STAGE 2

Trail running the Via Valais, Switzerland

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CABANE D’ESSERTZE TO CABANE AIGUILLE ROUGE

30km    1783m+/1178m-
Bonus Peak:  Mont de l’Etoile (3370m)  5km, 600m+/-

Stage two continues from hut to hut without passing low into the valleys. A high traverse above the Val d’Hérémence leads to the Grande Dixence, the world’s highest gravity dam. From there, it's a flat run on the gravel road alongside the Lac de des Dix before climbing over the Pas de Chèvre and heading into the Val d'Arolla and the Cabane Aiguille Rouge.

Stage 2 brings in views of Mont Blanc de Cheilon,  Mont Collon, and carries you into the Val d'Hérens.




Herding Dogs
It's possible to encounter Herd Guard Dogs near the Dixence Dam. Here are are few guidelines if you meet dogs at work with their herd in the Alps.
 

When you enter a pasture: The information boards indicate access to the protected pasture. Behave calmly, do not scare the animals and do not frighten them. If you are on the bike, get off and push the bike, as pedestrians slow down your pace.

When a herding dog barks, runs in your direction, and blocks your way:
Stay calm and give the dog time to check that you are not a threat to his herd - this is his job. Keep your distance from the animals and avoid quick movements. Don’t use your hiking pole as provocation. If the herd guard dog has calmed down, continue on your way. If possible, avoid the flock. Do not pet or feed the dogs.
 
If you have your own dog with you:
Dogs cause an increased defence behaviour from the herding dog. Keep your companion dog on a leash and keep it under control. Do not try to go through a protected herd with your dog, but avoid them and go around. If in doubt, return. If shepherd dogs attack your leashed dog, release your dog - they quickly establish their own ranking.
 
If you perceive the herd guard as a threat:
Avoid eye contact with the dog, but do not turn your back on it! If a herd guard dog does not calm down for a long time, even though you are quietly waiting in the distance to the herd, then retire.

Eat:
  • There are no refueling points along this wild stage.
  • The huts provide dinner and breakfast. You can also purchase a sack lunch and snacks from the hut.
Bonus peak:

Mont de l’Etoile (3370m)  5km, 600m+/-

Follow cairns along the rocky ridge. An out and back for some extra meters. Grade: T3

Sleep:

Cabane Aiguille Rouge  The Cab. Aiguille Rouge is situated above Arolla at 2810m. Check the website for seasonal opening dates.

It's possible to descend to Arolla from the Pas de Chèvre if needed. From the Cab. d’Essertze to Arolla, an adjusted stage becomes 26km with 1291+/1418-, but makes for a bigger Stage 3.



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Starting the day through low scrub above the Val d’Hérémence. 

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The long traverse on the way to Lac des Dix.

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After running the length of Lac des Dix, you'll enter rockier terrain on the way to the Pas de Chévre. 

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Over the Pas de Chèvre is the best way between the Hérémence and Hérens valleys. Since 2014, the pass has been easy to cross thanks to new ladders and catwalks.

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Descending the Pas de Chèvre above the Val d'Arolla.

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Smooth, winding trail for the last climb of the stage to the Cab. Aiguille Rouge.

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Ending on a high, you spend the second night at Cab. Aiguille Rouge, at over 2800 meters.

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