Time: 6.75h. Up: 920m. Down: 1350m.
Distance: 13.5km. Difficulty: hard.

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Stage 45: Lac de Salanfé (1925m) to Barme (1492m)

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

After a pleasant stroll around the Lac de Salanfé you climb to the Col de Susanfé where you'll be confronted with another of those mice / men decisions: do you want to have a normal day, or do you want to climb up the peak to your north from which you can enjoy one of the best views in the whole of the Alps?

If the weather is fine and you don't squeak, then perhaps you can find somewhere inconspicuous to stash your packs while you tackle the 3257m Haut Cime, probably the highest peak you'll climb on the H2H.

On a clear day from the top you can see Lac Léman, Mont Blanc (4809m), the Weisshorn (4505m), the Zinalrothorn (4221m), La Dent Blanche (4357m), Monte Rosa (4633m), Le Grand Combin (4314m), and even, on exceptionally clear days, the Matterhorn (4478m). If it is warm enough to have lunch up there, you'll not have a better picnic while on the H2H! It does, however, make for a MONSTER day (10+ hours of hiking), and so... sigh... the H2H assumes that you will be mice.

From the Col de Susanfé you still have several hours to go, including an exciting section through a narrow gorge, before you reach the hamlet of Barme where you'll stay the night. With a little luck, you'll be able to order something typically Swiss for dinner, because this is your last night in Switzerland: starting tomorrow, and for almost all of the rest of the way, the H2H will be in France.

Today's hike follows the same trails as the Via Alpina. From the hotel walk around the north shore of the lake and then take the path that ascends to the Col de Susanfé (2494m). If you intend to climb Haut Cime (3257m), that trail goes up the ridge to the north (you'll descend the same way). If you skip Haut Cime, or after you have come down again, continue on to the west via the Cabane de Susanfé (2102m) to the Pas d'Encel gorge. Once out of the gorge, head west up and over a low shoulder to finish up the day at Barme.

Alternatives: none that will shorten the day. If the weather is bad, take a rest day. If you are feeling ambitious, the climb up to and descent from Haut Cime will take you an additional 3-4h, +/-760m, 4km (time dependent on how fast you hike without your packs!).
Maps: ST-272T St. Maurice, ST-282T Martigny (although you can safely skip the Martigny map since it just shows you the small portion of the trail that goes to and from the Cabane de Susanfé).

The House to House blog... stage 45.

<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: if climbing Haut Cime, take at least one picnic lunch. Otherwise you can probably have lunch at the Cabane de Susanfé after about 3.25h (but to be safe, bring a picnic lunch anyway).
Dinner and overnight: there are two places to stay at Barme: the Cantine des Dentes Blanches (+41-(0)24479/1212, 1 double, 1 single, and 35 places in 5 small bunkrooms), and the Cantine de Barmaz (+41-(0)24479/1163, 5 doubles, 1 triple, and 39 places in 6 small bunkrooms). If you are unable to reserve here, you can stop shortly after the Pas d'Encel at the Cantine de Bonavau (+41-(0)79205/5023, 13 places in a bunkroom, limited menu, although it does include fondue), which will make this stage 1.5h, +244m, -302m, 3km shorter (and the next correspondingly longer). Alternatively, although this makes for a long day even if you don't climb Haut Cime, you can go 2.5h along the next stage over the Col de Coux (1920m) to either the Refuge des Mines d'Or (1390m -- +33-(0), 5 rooms with 14 beds and a good kitchen), or the Refuge le Chardonnière (1346m -- +33-(0) or mobile +33-(0), 20 places in a bunkroom).

Getting There and Back
Lac de Salanfé: there is a railway station at Les Marécottes, from which you can take a minibus to Van d'en Haut (1391m). From there climb the trail up the valley to the Lac de Salanfé (2h, +530m, 2.5km). For schedule information for trains, see the SBB; for information about the minibus, call +41-(0)27761/1329.
Barme: walk down and to the east to Champéry (1055m -- 1.5h, -440m, 5km) where there is a railway station.
ViaMichelin Road Map and Driving Directions: centered on the Lac de Salanfé, centered on Barme.

Background Information and Links
Many and various...

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