Day 9: Champex Lac to Trient

We had planned to take the high variante over Fenetre d’Arpette but the weather forecast was for low cloud, rain, and low temperatures. So we had to be sensible and take the easier route over Alp Bovine.

It was dry and quite bright as we left Champex Lac.

Leaving Champex Lac

Leaving Champex Lac

We walked beside the Lac

Champex Lac

Champex Lac

and then through some pleasant Alpine meadows before ascending through some rough pastures into the woods. The path climbs steeply for what felt like a very long time. It was just the usual 600m to 700m but there were some very steep sections. The hillside was very wet from the recent rain and a one point the path was a river.

Damp underfoot

Damp underfoot

As we gained height we once again were enveloped by cloud

Back into the clouds

Back into the clouds

and a little higher – wet cloud. It was quite eerie hearing the clanging of the cow bells through the mist and hoping that a large bovine wasn’t suddenly going to come stampeding out of the clouds.

Alp Bovine was reached with some relief and we hustled indoors for hot chocolate.

Alp Bovine

Alp Bovine

This was quite a primitive affair as refuges go but it was warm and dry. As usual we were ahead of most people having got going at 07:30 and as we left, the hut became much busier.

Alp Bovine getting busy

Alp Bovine getting busy

Once outside we noticed there had been a sharp drop in temperature and the rain had become ‘stiff’. We had a further 60m of ascent from the refuge to Collet Portalo at 2040m and we pressed on quickly to get over the col and down out of the clouds.

Collet Portalo in the rain

Collet Portalo in the rain

It was mostly downhill along a pleasant woodland path and eventually we emerged at Col de la Forclaz 1527m.

Col de la Forclaz

Col de la Forclaz

The TMB poster showed that we were almost to the right hand end of the linear illustration of the route with only two proper hills left to climb.

About to 'turn the corner' back into France

About to ‘turn the corner’ back into France

We continued along a path beside the Bisse du Trient.

Bisse de Trient

Bisse de Trient

This is just one of 200 Swiss irrigation channels created in the Swiss Valais. These bisses were used to carry glacial water to cultivated fields far below.

We were booked in at Auberge du Mont Blanc at Trient which was a village at the bottom of the cliff we were standing on. As we made the steep descent we spared a thought for those poor TMB trekkers who had this ascent at the end of the day if they were staying at the refuge at Col de la Forclaz.

The Auberge du Mont Blanc at Trient

The Auberge du Mont Blanc at Trient

We had a fine view of the pink church from our room at the Auberge.

The splendid pink church at Trient

The splendid pink church at Trient

Day 10

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