The Haute Route – Day 3, August 24

Trient (1279m) to Champex (1466m)

We got up at 6 am. it was dark and raining outside : (  We left the hotel in the full rain gear for the bus stop.

Braving into the dark Trient in the morning

While waiting for the 6:50 am bus, we continued to debate our route today. The original route via the Fenêtre d’Arpette was already out of the window: a thunderstorm warning made climbing the exposed path not safe. 

The prospect of hiking up 1000m on the alternative route of Alp Bovine in the rain did not seem funny neither. When the bus arrived, we finally made an executive decision: scratch out today’s hike and take a bus all the way to Champex via Martigy. It was a big decision and we felt a bit sheepish about it. But Sano and I had one point in common: we love hiking but it has to be fun. Hiking in the rain is not included in our definition of “fun”. 

While three hikers got off at the Col de la Forclaz braving into the rain, we continued on the bus, staying nicely dry and looking out the view of the valley (still dark in the beginning), till Marigny and changed buses to Champex. 

Gloomy-looking Champex Lake

In Champex, after a friendly receptionist at the Hotel Splendide kindly let us check into a cozy room, we decided to visit the Champex Lake. This small, usually pleasant resort town Champex had a somewhat gloomy feel to it under the heavy clouds and the lake was reflecting the dark sky.  Energised by a plum cake and hot tea in a local coffee shop, however, we felt better and headed for the Bisse du Petit Ruisseau

Following a pretty watercourse “Bisse”

The “Bisse” is a watercourse and a famous irrigation system in the Valais region. The footpath continued upward along the beautiful stream and to the direction of the Val d’Arpette, which was supposed to be our original hiking route. Though the menacing clouds were out there, we thought we would keep going and turn around if it starts raining. After passing a mountain hut, Relais d’Arpette (1627m), the pasture dotted with a couple of farmhouses continued for a short time and then we started climbing up among rocks and boulder.  Once we climbed up to the high boulder for a view, we could see the path from the top of Arpette far away.  We gazed at soaring rocky peaks in the fast-moving mist. The valley of Arpette war beautifully wild and lonesome. 

Climbing the Val d’Arpette

By that time we saw two hikers coming down. We chatted and found out that they braved through the Fenetre d’Arpette path despite the thunderstorm warning!  We were further surprised to know they had a reasonable view from the top!!

Chatting with two hikers who came down the Arpette
Chatting with two hikers who came down the Arpette

We were disappointed that we chickend out. It really looked marvellous and also manageable, but how could we know about the weather? Oh well, I have to come back here one day….

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