Walking in the Alps

Takehide Kazami’s comments about his travels in the Himalayas (see High n’ Wild/Himalayas) are equally applicable to the Alps.  Although the Alpinist’s reward, for all his/her hard graft, will be spectacular dawns and vast panoramas, the walker often has a better view for less effort. He can gaze up at the Alpine giants while simultaneously enjoying the simple pleasures of village, forest, stream, meadow, and the varied flora and fauna; all while enjoying good food and a glass of wine or bottle of beer. There will always be higher level walks into more rugged and challenging environments for those with the necessary fitness and inclination.

Walking in the Alps has something for everyone. In these Galleries you will find images from the Mont Blanc Massif, from the Valais Canton of Switzerland, and a gallery devoted to the Flora and Fauna that for many is one of the joys of an Alpine summer holiday.

The Valais Canton may need a little introduction:- it lies in the SW of Switzerland. To the south it borders Italy, and to the West, France. At its heart is the Rhone valley. South of the Rhone valley lie the Pennine Alps formed by the collision of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. The highest peaks in the Pennine Alps are ranged along the canton’s frontier ridge between Switzerland and Italy. The Pennine Alps are home to more than 50% of all the 4000m Alpine peaks, the vast majority of these clustered around the Mattertal (Zermatt) and Saastal (Saas Fee) valleys – these being the easternmost of a series of high Alpine valleys that drain N into the Rhone valley. Not surprisingly this area is a walkers’ and climbers’ paradise.

Mont Blanc Massif

GALLERY COMING SOON

The Mont Blanc massif straddles the borders of France, Italy and Switzerland. It’s a mecca for extreme skiing and the massif is home to many of the most severe Alpine climbs.  For the walker, The Tour du Mont Blanc is a circular walk round the massif taking 8-10 days and is regarded by many as being one of the 10 best walks in the world.

 

Mattertal

The Mattertal valley is famous principally for two things – the village of Zermatt at its head and the iconic Matterhorn that dominates the scene. Both are world famous and rightly so. When walking in and around Zermatt, you are seldom out of sight of the Matterhorn; which is why so many images include it. Walking can be leisurely or strenuous, aided by train or cablecar if you wish, and you are never too far from somewhere to eat or drink – be it posh restaurant or mountain hut. Once you have been to Zermatt you will want to return, and don’t forget it is also a superb place to ski.

 

Saastal

The Saastal valley like the Mattertal stretches south to the Italian border. The valley is dotted with pretty villages; Saas Fee itself sits on the floor of a hanging valley surrounded by a semi-circle of high peaks including the Dom (the highest alpine peak entirely within Switzerland).  Whereas Zermatt is busy, bustling and sophisticated, Saas Fee is, in contrast, rustic, tranquil and less developed – charms that endear it to many people. Like Zermatt it is car-free, but the Post Bus that stops at the edge of the village allows easy access to other points within the larger valley.

 

Flora and Fauna

GALLERY COMING SOON