Destination – Haute Cime (3257m / 10,686ft)
Route – Van d’en Haut – Salanfe's Inn – Haute Cime -
Salanfe's Inn - Van d’en Haut
Time taken – 9 hrs 15 min (including breaks)
Distance – 22 Km approx.
Altitude variation – 2431m ▲ / 2442m ▼ Map -
The summit of Dents du Midi, rightly said, is the hikers doorstep to the alpine world offering
a panoramic introduction to the mighty peaks around Valais region.
I got started at the crack of dawn knowing the distance and altitude involved to reach the
The path gently sloped through the forest turning into a
steep walk until ,after an hour, I sighted my day’s
sunshine with Tour Salliere (3220m) in the foreground.
Walking further I arrived at the beautiful Lake
Salanfe (Tour Salliere in the background). The path
zigzagged up the lake and moraine eventually
taking a steep gradient passing through a cliff to a
refuge at Col de Susanfe, before setting off for the
final leg of my climb to the summit.
The impressive view of the north face of the Dents du
Midi were in sight. Haute Cime (the summit), Les
Doigts, Col de la Dent Jaune, Dent Jaune and La
Cathédrale (from left to right).
Although it was an usual scree laiden path from Col de Susanfe (2494m), there was
something unusual about it on that day. The route to the summit was covered with snow.
Apparently, without snow, it would have been a usual climb. Put simply, to make it to the
top, the final 800m of steep slope had to be tackled with “bare-minimum”, I wasn’t equipped
to walk under those conditions.
Which way to go....looking upwards there was no trace
of trail whatsoever but snow and scree.
Walking up I saw guys turning back which for a moment put me in a dilemma. However, I
decided to continue with my “madness” and set out for the next 2 hours of nerve wrecking
duel. When I arrived at Col de Paresseux (3056m), a few guys who were well equipped for
the occasion did rightfully warn me of the risks involved. The snow not only made the climb
slow and unstable but also very slippery which made my attempt vulnerable to any
accident. The last 200m I climbed (almost crawling) with my hands searching for firm rocks
covered in snow.
Once at the top, I was rewarded with stunning
360º panoramic views of the entire Swiss alps
and beyond...an incredible feast!
Panoramic view of Swiss alps with
Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn, Dent Blanche,
Monte Rosa, Matterhorn and Pigne d’
Arolla in view.
Panoramic view of the Combins with
Grand Combin (4314m) in the center.
And looking across the summit, Lake
Geneva ending at the shores of Villeneuve.
The impressive view of massif Mont Blanc
from the summit.
While descending, I met a friendly guy Donny who offered me a rope for “just-in-case”
scenario. However, plodding down the snow was fun except a few slips…oops! Walking down
further from Col de Susanfe was the usual hop step and run affair with a quick stopover at
Auberge de Salanfe for a cold beer before heading for my next day’s hike from Arolla.