Hi Guys! Travel report from our Via Valais 28/8-6/9
It is truly a fantastic epic trail you have found! Unfortunately we were hit by snow&wind day 2-4 so instead of going to AIGUILLE ROUGE day 2 we were forced down to lower altitudes to the village of Evolene. Day 3 the Bec the Bosson closed due to weather conditions so we went to Vercorin instead. Day 4 we went to Zinal . Day 5 the snow was melting and the sun started to shine, so we passed a snowy forcletta pass but we didn´t dare go the Schöllisch the day after, (because of the snow) so we went to Gruben instead of Turtmanhytte. Day 6 we took the Augustboardpass to St Nicolaus for lunch and then up to Topaliihytte were we spend the night. After that the sun shined from a blue sky the rest of the days and we follow your trails. Our adventure will be one for the books, truly epic. Suz, Challis and myself sends you all in the team a great hug for creating this andventure, we really enjoyed every bit of it, even if some days were cold with wind and rain. But that is a part of a great adventure, isn´t it 🙂 / Jacob
I'd like to do the Via Valais the other way... from Zermatt to Verbier. What do you think about it ?
Has anyone done this?
Thanks a lot,
We are three people going Via Valais 28/8-5/9 and are absolutely thrilled for this adventure!! We have however a problem: We are trying to send bags to Zinal and Zermatt, but they need a Swiss telephone number... anybody who has the same problem?
To follow up on your question, the Schöllijoch went fine for us. For background, my wife and I are both active rock and alpine climbers and big mountain skiers. So, we might not be the typical trail-running demographic. There were definitely a couple short exposed-feeling sections, but having nice grippy gloves and stiff running shoes (Sportiva Raptors) made it feel super manageable. After each 3-5 meter ladder or rope section, there always felt like there was a comfortable ledge on which to rest. I know some friends that come from only hiking and running backgrounds that I don’t think would enjoy it. That said, I don’t think it would be a problem for anybody comfortable moving through T5-T6 terrain or scrambling 4th class in exposed locations. The crux is definitely the exposure and not any technical difficulties. Don’t automatically trust all the metal rungs as many of the larger ones spin now. I hope that helps.
Thanks for drawing up this route for everybody! It's a great trip! My wife and I just did the 6-stage version from Aug 3 - 8. The first couple days it was snowing but, everything was melted out by the time we got to the Schollijoch. You've gotta bring some more stuff for COVID at the moment, but we were able to get a private room at all of the alpine lodging. For anybody interested in this in the near future, Zermatt is getting back to its normal busy self, and the Turtmann Hut was quite busy as well. On all the other sections, we saw almost no one.
Hi, thanks for the inspiring page! We want to do the tour on the third week of August. Does anyone know if the bridge to Randa is set up? And is there any need for a running crampon? (I understand not).
If traveling is possible by mid/late June I’m hoping to attempt the 9 stages in one push.
Anyone with local knowledge about snowpack this early on the season? Also will ladders, chains etc be in place to make the big descent on stage 7 possible?
Many thanks for the route descriptions.
Hi there. Any news on how Covid is affecting the Via Valais? I am supposed to be out there early September and have some huts booked already.
We're going July 6 to 12, a bit early but we already did Haute Route 4 years ago on this week and it was fabulous. We're doing the 6 stages in 5 days, adapting a bit stage 1 and 2 to reduce the overall distance. We know these trails from previous Haute Route trip. We're going to book the huts, and planning the whole trip. Since we'll use the train to Sierre we're considering sending some stuff directly to Zermatt to be there when we arrive. Hope the Charles Kuonen bridge is open this year...
We're eager to go, although this is the obivous part.
Hi, I am planning to do the Via Valais at the end of August 2020 together with my husband. Already booked some huts (even paid the advance) so it is fixed I hope. I have two questions:
1) I combined the stage 4 and 5 into one day which will be from CAB. BECS DE BOSSON to Zinal and cut out a few kilometer section leading to Cab. de Moiry as we will not need it. Do you it is OK? Seemed like the the two easiest days to me
2) I intend to do the bonus peaks but I don't think that access to them is marked on the gpx files which I downloaded from your website. Where can I find routes to the peaks and back? Are they marked somehow?
So thrilled about our trip already!!!!!!!!!
Hello. I am planning a Via Valais trip in early September 2020 with a few friends. Will the huts need to be booked in advance for this? If so, when would be the time to book them? I am worried about them filling up. but not ready to lock in dates yet. Thanks!
Hi, we're planning to run a 6 stage via valais next summer. Our first idea was to start at the top of the Crêt du Midi lift from Vercorin and doing stage 4-9 as suggested. But, what I like so much about the mountains is being far away from everything. At stage 5 and 7 the overnight stays are in a hotel in a village, while you stay in the mountains all the time for the first 5 days. Would that be a good motivation to run the 5 first stages (up to Zinal) instead of the last 6? Or do you think we miss the best part then?
