Of the Dents-du-Midi

The Dents-du-Midi mountain chain became famous because of its unique geological formation and also due to Chillon Castle. Many engravings of this historical building show these famous peaks in the background. They have inspired many painters and writers, such as Victor Hugo, who liked to stay in Champery. Yet it is through its remarkable sporting history that this range truly earned its noble reputation.

The Dents-du-Midi circuit was tested in 1961, established by Fernand Jordan in 1962, then organized as an event by Daviaz Ski Club in 1963. And so it was that these mountains had the honour of hosting the first-ever mountain foot race, a world premiere! In 1968, given the success of the race, a study was carried out. Its goal was to create a permanent pedestrian path for mountain hikers around the Dents-du-Midi. At the origin of this project were important names for tourist development in the Alps, visionaries such as Joseph Varone, George Pillet, Rene Coquoz, George Exhenry, Fernand Jordan and Hans Gemmet. These entrepreneurs sought private funds and financed the circuit’s construction, with the assistance of Migros cultural service. They obtained access permits, built 10 kilometres of trail and renovated 32.5 kilometres more. They marked the paths, tested the walking times, established the stages by placing the huts and cabins; in short, they got the circuit going.

1972 was the year the pedestrian hiking trail, the “Dents-du-Midi Circuit”, was inaugurated. Economically speaking, this jewel of the Alps has not stopped revealing its natural and topographic treasures or amazing its visitors since. Its East slope is one of the few European reserves for a future tourist station, for both summer and winter activities.

In order from left to right, as seen from the side of Val d’Illiez: Cime de l’Est (3178 m), Forteresse (3164 m), Cathédrale (3160 m), Éperon (3114 m), Dent Jaune (3186 m), Doigts (3205 m) and the Haute Cime (3257 m).

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