Dwight Peck's personal website

Big dams in Switzerland

Barrage d'Emosson

Mid-July 2007, Kristin's visiting, and we're looking for a venue with nice quiet mountain views in the twilight hours.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We've been hiking all round the Lac de Salanfe, just over the mountain to the northeast, for a few days, and we thought we'd do a little sightseeing at the Lac d'Emosson before driving home. We're sweeping through Martigny now and starting up the hill again.

Here we are, 16 July 2007, at the overlooking tourist destination called La Gueulaz (1960m).

Excellent views from La Gueulaz -- that's Mont Blanc in the right centre, and the Aiguille Verte on the left.

Further along the Mont Blanc chain, from the carpark. With a smudge on the lens.

The restaurant at La Gueulaz, with the Aiguilles du Van (2578m) above.

That's the glacier of Trient running down the left side in the distance.

Advertising for an Homage to the great Swiss-French writer Charles-Ferdinand Ramuz, being held in a Galerie Victoria in Finhaut, the last village on the way up to the dam. Here's a homespun translation of Ramuz's wonderful mountain novel Derborence.

This is the Barrage d'Emosson, completed in 1975, the second largest dam in Switzerland. The original Barrage du Vieux Emosson (1955, the "old Emosson") is up in the notch in the centre, and it's there that one finds the famous dinosaur tracks on the rocky slopes. (The original dam of Barberine, 1920, is now under this lake and can be seen when the water level is low.) The French frontier runs along that ridge on the far horizon -- in fact, the French frontier loops around the bowl of Vieux Emosson and runs right here under the dam, too. This side of the hill on the left is in France, but we're in Switzerland.

The narrator came here in the early 1980s with Marlowe's mom after the International Herald Tribune published an article about the famous dinosaur tracks and provided directions -- drive to the dam, then follow a path "up to the right" for a few hours and -- voilà -- dinosaur tracks. We found nothing!

The next day, the IHT published a correction, clarifying that the article should have said, "up to the LEFT" from the dam. A one-word error.

Modern tourist infrastructure

Looking northward past the Gueulaz at Mont Ruan in the distance, in the centre, and the back side of Tour Sallière on the right (recent views of Sallière from the other side here).

Swiss tourist promotions sometimes include the text (in the white box) of the laws protecting them.

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 6 August 2007, revised 4 November 2013.

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