Walk 17: Tsalè de Bréona from La Forclaz (6.5 km and 545m of ascent)
This walk gives fantastic views of the Dent Blanche, the Ferpècle valley glaciers and the Dent d’Hérens.
It can be shortened by omitting the final climb up to the Tsalè de Bréona and taking the cross track either from Mayens de Bréona itself, or the one above (see map), to Le Tsalè de Tsaté. Or indeed, it can be extended by walking down to Les Haudères or Evolène (e.g. after catching the postbus up to La Forclaz). See Sections 5 and 6 of Walk no. 16 for details of these two descents.
- From the car park in La Forclaz, walk along the road towards the Dent Blanche and the end of the valley. As the road bends to the right, continue in the same direction, along the road which goes off to the left (of the Hotel Le Grenier), which is signposted to the Mayens and Col de Bréona. The tarmac road soon turns into a man-made farm track and starts to ascend.
- At a sharp left hand bend, as you approach the trees, the path goes off to the right, cutting off the corner of the track. When you meet the track again, go right for 10m and then turn left up a steep path. You will meet the track again on a sharp bend. Walk up the track to the next bend (where there is a bench on the right hand side), the path goes off immediately to the left of the track straight ahead (just after the tree stump). The path again rises quite steeply. Cross the track once more and continue upwards.
- The path soon reaches 3 chalets and goes up between them. It then bends to the right just above them and meets the farm track once more. Turn left here for 50m and then take the path to the right. At the track, turn right for 10m and then take the path on the left. It now zig-zags upwards towards a row of 4 chalets. (Take care on the way up to turn right at a stone with a yellow diamond sign and not to continue onwards towards a single conifer with a pink snowshoe sign). At the track, cross slightly to the left and continue upwards to the chalets, at…
- Mayens de Bréona (@2087m).
A signpost indicates the way forward (to Remointse and Col de Bréona), or back to La Forclaz & Les Haudères.
If taking the shortest option, head in the direction indicated to La Forclaz, following the track until it meets another track at a U bend. Do not descend left here, but turn right and follow the track upwards. The track bends right then left before arriving at Le Tsalè de Tsaté. (See Section 4).
Alternatively turn right and follow the path upwards as it winds its way to some more wooden buildings and a track. Turn right along this track for just a short distance, then as it takes a U turn to the left:
– either continue along the track to Tsalè de Tsaté, (keeping to the same direction, when a track comes in from the right),
– or, take the path on the far side of the U bend, up to the old buildings at Tsalè de Bréona. From there, the path continues to the left and soon meets a track which descends, bending left and right, before meeting the track mentioned above. Turn right along here to Tsalè de Tsaté.
- Tsalè de Tsaté
From the cross track, the path goes off to the left. (There’s a signpost on the right of the track indicating the way down to La Forclaz and Les Haudères). The path descends initially to the right of some buildings and a small stream. At a wooden cross it turns off to the right and then bends back to the left and down quite steeply, through some trees, eventually reaching a stream.
Cross the stream and follow the wide track to the right of some buildings (Mayens de Motau). Follow the sign to La Forclaz and La Sage. The path goes to the right of the rightmost building and descends to a track. Note: Keep to the higher path as it bends to the left (as indicated by the arrow on a stone). Turn left along the (often rather wet) track to a man-made track/road at a U bend and then turn right.
After about 20m, a path goes off to the right and descends across a field to another track/road. Either go straight ahead and follow the path down until it emerges through some chalets or turn right and follow it as it winds back down to La Forclaz.