Hut at Tour St. Martin

Mountain hut

A hut below the Tour St. Martin in the Valais Alps, near Sion in the Rhone valley. The distant summit is Les Diablerets. Available to buy at my Photobox Gallery

It’s hard for me to believe, but this picture is now about 13 years old. 😦 It was taken in August 2000, when I was in the Alps collecting data for my undergraduate dissertation. I’ve already posted a bit about the work I did on the proglacial area of Glacier de Tsanfleuron and the pleasure of working in an area like this, and from time to time I did get the chance to explore a little bit more. About half way through the month (we were there for all of August), my friend and I were visited by our girlfriends -until then it had been a heavily male-dominated camp! So, a trip to Geneva airport to pick them up, with a night of luxury in a hotel and particularly a shower. Having not washed properly for most of the time we were there (a glacial stream doesn’t always lend itself to thorough body-washing) the latter was critically important. Of course we didn’t know Geneva, and hadn’t got anything booked (I can’t imagine travelling like this now, but perhaps I’ve got soft), so after a bit of search we found somewhere reasonable -feeling very self-conscious about being two guys wanting a room for just one night…it only transpired later that we were on the edge of the red light district(!). Anyway…sorry…none of this has anything to do with the photo..,

Having visitors was the ideal opportunity to spread our wings a little and show off our stunning field-site, and this snap comes from a walk away to the south of where I was working. In itself the change of scenery was refreshing, and the company made all the difference. Having seen Tour St. Martin (also called the Quille de Diable -the Devil’s Bowling Pin…?) from a distance for the best part of two weeks, it had been calling to me, a striking shark’s fin of a protuberance on the edge of the glacier, with the promise of a view to the valley below, as well as back over the whole glacier and our work area. When we got there it didn’t disappoint: in fact it was even more dramatic and precipitous than I’d expected -no way we could climb it, just admire it from afar and explore around its base. Just around the corner was this handy little hut -nothing spectacular, seemingly just used for storing ski resort equipment (the Diablerets resort is not far away and spills over onto the glacier), but ideal for a bit of foreground interest. As I said in my last Glacier de Tsanfleuron post. my camera at the time was limited in terms of what it could do, so this was the best of our little walk, a shame when there was so much to recommend it. In any case, still somewhere I plan to revisit at some point, if only to see how far the glacier has retreated, so I may still get to take the kind of photos I would have wished for…

To finish the story, we had a great weekend, trying local food at the local Auberge, playing travel Monopoly and enjoying the company (we also played some interesting drinking games with the local spirit which is not to be recommended) before returning to Geneva. On our way back we were stopped in customs, the car thoroughly searched while we watched on, wondering whether we were about to be asked into a little back room. Of course there was nothing to worry about, but those thoughts all go through your head when you’re stood in customs, just about able to make simple conversation and not a lot else…


Click to order prints (opens a new window)

A standard print, the original I’ve got at home was done on A3 and it looks great!

All images © Stephen Tyrrell, Mountains, Wild Places & Water 2013. All rights reserved.

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