Bella Tolla from St Luc/Tignousa – 3025m

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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Bella Tolla from St Luc/Tignousa – 3025m

Inspired by our perfect day on Monday on Scex da Marenda, Tuesday morning followed a similar routine with us rising early to catch the free bus from Zinal to Vissoie and then on to a second free bus bound for another mountain village in Val d'Anniviers. Todays' destination was St Luc, on the eastern flank of the valley, from where we hopped onto the funicular which raced us up to Tignousa at 2100m, all thanks to the Liberte pass. It was just so amazing how all the transports are so perfectly coordinated and we arrived just after 11 once again and fresh for the hike ahead of us. Today our target was Bella Tolla, a rocky and snow dusted summit at 3025m which promised impressive panoramas of the nearby 4000m peaks, deep into the Bernese Alps to the north and (on such a clear day) right into France to the Mont Blanc massif as well.


Today's climb was tough from the outset. From the funicular station we followed signs initially to the Cabane Bella Tolla and then onwards to the summit. Unlike the previous day where the view opened almost immediately and stayed with us for most of the climb, the hike to Bella Tolla passed through a rocky, scree covered slope that hid much of the view on the way up, only treating us to a glimpse of what was in store with the occasional peak appearing the higher we climbed. With the hot sun beating down we trudged upwards, sweating and day dreaming of the views above which kept us going.

That said, we made good time and after just 2 hours of climbing we emerged onto the ridge connecting Bella Tolla with the nearby Rotthorn, stepping onto the ice covered path that was still defying the hot sun. The view changed immediately. Instead of having a rocky path to look at, we could now see for miles, deep into the mountains all around us. It was an amazing reward for our efforts.




The summit of Bella Tolla was still 100m above us and the ice covered path made for slow going on the steep, final ascent. Arriving at 1.30pm onto the chilly summit, with a gusty breeze which had frozen the snow pack prompting us to quickly put on our down jackets, and we were amazed at the how close the peaks on display seemed. The closest 4000m peaks, the Bisshorn and Weisshorn, looked like just a few hundred metres away, despite the expanse of glacier separating their snow covered tops from us and looking east the enormous Mont Blanc shone in the afternoon sun as clear as it had been when we had looked on it more than a month ago from Les Contamines.

Settling in and putting our lunch on to cook, we marveled at the perfect view on all sides. We just could not believe how lucky we were to be treated to such amazing weather. One very welcome warm soup later (eaten with difficulty since we had forgotten to pack the sporks and saucepan handle!) and we knew it was time to head back to the funicular. We had enjoyed a whole hour and half on the summit trying to fix the view into our brains and we were sad to go (but we didn't want to miss the last funicular either).

We turned this into a circular loop, descending down the southern side of the summit and following the trail past the lake and then back towards the Cabane Bella Tolla but before reaching the mountain hut we veered off towards the Observatory near the funicular station just below us. One very rapid and rocky descent later and we had surprised ourselves by reaching the funicular in just over an hour which gave us time to sit and reflect on another perfect mountain day before catching the buses back to Zinal and off to the pool for a refreshing dip. We were feeling very lucky to be in Val d'Anniviers this week.

Walk Information:
Motorhome Base: Zinal
Transport Used: Bus to Vissoie.  Bus to St Luc.  Funicular to Tignousa.
Start / End Point: Tignousa - Bella Tolla - Tignousa
Time It Took Us: 4 hours
Level:  Hard
Map: LS 1307 'Vissoie' 1:25,000 (see below)

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