It has been on my agenda for many years to go and take a look at a lovely little refuge called the Cabane de Louvie. Yesterday, during this busy season, we finally made the time!

Cabane de Louvie

The Walkers Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt is not a walk in the park, far from it! As the route suggests, it goes high!

There are some big days, you will be trekking up to 3000 metres and at that height the terrain is tricky with ascents & descents on boulders, scree slopes and rocky terrain. When the weather gets bag in places like this it makes it more problematic!

As a guide, I would say the two most difficult days on the trek are from Cabane Mont Fort to Arolla. Day 1 you have two options. Sentier des Chamois which takes you via 3 mountain passes on a delicate & exposed path. Second choice would be via the Col des Choux with its steep and loose terrain either side of the mountain pass, still 3 cols, two of which are the same. Both routes are problematic in poor weather & are generally not advised.

What about another variant? Well, yes there is, hence our recce yesterday!

On the ascent to the refuge, Val des Bagnes & Fionnay below

How does this change the route?

Nothing changes until you get to Le Chable, on the day you leave Champex Lac. From Le Chable instead of taking the Cable Car to Les Ruinettes, you would take a short bus ride to Fionnay in the heart of the remote Val des Bagnes. This is where we started our route yesterday. We made our ascent on steep group with splendid views of the beautiful Swiss Valais mountains, Gran Combin gleaming in the background. After two hours we reached the refuge, a friendly warm welcome awaited us (and hot chocolate!). Its beautifully situated by Lac Louvie with the grandeur of the mountains all around.

Stone steps cut into the rocks on the ascent

The following day its an easy start with a traverse of the lake before making a steady climb up to the traversing path that comes in from the Col Termin & the Sentier des Chamois. It’s here we re-join our original itinerary. See photo.

It’s a much better option, it evens up the days & doesn’t make the day between the Cabane Mont Fort & Cabane Prafleuri such an ordeal. It’s also a safer option in good & bad weather!

View from the Cabane de Louvie and the route for the following day

For more information, take a look at our guided & self-guided Walkers Haute Route itineraries here: