Cabane D'Arpitettaz from Zinal – 2786m - At the Head of the Glacier de Moming

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Thursday 25 September 2014

Cabane D'Arpitettaz from Zinal – 2786m - At the Head of the Glacier de Moming

Having already made our way to the Cabane du Petit Mountet and Cabane du Grande Mountet the previous week, today's destination was the Cabane D'Arpitettaz nestled at the base of the Glacier de Moming which flows down from the ridge connecting the summits of the Zinalrothorn (4221m) and the Weisshorn (4505m).  It was not a hike that would disappoint and providing magnificent views of the Val de Zinal.

After our morning trip to the observatory to watch the sun, the rest of Wednesday was spent resting our legs and making the most of the awesome swimming pool in Zinal leaving us fresh for Thursday's hike (we thought). However, since both of us woke up from a long sleep not feeling like dashing for the bus we settled for a hike closer by in Val de Zinal so that we could leave right from our doorstep.After a leisurely morning and early lunch in the motorhome we managed to get going by 1pm, cycling the initial section through Zinal and along the flattish river valley to reach the bottom of the climb.

Some early clouds had lifted to let the bright sun through in the afternoon, and we climbed in glorious sunshine to the point where the path split into 3. Instead of continuing directly on to the Cabane du Petit Mountet, we crossed the glacial river bed but this time instead of turning right to follow trail marking to the Cabane du Grande Mountet as we had done the previous week, we turned left towards the Cabane D'Arpitettaz.

Leaving the glacial river bed, the path initially wound through a pine forest shading us from the hot sun, before emerging onto a more exposed mountainside at Lac D'Arpitettaz at 2248m where we were treated to an amazing view. To the north the deep rounded valley left by the enormous Glacier de Zinal, to the south down the Val d'Anniviers and the snow covered peaks above Zinal and to the east massive snow cornices and tumbling boulders of ice coming off the Weisshorn and Zinalrothorn glinting in the afternoon sun.

From here the path traversed, climbing steeply at first and then more gently and we raced up the 500m of climbing, every step revealing more and more of the Glacier de Moming and bringing it's deep crevasses into sharper focus. We carried on racing onwards and in just 2 hours since leaving our bikes we reached the Cabane.

Having set off so late in the day we knew we couldn't linger too long and our shadows were already lengthening as we perched on the rocky hillside to admire the glacier towering above us, it's origin hidden from view behind a giant snow cornice. Looking up at the near vertical cliffs that stretched up to the mighty Weisshorn we felt very small in this giant landscape, but exhilarated to have reached such a beautiful place. We just wished we could have stayed longer.

Our legs must also have been excited by the view because our descent was equally swift as the sun slowly retreated behind the mountains and we reached our bikes in just an hour and half. From here it was an easy roll down the gentle slope out of the valley and back to the motorhome, leaving just enough time for an evening lengths in the pool feeling quite surprised we had managed such an epic hike after relatively slow start to the day.

Walk Information:
Motorhome Base: Zinal
Transport Used: Bike to head of the valley (approx 3km one way)
Start / End Point: Zinal - Cabane D'Arpitettaz - Zinal
Time It Took Us: 50mins cycle and 4 hours hike
Level: Hard
Map: LS 1327 'Evolene' 1:25,000 (see below)

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