From Cabane Brunet to Cabane FXB Panossière
High-altitude hike to a mountain refuge beside the Corbassière Glacier at the foot of the Combin massif. Highlight: traverse of a 190-metre suspension footbridge.
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This panoramic hike leads to a mountain refuge dramatically sited on the lateral moraine of the Corbassière Glacier – the fifth longest in Switzerland (10 km). The Cabane FXB Panossière offers a grandstand view of the great river of ice as well as the glaciated peaks that tower above: the massif of the Grand Combin, the second-highest summit of French-speaking Switzerland (4,314 m). The trail begins at another mountain refuge, the Cabane de Brunet, located at the treeline, and snakes up through subalpine pastures offering sweeping views. The path crosses a short suspension bridge across a ravine before leading around the steep flanks of the Becca de Sery. The terrain becomes increasingly wild, dominated by mighty boulders and rock sculpted and smoothed by the passage of ice. Eventually the Corbassière Glacier appears, and with it, a second, much more impressive pedestrian footbridge: the Passerelle de Corbassière. Inaugurated in 2014, the bridge has a span of 190 m, passing 70 m above the tip of the glacier. (Hikers who suffer from vertigo can skip the crossing by following an alternative path, lower down the valley.) Pause to read the signs by the bridge. Its patron is the Swiss engineer Toni Rüttimann, who has spent his life building suspension bridges in developing countries using donated materials and labour. So far “Toni el Suizo” (“Swiss Toni”) has built more than 650 bridges linking remote villages in Asia and Latin America, affecting the lives of more than 2 million local people. The first Swiss company to offer a cable for one of his bridges was Téléverbier, which runs the cable cars around Verbier, further down the valley. Beyond the bridge, the trail climbs the lateral moraine of the glacier to reach the Cabane FXB Panossière. Highlights Welcoming mountain refuges at the start and finish Giddy suspension footbridge, 190 m long and 70 m off the ground Spectacular views of the Corbassière Glacier and the Combin massif