Anyway, pictures from all stages look amazing. We look so much forward to this. Thanks a lot for this opportunity.
Where to begin!! From the moment this was presented to me about 6 months ago, it seemed like a dream. We(myself and 2 friends) did the Via Valais starting on 9/6/2019 and ended on 9/14/2019. Kim Strom was an amazing help all along the way and it was such a pleasure to meet Dan and Janine Patitucci. The challenges were real, but every bit worth it. Everyday was different and every stay in the huts/hotels along the way were beyond memorable in different ways. Having done the Haute Route 5 years ago almost to the day, I have to say that the views and staying up high is well worth the extra miles and vertical feet. We had rain, snow and lots of cloudy weather the first few days, but were then blessed with bright blue skies and temps in the high 60's. I would Highly recommend this adventure to any outdoor enthusiast that has a thirst for challenge. My hats off to the crew who created the VIA VALAIS!!!!
Thanks for your prompt reply and useful information!
Hi, I am planning to do this amazing Via Valais next year and have a few questions. 1) which month offers the best weather to do it between June-August? 2) Which stages are easier and can be connected and done in one day instead of two? I'd like to do it in 4-6 days. I have just finished a fastpacking trip 465 km/ +14000 m in 9 days . 3) Is it safe to do it alone in terms of glacier crevasses, etc.? Best regards, it seems you created a real gem, I can't wait to be there!
The journey of a lifetime.... it is hard to describe the total feeling of immersion you get by spending so much time high-up. It is also approachable, with the flexibility to enjoy relaxing time at the huts or double-up the stages. And it is not that difficult to reach , little time lot in transportation around the world and half-broken trains.
One story in length:
Hi there, I can imagine it's not always easy to quit the stages. Which two stages do you recommend doing if I only have two days of time?
We did the 6-stage tour from July 31 - Aug 5. It was a fantastic experience!
Each stage, and to some degree each valley, has its own feel created by the ever-changing combinations of landscape, plants, geology and people. Coming from Alaska, where wild nature begins at the trailhead, we found it awesome how civilized a 6-day trot in the mountains could be AND how light our packs could be for such an undertaking. In the middle of a run, you can get strudel and iced-tea! You can charge up the Corne De Sorebois in the noontime heat and get the best coke of your life just on the other side! How badass is that?!
We packed minimally but still found that the added weight made it pretty tough to keep trotting up most of the significant climbs. We mainly power-hiked the ups and jogged the flats and the descents. The long descents into the villages definitely took their toll, but at the end of each one is a hot shower and cold beer. Starting out on day 3 (from Zinal), we felt pretty ragged, but after that our bodies seemed to get used to the continued effort.
If like us, you've never been to the Alps before, you're going to want to take a ton take photos. My camera is too big to fit on the front of my pack, so I was frequently stopping to take off my pack to get the camera. Having a small, light camera you can run with and easily access without taking your pack off will save you more time on the trail than 2 months of interval training.
Sending the bags on with the train had its pros and cons. On the pro side, it was nice to have civilian clothes and other personal items in town. On the other hand, sending bags prevents you from leaving town early in the morning and forces you to head into town before the office closes to collect them. It wasn't a huge inconvenience, but I think if I did it again, I'd nix sending bags and put the money I saved toward more strudels.
We're just so appreciative of AlpsInsight for giving us all the information to go have this experience. I can't recommend it enough, especially to folks from the US who haven't experienced the wonderfully civilized Alps mountain culture.
Finished the 7 first days of the Via Valais on Friday! First of all, many thanks to AlpsInsight for creating this amazing tour; we had soooo much fun!! 🙂
Reading through Loic and Chelsea comments, we can confirm that some of the GPS tracks did not match the distance covered according to our Garmin watch (we traveled more distance than what was described); espacially stage 3 probably due to the straight line through Evolene. On day 7, the rocky trail that follows the Schöllijoch was not our favorite part as it was more climbing/trekking than trailrunning.. And the trail to Randa was closed, so that we had to change our itinerary and head to St Niklaus.
But overall it was an incredible experience, with most of the time sunny and warm weather, and just one rainy day (that happened on day 4 from Cabane de Moiry to Zinal, but we are sure the views must have been fantastic!). The views along the way are breathtaking and the steep climbs to the peaks/passes are well worth the sweat! We are happy we stopped after 7 days as our knees were suffering from the steep 2200m descent to St Niklaus on the last day. But we would like to finish days 8 and 9 someday and discover these running trails around Zermatt!
