After almost a week at home mostly eating and sleeping the trail was calling. My mom decided spontaneously to join me for the first 2 days! We took the train back to Montreux and then the ship across Lake Geneva to St. Gingolph, the startpoint of the Alpine Pass Trail. We left the ship at Le Bouveret, a little nice town, where we got one of the last spots on the campground! After we set up our tent we went, of course, swimming in the lake. The lake was warm but the wind was chilly. In the evening we went out for dinner. I had mussels, which I normally eat when I’m at the sea (it also felt kinda like that). Tired of the journey we went to bed early, also because we planned an early start.
Day 1 – St. Gingolph to Taney
Our alarm went off at 6.10am. We packed our stuff as quiet as possible and went to the train station. The train took us to St. Gingolph, which is right at the french border! We looked out for an official startpoint unsuccessfully. A little bit grumpy we ate breakfast and set off! The first bit of the trail was quite steep after that it followed the road for a while (not again!). We made a break at an Alp, where we had coffee and bought some fresh cheese 🙂 they had donkeys (one of them ate almost the flowers), goats, pigs, cows and two dogs (really cute ones!). It was a hot day and it was good that we started early! At the first Col (Pass) we had lunch. Actually we wanted to camp at the lake below but guess what, there were cows… So we hiked on all the way to Taney. We went off trail and uphill to a place, where we thought we could camp. But it turned out as an Alp, so more cows 🥵. In Taney there is a ban to camp, which I didn’t know before. After a beer at a restaurant we got a tip where to camp. Our strategy was swimming in the Lake of Taney, eating there and then look for a spot. All I can say it was a good strategy!
Day 2 – Taney to Chalet Neuf (Morgins)
It was a quiet night and I slept really well. We packed our stuff and walked till we a nice and sunny place for breakfast. The trail was leading steep downhill to a little town and the trail was gravelly. So you had to be careful not to fall. Then it followed a gravel road for a bit. Short after the trail changed and I was really surprised, because I thought it would go the whole day on roads. There were chaines to held on and ladders, all the stuff that I waited for on the Via Alpina but never really came! We stopped for coffee in Torgon. The owner Myriam was really nice and chatty (my mom is also very chatty!). After a longer break than planned we hiked on. Most parts was on a gravel road. The search for a campspot was kind of difficult. There were great flat spots, but within the fence. The cows weren’t there then but you never know if they will come again or not. After a few “maybe campspots” we walked to a House. It was a restaurant, but closed and no cows! Yay, so we set up our tent on the parking lot. Somewhere there was a swamp, because the mosquitos killed us that evening! I also recorded a voice message for a short radio interview – pretty cool, right!
day 3 – Chalet Neuf (Morgins) to Barme
As usual we packet our stuff and then had breakfast. We started walking on the road for a bit, because there were cows with their little babies and we didn’t want to go through them. The view up on the crest was stunning!! You had Dent du Midi (that’s a mountain) right in front of you. We made our way down to the town of Morgins, where we went straight to a bakery to drink coffee. My mom was leaving there. I did some grocery shopping and called the place in Barme if I could sleep there. Funny thing is, english mostly works better than german. It is kinda weird to speak english in our own country, because I can’t speak french (just a little bit). That’s a thing here, because Switzerland has 4 languages! The trail out of Morgins was leading through the forest next to a stream. It was a really nice walk 🙂 After saying Goodbye to my mom I set off by myself. It was really nice having her with me! I like having company while hiking so as I like to hike by myself. The trail went by a restaurant and followed then the road uphill to the Port du Soleil. As I came up there dark clouds covered the sky. I speeded up because I really didn’t want to get wet. I changed to my rain jacket and packed my camera away. Luckily it rained only for a short time! The trail was on a road and pretty flat, so I was hiking fast. Maybe after a hour suddenly the clouds disappeared and the sun was shining again. I had to walk along a few cowherds with calves. I have great respect for these animals, because they can be very protective of their calves (and people got killed). I walked up to the Col de Cou, this is a Pass right on the french border! So I was in france hihihi, for about 2 minutes.. It was sooo windy up there, that I walked further and had lunch on a calmer place. The last bit of the trail to Barme was on a ridge! And I LOVE ridge walks!!! I was early at the Cantine Dents Blanches, my place for the night, so I had plenty time to shower and call my sister. I treated myself with half pension and had a super delicious dinner 🙂 I didn’t sleep very much, because there was a group having a party…
Day 4 – Zeroday in barme
