Mont Fort Sunrise is one of those ‘accidentally cultured’ travel experiences that my sense of adventure seems to attract!
I have to admit, I was totally unaware that Mont Fort existed. But, unable to resist a sunrise photoshoot at 3328 m, I recently found myself heading skyward towards this magnificent destination.
Mont Fort Sunrise
Mont Fort is a mountain in the Swiss Pennine Alps. It rises high above the famous Verbier ski resort and it takes four cable cars to reach it! Obviously, it offers a fabulous ski run in winter. But, in summer, although it is a great place to hike, viewing the sunrise at this altitude is a special treat!
Mont Fort sunrise is a special event organized by Nendaz tourism. But, my group was well catered for by photographer Sébastien Albert from Trobophoto. So, at 5:15 am we left Verbier by bus and headed up a very windy dirt track to La Chaux at 2, 266 m. Then, a cable car to Col des Gentianes at 2, 894 m. Next, ‘the Gentiane’ a huge cable car that transported a whole bus load of people over the Glacier de Tortin to Mont Fort. Finally, we all climbed a 20 m stone stairway to the summit of Mont Fort. Here, we set up our tripods and pointed our cameras in the direction of the sunrise!
Mont Fort Sunrise over the Matterhorn
East of the summit is a series of Alps including the Weisshorn, Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn. These form a gently undulating series of shapes that slowly came alive and danced in the morning glow. Then, at 6:15 the sun pierced the horizon in all its dazzling glory, revealing its golden disc and rays of sunlight.
The Alps began to glow an iridescent shade of purple and their undulating shapes harmonised with the mysterious sounds of the alphorn symphony.
Mont Fort Sunrise lights up Mont Blanc
The sun slowly rose casting its golden light over the Dents du Midi and Mont Blanc to the west. Turning our tripods westward we witnessed the Massif come alive. The Swiss horn players also shone in the golden light making their music even more enjoyable.
I found it hard to believe that we were at eye level with Mont Blanc! And for the next few hours, we watched the Massif come alive with golden lights and dancing shadows!
The crowd of people on the summit also glowed in the golden morning light. But, slowly they melted away and before long we had the summit to ourselves. So we remained there for several hours enjoying our photoshoot and the peaceful ambience.
The changing lighting conditions gave us plenty of creative composition challenges!
Mont Fort to the South
In the southerly direction, there are spectacular views of Grand Combin, Val de Bagnes, and the Mauvoisin reservoir. As the morning light gradually lit up these areas, the glacier began to glow, and the reservoir turned a delicate shade of turquoise. The huts used by trekkers were dotted throughout the valleys. And, I began to understand how exciting it would be to go trekking in this area.
Mont Fort to the North
The northerly direction was the last to awaken and gradually the Rhone Valley to the Vaud and the Bernese Alps began to glow. The valley views were amazing! We had fun identifying Alps and villages like Sembrancher in the distant vistas.
Breakfast at 3328 m
Finally we descended from the summit and enjoyed breakfast at this amazingly high altitude with its stunning views!
Eventually, it was time to leave and begin our re-entry into the real world! Stepping into the gigantic ‘Gentiane’ cable car is a gentle re-entry. But, it is a bit scary when it launches out over a precipice and gracefully glides over the glacier and alpine slopes. Then, after 3 more cable cars we are back in Verbier!