We were very satisfied with all the huts, the staff was always welcoming and the food was great. We even had the chance to attend a concert of "Les Poissons Voyageurs" at the Cabane des Becs de Bosson; we had a fantastic night! We also saw a lot of wild animals throughout the week (tooons of marmots, deers, ibexes, sheeps, foxes, .. :)). We particularly enjoyed waking up and setting out early so that we could chill at the hut (with a piece of cake mmmmh) in the afternoon 😉 Again a big thank you to the whole team for sharing the gear you packed for the tour; we bought the filter and it was definitely worth it (felt very autonomous and saved a lot of money!). Our Kalenji 15L backpack weighed 4kg without water/food and therefore very light and comfortable for running.
We are sooo happy and proud of what we have accomplished and recommend the Via Valais to everyone loving nature, incredible views, the contact with people, stiff legs after a long run (:-P) and of course trail running!!
Just back from an amazing Via Valais trip! My plan was to do the 9 day route in 9 days. It might have been a good idea to take a rest day partway through (hint hint to others planning the full route) - my knees were suffering from the descent at some point, so I cut a stage and ended up doing 8 stages.
I would echo Loic's comments below about some routes and distances - by my Garmin each of the first three days were >30km. The discrepancy from the description on day 3 almost certainly caused by this straight line through Evolene which makes the described distance shorter than the distance you actual travel. Just be aware that your GPS device may not match the Fatmap/webpage distance listings, and pack enough extra snacks accordingly!
Overall I had an amazing experience and am so grateful to you guys (AlpsInsight team) for putting this together. It is so cool to see the landscape change from valley to valley as you go over each pass. It is hard to pick out a favorite section, as they are all special in their way, but a few were the stay at Becs de Bosson (a magical place!), going up to Schöllijoch and the Barrhorn (that landscape is so dramatic), and all the great running on the Moiry to Zinal day and around Zermatt at the end.
I was pleasantly surprised how runable large sections of this route were. I have done some of the other runs on this website before and even the "easy" ones I find myself doing a lot of hiking, but there were days on the Via Valais where I was really doing mostly running. The route is incredible for including so much great singletrack at runable grades. It's separated by huge and steep passes/cols, but then you're back to running trails!
A last tip to others - do make sure you do day 9 instead of just cutting down to Zermatt. The trail running in Zermatt is incredible. It's worth it. When I decided to reduce my trip from 9 to 8 stages I skipped stage 8 so I could still get the Zermatt running in, and I'm very happy with that decision.
Just back from it. Will post a more detailed report, but a couple of points to check:
- Stage 3: (i) it seems like GPS was off through Evolène, there is a straight line; actual distance might be 2km more, and go through city (for coffee and pastry 😉 ) (ii) there is a shorter track going straight up to Bec de Bossons via L'A Veille (and nice restaurant to refill)
- Stage 4: there is a pretty long switch back on the forest road; I did not try it, but it might be fun and similar time (-1km, +200m more ascent) via points 2397m / 2554m /2548m
- Stage 7: (i) heard the trail to Randa got wiped out and there is now a new one; not sure if the GPS track accounts for that (ii) small section between 5.2km and 5.5km where the track does not follow the actual marked trail (you might have done it in snow ?)
- Schöllijoch: it is Stage 7, not Stage 6 - I believe there is a typo in the FAQ
- Pas de Chèvre: Stage 2, not Stage 3 ? Same issue in FAQ, or maybe I am confused and lost too many brain cells high-altitude 🙂
Great route!! I completed the small Via Valais (6 stages) a few days ago. Breathtaking views, especially stage 4 (Turtmann Hut to Randa). The trails are very well connected. In some parts it's just you and nature - you will only run into marmots and ibexes. And if you are thirsty for summits... the bonus peaks are really worth the few extra kilometers!
From what I see it's not possible to download the GPXs from fatmap.com, not even after having created a standard account. Is this the expected behavior?
The 3D maps are beautiful, but without a GPX are worthless.
Hi, someone might have asked before regarding the GPX file. Every time I click on the FATMAP of each stage (the map is excellent by the way) , it will lead me to the FATMAP app but the app will shows ALL the trails map which is full of cross crossing line instead of the just the stage map that I wanted to save .
Did I do something wrong or is there specific way to do that ? Thanks!
The SBB luggage transport system is only working with a valid train ticket for the same distance as the bag is going. Or if you've got a GA. 😉
Or have you found out a trick and are willing to share?
Hello! I am planning to do the route in August! Are you able to offer .gpx files of the stages or a single of the whole? I'd love to drop the route onto swisstopo
First an amazing book and now the Via Valais. Your project is extremely well designed with amazing maps and perfectly fitted for trail runners. I know now what to do this summer!
Do you plan to organise running camps in the future?
Where to download the gps-tracks?
I suppose we are the first ones who get to post here as we're the only ones who have done the Via Valais.
We thought it was so good that we decided to introduce it to the world and build this beautiful guide to it.
Now it's your turn to discover this tour and share your thoughts.
Dan, Janine and Kim - aka, the ALPSinsight Team