Sierre to Val d'Anniviers (driving tour)
German Eifischtal: 26km/16mi to Zinai, on a good road.Leave Sierre on the road up the Rhône valley to Visp and in 2km/1mi, at Pfynwald, turn right onto a road which climbs steeply uphill, with numerous hairpin turns. Below, to the right, is the Chippis aluminum plant.
Niouc (900 m/2,953ft) is situated high above the River Navigenze or Navisence, which flows down through the Val d'Anniviers. The road then skirts the mouth of the Pontis gorge (short tunnel), beyond which is the Sentier de Sussillon viewpoint (1,029 m/3,376ft). From here a steep and narrow road on the left climbs up (3km/2mi) to Susillon.
From Susillon (1,386 m/4,547ft) it is a two-hour walk to Chandolin (1,936 m/6,352ft), one of the highest mountain villages in Switzerland, with a superb view (road from St-Luc). The road up the Val d'Anniviers continues to the hamlet of Fang (1,095 m/3,593ft), above the road on the right. Beyond this Chandolin can be seen high up on the left.
Vissoie (1,221 m/4,006ft) is the chief place in Rhône valley (pop. 400); it has a square stone tower dating from the 14th C. From here it is worth making an excursion on a road to the left which runs steeply up in seven hairpin bends (gradients of up to 12%, 1 in 8) to the village of St-Luc, 6km/4mi east.
St-Luc (health resort)
St-Luc (1,643 m/5,391ft), situated on a steeply sloping expanse of Alpine meadows. This is a popular health and winter sports resort (several ski-lifts) with magnificent views of the Val d'Anniviers and its ring of mountains and over the Rhône valley to the Bernese Alps. Above the village is the Pierre des Sauvages (1,714 m/5,624ft), with prehistoric engravings.
Chairlift to the Alm Tignousa (2,050 m/6,726ft; restaurant). Rewarding climb (four hours) to summit of Bella Tola (3,028 m/9,935ft), with a superb view over the Bernese and Valais Alps to Mont Blanc. From St-Luc a road runs 5.5km/3mi north to Chandolin.
From Vissoie a side road on the right (8km/5mi) descends to a bridge over the Navigenze and continues along the left bank to the little village of Grimentz (1,570 m/5,151ft; bypass), picturesquely situated on a little mountain stream, the Marais, above the mouth of the Val de Moiry. The village is a popular summer vacation spot, and also attracts winter sports enthusiasts (ski-lift). The road continues south and in 5km/3mi reaches the artificial Lac de Moiry.
Lac de Moiry
Lac de Moiry has a capacity of 75million cu. m/2,648million cu. ft. There is a parking place by the lake, beyond a short tunnel; restaurant near the dam. The road then follows the east side of the lake to the Moiry glacier (2,350 m/7,710ft), 4km/2mi from the dam. From here it is a 1.5 hours' climb southeast to the Moiry hut (2,850 m/9,351ft).
The road up the Val d'Anniviers runs from Vissoie along the right bank of the Navigenze to the hamlets of Quimet and Mission (1,307 m/4,288ft), opposite the mouth of the Val de Moiry. It then climbs with a double hairpin to Ayer.
Ayer (1,484 m/4,869ft) is a large village of Valais-style houses preserved intact, which is surrounded by forest and Alpine meadows. From here it is 5km/3mi up the highest section of the valley, the Val de Zinal, to Zinal.
Zinal (1,678 m/5,506ft) is a popular climbers' base, health resort, winter sports center (ice-rink, toboggan run) in a magnificent mountain setting. At the head of the valley is the Zinal or Durand glacier (1.75 hours), and above it tower the Zinal-Rothorn (4,221 m/13,849ft; 12 hours, with guide), the jagged twin peaks of Besso (3,668 m/12,035ft; nine hours, with guide), the Pointe de Zinal (3,806 m/12,487ft; nine hours, with guide) and the Dent Blanche (4,357 m/14,295ft; 15 hours, with guide, very difficult).
Guides: Guided tour available as optional extra.
Climbs in surrounding area
To the west of the Zinal-Rothorn is a Swiss Alpine Club hut, the Cabine du Mountet (2,886 m/9,469ft; five hours from Zinal). Easier climbs are to the Alpe de la Lex (2,188 m/7,179ft; two hours) and the Roc de la Vache (2,587 m/8,488ft; three hours), which both afford splendid views; 1.5-2 hours northeast of the Roc de la Vache is another SAC hut, the Cabane de Tracuit (3,256 m/10,683ft). From the near end of Zinal a cabin cableway (2,000 m/6,562ft) ascends to the Alpe de Sorebois (2,470 m/8,104ft; restaurant), a good skiing area (two ski-tows up to 2,900 m/9,515ft).