Tour des Dents du Midi
Switzerland - 7 days
According to a 19th century traveller this trip offers "the incomparable solitude of the Alps in the most beautiful meadow in Switzerland".
Louis Coquoz was describing the stunning high meadow of Salanfe, which lies below the impressive mountain ridge of the Dents du Midi in the Valais region.This journey has been likened to seeing the whole of the Alps in one small area; such is the variety of landscape.
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Day 1 Arrival in Les Marécottes
On the evening before we start our walk we will meet you at your hotel in the charming Swiss village of Les Marécottes to brief you on the trip and answer any last minute questions.
Day 2 Les Marécottes to Mex
From Les Marécottes village we drive to Van d'en Haut and the start of the trail to the Lac de Salanfe and our first view of the Dents du Midi with it's seven summits. Heading up through the flower meadows we make our way over the Col du Jorat at 2212m, then a long and beautiful descent past imposing cliffs to the tiny old village of Mex with its cobbled streets and the Auberge de L'Armailli. Ascent: 900m.
Day 3 Mex to Chindonne
We being the day with a leisurely stroll along the mountainside with fantastic views of the Rhône Valley, while above us towers the Cime de l'Est known as the little Matterhorn. Usually a good opportunity for photos of its jagged profile which does indeed echo the shape of its namesake. We then climb through meadows and ancient forests to the summer pastures at Chindonne. The auberge enjoys wonderful views across the valley to the mountains opposite. Ascent 700m.
Day 4 Chindonne to Bonavau
A day spent traversing the North West face of the Dents du Midi, past impressive gullies, chasms, and waterfalls. This walk is very atmospheric and there is definitely a feeling of having entered the landscape of Lord of the Rings though thankfully you are more likely to see ibex and marmots than hobbits and orcs! We overnight at the Buvette de Bonavau, an idyllic mountain refuge. If 'Heidi' herself had designed a mountain home this would have been it! Salad from the garden, eggs from the hens in the yard, and Christine's home cooking. Ascent: 450m.
Day 5 Bonavau to Lac de Salanfe
We head up through the Pas d'Encel, an impressive gorge, following a short section of exposed path where handrails are in place. We then travel through a hidden valley passing under peaks which are often snow clad even in summer. From the Col de Susanfe at 2494m we descend to the Auberge de Salanfe to spend a night by the lake. Ascent: 950m.
Day 6 Lac de Salanfe to Les Marécottes
Descent to Van d'en Haut and we take a taxi back to Les Marecottes and should arrive by mid-day. This gives an afternoon to enjoy the village which has been described as a "hidden gem". There is a local open air swimming pool carved into the rock face which is an ideal way to relax at the end of the trip. Alternatively, we take the 'high road' and climb over the stunning Col d'Emaney, with the option of including the summit of Le Luisin 2786m, which offers incredible views of the whole region. We then traverse the mountainside back to Les Marecottes stopping at the Emaney alpage to sample some cheese which is made at the farm, a real treat! If this route is chosen the ascent is 512m, including the summit of Le Luisin it is 835m.
Day 7 Departure
Today is departure day.
Included: half-board accommodation at a 3* hotel in Les Marécottes, on the first and last nights of the trip based on twins or double rooms. Half-board accommodation in the mountain refuges, the guide's fees and expenses and trip organisation fee.
Not included: flights, insurance and transfers from Geneva (but we can advise on the best options), taxi transfer to the start of the walk as this depends on group size, lunches and drinks.
Whilst in the valleys accommodation is based on two people sharing. A single room supplement maybe available on request. Other accommodation during the trip will be in high mountain refuges but in some cases rooms maybe available - please request this upon booking. It's normal in the Alps to share accommodation while in the mountains because the high mountain refuges where we will be staying are usually dormitory style rooms. Many good friends have been made this way! The refuges themselves tend to be full of character and serve tasty local dishes. They are always situated in stunning locations and the chance to enjoy a beer or glass of wine while watching the sun go down can provide a really special mountain moment. For many of our guests the refuges literally provide a highpoint of the trip.
Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.
This trip involves carrying a few basic extra items of clothing and comforts for your overnight stays. Please do not be put off by the fact this trip does not include the daily transfer of luggage, as in reality it is simply a case of spare trousers, top, small wash kit, headtorch, sheet sleeping bag and clean socks and underwear! It is a very satisfying experience to complete a trip 'pure' like this, carrying everything you need.
This trip can be done in 5 days, with just three nights in a mountain refuge if you want to enjoy a shorter trip. Alternatively, we can expand this tour either at the beginning or the end of your trip if you would like to experience more of the area and Chamonix valley.
The alps are easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane.
We have suggested Les Marécottes as a base from which to begin the trip as it is easily reached by train and private car from Geneva airport. It's also a beautiful village which is a bonus! Access information at: www.marecottes.ch
For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details. Please contact us if you need further advise on your specific travel requirements.