Hiking in the upper Val du Bagnes and the Pleureur

A hike into the upper Bagnes Valley offers a trip into the wilds within the reach of all hiking enthusiasts. A new educational trail through the mountain tunnels leading to the dam shows us how the dam was built. This new didactic hike uses photos, examples of the old tools, and a final video to show what was involved in the construction of the Mauvoisin Dam in the 1950s.

From the dam, one can hike along the right or left banks to the end of the lake. From there, trails leading over the Col de Crete Seche and Fenetre de Durand offer beautiful and remote hikes to neighboring Italy. One can even climb up the Otemma glacier and down to Arolla in a day. Circling back to Mauvoisin offers a great day out with a stop at the Swiss Alpine Hut Chanrion for lunch.

With light mountaineering boots, light crampons and axe, Frank and I left from the Hotel Mauvoisin to climb the Pleureur at 3704. The trail starts a few hundred meters from the dam on the right bank, and climbs strait up into the sky. If one is well acclimated, the climb takes 5 hours. The elevation gain is close to 2000 meters, and the quickly changing views are spectacular. The steep trail is equipped with chains and iron steps to get through the cliff bands at 2400 meters. At 2900, the trail dwindles onto the Serpentine Glacier, but here we head strait up the grassy slopes towards the Grande Ashle. A light ice axe helps sure feet stay on these greasy slopes. After deep, loose rock and scree, one follows the ridge to the summit.

Here are 7 shots form our trip into nature.

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