So summer has come to an end and it’s time to leave Morzine and start getting ready for winter, which is a bit of a shame and also the problem with the summer in the Alps, it is too short, it feels that as soon as it starts, it’s over. On the plus side the weather in the second half of the season has been better, more sunny days and less rain, well anything is better than rain everyday!
There is so much to do in the Alps in the summer its hard to try and fit everything in really, especially with work and the weather, these being the two factors that often get in the way. Having said that we have plenty of free time to get out and about, heres a bit about what we have been up to……….But as opposed to blabbering on about everything, I will hopefully let the pictures say more!
We managed to find the bouldering in the Prodain valley, which the most interesting thing was probably the access, a cable over the stream, which we had to shimmey across, with no topo or route info it was almost a bit of a shame, however we made up a traverse and I gave some overhanging route a go, a worth while trip, but we didn’t rush back, at all.
One thing that morzine has in abundance is mid-altitude hikes, there are so many to choose from and so little time to get any done, we managed to get out into the hills over the last few weeks to tick a few off the list.
One of these such hikes is Les Hauts-Forts, a summit that sits above Avoriaz very near to the boarder with Switzerland. It sits at 2466m which is the highest peak in the Haute Chablais region, so a good one to tick off the list! Having not done much research about the route apart from glancing at the map briefly the day before, we weren’t really sure what to expect. The weather wasn’t great, very grey, chilly and cloudy, not the idea weather for a big hike but it was either that or let a bout of cabin fever sink in again. The walk up wasn’t to bad, just a long slog uphill, gaining around 400 vertical meters before the fun really started.
Having no idea what was going to meet us, the first wasn’t such a pleasant surprise, 40mph winds as we got to the ridge, after layering up and sort of working out where the route went, we set off. The next surprise was steep and exposed scrambling, almost climbing in places, with safety via-Ferata-like cable to clip onto.
With the wind buffeting us around we scrambled up the ridge for about 30 minutes before reaching the summit, where we huddled down as low as we could to avoid the wind, had a spot of lunch (very quickly) and then headed down. As soon as we were down out of the wind we were met by what was,comparatively, a nice warm temperature. The route took us 4.5 hours in total, with a total vertical ascent of around 700m, which we didn’t think was too bad for an afternoon!
In our last week here in Morzine we managed to squeeze in one more big hike, the Roc D’Enfer is quite a well know peak due to the way it looks like two horns, and with such incredible panoramic views from Lake Geneva to the north and the whole Mont Blanc range to the south we were hoping for a good weather day, and as though we had arranged everything, we woke to a clear blue, sunny and warm morning!
We parked at the Col de l’encrenaz at 1433m, and much of the approach is through the fields, with the animals grazing around, which is very pleasant and with the most superb views of the Mont Blanc range behind us.
For the last 45 minutes, it turns to more scrambling, or very steep walking terrain, and for sections the ridge has steep and long drops on either side, for the last few hundred meters leading up to the summit (2243m). We sat on the summit alone for nearly an hour watching the clouds swirling in the valleys below, but fortunately Mont Blanc stayed clear throughout the day, it was almost mesmerising, after that we walked back to the car flowing the ridge line nearly the whole way and and a well deserved beer before heading home.
Apart from that, a few shorts trips to other places in the area, such as Samoens and the Fer-a-cheval nation park near Sixt, which has some amazing scenery.
I was lucky enough to give Parapenting another go, which was amazing, and when the instructor gets you so close to the ground, you can feel the grass on you legs, it really does give you a buzz!
We made a short edit of the footage we have from the summer, there is no way that we could put everything in the video, but there are spits of (nearly) everything we got up to.