Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Summer 2004

Hikes around Mauvoisin and the Col de Tsofeiret


You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The venerable Hotel de Mauvoisin, at the head of the Val de Bagnes leading up southward from Sembrancher and Verbier, lies at 1840m on a rocky buttress over a ravine beneath the 1950s-era super-Swiss-dam of Mauvoisin.

27 June 2004: The setting is charming, and the neighborhood is steep, very very steep (the word Mauvoisin seems to suggest something like "very bad neighborhood"). Kristin settles into the room and peeks out at the splendid sights.

That's the main splendid sight from the hotel, the mighty barrage at 1960m.

A quick 27 Junish look before dinner, the dam from the west side, more impeccable Swiss engineering.

Kristin dashes up through galleries along the west side of the lake, chiefly to check out tomorrow's route up the east side.

The Lac de Mauvoisin: less and less snow every year, apparently; water levels are down in June 2004.

Time to turn back now, and rest up for tomorrow.

The dam from the west -- tomorrow's route to Tsofeiret is clearly seen on the far side.

Glacier run-off water in the lake, lots of interesting "stuff" in it

Kristin sets off confidently across the Mauvoisin dam on 28 June, bound for the Col de Tsofeiret, which hides somewhere up there on the high-left of the photo on the right.

It's June so there's still lots of old snow and vigorous run-off.
Kristin isn't getting her hiking-boots wet since she's not wearing any.

In fact, Kristin never wears hiking boots whilst hiking.
Kristin wears post-modern "hiking sandals", which "let the feet breathe". So far, so good.

-- Let's keep it moving along.

Kristin's hiking-sandals are holding up pretty well so far, still breathing well, not too chilly if you keep moving fast enough.

Kristin: "What did you say? I can't hear you."
Dwight: "You're standing on top of a small river!"

The 1964m Mauvoisin dam from about 600m higher.

Kristin approaches the Lac de Tsofeiret with moist and chilly toes, and pauses to view the Grand Combin to the west.

The famous Col de Tsofeiret (2635m, 8650 feet) looms behind the little lake, and the Lac de Tsofeiret is just over to the left. The "hiking sandals" are still breathing well so far.

Time for a tiny Mauvoisin-lunch


Lunch at the Lac de Tsofeiret (2572m), viz.: 5 slices of ham stuck into two thick peasanty bread slices, butter and a breath of mustard, for 8 francs-a-go from the hotel. No bargains there.

Over-priced ham slices efficiently dealt with, Kristin darts upward towards the Col de Tsofeiret . . .

. . . and sits upon it.

Mr Peck has already begun thinking about dinner, and was glancing longingly back northwards towards the Hotel de Mauvoisin.

Kristin stands just above the Col de Tsofeiret -- the path towards Italy leads down past the snow cornice on the right to the Cabane de Chanrion -- and makes humorous comments about her hiking companion.

Kristin, with the famous Lac de Tsofeiret below.

The sound of the dinner gong at Mauvoisin can be heard even at 2635 meters.

Let nothing stand between us and a good dinner. The Fenêtre de Durand over into Italy betwixt our ankles.

As we're preparing to walk back down, the Grand Combin, across the valley, looms.

First we need to figure out how to get back down.

There it is. It's getting time for a Mauvoisin half dinner. And awkward comments from the landlord, who laughs heartily at the decadence of American tourists who would prefer to have bathrooms in their own rooms instead of two floors down.

Past the famous Lac de Tsofeiret again, with an eye out for the ibex.

Ooops, ibex have been here.

Kristin, having great fun, but still musing upon the probable evening menu at the Hotel de Mauvoisin. (It wasn't spectacular.) (In fact, it was . . . well, "very minimal".)

In fact, the ibex near the Lac de Tsofeiret were probably eating better than we did back at the hotel.

Oh, well, never mind. They get to roam free and eat grass, and freeze at night, we get to visit them from time to time and then snuggle back under the duvet. And nearly starve to death at the Hotel de Mauvoisin.

"Oh, Those Americans. Always expecting Double Portions. And Toilets in the Same Building."
It's still more cultural imperialism, and Globalization.

Sir Charles Berman and the Narrator passed this way in 2002 as well, bound for Italy.

Summer 2004


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 16 September 2004, revised 12 September 2008, 29 April 2013.


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