Dents tour day 1Dents du Midi Tour

Day 1

Having looked out over the Dents for years we finally get to see the other side. On Monday 4 August Angela, Fleming, Vicky and I leave the car and make our way steadily up the gravel road around the Signal de Bonavau. After an hour and great views of Champery we reach "Christines" mountain hut (below) where we stop for a drink before heading on towards the Pas D'Encel - a steep path up the edge of a precipitous gorge.

Christine's hutReaching the top of the Pas D'EncelThe Pas D'Encel slows us down a bit as the ladies swing up the chains on the steeper bits. However soon we reach the top and choose a fine picnic stop just beyond the bridge that takes us onto the left of the valley and around and up to the first hut.
Top of the Pas D'EncelSusanfe HutThe Susanfe Hut is a traditional old stone hut at 2110m. It sleeps 70 in dormitories and is run by some friendly wardens. As we are there by just after one, I head off to climb the Dent de Rossetan in the afternoon. At 2616m it is the lowest of the Dents du Midi but is still a rather scary knife edge with great views down to Champery.

We try to settle into hut life but I don't do too well first smashing a wine glass and then dropping a basket on Fleming's head - lucky I brought the first aid kit! Dinner at 6.30 and bed at 9.30. We are in the smaller dormitory but it still takes a while to drop off.

Dents tour day 2Day 2

Up around 6 to find the Haute Cime swathed in cloud. This gives us the excuse for a more leisurely start. We tuck into a breakfast of meusli and home made bread. There are tea bags and coffee on the table and the warden provides plenty of hot water. If you are brave you can fill your flask with "Tee de marche" - a sweet and scented concoction for the water bottle.

Climb to the Col de SusanfeLac de Salanfe from the ColThe climb to the Col de Susanfe (2494m) takes 1hr15m at a leisurely pace. From the col we get great views down to the Lac de Salanfe and the mountains beyond. The terrain is a smooth, compacted shale.
Col de SusanfeJust below the shoulderAt the col the ladies head on for the lake while Fleming and I head up Haute Cime, the highest of the Dents du Midi. After a steep rising traverse Fleming feels groggy and heads back. I push on as the path winds back and fro with the odd scramble up a rock band until it reaches the shoulder at 3056m and the Col des Parressaux. Here there are great views down the ridge.

From here a steepish climb leads to the summit at 3257m with a great view of Champery and Val D'Illiez and also south to Mt Blanc and other 4000 peaks.

Click here for the rest of the tour.

(Below: Susanfe valley from the Haute Cime with the Tour Saliere to the left of picture)

Susanfe valley with Tour Saliere to the left