On Day 4 we awoke to blue skies. By the time we finished breakfast the clouds had rolled in and it was raining. We called ahead to the high mountain cabin and the man said “lots of snow. Too much to cross the pass.”. Our French friends took the bus around the mountain trying to find better weather. Our Polish friends are moving on but will likely spend 2 nights at the next stop. We are staying in Champex for another day.
Hoping that we could get above the clouds, we took the chair lift up to 2,000 meters. That landed us in pea soup thick fog. We hiked for a few hours, but hiking in steady rain through an avalanche zone with 10 m visibility wasn’t that thrilling, so we headed back to the hostel to meet a new group of hikers.
We met and shared stories with a pair of British women, two Aussie pairs, three Bulgarians, and a couple from Spain. Most talk focused on the weather.
Day 5 we walked to Le Chable. Luckily we had reservations in a B&B because the town was full with runners participating in an extreme trail race. We passed many of them as we were leaving Champex around 9 am. They had already been running for hours (110 km total) and were reaching their first checkpoint.
The day was an uneventful ramble though the Swiss countryside, passing through tiny, deserted-feeling rural towns perched on the hillsides. We saw more sheep and cows than cars during the day, and arrived into Le Chable with enough time to explore the tiny town. Le Chable sits below one of the premier ski villages in Switzerland (Verbier), linked by a gondola or a switchback road.
We are going to hole up in Le Chable for two nights to wait out the weather (although today we saw patches of blue sky) and make the crossing on Tuesday. Our evening was spent with the Aussie couple we met yesterday at the hostel. They are staying in the B&B and we had dinner at the same restaurant last night. He is hiking the trail. She can not due to her health, but takes busses and trains to meet up with him each day. It was another reminder to seize the moment.
If the weather is clear we will be able to take a series of cable cars from Verbier to the top of the Mont Fort Glacier and have a fantastic view of the mountains. Fingers crossed!