You may well ask.....October and November are pretty quiet months in the Alps. While most resorts open in the summer months, the lifts here in the Three Valleys have long since closed. This month, however we've been blessed with gorgeous, sunny autumnal days and, as it was the weekend, and a beautifully mild October day, I decided it was time to go and climb that mountain (Dent du Villard) that I’ve been looking at from behind my desk for the last two weeks!
When I say, climb that mountain, that suggests starting at the bottom…..however, not being a ‘seasoned hillwalker’ (unlike a long ago summer working in Morzine where I became something of a mountain goat!), I, along with my fellow walkers decided to tackle the walk to the summit from the already relatively high Lac de la Rosiere which sits at the bottom of the Vallee des Avals (Courchevel Moriond), at 1520m. So, with the Dent du Villard sitting at 2284m, that's only a 764m vertical ascent.....sounds easy peasy!
The ascent from this stunning beauty spot follows a well-marked path, starting with a steady uphill climb through the pine forest, where the cool air was actually very welcome. Once out of the forest, we zigzagged our way across and up, coming across a few “hairy-ish” bits (as I called them!), where the path narrowed with a fairly steep drop-off, hence the helpful ropes attached to the rock to, er….cling onto. On the whole, however, this was a very clear marked path, with nothing terribly tricky to contend with. I had thought that the suggested 2hr ascent time signposted at the start of the walk was probably on the conservative side, and about halfway up I genuinely thought we only had a short way to go (I was thinking this for the best part of an hour!), but it took pretty much two hours, give or take a few stops for photos, to admire the scenery, and to watch planes take off from the Altiport in 1850.
Views from the top were, of course, spectacular, with a 360⁰ view of all the local summits, and further afield to the majestic Mont Blanc. As it was later in the day, however and as our weary muscles began to chill down, we didn’t hang about for too long before descending via the same path. The descent seemed a lot quicker and easier, but, as always with descents, was a killer on our ageing knees!