Moiry Barrage to Scex de Marenda - Hiking to 2906m

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Monday 22 September 2014

Moiry Barrage to Scex de Marenda - Hiking to 2906m

Monday morning bought beautiful clear skies after a drizzly Sunday and we were up early and once again making use of the Liberte scheme, catching 2 free buses to arrive at the Moiry Barrage shortly after 11am. We had visited the barrage once before in June, when we had hiked a tour of the reservoir, and had been surprised at the time that the water level had been so low. However, today, after 3 more months of snow melt from the Moiry Glacier the reservoir water level was high and the bright blue glacial water glittered in the sunshine as we made our way over the dam. Having rested on Sunday our legs felt fresh from our walk on the Ilhorn and we could feel it was going to be a good day.

Our plan for the day was to climb westwards towards the Pas de Lona at around 2900m and we made good progress along the rough track that wound up the slope alongside the reservoir. As we climbed the massive Moiry Glacier came into view at the end of water, looking past the colourful flowers on the mountain side. It was a postcard perfect view, changing continuously as we climbed, with more and more of the surrounding 4000m peaks being revealed one by one – Weisshorn, Bishorn, Matterhorn, Dent Blance, Zinalrothorn and the Obergabelhorn. The climb just flew by with both of us barely noticing the 700m ascent as were hypnotised by the amazing view down the water.

In no time at all we reached a col and the Pas de Lona was in view, however, we were also directly below another viewpoint on our maps, the Scex de Marenda at 2906m and topped with a thin layer of snow. We just couldn't resist and raced up the extra 200m to the snow capped ridge. Despite a touch of vertigo on the narrow summit, the view was magnificent with the clear blue skies framing peaks in all directions and all topped with fresh snow from Sunday's poor weather. They felt so close that we could have reached out and scooped a snow ball from their tops.

Taking in the view for as long as we could, with 2.30 now approaching we realised we had to push on if we were to catch the last cable car from Bendolla down to Grimentz. Sadly leaving the summit behind, our fresh legs flew down the mountain as well, traversing past Lac de Lona and skirting the craggy hills above the Bendolla cable car station arriving just an hour and half later. From here it was just a short cable car and 2 buses back to the motorhome (all courtesy of the Liberte pass).

We were also surprised by the friendliness of fellow hikers as a lovely lady, Francoise, approached us at the cable to say that she hoped we didn't mind, but she had taken a photo of us climbing to the snowy ridge and wondered if she could email it to us. We were delighted at the rare picture of us both hiking together and the extra marmot photo which she had taken.

It had been a perfect day and with good weather forecast for the week ahead as well we were looking forward to and hoping for more of the same.

Walk Information:
Motorhome Base: Zinal (or Grimentz)
Transport Used: Bus - Moiry Barrage. Cable car - Bendolla to Grimentz
Start/ End Point: Moiry Barrage - Scex de Marenda - Bendolla - Grimentz
Time It Took Us: 4.5 hours
Level: Moderate / Hard
Map: LS 1327 'Evolene' 1:25,000 (see below)

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