Snow is on the way for the Portes du Soleil but before it arrives we had some unfinished ‘Hauts-Forts’ business to take care of…
At 2466m, Hauts-Forts is the highest peak in the Portes du Soleil. If you visit Avoriaz, you’ll recognise it as the rugged beast towering above the top stations of the Lac Interets and Grande Combes chairlifts in the Arare area.
This time last year, we had a crack at hiking to the top but got a little way up the ridgeline before bottling it! We vowed to come back with harnesses to clip onto the cable that offers protection for the more challenging and exposed top section of the hike. We know plenty of people that do it without clipping on, or indeed batting an eyelid, but that’s not us!
In fact, getting up would probably have been OK but climbing down is always more challenging and the thought of trying to get back down again when we didn’t really know what was ahead cemented the decision to abort.
If you read our last post, you’ll know that although we’ve now got some kit, Nina has counted herself out of Via Ferrata because of her height aversion. In spite of that, she grabbed the bull by the horns on this one, faced her fears and ‘womaned up’. Hats off!
We parked at the Prodains lifts in Avoriaz and hiked the piste to the top of the Arare lifts. It is then a zig-zag up across the scree field to the satellite dish, the ridgeline and some magnificent views down to Lac Mines D’Or. The long shoulder of Tête de Bostan can be seen further on, with it’s curved rock formations revealing themselves like the layers of an onion. The ever majestic Mont Blanc Massif stands proud beyond.
We kitted up with harnesses and tails and clipped on for the final stretch to the summit. Most of the ridge hike was OK but there were a couple of fairly scrambly sections. We were glad we’d clipped on although it still got the heart racing.
We were right… It was definitely harder getting down!
There are two other main paths up. The longest but least challenging, technically, is from the Vallée de la Manche. There’s also a path that goes out along the North Western face from Avoriaz and then the one we took. It’s definitely worth the effort – whichever way – for the awesome views.
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