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Less than 60 kilometers as a crow flies southeast of Fribourg lies the hulk of a jagged mountain chain named after le Diable himself – les Diablerets.  The Diablerets massif consists of the highest peak, its namesake which tops out at 3,210 meters (10,531 ft), and an impressive line up of towering brothers with names like Scex Rouge (Ruby Mountain), Quille du Diable (Devil’s Skittle), and Le Dôme.  These mountain peaks now boast of the highest “peak-to-peak” suspension bridge in the world, dubbed the Peak Walk by Tissot. Completed in November of 2014, the hanging bridge connects the summit of Scex Rouge with another mountain peak 107 meters away along the same ridge line.

Skiers below us look like ants from our vantage on the Glacier 3000 cable car from the parking area at Col du Pillon to our first stop, Cabane.

Ever since I saw a video about the bridge’s construction last winter, I’ve been anticipating a visit. Taking a chance that the weather would be clear enough for decent views, we decided to go for it!

Skiers throng just below Cabane, where we board a second cable car to continue to the summit of Scex Rouge.

After parking in the free lot beneath the shadow of giant Glacier 3000 cable cars passing overhead, we bought tickets, cringing at the hefty price tag.  The Peak Walk itself is free, which is a bit like saying the kid’s toy in your Cheerios box is free.  If you don’t buy a ticket to the summit, most folks aren’t likely to have access to the suspension bridge.  A bit offended at the 80 chf per adult ticket price, we decided to go only because they honored our Swiss Half-Fare travel cards and gave us a 50% discount.

The ride above Cabane on the way up to Scex Rouge offers stellar views of the valley from the Glacier 3000 cable car.

We passed Cabane, the first stop along our cable car route.  Boarding a second car, we continued our slow journey up the slopes with the views growing ever more impressive.

Nearing the summit of Scex Rouge, the vibrant ice blue of Les Diablerets Glacier is visible.

Reaching the end of our ascent, we disembarked with a mob of skiers at the Scex Rouge summit, then made our way toward the Peak Walk bridge, slowly climbing a series of grated metal stairs packed with ice.

Facilities at the Scex Rouge summit

Especially in winter, the facilities at the summit of Scex Rouge appear to cling impossibly to the mountain face.

The Peak Walk suspension Bridge spans two adjacent mountain peaks.  It’s accessible even in winter via stairs.

Nearing the bridge entrance, we heard the dull whoop, whoop, whoop of a helicopter’s blades rising below us through the icy air.  Much to my disbelief, a skier who appeared to be in some distress on the ice shelf far below caught hold of a rope dangling below the chopper and was immediately whisked away, presumably to safety.

A few minutes after that, a trio of skiers followed his same route below us, and we watched as two of them carefully stepped sideways through a very narrow, rocky passage, leaning into the hillside so as not to lose control and tumble down the impossibly steep slope.  The scraping of his skis on what sounded like sheer ice rather than snow made me grateful I was up above watching him rather than the other way around.

A rescue chopper lifts a skier in distress to safety.

As the chopper and its human cargo faded out of sight, we reached the bridge we’d seen from below just moments before and tentatively stepped out onto its swaying expanse.

The Peak Walk at Scex Rouge is anchored to the ground with sturdy cables and can withstand severe weather and high winds.

Not for the first time here in Switzerland, I reassured myself, “It’s Swiss made, so it must be safe.”  Sure enough, the bridge held.  Built to withstand winds over 200 kilometers per hour, the bridge is fixed not only on both ends but also with several cable anchors to the rocky cliffs below.

For thrill seekers, the Peak Walk isn’t really scary, but it’s a marvel of modern engineering.

In the short distance from the cable car to the bridge, the cloud ceiling had slowly but persistently dropped, growing ever more oppressive and slowly obscuring the surrounding peaks.

Glacier 3000 at Les Diablarets

With the wind howling and increasing snow flurries, Touille braces her tiny body on the swaying bridge.

By the time we reached the opposite side of the bridge, the wind was kicking up a respectable howl, stinging our faces with blinding snow.

Sheer cliffs fall away beneath the end of the Peak Walk bridge.

Touille obligingly poses beneath the Swiss flag.

Despite the deteriorating visibility, the views were still stunning.  The striations of snow adorning each rock precipice created a more interesting landscape than bare rocks in summer.

We head back across the bridge as the snow cover reduces our visibility.

Wherever we go, we always seem to be the last ones to clear out, and the Peak Walk was no exception.  It’s not every day that we have the highest peak-to-peak suspension bridge in the world all to ourselves!  Apparently we always just need to sightsee when the weather is at its worst.  Gale-force winds and an impending hurricane in the tropics?

Let’s do it!

Travis is the last man standing beneath the Swiss flag at Scex Rouge.

Despite the steep prices and advertising hype, we were glad we’d finally made it to the Peak Walk.  We’re hoping to return later this year to hike to the Quille du Diable and Le Dôme summits, but with so many places on our Alps hiking list, we might never make it back to Les Diablerets.  If not, we’re glad we had a chance to see this rather impressive example of Swiss alpine engineering.  It’s definitely worth a visit – just make sure you have the Swiss Half Fare Card!


The company released a neat video of the bridge’s construction – check out the guy at 1:35 and 1:49.  How much would they have to pay you to be up there?


Know Before You Go:

  • The cable car ride from Col du Pillon to the summit of Scex Rouge takes about 15 minutes.
  • Take note that the cable cars to Scex Rouge run every 20 minutes but that the last one in winter departs the summit at 1630.  As of May 4, the summer schedule begins and the last car leaves at 1650.  If you’re like me, this seems ridiculously early in the day, so don’t let yourself miss the last ride!
  • If you just want to see the bridge and hike at the top but aren’t skiing, a regular price adult round trip ticket from Col du Pillon to Scex Rouge and back to Col du Pillon costs 79 chf.  If you have any of the Swiss GA or Half-Fare Cards, this same ticket will cost 40 chf.  Considering that a single adult day pass for the Glacier 3000 for a skier is only 62 chf, it might be better to check out the bridge while you’re there to ski.
  • Parking is free, which is a huge plus – like the Swiss flag!
  • Official website for the Glacier 3000

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Two Small Potatoes

Thanks! Shannon, Touille has constantly surprised us here. She rides the trains with ease, doesn’t mind all the traffic and buses when we’re walking in cities, and patiently waits while we’re shopping in stores. We didn’t expect her to adjust to European life so easily. She IS now permanently terrified of planes, though, after flying here! She cowers under the bed when one passes over the house. 🙁

shannon
shannon

Oh my goodness! You guys are brave! 🙂 I love the pictures of Touille!

cvanryswyk

Love the photos!