Saturday, May 17, 2014

Le Parmelan (1832 m)

Our last hike together during these holidays and at last -good weather, yey! We chose to go along Le Parmelan, starting from its highest point - La Tête du Parmelan (1831 m). We really didn't know what to expect - will there be snow or not, nevertheless we decided to give it a go and it was a good decision. 
The first part of the trail led through the forest, and then le Grand Montoir path that was leading very steeply up the rock. This passage is very dangerous in winter because of frequent avalanches. This time it was rather easy, I would even say there was no need to use the cables installed there for safety.

The snow started right after we did the chain passage. We were actually both surprised by the amount of it! Fortunately, it was very wet and heavy so we could pass through only with a bit of vigilance. A couple of minutes before the summit we could see a breath-taking view on the Alps, still covered in snow.

We made a pause by the cross but it was only the beginning of our trip so we didn't stay long. Our round trip was supposed to go up to La Tête, then along the ridge of the mountain (which is actually pretty long) and then down at the other side and back to the car at the footstep of Le Parmelan. So we left a rather crowded top and went on a deserted hike along the range... We didn't descent so there was snow everywhere - something that we hadn't expected. It was very difficult to follow the path because there were few foot trails and the snow was hiding the paths from us. It was also hiding the wholes in rocks, so we really needed to watch our feet. The fact that we were the only human beings around was also a bit disturbing... If other hikers didn't dare to claim the ridge, perhaps we were too bold?

Despite the uncertainty, we enjoyed the views - Annecy valley on the right, the Alps on the left. But it was no carefree hike and it actually became an opposite of carefree when we had to admit we had lost the trail. We reached a point there were only rocks and chasms around and what was worse, we really didn't know how much time we had followed a goat trail instead of a marked route. We had no choice, we had to backtrack. Fortunately, at some point we spotted the correct trail, something like 30 metres under us. The problem was, we didn't see any possibility to cross this distance at it was almost vertical, through rocks. In the end, we spotted a place that was good enough for us, so we took the risks and... slid!

As much fun as it looks in the photos, it was actually a scary experience. It's not easy to control a slide like that and we had rocks and wholes covered by snow around. I felt a great relief the moment I found myself standing on the marked trail. From that moment our route continued rather calmly, even though there were pretty steep passages ahead of us. Nevertheless, nothing could frighten us afterwards.

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