shortish walk to the Cabane du Petit Mountet, Tuesday saw us back in our hiking boots and discovering an unexpectedly challenging yet magnificent hike even further up the Zinal Valley.
Whilst the Cabane du Petit Mountet (2142m) sits right at the tip of the glacial moraine left by the Glacier du Zinal and now several kilometres from the glacier itself, the Cabane du Grand Mountet is positioned right next to the glacial flow at 2886m, 1200m above our motorhome. Setting off southwards up the valley for the second day in a row, this time we used our bikes to cover the flattish valley floor to the point the path starts to climb more steeply. From here it was just another half an hour or so of retracing yesterdays route before we veered left to cross the river which thunders out of the Zinal valley and begin the challenging ascent to the hut.
We had set off that morning with no idea what we would be seeing on our walk and this view took our breath away – it was a real 'Wow!' moment. What we had thought of as the Glacier du Zinal, a few tumbling ice blocks visible from the town, was really just a tiny fraction of the icy bowl which we could now see. There were at least 4 different glacial flows sweeping down from the mountainside from 3 different sides to meet in the bowl before making their way down the valley and into the river.
From our rocky viewpoint at around 2850m we could clearly make out the corner beyond which we knew the hut was positioned, a relatively flat traverse of about 30 minutes further away. However, having set off quite late it was now 3pm and we decided that this was far enough for the day and that we'd rather use the time just to sit and enjoy the scene. Enjoying a bite to eat in the warm afternoon sun, we felt very proud of ourselves to have tackled such a tough ascent and reached this magical spot.
However, the wonderful Liberte pass meant that we knew that free access to the swimming pool and a hot shower was just a short bike ride away, which more than motivated us to reach our motorhome. Grabbing a quick bite to eat we then dashed to the pool and dunked our weary limbs in the water, staring out of the enormous windows right over to the slopes we had tackled just a few hours before.Walk Information:
Motorhome Base: Zinal
Transport Used: Bike to the head of the Valley (approx 3.5km)
Start / End Point: Zinal - Cabane du Grand Mountet - Zinal
Time It Took Us: 50mins to cycle and 6 hours hiking
Map: LS 1327 'Evolene' 1:25,000 (see below)
More details of all our hikes in the Swiss Alps