1386 meters up, 1030 down, not easy...


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Europe » Switzerland » South-West » Champex Pass
July 11th 2006
Published: July 28th 2006EDIT THIS ENTRY

We are at the Top of the TMB!!We are at the Top of the TMB!!We are at the Top of the TMB!!

At the "Fenetre d'Arpette", the toughest mountain pass in the TMB. After the long way up, before the long way down - Here We Are
This is supposed to be the most difficult day of the trek, and it better be. I'm sitting now at Relais L'Arpette, after this very long and tough day, and I'm sooo tired. We started before 8am with a nice path, climbing gently up the hill. When we reached Chalet du Glacier at 1583m the path took a steep turn... The higher we went, the steeper it became. No wonder in fact, as we were simply facing a wall in front of us. You look at the wall and it seems absolutely impassable. It's sooo high. The last 400m climb were the hardest. The effort was tremendous. I couldn't believe I could make it but of course there wasn't any choice. Going back wasn't an option. Finally at 1pm we reached the "Fenêtre L'Arpette", a beautiful passage high up at 2660m. I almost forgot to mention the view. As you go up the valley closes on you, it's very impressive. The other side is a glacier - Glacier de Trient, and you can see its crevasses and the lovely blue colour of the ice. As you reach the top a new world opens - the other side. The bad news are
Do you see a way to cross this wall?Do you see a way to cross this wall?Do you see a way to cross this wall?

From the valley it looks totally impossible, this wall!
that the work didn't end. After this huge climb, we have to go down. The beginning is horribly scary. The fact that I didn't slip down could only be regarded as a miracle. It was so steep and the path had this small stones that seem trustworthy but fall as you lay your foot on them. It was as tiring as going up in fact. It took 3 more hours to get to our night's destination. It was a challenging and rewarding day... I'm happy tomorrow will be an easy one (hopefully).
We got a nice dorm room of 6 beds, with two French guys and, surprise, La Folle, the crazy one from last night... It's going to be fun...

(The post was written in real time on my pocket PC and posted in an Internet-Cafe at La Fouly, Switzerland. Pictures will be added when I get home)


Additional photos below
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Big smileBig smile
Big smile

It's just the beginning...
Trient Galcier always at the other side of the valleyTrient Galcier always at the other side of the valley
Trient Galcier always at the other side of the valley

A beautiful sight accompanying us on the way
And still on the way up...And still on the way up...
And still on the way up...

And those were yet the easy parts
And still on the way up...And still on the way up...
And still on the way up...

Look at the upper left corner of the pictures, it's so far up and it's not the end
Lac D'Emosson behind usLac D'Emosson behind us
Lac D'Emosson behind us

A very high lake starting to show up only as we go up
At the Fenetre, everybody's taking a breakAt the Fenetre, everybody's taking a break
At the Fenetre, everybody's taking a break

We had lunch but I could hardly eat anything after this huge effort
Dana's trying to manage the steep slopeDana's trying to manage the steep slope
Dana's trying to manage the steep slope

I think it's shows well in this picture: it was so steep! the path was gritty, which meant it was easy to slip, but we survived :-)
Crossing a snow patchCrossing a snow patch
Crossing a snow patch

A minute later I was on my bum of course...
The first section of the descentThe first section of the descent
The first section of the descent

It looks short but look for the person with the blue pants and get a feeling of the scale
Still taking picturesStill taking pictures
Still taking pictures

Although not many, I was so tired. But trust Ron to keep up and provide us many beautiful pictures
The Budhist monkThe Budhist monk
The Budhist monk

This is what I thought of this snall cairn on the way
Look at this guy!Look at this guy!
Look at this guy!

He was easily over 75, a Swiss guy from Martigny, he's hiking every week so no wonder it passed the Fenetre a lot more easily than me
We made it!!We made it!!
We made it!!

Tonight's gite, I'm so happy to see it It was a superb day, but very challenging for me
The Arepette and a Swiss flagThe Arepette and a Swiss flag
The Arepette and a Swiss flag

I just thought it was a nice picture


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