Verbier is well known for its winter offering of world-class skiing, fantastic resort atmosphere and availability of luxury mountain chalets but over the course of the off-season months we will be revealing in regular blog postings why this is such fantastic place to live, and visit, regardless of the season.
Cabane de Louvie is one of hundreds of Swiss alpine cabanes built to provide sanctuary for mountain travellers. It sits perched on a ledge above Lac de Louvie at 2,213 meters and is accessed from Fionnay in the Val de Bagnes. Yesterday we hiked up to the lake for a spot of trout fishing. What a fantastic day!
Departing Le Châble just after 4am we parked and started our hike up to the lake at about 4.30am, head torches guiding the way. Though the temperature was fresh (I’d guess close to zero) it wasn’t long before the work of the climb had warmed our bodies. The hike gets straight to business and, once we had found the trail, wastes no time gaining altitude, switching back and forth underneath the imposing presence of some large cliff bands.
Hiking in the mountains by torchlight is invigorating. Above our heads a cornucopia of stars and a sliver of a crescent moon lit the sky and, while you can’t see into the darkness below, you constantly sense the steep pitch of land falling away from you. The hike is strenuous but at no point technical and, after an hour-and-a-half of keeping to a steady pace, we had reached the cabane. From here we could see the glaciers of Grand and Petit Combin, glowing in the pre-dawn light, across the valley.
We were rigged up just after first light. After a couple of attempts we found a spot with some action, which conveniently provided the most astounding fishing backdrop I have ever been privy to, looking across the glacial water at the cabane and the Combin glaciers beyond that.
Lac de Louvie is stocked for fishing purposes, by helicopter! Despite catching and releasing significantly more nippers than those we kept, the fishing was still successful, with a final catch of mostly rainbow trout, but also two namaycush. Namaycush are indigenous to North America and, even in their local habitat, are rare. They are commonly known as lake trout, or in French as cristovomer.
By 2pm we had dabbled at various points around the lake and were back at the cabane for a cold beer before descending to the car, drinking in the stunning vistas that weren’t possible in the darkness of the ascent. Thanks to Pit and Duncan for a fantastic day.
We get to live the day over this evening when we get together with our families to feast on the catch. Overnight Pit has soaked half of the trout in his secret brine recipe and will be finishing it off by smoking it. The other half we’re going to barbeque. I’m salivating already…
Bramble Ski operates a selection of the finest luxury mountain chalets in Verbier and St Anton and offers catered and self-catered ski holidays. Contact us to arrange your bespoke spring, summer or autumn holiday to the mountains through Bramble Été, a subsidiary of Bramble Ski.
Photographs by Barry Cox.