Located at 1050m, on the foot of the Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches, the resort of Champéry tumbles down the Val-d’Illiez within the Decrease Valais. It’s managed to protect a lot of its alpine allure – the primary avenue is lined with conventional chalets with carved balconies, small retailers, bars and eating places.
There are over 800km of walks to select from right here, together with a 40km trekking circuit across the Dents du Midi, taking three to 4 days to finish. Sadly, I’ve solely a few days, however the climate is evident and sunny in late autumn, good for mountain climbing.
DAY 1 Galerie Défago (eight.3km, 3h)
It’s early afternoon after I arrive, however there’s nonetheless time to deal with this simple round route. It begins on the station and descends to cross the Vièze River earlier than climbing up the sheer cliff reverse. It appears to be like impassable, however in 1860, an area businessman carved out a steady path following a pure ledge, excessive above the valley under. This rock gallery has lately been prolonged to a complete of 600m.
In fact, it’s slim and there are factors the place I’ve to bend my head, ducking beneath the rock overhangs. Happily, a powerful information rail protects in opposition to the vertical drop, and there are spectacular views throughout to Champéry.
On the finish of the gallery, I proceed on the trail, via Les Rives to Les Esserts. Right here the trail drops to the underside of the valley, then climbs as much as the village of Val-d’Illiez. I catch the practice again to Champéry.
DAY 2 Champéry to Lac Vert (17km, 5h 30m)
I take the cable automobile as much as Croix de Culet the place there are gorgeous views of the Dents du Midi reverse. From the ski station, I descend barely earlier than climbing steadily northwards to succeed in a Col, The Port de l’Hiver. In entrance of me lies Lac Vert, nestling on a inexperienced plateau, and accessible by two mild paths. On the lake shore all is calm and reflections of clouds add to its allure.
I make a circuit of the lake earlier than climbing again to the Col and following the ridge to Portes du Soleil. From right here, I loop spherical above the small resort of Les Crosets again to the cable automobile station. It might be simple to take the gondola down, however as an alternative I select a nice descent via lush meadows and pine forest earlier than arriving again in Champéry. This can be a nice stroll, not too gruelling.
DAY three Loop from Champéry to Lacs d’Antème (16.2km, 7h)
As we speak is more difficult and includes climbing as much as 1200m after which dropping steeply again down. I stroll via the village to the Gran Paradis ski elevate station. Right here I depart the La Vièze River to comply with a tributary, La Saufla, upstream to Roc Coupé, an enormous boulder. It’s a little bit of a slog however the observe is nice and the timber present shade. From right here I flip left crossing the mountain flank to the Lacs d’Antème at 2032m.
Above me are the serrated pinnacles of the Dents du Midi, with the very best, Haute Cime, flecked with snow. I attain the primary of the lakes by a mountain hut, Cabane d’Antème, and pause for breath. The opposite lake is additional on a separate path however I’ve run out of steam so give it a miss. It’s then an extended steep descent to the Galerie Défago which I encountered on the primary day. The vertiginous gallery, lower into the sheer cliffs, takes me all the way in which again to Champéry. It’s a terrific finish to a implausible stroll.
INFO: My Switzerland has details about the nation.
Go to Valais has details about the area.
Area Dents du Midi has native info.
STAY: Lodge Suisse makes a superb base in Champéry.
EAT: Restaurant At’House is within the centre and has good Swiss meals.
Restaurant Cantine de Barmaz is outdoors the village in a standard setting and serves native specialities.
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