Wednesday, July 15, 2015

7/15/15: Trail Verbier Pictures

Early dawn after popping out of the forest.  We will be climbing to the top of the peak on the right (Le Catogne)

The sun starting to rise over the mountains around Verbier.  You can see the moon in the top.

It was a beautiful dawn in the mountains

Some nice forest trail on the way up Catogne

After about 4,000 feet of climbing we popped out above the treeline

There was a liquid only aid station at the farmhouse here

Early morning in the Swiss Alps!

Up, up, up!  This part was just a bit steep.

We traversed to the right and the climbed up to the spine of the mountain and the followed it right to left to the peak.

I just couldn't stop staring at all the amazing mountains around me

Last steep ascent to the summit at 8,600 feet

Next up we'll drop to the valley floor and climb the beast behind me.  

This is the descent off Catogne.  Hard to get perspective here but you just dropped down this scree field at 40+% grade

Looking up the descent

The morning light was perfect here

Part way down now but a long way to go until Champex.  That is the town in the bottom and our next aid station.

After Champex we descended super steep forest trail towards the Orny Hut and glacier.  The waterfalls were incredible though.

More waterfalls

Super steep scree ascent after we came out of the woods

We traversed along this rocky ridge before the last part of the ascent

Looking back at Le Catogne.  Check out the highest point towards the left of the peak.  Just to the right of the high point you see the scree path running in a line straight down the mountain.  That was our descent ...

Looking out as we were climbing up.  I felt terrible, but at least the views were good!

Brutal ascent to Orny as we approached 9,000 feet

The bottom of the Orny glacier

The Orny glacier and up at the top right is the Orny Hut we are climbing to

On the way back down from Orny

The descent was steep and rocky but also really beautiful

After this stretch we steeply dropped off towards the valley

Another glacier starting to come into view while we descended

There was a huge waterfall following us down

Glaciers are awesome!

Bottomed out at Saleina at 4,000 feet, and I was really enjoying the comparatively mellow climb through the valley up to La Fouly

Arriving in La Fouly, the first major aid station at 30 miles in.  Took me over 12 hours to get here!

Mountains and glaciers towering over La Fouly

Stunning landscape as I started up towards Grand Col Fenetre from La Fouly

The first part of this climb was very nice 

More great views as we ascended towards Fenetre

Some beautiful Swiss alpine trail

It was about 6pm, and the cows were being brought in for the night.  We had to wait about five minutes while they passed.  It was a good time for a snack.

High alpine lakes over 8,000 feet

We are ascending up to the saddle in the middle just to the left of center

Looking back up at Col Fenetre.  The snow field just above and left of middle is where we came over.

I was totally exhausted coming into Bourg St Pierre, though I must say the runner in front of me looked less happy than I did.

After some rest at the aid station, I climbed up to Col St Bernard.  The setting sun created outstanding lighting on the mountains.

Dawn approaches!

On the way up Le Chaux now.  Somewhere up in the top right was the Col de Mille, the mountain pass I struggled through at 3am.  Then we descended 5,000+ feet down to Lourtier and climbed back up here

The snowcapped mountains way in the distance are what we passed on the way up to Grand Col Fenetre.

You can see Le Catogne on the left and in the middle right is the very cool peak we saw while climbing Le Catogne.  This also reminded me that this was my second sunrise of the race.  Yikes.  

Coming into Verbier.  This was a sight to lift your spirits.

And just like that crossed the finish line!

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