Saturday, March 08, 2008

Snowshoeing in the Val d'Anniviers: Day two

Sunday started with blue skies and fantastic views. Unfortunately, clouds started to blow in over breakfast and continued to arrive throughout the day. This shortened our day somewhat.

We set off from Hotel Weisshorn at around 9am and headed into the bowl (Tsa du Touno) that leads towards the Hirsihorn and Burgihorn. The plan was to walk in along one side of the bowl (under the Pointes de Nava) until we reached the saddle (to the Alpage Nava) and then back out along the other side of the bowl. The first part went fine: we did a mixture of trail breaking and following a touring ski trail through the lovely valley ("snow desert"). Then the clouds got really thick. We reached the saddle and decided that it was getting to be much too close to white-out conditions, so we turned around and walked out the way we came. Too bad.
After reaching the road under the Hotel Weisshorn, we followed a snowshoe trail back down to St. Luc. Rather than waiting 2 hours for the bus down to Vissoie(1204m), we walked that stretch. We had packed our trekking poles away on arriving in St. Luc, so we did this descent without them. There's nothing like a steep descent to remind one of how much easier the sticks make things. We arrived in Vissoie with plenty of time to have a refreshing beverage and a crepe before the bus down to Sierre and the trip back to Basel

Total walking time: about 6 hours including a short lunch break. We probably climbed ~300m and descended about 1500m.


Sue Halpern said...

This isn't a comment about your snowshoeing trip but, rather, your Pyrenees trip. Can you advise about the weather, and if you carried a down or synthetic sleeping bag and, knowing what you know of conditions there now, which of these you'd recommend. Thanks!

drgergl said...

Not sure if it's better to reply via comment or what, but I'll give this a try:

We have one down bag (Andrea) and one synthetic (Greg). I don't think either of has a particularly strong opinion about which is better. Down is smaller and (maybe) lighter, the synthetic is less problematic when it gets wet.

We did our trip in September because it's not high season and the weather is supposedly more stable. Still, it's pretty dependent on where you are, particularly which side of the mountains: in general Spain is dryer than France.

A general suggestion, if you're planning to do significant hiking in the Pyrenees it's useful to have a copy of "Trekking in the Pyrenees by Douglas Streatfeild-James (though take his time suggestions with a grain of salt, the man walks FAST). If you read German, we can suggest a couple of other books as well.