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Advancing to the peak

Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval Refuge

A highlight of the Summer of 2022 was definitely our trip to the Refuge de la Vogealles, high up in the mountains of the "Cirque de Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval". Maybe there exists a more stunning backdrop for a hike, but I have yet to see it!

The Cirque is at the very end of the Giffre Valley, after you pass by the towns of Samoens and Sixt-Fer-à-cheval, eventually culminating at "Le Bout du Monde" (the end of the world). Two minutes after passing through the town of Sixt we all suddenly lost signal on our phones. So began two days of being disconnected from the grid that is modern living. A welcome and refreshing escape.

The crew resting on their Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval Refuge

The Crew

We had a motley crew of adventurers. Some were current Heyday Chalet residents and others were long-time friends of Heyday now living in Geneva. Twelve in total, our fellowship began hiking just after 12noon. We headed straight up the valley towards Le Bout de Monde, which is a gentler climb, rather than taking an earlier left for a shorter more technical climb, that basically meant scaling the cliff face.

Mountain climbing in Morzine

The Backdrop

There is an abundance of waterfalls flowing from every side of the cirque; powerful streams gusting down from the highest peaks, to the final remnants of last winter's snow, trickling down the mountain, over an edge and fading into the mist.

Refuelling at the halfway point

Halfway Point

After just over 2 hours of hiking, we reached a nice little chalet that served as a useful halfway point. We hungrily munched our sandwiches. Spirits were high as we survey the conquered valley below, with a few worried glances upwards at the rocky terrain that waited overhead.

Taking a look back along the trail of Sixt-Fer-à-Cheval

Onwards

After another two hours of ascent, the Refuge finally emerged through the mists, to joyous shouts and relief for weary legs (that were now almost 1000m higher than where they started). After some hot showers, we sat down to a hearty casserole of vegetables and sausages, followed by some Swiss roll and of course quite a bit of Génépi. After dinner, the pints continued to flow, and we enjoyed a couple of hotly contested games of perudo, made all the more contentious by penalty shots of whiskey and gin. When they turned off the electricity in the dining room, we took the hint and went to bed.

Morzine Nordic Walking

Day Two

A 6.30am breakfast call meant we were up early to face a beautifully sunny day. After some hard toast and coffee from bowls, we ventured up the final climb to the icy cold lake. Low water levels meant swimming conditions were not ideal, still a few of the braver members of our fellowship took the plunge.

Mountaineering in Portes du Soleil

Back to reality

With the sun on our faces, the first descent seemed quick and easy. We treated ourselves to an omelette at the halfway point, before taking on the shorter and very much steeper route to the valley (extremely techy!). We all made it down safe and sound, although we had some sympathy for the poor lady and her daughter that were having a crisis of confidence just a third of the way up.

A celebratory drink at the base (looking back at what we achieved) followed by a tasty burger in Samoens, rounded off a very fun adventure.

As we returned to civilisation our phones began to buzz, and we reluctantly plugged back into reality.

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