Location ✦ Verbier
Region ✦ Valais
Country ✦ Switzerland
Length ✦ 17kms
Vertical rise ✦ 530m
Negative difference in altitude ✦ 1250m
Difficulty ✦ MD
Max altitude ✦ 2648m
Duration ✦ 5h to 6h
Interest ✦ ★★
Access to the place
Map & topo
Hiking to the start Téléphérique
Take the cable car from Le Châble (826m) to Verbier (1522m), then another cable car to Les Ruinettes (2195m). On the way out, you'll find the starting path.
The trek starts at altitude and descends into the valley, so there's a lot of negative altitude difference. The trails are very well marked and signposted throughout, so there's no difficulty in finding your way around, except when you leave the Mont Fort hut to catch the chamois trail. There are no technical difficulties, but the trail is airy and there are a few exposed passages, in some places equipped with chains as lifelines.
Part 1: Mont Fort hut (2457m, 1h15)
Take the wide track towards La Chaux. Further on, a narrow path climbs to the left towards the Montfort hut. Follow it and you'll soon reach the Cabane de Montfort hut, a splendid Swiss chalet! The view over the Mont-Blanc range and the glaciers of the Grand Combin.
Part 2: Col du Termin (2648m, 1h45)
Descend from the refuge to take the winding track down into the valley. At the 3rd hairpin bend, the chamois trail starts with a tiny blue sign. You can see it clearly as it crosses the opposite side of the refuge. After crossing a scree, the trail climbs steeper to gain height and eventually reach an angle on a ridge (30′ from the hut).
From here, the trail crosses more or less level terrain to climb back up into the Val de Bagnes, with occasional rocky ascents and descents. The view is splendid, the panorama permanent. Be careful, however, as the passages are aerial and in places exposed, although not technically difficult. Some passages are equipped with chains to protect those less at ease with vertigo. At the end of this long traverse, it climbs slightly to reach the small Termin pass. On the other side, you can see Lac Louvie, far below.
Section 3: Lac Louvie (2215m, 1h15)
Beware of the vertiginous descent. The path passes under Col Termin and winds steeply down the valley side. We skirt a ridge with magnificent views over the valley and the opposite massif before, much lower down, we hook back inland and soon reach the shores of Lac Louvie. Typical local vaulted stables to discover as you walk around the lake before returning below the Louvie hut to tackle the final descent.
Part 4: Fionnay (1490m, 1h)
A small plateau to cross along the torrent that flows down from Lac Louvie. Once across, the trail descends steeply, though not as steeply as above, with large switchbacks down the slopes above the Val de Bagnes. Further down, we switch to the Fionnay side through a small forest. A few more twists and turns and we reach the ground, the village, the day's final destination.
Opposite the Tourist Office is the bus stop for the post buses down to Le Châble. Check the timetable beforehand to avoid missing the last bus (currently 5.30pm).