Sharing A Swiss Gem With You

And a little surprise for you at the end...

1 letter per week.

That has been my promise since I started beginning of this year.

Today we celebrate the 20th letter.

To celebrate this, I am sharing with you today the full logistics of one of the best places I’ve captured in the Swiss Alps last summer.

And on top of that, I am giving you a little gift only you can use, to thank you for your endless support.

You can find it at the end of the letter.

Now let’s get to it.

This is the location I will be sharing with you today:

This one is a little more creative but you do have a nice water flow at that location facing this mountain range.

Last summer, I decided to do one of the most tiring hikes I’ve had on my plans for months.

This hike is known to be exhausting, due to the massive elevation gain in one day and the length of the hike.

Most people do it with a day backpack, either going down on the same day or sleeping at the mountain hut at the top.

Few do it with a full camping set and photo equipment to shoot both the landscape and the stars.

But this would be my setup. With about 22-25kg on the back, I knew I had to make myself physically ready.

People usually assume that because I spend quite some time in the mountains, I must have a physical condition way beyond average.

That is not the case.

Yes, I can carry my own stuff (which is the bare minimum for me) and do the hikes, but I am a very slow hiker.

Most of the people I went to the mountains with were hiking 20-40% faster.

It is not an easy task for me.

It’s a lot of pain and rumination and I always come back beyond exhausted.

So for this hike, I decided to keep it for after I returned from the Peruvian Andes.

I was convinced that the exposure to altitudes between 4500-5000+ meters high for days in a row would allow me to be more at ease once back in Switzerland and that hiking for 12 days every day would be of tremendous help.

Shockingly, I didn’t feel any of the benefits of my previous travel.

The hike felt in fact more difficult than any of the ascend we did in the Andes. Mostly because I didn’t have such a heavy backpack there and this made all the difference.

But bear with me, the views were worth all the efforts.

The location is next to the Cabane du (Grand) Mountet.

You start your hike in Zinal, where you can park your car at this public parking:

Link to point on Google Maps:

And here is the overview of the hike:

Source: Outdooractive

Source: Swisstopo

I leave you the link to the exact route you can download on the app Swisstopo (a must-have if you hike in Switzerland) here.

The tool indicates here 4h30 minutes to the top. With the full backpack, it looked more something like 6 hours for me.

And this is the hike to the Cabane, but if you want to go all the way to the lake you saw in the photos above, you have an extra 30-45 minutes depending on the terrain to get there.

This is where the lake I am talking about is:

Source: Google Maps

This is about another 100m elevation gain and 90m elevation loss.

At this point, your knees will be tired and the terrain is made of thin slippery gravel. Be very careful going there especially on the way down to the lake.

Now when it comes to shooting, this place is incredible for sunrise, sunset, and astro.

The Milky Way will rise perfectly in front of you while facing the mountains and the glacier:

Source: Google Earth Pro

Source: PhotoPills

Because this place is around 3000m high, it will only be accessible in late summer.

Your best chances at shooting the Milky Way there this year (summer 2024) will be around August 4th and September 2nd, when the nights are a little longer and the moon is not visible.

I personally went late July in 2023 on a new moon night and this is a single shot (unedited apart from brightness adjustments for the newsletter) of that night:

And here is a happy me after sunrise the following morning:

This place has so many compositions possible. Whether you want to do single shots or composites, it is incredibly rich in perspectives and elements to frame.

You won’t regret the effort if you choose to go there.

Just be mindful of weather conditions and the terrain that requires at some point a little bit of scrambling.

Don’t go if it’s been raining the previous day because it will most likely freeze at night and be slippery the next day(s).

I promised at the beginning of the letter a little surprise.

As this is the 20th letter, I decided to offer a 20% discount on my Switzerland by Night Photo Guide, only to those subscribed.

You are one of them and I thank you for this.

As the hiking season is now kicking off, this will be a great companion in making it easy for you to go to any of the 14 locations included in the guide.

You even have now a 15th location with the letter itself.

I rarely do any discounts at all.

The last time I did was when I launched the guide. It’s been at full price ever since.

You can take advantage of this on my website and enter the following code at checkout:

The code will only be valid for the next 7 days.

Once more, I’d like to thank you for all your support.

Here is to many more letters in the future.

Have a wonderful week and see you in the next one,