Refuge Dent d’Oche to La Chapelle d’Abondance

The weather forecast for today was not good, but when we got up, although we were in cloud, it wasn’t actually raining. But over breakfast the precipitation started. Not rain but snow! And the weather remained miserable nearly all day. When our altitude lowered a bit it would turn to icy rain, which I suppose counts as an improvement, but then we would climb to another col and it would be snowing again. Not settling but definitely snowing.
The departure from the refuge is not far from vertical, and we slithered carefully down, grateful for the security of the fixed chains. We used spare socks as makeshift mittens. I tried to persuade Judith it was fun, but I’m not sure she was convinced- and I concede that had it been any funner it would have been a nightmare.
We retraced our steps from yesterday as far as an absurdly remote cheese shop, and then it was a long way to La Chapelle, where had a hotel booked. The route took in a couple of high cols and some long descents. These were made problematic by long sections of extremely slippery mud. Edward’s technique was to ski down without skies, while Judith and I adopted a more ‘thoughtful’ approach, which was considerably slower. We walked through beautiful and dramatic scenery. It would have been good if conditions had been more conducive to pausing and enjoying it.
We were to pass something called Les Chalets de Bise, which said it was a refuge, and we fantasised about being able to eat lunch somewhere warm and dry and order a hot chocolate, but there seemed to be nothing on offer to wet traversers of the alps. There was an American hiker who seemed very cross about the whole thing. So we set off again, and to rub salt into the wound, the path went unexpectedly steeply up to another col, 3 hours from La Chapelle.
Eventually the Abondance valley came into sight a long way below us. More slippery descending eventually got us there. Approaching our hotel, the people coming and going all seemed very neat and clean, which was worrying, but we managed to get ourselves sorted out a bit before checking in.
We are here for 2 nights, so perhaps tomorrow we might be able to reclaim the ‘at ease’ status of the trip, which has been rather compromised by today.
We have had a delicious meal, been able to wash clothes and the weather forecast is good, so going to bed happy.


One thought on “Refuge Dent d’Oche to La Chapelle d’Abondance

  1. OMG!!. Looks amazing but my idea of hell!!
    I think Judith is my hero!!
    However I bet you feel a tremendous sense of……something!!! oh yes….achievement at the end of every day!😉😁 Carry on posting…great fun to read. R&Dxx


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