As I woke up and looked out of the window you could only see clouds. It was cold and the mountains were all covered in clouds. I thought I’ll wait till they clear and then start hiking. But they didn’t really clear till the afternoon, so I asked if I can stay another night there. The next stage was supposed to be really beautiful and I really didn’t want to hike in cold and miserable weather and I got time! So I had a really relaxing day 🙂 I slept after breakfast a few more hours, because I couldn’t sleep in the night. Lunch I had at a bench close to a big rock wall, where are multiple climbing routes. There I also listened to my short radio interview! I felt pretty cool to be in the radio 🙂 Also a friend of mine, Christina Ragettli was on the radio. She is doing the red via alpina, which is super tough! You should check out her weekly blog at wildmountainheart.ch! Zerodays are mostly for eating and sleeping and so was also this one! I phoned with some friends and in the evening I had again delicious food! In the night I slept even less than the night before. The party downstairs (right underneath me) was going till 3am…
day 5 – Barme to lac de salanfe
As soon as I walked out of the door I knew the day waiting here was really worth it! It was sunny and you could see all the surrounding impressive mountains! I had a nice breakfast and start hiking at about 8.15am. It was a Sunday so there were lots of people on the trail hiking. This part of the Alpina Pass Trail is also part of the Tour de Dent du Midi, which is a 3 day hike around Dent du Midi. So far, I haven’t seen any other hiker who does the Alpine Pass Trail like me. The trail uphill was quite exposed and sometimes you had to scramble, it also had chains to hold on. I stopped at the mountain hut, where I filled up my water bottle and ordered a homemade sirup. The Pass was about a hour away so I kept hiking. Up there you had an incredible view of the high mountains of Valais like the Matterhorn, Weisshorn, Dufourspitze (highest mountain in Switzerland) and lots more! I had lunch close to the pass with this amazing view 🙂 From the pass you could also see the Lake Salanfe, which was my goal for today. The hike down was longer than I thought. I walked to the end of the lake and looked out for a nice camp spot. I found a nice one with a nice flat rock next to it to sit on. It was windy when I set up my tent and I had to stake it out so it didn’t fly away.. usually I only stake out the rainfly. I had ramenbomb (ramen and mashed potatoes) for dinner, yummi! Some people hate it, some love it 😉
day 6 – lac de salanfe to le chatelard
What a day! I didn’t hear my alarm, so I slept in. I started hiking at about 8am. Yesterday I saw already the pass which I have to go over today. It’s still covered with snow and I was a bit concerned. So I made my way up to the pass, the trail was steep and kinda going straight uphill instead of zigzag. I arrived at the snow about a hour later and put my microspikes on. With them it was no problem, the snow was still pretty hard and soon I was standing at the top of the pass. It was the first pass of today, from here I could see the next one for today. The second pass had also some snowfields but it didn’t look too bad. I went down to the Valley and had a break there. It was a steep climb in the beginning of the second pass. Then I had to cross a risky stream right under a massive snowfield. It was already around midday and the stream was big. I managed to get across it, though I got a little wet on my shoes. An elderly man passed me and we talked a bit. He was super fast and I couldn’t hold up his pace. The trail was super steep going uphill on a screefield. There was a group coming down from the trail, which were glissading on the snow down. I put my microspikes on to cross another, really sloped, snowfield. I was struggling with my altras and microspikes. As I walked slowly uphill I heard something from above. As I turned around to look up, there was a falling rock as big as my head whizzed down really fucking close to me!!! In shock I screamed loudly and was super terrified! I was hurrying the pass uphill and looked like every two seconds to the rock wall on my right! There were some more snowfields to cross which slowed me down, also because it was super windy. Relieved on the pass I just wanted to get down and preferably immediately go home. I made a break when I was out of the dangerous zone. I still didn’t realize what just happened. I walked to the lake l’emosson which is a touristy spot. It’s right on the french border and you got fantastic views to Mont Blanc, when the weather is nice. When I was there the clouds covered the mountains. I had a big soup there and charged my phone. I wanted to call my mom, but I hadn’t any cell service. As I walked down I saw a cog railway station. As I was really tired of today I took the it down to the valley. There I could finally call my mom and tell her what happened. The emotions hit me and I burst into tears. Then I really realized it, that this rock could have killed me… I wasn’t sure if I should continue or go home and walk the other direction. I set up my tent right next to the trail in the forest close to the road.
day 7 – le chatelard to home
The decision was made! I didn’t want to risk more and decided to go home after that terrible day of yesterday. It was just too much for me.. Parts of me were happy to go home but parts of me were also sad to leave the trail here. Allover I think it was the better decision! Somehow it felt like I’m quitting, but would you go on after something like that? I say: better safe than sorry. It is also an advantage to have home so close and why not use it. Hike your own hike, right? I’m planning to hike on as soon as the weather is better, which means probably after 3 days at home.