At last... Let me tell you about my (first this season) a trully summer-like hike. With no storms, no hail, no fog, no mud... With a perfectly dry trail and super clear sky! And on top of that, the most awesome hike I have ever done so far. Ladies and gentlemen, Pointe d'Almet!
I went on this hike with CERN colleagues. We started from Col de la Colombiere and lost the route almost immediately (despite having gps coordinates and map!) We ended up literally climbing up a vertical wall without any gear. Pretty scary (a prelude to the later "really scary").
45 minutes later we were basically still at the level of our car park, except a couple of metres higher. But the view was already very nice.
We continued on through roofs of the mountains in order to reach a ridge that would lead us to Pointe d'Almet. We lost our way again and ended up hiking through rocks and places we shouldn't be hiking... We also had close encounters with bouquetins (wild goats with big horns). Fortunately they were friendly and understood that we came in peace :)
Once we entered the ridge we could see really marvelous views. Wherever we looked we saw something magnificent. Valley lakes on our right, Pic de Jallouvre and Aguille de Verte (that last one is known to us - see this post) on our left, and long and thin ridge in front and behind our back...
Soon the trail became even more demanding. We continued walking on a narrow path along the cliffs, frequently using our hands to find the balance and support in these difficult conditions. But boy it was real fun!
Cross of Almet was situated right after a tiny but deadly pass between two peaks. We really needed to focus and try not to fall into a chasm while crossing it. That was scary but once behind us, gave us a good deal of a sense of achievement. We spent some time by the cross and continued on along the ridge to actual summit which was situated some distance further.
Our hike continued in more or less the same conditions (cliffs, steep and narrow climbs, chasms - this kind of stuff) until we reached the end of a mountain with no path leading down. Bummer :) Fortunately, the weather was good so we could make a cross-country descent through a grassy slope.
A rather rapid descent on a grassy slope:
Once down, we had still a long way to cover - we went along the footstep of the mountain that we earlier had gone through the ridge. It was nice seeing it from a larger perspective.
All in all we did 16 km but it's not the mileage that made this trip my favourite hiking experience so far. A mixture of thrill, calm, snow, green, sun, chasms, grass, cliffs, rocks... I hope to do more hikes like that.