Route: Via Valais

Submitted by macgeis on Fri, 09/08/2023 - 02:53am

The Alps first Grand Tour specifically for trail runners! It’s the running version of what skiers and hikers have long had, a Haute Route. But, this tour is designed by runners, for runners. We call it the Via Valais.

The multi-stage route moves through some of the Swiss Alps’ most dramatic and beautiful terrain, traversing in and out of valleys rather than straight up and down. You'll run beneath numerous 4000-meter peaks, alongside glaciers, and over high, alpine passes. It’s the trail runner’s dream tour.

Like the Haute Route, we also wanted our tour to end in Zermatt. And the start? Verbier was a logical place as it would allow access to some of the best trails through the Valais. What we didn’t want was to be on the Haute Route. The Via Valais needs to be its own line and so we took advantage of a runner's ability to cover more ground to access the best possible trails. Occasionally, the route shares the same trail and/or variations of the Haute Route, but it is primarily unique for runners. While the Haute Route tends to go straight up one side of a valley and down the other, the Via Valais follows the contours of the landscape, traversing in and out of the deep valleys and actually heading higher into alpine terrain than the Haute Route ever does. 

In the end, after four reconnaissance missions to finalize all the connections, we found the line that will keep runners running. Not only are each stage's trails perfect for mountain running, we added optional peaks to tag along the way. These Bonus Peaks might include in some scrambling and exposure for the extra motivated.

Fotos by Dan Patitucci, Alpsinsight