Moiry Barrage to Corne de Sorebois – 2896m - A Fitting Farewell to Val d'Anniviers

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Monday 29 September 2014

Moiry Barrage to Corne de Sorebois – 2896m - A Fitting Farewell to Val d'Anniviers

It was hard to believe that it had already been 14 days since we had arrived in Zinal, just before Esther's birthday on 15th September, when the Postbus dropped us off one final time at the Moiry Barrage (2250m), overlooking the brilliant blue glacial waters of the Moiry reservoir. Today was to be our final walk this year in the Val d'Anniviers, in the Swiss Alps and perhaps in the Alps altogether (depending on our upcoming route and the weather). It was therefore fitting that this last walk gave us such a magnificent view over the entire valley and over the the 'Grande Couronne' (Weisshorn, Bishorn, Zinalrothorn, Obergabelhorn and Dent Blanche).

After tackling some of the most challenging ascents in the valley during the previous fortnight, we had planned a slightly easier walk today, climbing up and over the Corne de Sorebois which, at 2896m, separated the valleys carved out by the Moiry and Zinal glaciers. The climb would only be 700m from the barrage, followed by a 1300m descent into Zinal and right back to our motorhome. Being warmed by the morning sun we both felt strange to think we would be moving on after our longest stay in one place since leaving Holland almost 4 months beforehand, and also sad to be saying farewell to a valley we had spent 25 days in over the summer. We both felt so at home here, so peaceful and left to our own devices could happily walk these hills and mountains all summer long. However, the increasingly cold nights and Esther being booked on a flight Tuesday evening from Geneva to visit her family in Holland for 2 days, made staying any longer impossible.

The ascent was a relatively gentle one with just a few steep switchbacks near the top and as we climbed the view overlooking the reservoir became more impressive, although the tongue of the Moiry glacier stayed hidden behind a rocky shoulder that the water curved behind. However, once we had reached around 2700m the start of the glacier did creep into view, along with an increasing number of distant summits away to our west, all topped with more snow than when we had first looked on them almost 2 weeks ago.

Stepping onto a flat col around 50m beneath the summit the view east opened up to us as well, with the now familiar but always spectacular five 4000's once again taking our breath away, the Weisshorn, Bishorn, Zinalrothorn, Obergabelhorn and just visible Dent Blanche completing the set. Then, at the summit itself the view north also opened, looking right along the Val d'Anniviers and into the Rhone valley 2500m below us. It was only to the south the view was blocked by a slightly higher peak, hiding the Matterhorn from view for now, but as we settled in to prepare lunch we once again felt that wave of peacefulness that we only seem to find on the mountains wash over us.

Cooking up our soup and enjoying the warm sun and light breeze, we could pick out all the places we had been in the 2 weeks since returning to the valley, all clearly visible dotted around the floor and sides of the peaks we could see. It was a magical spot for us and a very fitting way to say farewell to this wonderful place that had bought us so much happiness.

Descending in the mid-afternoon down the eastern flank of Sorebois we paused briefly on a spectacularly located playpark before we made our way over the grassy pistes and then into the already shaded forested slopes above Zinal, just able to make out our motorhome hanging onto a few more minutes of sun in the valley below before the shadow of the mountain swallowed it up. The Matterhorn even put in a bried appearance poking out from behind the Point de Zinal just before we entered the forest. Eventually crossing the river and entering into Zinal, it was nice to get back a little earlier than usual and pay one final visit to the amazing swimming pool to swim our 50 lengths and bask in the luxury of their hot showers once more before dinner.  

Having started the day feeling sad to be leaving we had now said our own goodbye to the valley, ready to hit the road in the morning and already having promised ourselves we would return again as soon.

Walk Information:
Motorhome Base: Zinal
Transport Used: Bus to Moiry Barrage
Start / End Point: Moiry Barrage - Corne de Sorebois - Zinal
Time It Took Us: 6 hours
Level: Moderate / Hard
Map: LS 1327 'Evolene' 1:25,000 (see below)

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The wonderful swimming pool in Zinal- we will miss our evening lengths!

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