The shortest day I had walking the Haute Route, though it still involved walking 15km and up over 1,800m. It was meant to be 9km but I took a few wrong turns…
Leaving Le Châble it was immediately steeply uphill, though the Alpine architecture and views allowed me to catch my breath while photos on the way up.
Le Cotterg was the first of a number of pleasant villages that the track passes through.
La Fontanelle had another large wooden cross, a recurring sight along the Haute Route.
Les Verneys was tiny, but home to an exquisite chapel.
There was a sketchy section of track to cross carefully.
Just after the Le Hattey campsite there were lovely lupins in all shades.
From here it was a long slog up an unpaved road with switchbacks to where I could have caught a free cable car ride to though my accommodation in Le Châble. It was more fun to walk, though it was one of the steepest parts of the Haute Route. Paragliders soared over my head, there’s a training school based here.
At the top the track finally flattened out to head around the side of the hills by a watercourse. The views were quite incredible, with the popular ski resort of Verbier below and epic views across the valley.
Unexpectedly there was a sculpture trail here, though on a higher track than I was on. With my telephoto lens I got a few photos, particularly liking the ones with the well positioned cow. At first I thought it was a sculpture too…
The views across the valley of snowy mountains and glaciers were pretty stunning.
I stopped for lunch at Le Dahn, enjoyable both for the food and the views.
After which I spent nearly an hour trying to find the right way to the refuge. The description in Kev Reynolds books wasn’t clear to me, nor was the signage. I ended up doing a big loop down and up hill, which while very scenic wasn’t quite what I wanted to do at that point in the day.
One upside was spotting (or more accurately spotting others photographing) a marmot.
Just after 3pm I finally made it Cabane du Mont Fort, a quite epically located refuge. My first true Haute Route refuge (others had been on the Tour du Mont Blanc) it was refreshing to stay somewhere that wasn’t completely full. There were three groups (Japanese, British, and America) and two couples (Romanian and German), and the place was probably less than half full. Meant I got a twin room to myself, an unexpected luxury.