Map used: 1:50,000 Arolla hiking map, 283T, plus an
insignificant segment near the top of the cable car which is on the
Montana map, 273T.
Date: 8th of August, 2005
Distance, Elevation Gain/Loss: 12.9 km, 422/1,167 m
Cabane du Petit Mountet Coordinates: 615 064 / 104 556
After describing the direct descent from the Sorebois cable car station to Zinal, Kev Reynolds wrote (in the 3rd edition, dropped in the 4th):
A longer, but more interesting and visually rewarding descent, taking another 3½ hours from here, continues along the track and takes signed footpaths to Alp de la Lé and Cabane du Petit Mountet ...
The version of the Haute Route described by the Valais Hiking Association in the brochure and map they publish spends a night at the Cabane du Petit Mountet. Next day it continues to the Hotel Weisshorn by a path above the valley, going by the scenic Roc de la Vache. It certainly seemed worth while exploring that option on my last hiking day in Switzerland.
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From the Sorebois cable car to Zinal by the Cabane du Petit Mountet
Alpine weather changes rapidly. The previous day I had walked in the mist all day, cheated out of what all books describe as wonderful views from the Col de Sorebois. On the day of my final hike the weather was gorgeous, and the views promised to be magnificent.
I took the cable car back to the Sorebois station, and followed a wide track for a short distance, before branching off it onto a hiking trail. The trail went south around the 2,500 meter contour for about four kilometers, with excellent views across the valley all the way. That segment of the trail had a few ups and downs, but no real elevation gain or loss. It was not as easy as it seemed on the map, as it crossed many areas of rock fall, where care was needed when walking across the jumbles of rock. There also were several areas where a chain was attached to the rock for reassurance. The views, of course, fully compensated for the slight difficulties.
After four kilometers the trail started its descent to the hut, first going straight down, then angling across the slope and over a moraine to the hut. The Cabane du Petit Mountet is an interesting "Alpine" hut. Since it is a common destination for day trippers from Zinal it seems much more like a café restaurant than an alpine hut, with many outdoors tables with big parasols.
The VALRANDO version of the Haute Route spends a night at the hut, then goes north high above the east side of the valley, by the scenic Roc de la Vache, to spend the next night at the Hotel Weisshorn. I could have gone part way along that scenic route before descending to Zinal, but decided that I had had enough for the day (and for the trip), and so returned to my hotel by the valley.