Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sorebois to Zinal via Cabane du Petit Mountet, July 20, 2010

After two days of hiking I should have taken a day off, but the weather was perfect and I had a companion who was clearly able to hike again.  So I chose an easy hike, with most of the elevation gain done by cable car.  I knew from my 2005 trip that it has wonderful views of the mountains to the south of Zinal, above all the Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn and the glaciers that cascade down from them.

The Swiss travel system is efficient: a bus to Vissoie, followed by a bus to Zinal and the cable car to Sorebois got us to the start in no time.

I will first say a few words, with a few photos, about the hike, then give what you really want, the mountain photos!

After about five minutes on a road the trail veered off.  The photo below gives a feel for the whole trip: meadow and rock on our side of the valley, uninterrupted views of the mountains on the other side:

Most of the time the trail was nice and smooth crossing the alpine meadow:

but there were a few interesting rocky areas:

and, as everywhere in these mountains, areas of rockfall to cross:

There was a small snowfield above the trail, at these elevations precipitation often falls as snow in summer:

The trail was certainly not crowded on this Tuesday, but we did meet several groups.  Here we pass a group having a picnic with a view:

We passed through an interesting area of shrubs; by then I was photoed out and unfortunately took no pictures.  Soon we were above the hut:

Here is a closer view, note the parasols.  It is an easy hour's walk from Zinal, so is a very popular destination for the less ambitious walkers vacationing there:

We were worried about catching the bus back to St-Luc, so we did not stop for a beer at the hut.  From there to Zinal we took a wide track (there is a trail that we decided to bypass) and reached Zinal with an hour to spare.  Ample time for a beer with a view.

And now for the mountains!!  First an overview, note that my identification skills are, at best, limited!  The first photo shows the western part of the Imperial Crown.  The leftmost mountain, with clouds around it, is almost certainly the Weisshorn.  The black mountain at the extreme right is Lo Besso, small but prominent since it is much closer than its bigger neighbors.  I think that the mountain to the left of Lo Besso is the Zinalrothorn; it might be one of its immediate neighbors  Way down you see the valley, with the Zinal glacier at its upper end and streams flowing down from it:

Probably the Weisshorn:

Zinalrothorn, Besso and hanging glacier:

Weisshorn to Zinalrothorn:

Another look up the valley:

You can see the whole gallery here.


  1. You should also have been able to see the Ober Gabelhorn (4063 meters) and the top of the Matterhorn (4358 meters) to the right of Besso. . .