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the Degree Confluence Project
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Switzerland

5.6 km (3.5 miles) S of Trient, Valais, Switzerland
Approx. altitude: 3170 m (10400 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 46°S 173°W

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Montreux, home of the yearly Jazz Festival #3: Up to the confluence over the Glacier des Grands #4: The Swiss Alps #5: Crest forming the border between Switzerland and France #6: Group photo #7: The helicopter is coming back #8: One of the many impressive views from the confluence #9: Trees are growing on a church tower at Martigny #10: Train of the St. Bernard-Express and Dr. Werner with a Saint-Bernard dog

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  46°N 7°E (visit #3)  

#1: Our traces to the confluence

(visited by Captain Peter, Werner Furlan, Thomas Prettner and Heinz Huthmann)

05-Jul-2003 -- As once every year, we (Captain Peter, Dr. Werner and Thomas) meet in Western Austria. Heinz from Germany did join us, and this time we decided to visit Switzerland.

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.

(see www.heliservice.ch)

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 helicopter. 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 Martigny's station.

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: 47N7E.


 All pictures
#1: Our traces to the confluence
#2: Montreux, home of the yearly Jazz Festival
#3: Up to the confluence over the Glacier des Grands
#4: The Swiss Alps
#5: Crest forming the border between Switzerland and France
#6: Group photo
#7: The helicopter is coming back
#8: One of the many impressive views from the confluence
#9: Trees are growing on a church tower at Martigny
#10: Train of the St. Bernard-Express and Dr. Werner with a Saint-Bernard dog
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
This is the highest Confluence in Europe (extending unto the Ural Mountains, von Strahlenberg definition) (Source: SRTM 90m digital elevation data).