To the Refuge Dent D’oche

The Dent D’oche was in cloud most of yesterday, but late in the evening it briefly appeared, towering above Bernex. Near the top was a single spot of light, presumably the refuge.

We had wondered about not taking the direct route up the mountain, and approaching by a longer ridge, but the day started very wet and cloudy and was not one to be extended unnecessarily. It wasn’t a particularly long walk- an hour uphill along the road and then 3 hours steeply up the mountain. But a lot of height was gained.

The Refuge is not in any obvious route to anywhere, so tomorrow we will have to retrace our steps for a while, to get going again. The idea of stopping here was to break the journey a bit, but the approach is very steep indeed and, in the wet, slippery, so staying here may be a false economy, and was a definite failure on ‘not too much effort’ front. The last 15 minutes of ascent were the steepest, and the climb was aided by a metal chain, which was useful in the slippery conditions, but, like the rocks, was extremely cold to ungloved hands.

The Refuge is perched improbably on the mountain, about 20 minutes below the summit. It isn’t even on an obvious ledge. When we arrived the cloud cleared briefly to reveal an extraordinary view.

The Refuge is very basic and the two chaps resident here are friendly and will provide us with a meal. Because the weather is poor, there is hardly anyone else here. Just Rob from Lincoln, who lives in Estonia, with whom we played Pictonary.

As the weather improved a bit Edward and I climbed to the top of the mountain, from where we could see the whole of Lake Geneva but not much of the Alps to the south and East.

Writing a little later, the Refuge produced a surprisingly good meal, given that the last helicopter delivery had been in June and since then all deliveries have been carried up the mountain in backpacks (cheese though can be acquired without going right into the valley). 

In the evening, the cloud cleared wonderfully. Maybe the clamber up here was worth it after all.

Below is a screenshot of the refuge’s facilities.

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