26 Jun A Glacier Walk in Les Diablerets
Perhaps there’s no better season to go to Les Diablerets, the ski resort near Gstaad, than early summer.
It’s the time of the year when you can walk on the snow along the glacier and admire the green meadows and turquoise lakes in the valley, combining winter, spring and summer in a single day.
A 360 degrees panoramic view
The Glacier 3000 ride offers beautiful ever-changing views as the cable car quickly brings me from Col du Pillon, at 1,546 m, up to Scex Rouge at an altitude close to 3,000 m. First the small Lac Retaud, then Lake Arnensee (one of the loveliest hikes in the region) and the surrounding peaks standing out above the valley.
Soon enough the landscape changes, as the first patches of snow start to appear, until the cable car reaches the glacier and its wide white stretch of snow, dazzling on a sunny day.
The view from atop is gorgeous and gets only better as I climb the stairs up to the panoramic terrace. I’m lucky, it’s a beautiful day with a clear sky and I can see as far as the Mont-Blanc, its summit wrapped up by a few clouds. From the terrace, I cross the brand new ‘Peak Walk’ bridge, the first suspension bridge connecting two peaks ever built.
After I read about the bridge when it was inaugurated, in October 2014, I was in eager anticipation to see it and once there I felt a little disappointed. The bridge is nice, the panorama is awesome, but there were none of the thrills I was expecting from a suspension bridge.
Les Diablerets and the legend of the devils
Anyway, the scenery was stunning enough and I headed down to start the glacier walk to “La Quille du Diable” (meaning The Devil’s Skittle), a peak owing its name to an ancient belief. According to the legend, on stormy days the devils slip out from the holes where they live, roam across the plateau and throw stones to the Devil’s Skittle, causing concern to the people living in the valley, afraid of possible landslides.
The 1-hour easy walk on the glacier leads to the Refuge de l’Espace, a cozy alpine hut with a terrace overlooking the mountains and serving excellent food. My friend ordered a tasty vegetable and barley soup while I indulged myself with a slice of delicious home-made Tarte Tatin and a cold refreshing beer.
As it often happens in the mountains, a few clouds arrived making the sky all the most dramatic.
I started the walk back, my feet slightly sinking in the snow which had become softer under the sun. I took in the view of this large white expanse, listening to the sound of my steps and the rhythm of my breath, almost the only noise up there.
The scenery is not as magnificent as atop the Jungfrau or from the Aletsch Arena since you don’t see the characteristic crevices and the ice flowing down like a tongue, rather a large white blanket of snow. Still, Les Diablerets glacier is worth spending a day if the weather conditions are good, and there are many activities one can do up there.
Les Diablerets: Practical Information
Getting to Les Diablerets: You can drive from Geneva, Bern, Lucerne (see Access and Directions) or take the yellow Post Bus from Gstaad to Col du Pillon-Glacier 3000 (see Timetable) and then the Glacier 3000 cable car up to Scex Rouge.
What to Wear: Weather in the mountains can change very quickly so no matter if it’s sunny, always take warm clothes with you, as well as good waterproof hiking shoes to walk on the glacier. Walking poles are not necessary but I’m used to them and was glad to have them with me.Map