The Trail des Dents-du-Midi – The 7 Summits Challenge
The legend. The icon. The DDM.
Starting and finishing in Champéry, the Trail des Dents du Midi covers 57km and 3,700 meters of elevation gain.
There are 2 start times for the DDM|57 – 6 am and 9 am.
You may choose the start time that suits you best. The timer, managed by our partner MSO, is triggered as soon as you cross the start line. Be careful to choose your departure time in consideration of the race time limits, as they are the same for all runners – 1.30 pm in Vérossaz and 4:30 pm in Salanfe.
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CHAMPÉRY – SOI
The surge of start-line adrenaline will take you through Champéry in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself on the Chemin des Poussettes, otherwise known as the ‘baby buggy trail’. This is a pleasant, rolling path through the forest to Grand Paradis and it’s nice to eat up a few kilometres on flat terrain.
Beware the temptation to start too fast, however! The next segment on the Roc Coupé trail is a steep path that charges upward through the forest and along carved-out cliff walls. It packs in 550 meters of climbing and only levels out at the Rossetan alpine pasture. Here, a gently rising trail will take you to Antème and your first checkpoint.
So far, so good – you’ve accomplished nearly 1,000 metres of altitude gain and about 9 km distance. Don’t miss the view of the Haute Cime, the Dents du Midi’s highest peak, to your right as you speed on through!
From here, the Soi refreshment station is within your grasp – just a little descent, followed by a bit of scrambling (it’s still a mountain trail even if you have to use all fours), and you’re there! Raphy’s team of cheery volunteers and the encouragements of the President of Val d’Illiez will carry you through to the next refreshment station in Vérossaz!
We invite you to enjoy the festivities organized in Champéry during this much-loved event. Refreshments, activities, shopping – we’ve tried to make the suspenseful wait for the arrival of your favorite runner as pleasant as possible!
Early risers can head directly up to the Cabane d’Antème to admire the magnificent sunrise over the Illiez Valley and our beloved ‘Dents’. Between the sparkling lake and the picturesque hut, this is the perfect place to spend the morning. And, although the first runners will already have passed by in the dark, you’ll still catch plenty of action.
A second option is to hike to Rossetan, where you will catch the runners as they hit the race’s first difficulties. From there, you can head to the Buvette de Bonaveau for a delicious lunch and one of the loveliest views on the Trail.
The most valiant hikers can head to the iconic Cabane de Susanfe where Fabienne and her team preside over a hearty welcome in the magnificent Susanfe Valley.
SOI – VÉROSSAZ
Refueled, you’ll hardly notice the slight uphill climb for the next few hundred metres with takes you to Soi. From here, it’s a long descent (about 2 km) to the Chalin alpine pasture.
Once over the stream, you will traverse the flank of the Dent de Valère. Follow the path as it curves once, then again, then a third time, then, finally, at the 4th bend in the trail, you can breathe a sigh of relief as this interminable stretch finally comes to an end. On a rolling path, you’ll descend towards the Valère alpine pasture and hit the forest path that leads past the Chindonne Hut to Mex.
Save some steam for this next bit – you’ve got another 200-metre climb before the trail slopes down towards Chindonne! At this point, you’ve come 20 km and have 1,400 metres of altitude gain under your belt.
This is the light at the end of the tunnel for the relay runners, but if you want to make it to the end of your race today, this is no time for a photo finish!
One km to reach the sports center, followed by a lovely path along the hillside which takes you to the Chalet à Bagne. Look lively and smile as you descend towards Vérossaz, but don’t forget, you still have a long row to hoe after these first 25 km.
The refreshment station at Soi is an ideal spot to await and encourage the runners. Take the time to hike to Lac de Soi and admire the magnificent dry stone land art which surrounds the lake, the result of more than 20 years of work by two brothers from Val d’Illiez.
Accessible by car, Chindonne offers a unique view over the Rhône valley. The hut’s restaurant specializes in regional products and offers terrace seating. From this comfortable vantage point, you can encourage the trailers as they embark on the descent to Vérossaz.
