in swirling bursts of fluffy white flakes. The ski season is underway!

Before this cold change, though, Tanya and I kept going walking in the mountains, surprised each weekend that it was still possible, that it hadn’t snowed yet. In this post I’m going to summarise these few trips.

Back in late October, we spent a nice afternoon wandering with friends above the town of Ovronnaz on the north of the Rhône Valley, marvelling at the mélèzes en feu (the larches in autumn colour). We were treated to the sight of a herd of bouquetin grazing on a steep slope. I put photos from this trip online.

Looking across the Rhône valley to the Mont Blanc Massif.

The next weekend we crossed to the other side of the valley and went into Val d’Hérens, for a walk towards the Glacier de Ferpècle. Although we didn’t make it to the glacier itself, we had incredible views from the slopes above Les Haudères, where the trees were the brightest I have ever seen. I took a lot of photos and put a few of them over here.

The mighty Dent Blanche.

Our next trip was to Val d’Anniviers, and we stayed for the night in the mountain village of St-Luc. From there you get a cracking view of the Matterhorn, as well as the whole Couronne de Zinal. On the Sunday we walked from Ayers to a col called Forcletta. From the col we launched up a steeper section and summited what we thought at the time was L’Omen Roso, but was in fact an unnamed point just next to it. This point (pt 3041) is, thankfully, 10 m higher than L’Omen Roso, so no harm done. Photos from this trip are online on my photo blog.

Tanya approaching pt 3041.
Couronne de Zinal, above, well, Zinal.

By now it was mid-November and we were finding it hard to believe that we could still go walking in the mountains! We went for a hike above Lac d’Emosson, to a mountain called Fontanabran (2703 m). From there we had a poke around the ridgeline that leads from Fontanabran to Bel Oiseau, but were turned back by a steeper section and a lack of knowledge about whether it goes or not (it does, apparently). The highlight of the day was undoubtably the marvellous views we got of the Mont Blanc Massif from this unique vantage point. Late in the day the clouds cleared and the entire massif appeared, glowing in the sunset. I put these photos online too.

Sunset view across Lac d’Emosson.

It was a fantastic autumn in terms of mountain adventures. Now the snow’s arrived and I’m sure winter’s going to be awesome too – it’s time to get the skis out.

December 3, 2015

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