Wednesday 30 November 2016


View from the kitchen sink
From our kitchen window we get a fabulous view of the steep, rocky, NW face of the Besso - this evening it had a rosy alpenglow, against a clear sky scattered with a few early stars. At 3667m it's not the highest mountain in the valley, but it's perhaps the most distinctive.  The two peaks gave it its name - 'Besso' meaning double or twin in the old local patois.

It was probably first climbed in the 1860's by two local guides via a route not seen from the house. The 'standard' route to the summit starts from the Grand Mountet hut, and goes up the rocky, and at times exposed, SE ridge. The view from the top should be amazing but for now I'm happy with my view from the window...  PK
Views and colours of the NW face of the Besso
From the ski domain it looks quite tiny - seen in the centre of the picture

Friday 14 October 2016

New route to Lac d'Arpitettaz

After a snowy day the sun came out and we just had to go for a walk. It's been a while since we've done this route and we found quite a few changes. 

Across the Plat de la Le and up the first section everything was covered in an inch or two of fresh snow - not enough to completely cover the autumn colours, but it gave it a certain something.
Walking up from the Plat to the bridge
Reaching the upper level, we came to a new bridge spanning the Navisence. Since a storm in August 2013 washed away much of the river bank, (including the original bridge), several temporary bridges have been used to span the multiple streams and rocky floodplain, but these too were vulnerable to flooding. Now that's changed as this new wooden structure is built up on solid concrete footings.

New bridge spans the Navisence
Once over on the east side we found the path has been re routed. The new way, freshly carved into the turf, heads south to pass close above the cascade, before climbing up to the cross and enclosures at Le Chiesso.
The new path goes above the Cascade de la Volermo
Continuing on up to the Lac, there was another surprise - two shepherd's huts with solar panels had been dropped in for the season. Designed by three carpenters from Diablerets these high tech, mini pods are light enough for a helicopter to lift up to the high 'alpages', giving shepherds a more comfortable night under the stars.  PK
Temporary shepherd's huts by Lac d'Arpitetta
You can read more about this project on

Sunday 25 September 2016

The 'high' way from Zinal to Petit Mountet in early autumn.

Fresh snow on the mountains are golden autumn colours
A real gem of a walk and at this time of year the colours are jewel like - sapphire blue sky, emerald ferns and ruby red leaves of the myrtile bushes - and to think autumn has hardly begun. A real contrast to the last time I wrote about this route which was in July when there was still snow to cross and the pink alpenrose was in bloom.
A wonderful traverse with fabulous mountain views
It's a real favourite and by using the cable car there's hardly any climbing. You just stroll south across the mountain on a long traverse which slowly descends via the Cabane Petit Mountet to Le Pla and back to Zinal village. For nearly half the walk you are over 2400m and the views to the east are unbeatable, plus at this time of year we were the only people up there.    PK

Descending to the Cabane Petit Mountet

Sunday 21 August 2016

Green & Black

Crop of blackcurrants and gooseberries
It's harvest time for our fruit bushes and what a crop. We picked 9kg from the three blackcurrant bushes, and nearly 4kg from the two gooseberries. The rest of the afternoon was spent washing, top and tailing and freezing - keeping a few back top make some fool.

August fool
August Fool

- Stew some berries with sugar and a little water
- Puree, sieve and leave to cool
- whip some double cream and then fold into cooled berry puree.

Sunday 10 July 2016

Sky at night

Looking south towards the Besso
Last night was a beautiful, warm and moonless night. You didn't need to go far from the village to get the most amazing sky-scape. No telescopes required it was all just there - layer upon layer, from the bright to the milky way 'cloud'. A mind boggling look back in time.  PK

Looking west

Saturday 21 May 2016

Snow angel

The Besso's snow angel
Can you see her? Go straight down from the left peak and she's lying on the rock. We've never spotted her before, but this weekend our neighbour pointed her out. Of course she's not always there -and she can vanish overnight.

Incase you still can't see her.....  PK
...she circled in pink.

Saturday 2 April 2016

Look back on winter 2015/16

As the season comes to an early end, it's nice to look back to just some of the epic ski days we had. After a lean start it turned into a great winter.

Friday 11 March 2016

Direct line

Direct line to Mottec
It took one exciting (and wrong) try to finally work out the direct line back to Mottec. It's taken a while but we've finally done it and it's a new favourite route. Lovely snow, nearly 1500m of continuous descent, some exciting terrain, and a cup of tea waiting at the chalet.  PK
Some great snow...
...and interesting terrain

Friday 26 February 2016

Marinda - East Face

A new route for us - the east face of the Marinda. Seen from Zinal the face appears to be nearly vertical, however, it proved to be a beautiful ski and with very little skinning.  Happy days :)
Seen from Zinal it seemed almost vertical
The first short skin and ski down to the river
The second skin and lunch on the Basset de Lona
Perfect snow on the first main pitch ... 
and the second

Monday 25 January 2016


Skiing the trees
The new year arrived with lots of snow - one memorable storm lasting practically the whole week. Things quickly filled in, and we skied the trees like we've never done before. That fabulous sensation of snaking down through the gaps, dropping onto pillows of deep, fluffy, forgiving snow.
As our ski buddy Ray said 'I could hand my pass in now, as it doesn't get better than that' - high praise indeed.