L’INITIATIC (The Initiation)- The hidden side of the Dents-du-Midi
“The DDM for beginning trail racers allows runners to get introduced to the DDM Trail with a route along the hidden side of the Dents-du-Midi range.”
This shorter course of the Dents-du-Midi trail covers 32km and includes 2100 meters of elevation gain. The departure is from the village of Vérossaz and the finish line is in Champéry.
Departure at 8am.
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Vérossaz – Salanfe
For the trail runners of the full DDM route, the departure from Vérossaz can be challenging! With the 32 km race, however, they are accompanied by fresh runners as everyone takes their first steps along Pétolet route, joining more primitive trails in the forest after a few minutes on pavement. (Look for some llamas on your right!) Your path now leads to Mex.
The downhill path on your left takes you back to the original path of the Dents-du-Midi tour as it wends its way to Mex. After about 5 km and 450m of elevation gain, the village emerges, directly in front of you. After crossing and descending through the old village, you’ll join the road to the St. Bartholomew dam. It’s your last easy breathe for some time, as you now start the famous climb up to the pass at Col Jorat.
The 1000m vertical climb over the course of 5 km can be tough! Fortunately, to quench your thirst, a fountain awaits in middle of the ascent. Do not miss it, since there is still some distance to Salanfe. For the best runners, the race will play itself out here, in this particularly challenging section. The view is the best way to make you forget your fatigue: it’s breathtaking! Take a moment to enjoy it, before attacking the descent to the aid station at Salanfe. Aline, Déline and the whole team at Salanfe will make you forget the pain you’ve just endures… and that there is still 15 km left!
Friends and families
Mex and its view of the Rhone valley help motivate you before the climb to Col Jorat, certainly the biggest difficulty of the event.
If you heart feels so inclined, take time to enjoy the breathtaking views of Lake Salanfe and the surrounding mountain as you stop at the aid station. Be sure to look back up at Col Jorat, too!
Whether you come from the Jorat Pass or Van d’en Haut, the auberge at Salanfe and the striking lake is a must-see destination. Fabienne and Nicolas will be waiting for you with their panoramic terrace and their menu for small or large groups, no matter how hungry they are!
Salanfe – Cabane de Susanfe
After running along Lake Salanfe, you’ll tackle the last climb of the day. 1 km of flat terrain gives you a chance to stretch your legs and run, as the path begins to gently rise. Before you know it, you’re at the base of Susanfe pass.
From the first few meters, the atmosphere changes as you approach the high mountain part of the race course. A little less than 600m of climbing and 3km of distance makes for a climb that’s one of our favorites: beautiful, technical, and with a lunar feel at the height of land that’s icing on the cake. For the more difficult sections, race organization guides have secured the route.
The special atmosphere of Col Susanfe and the proximity of the Haute Cime, on your right, helps you to forget that 12km and 1500m of quad-pounding descent awaits.
First easy and enjoyable, the descent becomes fast and technical once you enter the valley below. You still have 2 km to reach Susanfe cabin and enjoy the warm and smiling cabin caretaker, Fabienne.
Friends and families
From Salanfe, the course becomes much more mountainous and wild.
It’s not so technical, though, that you can’t enjoy the climb to Col Susanfe, either from Champéry or Van d’en Haut. You’ll enjoy a well-secured path along the way. Companions en route get the opportunity to climb the Haute Cime, the iconic peak of the region.
Cabane de Susanfe – Champéry
As nice as it is, runners must eventually resolve to leave the Swiss Alpine Club’s Susanfe cabin, and bid adieu to Fabienne’s fabulous team.
After a little more than 1 km, the Pas d’Encel awaits. Feared by some, others look forward to it. For all, however, it leaves an indelible memory. Guides will be present to ensure safety in this last technical section. A few minutes later, you’ll see the last aid station at Bonavau, hosted by Fabrice and his team.
More than 500m of descent over 6km stands between you and the finish line at Champéry. A final descent into the forest, a run down to the Gran Paradiso, and the village walking path traveled hours earlier, all lead you back to Champéry’s Main Street. The pain is forgotten, the legs are lighter as the applause of spectators bring you across the finish line.
Friends and families
From Salanfe, access to the course is suddenly much more mountainous in nature.
This should not prevent you from climbing Susanfe pass, either from Champéry or Van d’en Haut and enjoy a secure path.
You could even take the opportunity to climb the Haute Cime, the iconic peak of the region.