In Vérossaz, where the first Tour des Dents du Midi was born, you can watch the exciting hand-over by relay runners. There will be plenty of entertainment and restaurants available at noon. Access via Massongex.
VÉROSSAZ – SALANFE
You will probably find the departure from Vérossaz rather difficult, especially as you’ll be escorted by an influx of fresh relayers looking lively as you all hit the Pétolet trail.
This path will take you past a football field. After just a few minutes on asphalt, you’ll re-join the forest path (check out the cute lamas on your right!) and set your sights for Mex.
Be careful not to miss downhill path on your left which will brings you back to the original Tour des Dents du Midi trail. After about 5 km and 450 metres descent, you’ll be able to see the village. Traverse the old part of town, then meet up with the road for the St Barthélémy dam. This is your last chance to steel your nerves before the formidable Jorat Pass.
The climb that awaits, 1,000 metres for some 5 km, comes all too soon. Fortunately, a strategically placed fountain halfway up provides a welcome respite. Don’t miss the chance to quench your thirst – there is still some way to go until Salanfe. Trails have been won and lost on this climb, but best not to think about that right now. Instead, enjoy the breathtaking views and think about the refreshment station that awaits by the sparkling waters of Lake Salanfe. Drink it all in, and enjoy the encouragements of Aline, Délphine and their team. And guess what? You’re only 15 km from the finish line now!
Offering spectacular views over the Rhône Plain, Mex is a great spot to motivate the runners before their climb to the Col du Jorat, the most difficult part of the entire course.
Better yet, to get just a taste of the Trail, you might try the legendary Col du Jorat hike yourself, earning a bird’s-eye view of Lake Salanfe and your very own Tour des Dents du Midi memory.
Whether you come from the Col du Jorat or from Van d’en Haut, the Auberge de Salanfe and lake is a must-see destination. Fabienne and Nicolas provide a warm welcome, delicious food and snacks, and panoramic views from the terrace of their historic alpine inn.
SALANFE – CABANE DE SUSANFE
The last climb of the day begins on the shores of Lake Salanfe. After an easy 1 km flat to work out the kinks, the path on your right steepens, a little, before arriving at the foot of the Susanfe Pass.
From here, things get serious. You are now approaching the most mountainous part of the course, as evidenced by the rocky scree landscape. This 600-metre climb over 3 km is the icing on a trailer’s cake – breathtaking views, a technically challenging trail without significant danger (thanks to our guides who have secured the trickier passages), and an otherworldly landscape.
Finally, you reach the legendary Col de Susanfe with the imposing bulk of the Haute Cime staring down at you. It’s almost enough to make you forget the 12 km and staggering 1,400 metre descent ahead of you.
At first easy and pleasant, the descent quickly becomes more technical and irregular once you enter the valley of Susanfe. It will take you another 2 km to reach the Susanfe hut where cheerful Fabienne awaits like an Angel of Mercy.
From Salanfe, the terrain is markedly more rugged and lunar, with endless swaths of alpine scree. It’s not technically difficult, however, so there’s no reason you might not continue on to the Col de Susanfe, another exciting race-watching spot.
The most adventurous spectators might even take this opportunity to climb the Haute Cime, the region’s highest summit.
CABANE DE SUSANFE – CHAMPÉRY
Leaving Fabienne and her team at the Susanfe Hut might well be the hardest part of this whole challenge…
Heading downhill through the bucolic Susanfe Valley, the infamous rocky passage secured with chains called the Pas d’Encel awaits. Feared by some, simply endured by others, it will certainly leave its mark on you too. Guides will be present along this passage to help in case your tired legs need some support. A few minutes later, you’ll be thrilled to see the Fabrice and his team at the last refreshment station at Bonavau.
From here, you’ll set off for the last 6 km and 500-metre descent before your arrival in Champéry. Down, down, down, through the forest you go to Grand Paradis and back to the Chemin des Poussettes.
As you arrive in Champéry’s quaint main street, all your aches and pains dissipate, the spring comes back into your step, and you float the last few metres to the finish line on a cloud of euphoria like a conquering hero to the applause of admiring spectators, friends, and family.