Tuesday, 31 July 2018


Monte Rosa, Liskamm, Castor & Pollux
The classic image of Matterhorn & Riffelsee

Breithorn and Rotenboden

A deserted Riffelsee

Obergabelhorn from Riffelhorn

Another one

Liskamm & Breithorn
A day off before my next Haute Route trek begins. Zermatt has so many stunning walks to choose from, it's hard to decide where to go if you only have one day. I've not been up to the Riffelsee for some time. This very popular spot is one of those classic postcard  images of the Matterhorn reflected in a small lake. It invariably gets crowded with people, all tustling for that perfect image! So an early start was required if I was to find peace amongst the mountains. There are many trails from Zermatt up to this beautiful alp, or you can ride the Gornergrat railway and jump off at the Rotenboden stop. So I cheated and got an early train up, only to beat the crowds and the cloud of course! After 20,000 photos here I headed on the fabulous, easy trail that runs below the Gornergrat.  Stunning and spectacular views here of the entire Monte Rosa range of 4000m peaks.  Monte Rosa,  Liskamm, Castor, Pollux and Breithorn all strung out in a line to marvel at from a stroll along a good path. Too easy really! You can find your own peace of hill somewhere up here. Mine was a wander up to Riffelberg, the big chunk of rock overlooking Riffelsee. There is rock climbing if you intend getting to the top of it. This miniature mountain used to be the Zermatt guides test ground for their clients in preparation for a Matterhorn guided ascent.
The cloud increased as the day wore on and the Matterhorn got its usual plume of cloud first, obscuring the summit and spoiling many folk who got to Riffelsee too late in the day. I felt guilty at getting my photos so easily that I walked back down the hill into town.

Monday, 30 July 2018


The ladies on the Europaweg Bridge 

About to begin

Brunneghorn & Weisshorn under a full moon, am

Quiet on the Europaweg 

Roller coaster 

Zermatt and Mattertal 

Ropes overkill? 

Tunnels too

Weisshorn the star today

First view of the Matterhorn 

Early evening Matterhorn 
Final day of this highlights version of the Walkers Haute Route. It's a spectacular finish from Grachan to Zermatt which is usually walked over two days.  We have just the one day on this Tour so we fitted in the Europaweg Bridge from Randa. A fun way to finish for the ladies.  It gets quite busy on this feature which was completed late year. The Europaweg is an amazing roller coaster of a walk, mostly above the treeline and traverses the Mattertal.  Over the years there has been many rockfall and landslide damage to the trail and its many bridges. This new bridge replaces all the previous smaller ones that were taken out by rocks. It measures nearly 500m across a wide boulder, scree and avalanche area. The continuation from the bridge to Zermatt is still another 6 hours of never ending fun. Eventually dropping down to Zermatt,  or for a shorter day you can cut down to Tasch.
A fun  7 days with Monica,  Joanie,  Katie & Anna from the USA. A tough trek they commented from day 1. They had initially booked a self guided trip with Mont Blanc Treks. They realised later on that snow could be an issue so I was drifts in to guide them for the 4 toughest days. After day 1 with them they wanted me guiding them for the entire trek!
This week I have been guiding for Mont Blanc Treks,  experts on The Walkers Haute Route and TMB.

Sunday, 29 July 2018


The Mattertal,  what a view

Posers rock

The delightful hamlet of Jungen 

Fabulous views of the Dom

Fabulous views of the Weisshorn 
Descending the Augstboard Pass 

Weissmies views 

Looking back to the Augstboard 

The Mattertal & Brighthorn
One of the classic view points on the Walkers Haute Route is that stunning scene of the Mattertal, surrounded by high Alpine 4000m mountains. Thankfully the weather for today was back to normal.  Blue skies and hot sun. To get to this wonderful view the day starts at Gruben and ascends the Augstboard Pass. On the col itself grows King of the Alps. A beautiful and rare flower. It's not in bloom at the moment,  maybe next week.  Every time I descend from this highpoint I get excited about the view to come. Today we were lucky,  no cloud had firmed on the high summits. A stunning day and less hazy than of late. When you eventually tear yourself from this point, you head down to Jungen.  A small hamlet perched high on a Meadow above St. Nicklaus. It's like stepping back in.l. No cars here. The only way up and down is by a tiny cablecar,  or walk.  A brilliant day.

Saturday, 28 July 2018


Out of the treeline above Zinal 
Alpine Rock Jasmin 
Val d'anniveres & Dent Blanche 

Saxifraga Bioflora
Rain and cloud afternoon 
Eidelweiss, of course 
A bit of snow on the Forcletta 
Katie in full waterproofs
Today we got rained on for 3 hours. For me that is the longest spell of 'bsd, wet weather ' all season in The Alps. It started off fine this morning in Zinal. Another hot and bright beginning to the section of the Haute Route from the Val d'anniveres over to the Turtmantal. We reached the Forcletta at lunchtime,  just before the rain came on. To relieve the damp, drab weather there aren't of wonderful flowers and plants on the col area. Many rare ones. The rock type here is Calcareous and schist providing a good home to many species of beautiful flora. Lots of activity from the Nutcracker bird today, too. It was quiet on the hills today, especially on the Turtmantal side where we saw no one.

Friday, 27 July 2018


Weisshorn from Carne de Sorbois 

The team heading down to Lac Moiry 

Beplan and Dent Blanche 

Lac des Autannes 

High above Val d'Herens 

Carne de Sorbois 

Lac de Moraiy 

Lots of choices

Weisshorn & Zinalrothorn 
The Walkers Haute Route starts to get a tad easier after leaving the delightful Val d'Herens,  heading East. Despite a very nice trail, there is still 1800m of ascent over two cols on the route to Zinal.  The views across this stretch of land are stunning.  Some of the big 4000m Alpine peaks now come into view. The mountains of Weisshorn,  Zinalrothorn,  Ober Gabellhorn and the beautiful Dent Blanche are seen in their glory. We had another beautiful day, hot sun with a gentle breeze.

Thursday, 26 July 2018


The ladies setting off into the wild

Loads of these guys around 

Outside the Cabane Prafleuri 

The descent to Dix Barrage 
Beautiful morning light 

Lac Dix and Pigne de Arolla 

Dix Barrage 

Mont Collon 
For me the finest, wildest,  most spectacular , quietest section of the Walkers Haute Route is the area between Verbier and Arolla.  Here lies the highest continues ground away from roads and habitation.  The only forms of accommodation are mountain refuges.  This itinarary for a private trip involves walking from Les Ruinettes to Prafleuri.  A big day out. The finest views of The Grand Combin are to be had on the fabulous traverse path from Mont Fort, Sentier de Chamois as it is named. No Chamois spotted today and the cloud quickly obscured the high mountains.  We saw very few folk. Golden Eagle again soaring above us. By late afternoon we had gathering clouds and a few rumbles of thunder. It was a long 11 hour day for the team of ladies.  The hardest walk they have ever done,  they commented. They also said they would never have done it without a guide.
The following morning dawned clear and bright for a stroll down from the Prafleuri to the Dixence Barrage and our bus round to the delightful village of Arolla.