05-Jul-2003 -- As once every year, we (Captain Peter, Dr. Werner and Thomas) meet in
Heinz from Germany did join us, and this time we decided to visit
Stimulated by the recent very valuable visit of Ms. Eva Buehlmann and her
friends to 46N7E
we decided to go for this point as well. Thanks to the previous detailed
description of the former visitors we understood that an attempt by walking
and climbing was absolutely out of question. Captain Peter as an ocean going
seafarer and therefore not used to heights above sea level of more than 20
meters, Thomas is a chimney sweeper and used to a height of a maximum 4
storey-building, Dr. Werner has to adhere on what Captain Peter believes to
be good and suitable and Heinz has been democratically outvoted. So the
problem was solved before it even had begun.
Then only way to reach such an area comfortably is a helicopter.
So the necessary arrangements have been made in advance with the very
friendly, helpful and competent people of "Helicoptère Service" at Sion
(Sitten), the capital of the Canton of Valais.
On Saturday, 4th of July 2003, we left Austria at 5 pm, and after a four
hours drive on the highway via Zurich, Bern and Fribourg we reached the Lake
of Geneva (Lac Léman). From a resting place on the highway we had a
wonderful view over the famous town of Montreux, where the famous Jazz Festival
takes place every year in July. (in 2003 from 4th to 19th of July).
After another 40 km drive we reached Martigny in the Rhône Valley, where we
took the "Hôtel du Rhône" overnight.
The next morning we continued for about 18 km to the village of Trient and a
nearby small hamlet, called Le Peuty, the assigned embarkation area for the
The helicopter with the call sign HB-ZCB was still busy with some material
transport, but was soon available for us.
The pilot understood immediately our intention, and under Captain Peter's
advice we went rapidly up the glacier at splendid weather and through a
unbelievably impressing, beautiful and somehow even unreal panorama towards the crest of the mountains
around Aiguille de Tour, forming the border to France, where we disembarked.
The crest is 98 metres South of the confluence, and this gives proof that
the confluence is definitely entirely on Swiss territory, although several
maps do show it already in France. For safety reasons we took your GPS photo
there, because the confluence is on a very steep-to area (about 45° rise),
and during the short descent to the confluence we, - being absolutely
untrained and unskilled people, had to take care to not slip and capsize.
During our activities the helicopter had left the area for a while, as he
could not land and remain steadily there. After a quarter hour he was back
and caused quite a snow flurry.
We were all very impressed from the views we could enjoy in an area so
unusual for us.
The temperature up there at 3,100 metres was surprisingly warm and it was
absolutely calm over there.
Then the helicopter brought us back to Le Peuty.
Back at Martigny we found worth a photo the tower of one of the local
churches, on which trees are growing.
Finally for Captain Peter, a railway enthusiast with his whole heart, the
famous Saint-Bernard Express just was passing at
Originally the track of the Saint-Bernard Express was intended to connect
the Rhône Valley with the Italian Aosta Valley. The adventurous tunnel
project was started in 1856, but could never be completed. Only in 1910 the
track from Martigny to Orsières could be opened.
The track begins at Martigny and continues through the Dranse Valleys. At
the final destination, the station of Orsières, the train is closest to the
Mountain who gave him its name: The Great Saint-Bernard. From here it is
possible to ontravel by busses to the Saint-Bernard's pass (2,469 m high).
The pass is famous for its hospice and the Saint-Bernard's dogs ... these
huge dogs carrying a small drum with rum around their neck in order to
assist mountainclimbers like us in eventual distress.
Seen that everything worked so well and really with "Swiss Precision", we
decided not te leave Switzerland without visiting another confluence there: