Return to Tignousa by funicular for the start of today’s walk; a circular route which visits the alpine lakes of Lac de Combavert, Lac de Armina and Lac de la Bella Tola. Each lake is as serene as the last and you will soon find yourself at the foot of Bella Tola, which at a height of 3,025m is the highest peak in the area. The hardy may wish to continue to the peak for sublime views of the surrounding mountain range. Continue on the circular route and you will soon come across Cabane Bella Tola, a popular mountain lodge, also serving lunch. Why not try one of their gourmet salads topped with dried alpine flowers? (check opening times here: http://cabanebellatola.ch/ and always carry a packed lunch in case of unplanned closures)
The weather can change rapidly in the Alps, always check the forecast before you start the days hiking and pack appropriately. If the weather is too rough, do not begin the trek.
There can be left over snow drifts early in the season, the can sometimes have melted underneath - particularly if it covers moving water. Just because it looks solid, it doesn't mean it is. Exercise extreme caution when crossing such snow drifts and if possible walk around them to where you can see the solidity of the ground clearly.
Some of the ground can be uneven, with rocky/pebbly paths and even ice. Ensure you have suitable footwear with ankle support, and step cautiously when needed.
Much of the path is on clifftops and there has been some erosion, for this reason, the path is sometimes unclear, be careful of the drop and of loose rocks and edges to the cliffs.
Some of the gates are cattle deterrents and are electrified, be sure to use the plastic handles and reattach the cable to the housing when you pass through, they are 12 volts, so not dangerous but very unpleasant.
NOTE: attempting the summit walk adds an extra 400m of ascent/descent, bringing today's total ascent descent to nearly 1000m. If you do not summit Bella Tola, today's ascent/descent is approx. 600m. The summit should only be attempted by strong walkers, and in good weather conditions.
Tips and hints
Food and Drink
You can get lunch at Cabane Bella Tolla (details above), but it is a long day so make sure you have enough food and water in case of closure.
Points of Interest
The Bella Tola is a mountain of the Swiss Pennine Alps, overlooking Saint-Luc in the canton of Valais. With an elevation of 3,025 metres above sea level, it is the highest summit of the subrange north of the Meidpass. The views from the peak are astounding if you can face the 400 metres of extra ascent/descent!
The 3 lakes
The three lakes that you will explore on this walk each offer something a little different. This route is less used than some of the other routes, so you will often have the lakes to yourself. Although they are glacial, if your feet are hot and tired why not dip them into the cool waters. Swimming is not recommended as the water is very very cold!
This tour is available on the following itineraries: WSWITVD, WSTSOTM
EquipmentAs well as the appropriate shoes and layered clothing for the changeable weather and other essentials, you should consider walking poles, UV sunglasses and factor 30 suncream. The sun is bright and high UV in the higher Alps and the snow can reflect it and intensify the exposure.
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Kit para bolhas
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.