Analysing terrain data
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The Lapis de Tsanfleuron is an expanse of exposed rock below the Tsanfleuron Glacier that has been sculpted by the forces of nature to create a landscape of haunting, other-worldly beauty.
In the upper stretches, covered until recently by ice, the rocks are smooth and rounded, polished by the action of the glacier.
Lower down, the rock has been freed from the glacier for thousands of years, and the limestone has been eroded heavily, revealing the forms typical of a karst landscape: deep fractures caused by the folding of the rock, twisting fissures sculptured by flowing water, and sinkholes.
In between the two zones, hikers find the moraines - piles of rock debris - that the Tsanfleuron Glacier deposited right up until 1850, more than 2 km from its position today.
The ensemble is almost unmatched in Europe. The hike follows a broad loop across this lunar landscape.
The trail begins at the Col du Sanetsch, initially heading straight up the valley towards the glacier before turning south to the Cabane de Prarochet (2,556 m), built by the ski club of Savièse.
Staffed from mid-June to mid-September, this refuge makes a good half-way stop for refreshments; from here, hikers can see the ski lifts of the glacier, the distinctive rock pinnacle of Tour St-Martin (known also as La Quille du Diable, the "Devil's Skittle"), as well as many of the 4,000-metre peaks of Valais. The trail then leads along the southern side of the Lapis de Tsanfleuron all the way to the hamlet of the same name, before climbing through flower-filled alpine pastures back up to the col. *¶ Highlights ¶ * Spectacular drive up (by car or postal bus) from the Rhône valley * Les Lapis de Tsanfleuron - karst landscape of sculpted limestone * Cabane de Prarochet - welcoming mountain refuge near the foot of the glacier equipment #We recommend # * * good footwear * clothing suitable for the weather: always carry a waterproof jacket * hat or cap * sunscreen * bottle for water * picnic * camera * binoculars (optional) * hiking poles (optional) * printout of this hike (click "Print" icon, to download) # For certain walks # * Swimwear