Landscape Photography and Hiking in the Alps
- with Thomas Heaton
Join Thomas Heaton on a landscape photography and hiking tour in Val de Bagnes - a great opportunity to explore the Pennine Alps and photograph beautiful and wild alpine landscapes. The tour follows Tour Val de Bagnes, an iconic hike with majestic mountains like the Grand Combin and Mont Blanc in the background. The focus of this tour is to enjoy both hiking and landscape photography – two activities that goes beautifully well together, creates memories for life, and brings together likeminded people.
Thomas Heaton is a landscape photographer and content creator. Using the Youtube platform, Thomas documents his landscape photography and travel adventures. His popularity comes from his extremely honest and unpolished approach to film making and photography. He is an outdoor enthusiast and aims to showcase the beauty of the great outdoors through his photography. Thomas’ Youtube channel has over 6.5 million views, his photography has been published in the UK and internationally and he has appeared on television including the BBC’s ‘One Show’.
The tour starts and finishes in Le Châble, a mountain village situated just below Verbier, a ski resort made famous by its wild and extreme freeride skiing and celebrity visitors in wintertime, as well as serene and tranquil hiking in summer.
Day 1 - 21 September 2017
The tour starts in the afternoon with your arrival to La Ruinette Hotel in Le Châble, situated just 250 meters (820 ft) from the local train station. Once you’ve checked in and rested, we will meet for a welcome dinner and drinks, where we can all get to know each other. We will try to get early to bed to ensure we can start fresh the next morning, when the adventure begins in earnest!
Day 2 – 13 km
The first day of hiking will start after a 20-minute shuttle transport (leaving the hotel at 9AM) to Verbier, where we will take the lift up to La Ruinettes. The hike will first take us to La Chaux, then wind its way around Bec des Rosses (3,223 m), leaving chair-lifts and infrastructure behind opening our senses to wild alpine terrain. As we reach La Perraire we will stop for picnic lunch and then continue towards to Col Termin at 2,648 meters (8,687ft) and then down to Lac de Louvie (lac means lake in French), where our home for the night, Cabane de Louvie, is beautifully situated between the pristine alpine lake and the panorama towards the Grand Combin. At Cabane de Louvie we will enjoy sunset views of the Grand Combin, which stands at 4,314m (14,153ft) one of the Alps’ 82 4,000 meter peaks. The night at Cabane de Louvie, situated at 2,214 meters (7,263ft), will also acclimatise us for the rest of the tour.
Photography highlights: Verbier, La Perraire, Col Termin, Grand Combin, Lac de Louvie, and sunset session of the panorama surrounding Cabane de Louvie, which, if the night is still, can include fantastic reflections in the lake.
Day 3 – 17 km
The third day will be the most challenging day of the tour with lots of ascent and descent. It will start with a steep descent towards Fionnay, which is situated just below the Mouvoisin dam, and then up the other side passing alpine meadows towards the shoulder of Becca de Corbassiere, which offers extraordinary views of the Val de Bagnes, where we will stop to enjoy our packed picnic lunch and a photography session. After lunch we will continue up towards the Glacier de Corbassière. This uphill will be the most challenging ascent of the tour, and at fairly high altitude. But, rest assured, the efforts will pay dividends as we reach the imposing glacier coming down from the Grand Combin 4,314m (14,153ft) that is over 9 km (29,527 ft) long and 1 km (3,280 ft) wide. At the foot of the glacier we find Cabane FXB Panossière, our home for the night.
Photography highlights: Sunrise session of the panorama surrounding Cabane de Louvie, views the Fionnay village, alpine meadows at Mardinet, and almost lifeless high alpine environment at as we enter the home of the Glacier de Corbassière, and a sunset session of the area surrounding the Cabane FXB Panossière. We will also have the opportunity to photograph alpine hiking and get some action with mountain running photography.
Day 4 – 14 km
The fourth day will start with the descent towards the Corbassière suspension bridge (210 meters / 689ft long!) across the glacier moraine and then the trail will wind up the other side and around Becca de Sery. We will arrive at Cabane Brunet to enjoy a lunch with local produce. When we are well fed and rested, we will steer our boots to Les Golassons for a photography session and then pass exposed ridges up towards Col de Mille and Cabane Mille which rewards with stunning views of Massif Mont Blanc.
Photography highlights: Sunrise session of the area surrounding Glacier de Corbassière with the Grand Combin hitting the morning sun (weather permitting!), views of the Corbassière suspension bridge, alpine meadows around Cabane Brunet, panoramas and reflecting lake views of the Val de Bagnes from Les Golassons, action and hiking pictures of the exposed ridges close to Col de Mille, and a sunset session with views of the impressive Massif Mont Blanc.
Day 5 – 7 km
This day starts with a short climb up to the peak of the Mont Brûle (2,572 meters / 8,438 ft) and then follow a beautiful exposed ridge line towards Col de Chargerat where we will have panoramic views of in every direction. We will then hike down through active farmland to La Côt, where a shuttle will await us to bring us down to Le Châble and the awaiting final lunch, where the tour is officially over. However, it is highly recommended that you stay at least one more night in Le Châble or Verbier to rest your wearied body, reflect on the journey and maybe visit one of the spas in Verbier. You’ll need it! Please be in touch if you would like recommendations or assistance to extend your stay.
Photography highlights: The by now customary sunrise session will be anything but customary, as this final morning offers 360 degree panoramas around the hut and the ridge line, including the Mont Blanc Massif. Once we have started hiking we will have the opportunity to get some landscape and running and hiking photography done around the peaks and ridges towards Col de Chargerat, and then be rewarded with some final views of dense forests and happy Swiss cows (yes, they do have bells!) towards La Côt.
Dates: 21 - 25 September 2017
Price: CHF 2,000 (approx. GBP 1,600), 50% deposit due to secure your reservation, remaining 50% due 30 days before the start of the tour.
Please contacts us to make a booking - we will confirm that we have available places in an email or over the phone, and provide you with a payment code so that you can proceed to secure online payments via Stripe or bank transfer.
The price includes:
- Landscape photography and hiking tour
- Guided photography sessions
- All accommodation during the tour (four nights)
- One night in a shared room at La Ruinette in Le Châble (single occupancy room option available)
- Three nights in mountain huts with mixed gender dorm accomodation (n.b. single occupancy is not available in mountain huts)
- All main meals during the tour
- All transport during the tour (except for those by feet!)
The price excludes:
- Photo equipment – Everyone is required to bring their own photo equipment.
- Outdoor equipment necessary for the participation of the tour, such as clothing, backpack, etc. Each participant is required to bring their own equipment, and be proficient in its usage.
- Transport (e.g. flights, transportation to the meeting point in Le Châble)
- Insurance. All participants are required to have their own insurance appropriate for hiking in the alps, such as health, accident, mountain rescue, repatriation, cancellation, personal liability, etc.
- Mountain guide. If you wish to be accompanied by a mountain guide, kindly let us know and we will be happy to assist with the necessary arrangements.
- Trail snack to eat on the go - we recommend that you bring dried fruit, nuts or energy bars to last you throughout the entire hike (further info in the packing list)
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the restaurants and huts
A note about fitness:
This tour involves hiking around 6-9 hours per day, some days has over 1000m of ascent, at altitude up to 2,900 meters above sea level. To participate comfortably in the tour, you will require a certain level of fitness. To make a self assessment wether or not this is for you, you should consider yourself to be in good fitness, be accustomed to hiking, and be able to hike comfortably for at least six hours in a day. Please consult a doctor if you feel that this might be a challenge before booking.
The entire tour is done in English.
This tour is governed by the Terms and Conditions