Dwight Peck's personal website

Plan Névé

Little glaciers not long for this world

The tiny twin glaciers of Plan Névé lie at about 2500m just to the east of the mighty Grand Muveran, looking from the Rhône river valley like two off-white little butterflies. Here are views of two trips up there to find out what it's all about, one in 2002, the other, less successful, in 1993. Hang on to your wool bonnets.

Fairly unsettled weather, September 2002, as Mr Dan Hinckley then of IUCN-The World Conservation Union, intrigued by his hiking companion's long-winded descriptions of the glories of the Plan Névé, sets out from the Pont de Nant to see this alleged wonder for himself.

That's the Grand Muveran, seen from the Rhône valley floor. The glaciers of Plan-Névé extend down to the left.

The red dot shows the Cabane de Plan Névé from halfway up the trail, in July 2005.

Digression 1: Vallon de Nant, a portentous occasion in November 1984

Marlowe Tyson Peck . . .

. . . hiking in the Vallon de Nant on 11 November 1984, just three days before her birth, with assistance from her mother (above).

Back to the present

Mr Hinckley, ascending from the trailhead at Pont de Nant, which lies at 1253m up a narrow road from Plans-sur-Bex, which lies up a narrow road from -- guess! -- Bex, near Aigle in the Rhône valley, confronts foggy, craggy things that draw him upwards.

Mr Hinckley stalks past the farm of Le Richard and prepares to address some serious uphill.

The farm of Le Richard (1535m), just before the hiking begins to require measured breathing.

The front part of the Muveran looming nearby.

The trail upward. Upward. Upward. And then . . . upward.

The first glaciers appear, over on the side of the Grand Muveran.

The way forward, upward, no sign of an end in sight yet.

First doubts.

Mr Hinckley, en route for Plan Névé, takes a well-deserved break for an orange, a banana, a mix of nuts and prunes, and a steak smothered in onions, and then heads up towards the Cabane.

YEP! No worries! There's the Cabane of Plan-Névé smiling down upon us, on the last day of the season, as the guardian staff sells off all the unused kitchen stocks and prepare to go back to the ground floor for another season.

Somehow sensing a good deal on the out-of-date groceries, Mr Dan jogs over to the hut at Plan Névé (2262m) hoping to get in on the action, so question one has been answered: Dan and the narrator did in fact make it to the hut in 2002.

The Cabane de Plan Névé in September 2002

Here, from the cabane, is a view up to the Col des Chamois (2660m), looking fairly forbidding from Mr Peck's point of view. Mr Peck has been up there his-own-self, but on touring skis up the Glacier of Paneirosse on the far side -- he takes a dim view of this side of the thing.

The glacier near the cabane

The two glaciers of Plan-Névé, looking like a butterfly from the valley below, but actually with a sizable impediment between them.

Mr Hinckley at rest

Mr Peck anxious to get moving

Weather declining, time to go home, September 2002.

Exiting the cabane's gulley bound earthward.

With a view back towards the farm Le Richard that makes old knees ache.

Le Richard on the return route.

That was not Mr Peck's first trip to the Cabane de Plan Névé.

Having run the route a few times in the early 1990s, he brought along a number of hiking friends in July 1993.

Here, as the weather begins to become unsettling, are hiking companions Lisa, Carmen, Bill, and Bill's 11-yr-old niece Haley, July 1993.

Lisa displaying fortitude and improbable joie de vivre near imperfectly melted snowfields.

Mr Peck assisting Professor Durham in a photographic pose, 1993

Weather declining, the hiking party pretty much lost in the fog . . .

as hiking companions begin to suggest their doubts, but insufficiently loudly.

Until we notice Ms Haley's blue face and conclude that it's time to vacate the area speedily and go warm up somewhere.

Time for a restorative snack in the hut next to the farm of Le Richard, luckily open.

Pleasantly fortified by considerable quantities of crackers and cheese, Lisa, Carmen, Bill, Haley, and the narrator clean up the premises and travel on their way to ground level.

July 1993

from SwitzerlandMobility (http://map.schweizmobil.ch/?lang=en)

One's hiking route lies up from Pont de Nant (1253m), with its charming restaurant and the world's first alpine botanical garden [really!], and the beautiful little valley of Nant running southward (left, off the map) under the Muveran and Dent de Morcles, where Marlowe Tyson Peck went hiking two days prior to her birth.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 28 September 2002, revised 7 July 2007, 10 February 2014, 2 November 2015.

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