Haute Cime ascent: Dents du Midi

Page Type
Trip Report
Location:
Switzerland, Europe
Date Climbed/Hiked:
Jul 20, 2010
Activities:
Mountaineering
Season:
Summer
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Page By:
tmb
Haute Cime ascent: Dents du Midi
Created On: Aug 12, 2010
Last Edited On: May 29, 2011
Table of Contents

Background

Having seen the Dents du Midi on multiple alpine holidays we finally had the chance to hike up the highest peak, Haute Cime (3257m) in July 2010. It is only snow free for a month or two over the summer and a good weather window provided ideal conditions.

Dents du Midi


Ascent

We were staying in Chatel so chose to drive to Champery, leaving the car at Grand Paradis (1056m).
Champery, Grand Paradis

Plenty of spaces to park (free) and started walking about 3.30pm. We had booked bunks in La Cabane de Susanfe, 2102m, http://susanfe.ch/, over the phone. The path took us through a steep wooded area that joined a road track on the hill side.
Forest de Bonavau

We then realised we could have driven and parked higher up.

Cabane de Susanfe


After passing Refuge de Bonavau (1550m) and resisting the urge to buy some lovely looking cake we treked on up through the Pas d'Encel. One short stretch requiring hands and there is a chain if needed. It took about 3hrs to reach Susanfe Hut with a few stops for water.


We chose to buy an evening meal and breakfast in the hut. The food was plentiful and good with helpful staff. I guess we were lucky as it was only about half full with plenty of space. The evening views across to Mont Ruan were spectacular.

The following day after a swift breakfast, we were walking by 6am up towards the Col de Susanfe (2494m). Easy walk to col over a few patches of snow.

Above Col de Susanfe
Haute Cime scree path




The real challenge came after leaving the col for the summit. On the whole the path was easily visible. It is very exposed and traversed steep mountain side. It was mainly scree rock. About 2/3 of the way up we lost the path and found ourselves on some extremely steep scree where both hands were necessary. We started to feel a little unsafe due to the height and risk of falling down the slope but luckily spotted and rejoined the path again. It was well worth the slog and effort as we succesfully reached the summit about 10am.

Haute Cime ascent
Haute Cime summit


We were the first to summit and over the next hour about another 10 hikers arrived. Views were magnificent but care was needed close to the summit north edge as the drop was vertical.


Descent

After about an hour on the summit we set off down. This was the first opportunity for some of the group to enjoy their first screeing experience. Great fun but care needed.

A brief rest and drink at Cabane de Susanfe before the final descent to the car. The Bonavau forest really took the last strength out of our legs but a cold beer as the path entered Grand Paradis was a welcome relief. We arrived at the car at about 4.30pm.

I would recommend this walk to experienced hikers, but pick good weather. It can be done in one really long day if you are extremely fit but staying overnight in the hut adds so much to the experience and would allow longer on the summit.





Comments

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Viewing: 1-3 of 3
EricChu

EricChu - Aug 12, 2010 9:45 am - Voted 10/10

You should add...

..."Under Construction" to the title, as long as the page isn't yet finished - I'm sure there is still more to come? I'm greatly looking forward to the final result, as I myself have been up Dents du Midi-Haute Cime, also going along the Champéry-Cabane de Susanfe route, in 1985. I myself could write a trip report about this one...for instance I remember what an asshole that hut guardian at the Susanfe hut was - surely it's not the same person any more now, after 25 years...

tmb

tmb - May 29, 2011 4:35 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: You should add...

Finally finished trip report!!

Mountain Bandit

Mountain Bandit - Oct 30, 2014 5:00 pm - Voted 10/10

Cheers

Good trip report - plenty of helpful tips and took them on board before I climbed.

I got up there solo in mid October on a spectacular day, and climbed in a single day (early start) from Champery. I'll re-iterate your point regarding loosing the path on the way upwards from the Col. I lost the path a couple of times too (including a few hairy moments) and its really worth while being vigilant with keeping your eyes open and sticking to the path for safety's sake.

Viewing: 1-3 of 3


Haute Cime ascent: Dents du Midi

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