It’s a leg-burning climb up and away from Le Châble, passing through a variety of landscapes and viewpoints before finally arriving at the Cabane de Mont-Fort. If 1,680 metres of climbing doesn’t entice you, you can connect gondolas and chairlifts to shorten the walk and enjoy the views from above.
The great thing about ascending 1,680 metres on one of the Haute route’s toughest sections is the diverse array of landscapes and ecosystems you’ll pass through. Leaving Le Châble, crane your neck up towards the mountains, past the pastures chiming with cowbells, beyond the scattered villages with a labyrinth of narrow streets, and above the damp pine forest sprouting fungi and raspberries. Lurking out of view just below the craggy peaks is the sturdy shelter of Cabane de Mont-Fort, perched like a castle on a prominent knoll 2,457 metres above sea level. This is where you'll spend the night, feeling smug as everyone else turns around to descend to their villages.
Today’s walk avoids Verbier, preferring to stick instead to the wild nature of the Bagnes Valley. Nevertheless, the signs and infrastructure of this outdoor sports mecca are omnipresent so if you would like to avoid the worst of the climb you can connect gondolas and chairlifts instead. Take first the Verbier gondola and then the Les Ruinettes chairlift (if you plan to take the cable car we suggest combining days 4&5).
Tip van de auteur
Enjoy your lunch at the Abri picnic area after 7.5 kilometres. It’s in a beautiful woodland location, and with covered picnic benches, a water fountain, and toilets, it’s a great stop come rain or sunshine!
Occasionally you must walk on minor roads. Where there is no verge or pavement you should walk on the left side facing the oncoming traffic, except where the road bends left when you should cross over to the other side. Stay alert to vehicles around you.
Today the hiking trail is often shared with mountain bikes. In theory hikers have right of way, however, this is not always the case. Pay attention to your surroundings and particularly listen for the rattle of a freewheel or the squeal of brake. You will often hear cyclists before you see them.
The exception where cyclists have right of way is when the hiking trail crosses a cycling trail. Stop and check nothing is coming before crossing.
The trail is often rocky and uneven and can be slippery when wet. Wear appropriate footwear and take care with your foot placements, particularly at the end of the day when you may be tired. Walking poles can be useful on some of the steep ascents and descents.
In early spring/late summer there may be patches of snow. Walk around where it is possible, and otherwise place your feet carefully and use walking poles if you have them. Continue to risk assess the consequences if you were to slide.
This route is above 2,000 metres so bear in mind you may feel a shortness of breath and additional muscle fatigue associated with the altitude.
The weather can change quickly. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing in your day-bag.
Tips en hints
Points of Interest
Cabane de Mont-Fort
This alpine cabin is perched atop a prominent knoll at 2,457 metres with panoramic views to Mont Blanc and Grand Combin. It was originally built in 1925 to take advantage of the many 3,000-metre peaks that circle it, however, today it serves great food and a welcoming stay to the many hikers, skiers and bikers who arrive at its door.
Les Vernays Chapel
When the previous 17th-century Les Vernays chapel was replaced in 1950, the architect and all the builders gave their time free of charge, totalling more than 1,000 days of labour. This demonstrates the importance of having this chapel, dedicated to Our Lady of the Ardent, overlooking the Bagnes Valley.
Food and Drink
There are limited food options along today’s walk so be sure to leave Le Châble with plenty of snacks for the day. There is a restaurant in Clambin after 6.5 kilometres and another restaurant near the Les Ruinettes Lift Station after 9 kilometres if you want to take a 500-metre detour from the trail.
Bring two litres of water. There are water fountains to refill your bottles after 1.5, 6.5 and 7.5 kilometres.
Cable car from Le Châble to Verbier and Les Ruinettes (1h10 walk to Cabane de Mont Fort).
The lift operates from approx. 8:00 – 17:30 daily and costs approx. 10 CHF from Le Châble to Verbier or 20 CHF from Le Châble to Les Ruinettes.
Bring appropriate footwear, preferably walking boots with good grip and ankle support.
Bring a waterproof jacket and trousers, even where the weather forecast makes this appear unnecessary.
Walking poles may be useful on some of the steep ascents and descents.
Food for the duration of the hike and two litres of water is recommended.
A powerbank and phone cable may be useful if you are navigating using your phone. Remember that phone batteries may be less effective in cold weather.
- 3 Locaties
- 3 Locaties