Ken Baldry's Alpine Pages

Round the Matterhorn. Mauvoisin to Breuil tour - 1

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This tour took place in July 1999, after a spectacularly bad winter & meets up with the Monte Rosa Rundtour of 1975. A helpful guide is Chris Wright's 'The Grand Tour of Monte Rosa Vol 1' but see my caveat on the Col de Valcournera.  The narrative below is my usual mixture of recollection & guide-book-style stuff.

Maps: Stage 1 & 2, LK 283 Arolla. Stages 2-5, LK 293 Valpelline. Stages 5 & 6 LK 293 Valpelline & LK 283 Arolla.

Stage One - To the Chanrion Hut from Mauvoisin, via Geneva, Martigny & Le Chable

I started this trip on June 30th 1999, rather late because I hoped most of the snow would have gone. (Or early. September is another good time to go to the Alps). My initial journey to Mauvoisin, which is in the Val des Bagnes in Switzerland, was by train to Luton from Kings Cross at 0548 for an Easyjet flight to Geneva at 0815, giving plenty of time for breakfast at the airport. This arrived early but was due at 1100. The timetable was then:-



Le Chable


1209 main line train

1356 little train

1423 bus

1515 arrive

This was in 1999. The timetable is likely to have changed but the Swiss train timetables are on this link in English.

I had a late lunch of Assiette Bagneoise in the simple Hotel Mauvoisin (about 1900m) to fuel the walk up to the Swiss Alpine Club's Chanrion Hut (2462m). There are zig-zags from the hotel up to the dam, where one enters a horrible wet tunnel with occasional windows looking out over the lake, which was about 2/3 full at this time, leaving an ugly scar above the water. The tunnel goes on for about half a kilometre. It seems a long walk along the lake & there is about 200 metres of wasted up but I did see a lot of marmots. Then, one takes the path left & follow the signs for the hut, as the route is a little different from the LK50 & shorter. (You go through Le Lancet). It is 480 metres up to the hut & it took me 3.5 hours altogether. The guardian & his assistant are very friendly, not always the case in huts. This was as well, as the rest were unfriendly Parisians.

From the Hotel Mauvoisin. The dam & the path up.

Lac du Mauvoisin. The path goes up behind the ridge on the left.

The Chanrion Hut with La Ruinette (the mountain) behind.

La Ruinette from below the Col de Fenetre (stage two next page)

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Contact: Ken Baldry, 17 Gerrard Road, Islington, London N1 8AY +44(0)20 7359 6294 or e-mail him URL:
Last revised 27/6/2008 © 1998-2008 Ken Baldry. All rights reserved.