Time: 6.75h. Up: 790m. Down: 970m.
Distance: 21km. Difficulty: medium.

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Stage 39: Col des Mosses (1440m) to Sonchaux (1258m)

Click and drag on map above to see area around trail. Click here for large zoomable map.

You may perhaps feel a tiny frisson of accomplishment today as you cross the final pass on the Swiss Alpine Pass Route and see Lac Léman far below. At 1621m the Col de Chaude is over 1150m lower than the Hohtürli, but it will be no less satisfying.

In the last several weeks, if you took no shortcuts, you hiked over 725km through four countries, and climbed the equivalent of four and two thirds Everests (41,240m). On average each day you covered 18.6km, and climbed (and descended!) 1057m, while burning several thousand calories.

Impressive figures, to be sure, but perhaps the true measure of what you have achieved is psychological: on 39 mornings you got up, put on your hiking boots, shouldered your packs, and walked out the door. You hiked (unfortunately and in all likelihood) at times through fog and wind and rain and snow and exhaustion, endured blisters, sore muscles, and snoring in bunkrooms, and suffered the many and varied sins of your fellow H2H hikers without – somehow! – committing entirely justifiable homicide.

Congratulations!! Forget the fact that you are still less than half-way through the H2H because it is most definitely time to celebrate. Tomorrow is an easy hike -- short and downhill all the way to Montreux -- you can get up late, and even with a hangover you won't get lost... so eat copiously, drink more, and raise the roof with merry-making until your hosts tell you -- très gentiment -- to go to bed.

From Col des Mosses take the trail up and to the west of the main road heading north, until it meets up with a track heading west to Lac de l'Hongrin (1255m). At the lake turn right to follow the trail then another track around the northern edge of the lake until at the dam it turns away and heads north along the outflowing Hongrin River. A couple of kilometers later, a trail climbs up and left of the road to Alpe Chaude (1475m), and then from there another small track takes you over the Col de Chaude (1621m). Follow the track down the far side to Rafevex (1548m), where a steep trail descends to avoid a long loop of the road. Once back at the road again, stay on it for a couple of kilometers until a trail goes off to the right to Sonchaux.

Alternatives: none that make the stage shorter, but there is one that makes it longer. If you want, you can climb from the Col de Chaude to the peak of Les Rochers de Naye (2041m) where there are beautiful views in all directions. From there an exhilarating ridge walk descends steeply southwest to Sonchaux. If you do this, it will add 2.5h, +/-420m, and 3km to the stage. Of course, you'd have to be a nut to still want to do this at the end of the Swiss Alpine Pass Route, wouldn't you?
Map: ST-262T Rochers de Naye.

The House to House blog... stage 39.

<A couple of representative photos from this stage will be added here after the hike>
In the meantime, click here to go to all of the H2H photos on Flickr.

GPS Track
<To be added during or after hike>

Room and Board Options
Lunch: picnic.
Dinner and overnight: there is only one place to stay at Sonchaux -- the Auberge de Sonchaux (+41-(0)21963/4467) -- but the stunning views and excellent cuisine make it a "must-stay-if-possible" choice. If, sadly, it is full, then as an alternative there are a couple of hotels in Caux and Glion (villages above Montreux -- see here for the list), but frankly it probably makes more sense just to go the rest of the way down to Montreux (adds 2+/- hours to the day depending upon the way you take down (see the next stage for details)), where there are plenty of restaurants and places to stay (for the complete list, see here).

Getting There and Back
Col des Mosses: from Chateau d'Oex, where there is a train station, there is a very infrequent bus connection to Col des Mosses (for schedule information for both buses and trains, see the SBB).
Sonchaux: walk down to Montreux, as described in the next stage, where there is a railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on Col des Mosses, centered on Sonchaux.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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