Situated amidst green pastures with a small mountain lake and offering a splendid view over the Val de Bagnes, the Marcel Brunet hut is one of the rare mountain huts in Switzerland that can be accessed by car. Welcoming and picturesque, the hut is a perfect place for a relaxing break.
The degree of appreciation of the place is often proportional to the efforts made to reach it. Especially in the mountains. Small droplets of sweat forming on the forehead, shoes covered in mud after hours of walking on steep, slippery trails, the almost empty water bottle and the too heavy backpack. Finally you see a tiny, dark blue mountain lake or snowy peaks that you cannot stop to marvel. The lake’s water now looks turquoise and the mountain ridges even more stunning.
The last efforts bring you to the mountain hut full of hikers, as exhausted as you are, who already are raising their second glass to celebrate the climb. Sitting in front of the mountains and surrounded by a deep silence reigning in altitude, you taste a local specialty or the fondue. A glass of fendant tastes like a Moët & Chandon.
Here, at the Marcel Brunet hut, it’s different. It’s one of a few huts in Switzerland accessible by car. The only effort you may make is to bring your bag inside the hut from the car park located in front. For our friends, who are not used to hiking, this hut gives them a chance to be in the mountains without physical efforts. For us, this concept seems strange at first, but this feeling dissipates rather quickly. We like it here.
From the terrace, we have a grandiose panorama. On one side, there are the snowy peaks and on the other, the valley – the Val de Bagnes, the Petit Combin and the Pleureur among others. A long walk around the hut makes us forget that we came by car.
The Marcel Brunet hut is located in the canton of Wallis at 2’103 meters, in the Val de Bagnes. Built in 1930 and carried away by an avalanche in 1937, the hut was rebuilt in a safer place in 1942. It was named after Marcel Brunet in memory of the former president of the Geneva Mountain Federation, who died in 1928 in an avalanche while descending from the Mont Fort hut.
Soon, the efforts we spared to get to the hut are spent on drinks prompted by the welcoming atmosphere of the hut. For once, the alarm clock will not ring tomorrow morning at the inhuman hours and do not have to walk for many kilometres down to the plains. Now we can sample their wide range of drinks at the bar. And we are not alone having this idea.
The caretakers have understood the needs. The choice and quality of drinks are rather surprising for a hut. There are Abricotine, the famous distilled spirit from Wallis made with apricots, Absinthe from Val-de-Travers, which has become legal since 2005 after almost a century-long ban, kirsch, but also the wide range of other spirits produced using local herbs and other Swiss specialties.
Our conclusion next morning? We liked it!
Access: The Marcel Brunet hut is located in the Val de Bagnes in the canton of Wallis in Switzerland. The hut is accessible by car (only in summer) from Lourtier (the road is not paved at the end but in good condition). In winter, the access is possible with snowshoes or sealskin ski. If you come by car, follow the road Martigny – Verbier to Châble and then take direction Mauvoisin. After the village of Lourtier follow the signs to the Marcel Brunet hut (15-20 min). If you come by train, get off at Martigny, take the regional train to Châble and then taxi to the hut. If you want to walk from Lourtier, it takes about 3 hours to get there (or 2 hours from the parking Barmasse located between Lourtier and Fionnay).
Accommodation: The Marcel Brunet hut located at 2’103 m. In summer, the hut is open from early June to early October, and in winter from early December to late April (opening date depends on the snow). The hut offers half-board (evening meal, overnight stay, breakfast). It is important to book if you want to stay overnight. The hut has dormitories with mattresses, pillows and duvets but for hygiene reasons, bring your own sleeping bag or travel sheet.
Additional information: From the Marcel Brunet hut it is possible to hike to the FXB Panossière hut. Located at 2’641m near Corbassière Glacier at the foot of Combins mountain range, the hut is open from late June to late September. There are two ways to reach the FXB Pannosière hut: 1. Through La Maye by crossing the Corbassière suspension bridge erected in 2014 near Becca de Sery (70m above the glacier and 190m long). Duration: 2h40. 2. Through the Avouillons Pass. Duration: 3h30.
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Written by ANYWAYINAWAY
Olga and Errol are the Swiss-Russian couple behind ANYWAYINAWAY. Passionate about unique culture and traditions, they decided to take career breaks and explore the world with the intention to expand awareness and provide new perspectives to the understanding of ethnic minority people, customs, traditions and culture. They also show the beauty of our planet and try to find something interesting in the ordinary.