Le Tour des Dents Blanche
After a mentally draining week in the studio my mind was tired but my body felt restless. Going on a multi-day hike with friends and soaking up some 360° views sounded like the perfect remedy. Our chosen route was the Tour des Dents Blanche, a circuit that would take us from France to Switzerland and back into France again, around the area’s most iconic rock formations. Les Dents Blanche, ‘the White Teeth’, sits just east of Morzine and is instantly recognisable because it looks like a giant set of molars.
In total, the route we took covered 50.3km in distance and 4394m of elevation gain over three days. We started from Lac des Mines d'Or in Morzine, and hiked via Champery to spend the first night at la Cabane de Susanfe. On day two we headed up the Echelles des Ottans, hiked via le Refuge de la Vogealle and slept at le Refuge de Folly. And on the final day we headed back towards Morzine via the Pas de Taureau and over the summit of the Tête de Bostan. Here’s a quick breakdown of each day:
Distance 17.91 km | Elevation Gain 1,557m | Moving Time 5h 20m
Distance 17.65 km | Elevation Gain 1,608m | Moving Time 6h 6m
Distance 14.71 km | Elevation Gain 1,229m | Moving Time 4h 47m
It was beautiful. The scenery changed drastically throughout, from lush green mountain meadows to water warped rock fields resembling another planet. We passed through thick cloud hugging the mountains, crossed couloir after couloir and trekked across melted glacial river beds. It felt like we were in Lord of the Rings. Some would argue we called out one too many Frodo quotes but luckily those people weren’t stuck with us for three days straight.
And we saw all of the animals. Enough to keep me swooning for months; alpine ibex, marmots, eagles, bearded vultures, as well as mountain farm animals herded by shepherds, and PUPPIES. It’s hard to say whether we were more stoked to see wild ibex or about being dump tackled by puppies on arrival at the Susanfe refuge.
Although we had a pretty clear idea of what we were getting into, arriving at the Echelles des Ottans certainly got the adrenaline pumping. They are literally ladders (echelles being ladders in French) which lead you up through a crack in the mountain face. In hindsight a via ferrata set and helmet wouldn’t have been a bad shout as there were several other gnarly sections along the way, too. But safety warnings aside, it was so cool. We were all so pumped after popping out of the hole at the top we decided to take five, let the adrenaline subside and have a Hardbar in the morning sun.
Three days of scree fields, summits, squashed sandwiches, sunsets and fresh air was just what I needed. Now I’m back in the studio bursting with inspiration. My one regret for the trip was not taking a sketchbook, but it won’t be long before the next adventure.