11th July, Champex 1466m – Collet Portalo 2040m – Hotel la Grande Ourse, Trient 1279m, 5 h
It was hard to leave Champex and set off again into the rain and cloud. The TMB offers a choice of two routes for the journey to Trient: the main route climbs through forest to the alp of Bovine at 1,987m while the alternative route, which involves alpine rocky walking, climbs higher to the Fenetre d’Arpette at 2,665m. Under the conditions the choice for us was obvious and we plodded through the mud to Alp Bovine. This lived up to its name and we ate our lunch closely observed by the local cattle. This route rises only a little higher through the mist to the almost unnoticeable Collet Portalo at 2,040m. On arrival at the Col de la Forclaz (1,562m) directly on the Chamonix-Martigny road, a few rays of sunshine encouraged me to suggest a diversion to the Chalet du Glacier (1,583m) in the hope of seeing the Glacier du Trient. However we were not lucky – nothing but grey cloud could be seen. We turned back down to the valley and the quiet Swiss village of Trient (1,279m), where we staying the night at the Hotel la Grande Ourse. It had been renovated since I was last there and was smarter but had lost some of its old world charm.