Date: 14/09/2014


Mount Thabor (3.178 MASL – also called mount Tabor) is part of the Cozie Alps. The mountain is situated in french territory since 1947 and is placed among the cities of Valmeinier, Modane and Nevache, in the french departments of Savoie-Hautes Alpes.

Access: From Bardonecchia follow directions to Melezet and Colle della Scala. Once arrived in Pian del Colle, take the road straight in front of you toward Valle Stretta. Go ahead until the hairpins after Grange di Valle Stretta and park your car before the huts.

Among our group, we talk all summer long about it, it had been the challenge for weeks, months already. We bet on who would be the first one to reach the top, how long it would have taken, who would have defected along the way. So, THE challenge of the summer. The first 3.000 mt peak climbed. After a first reconnaissance tour at the Thabor hut, absolutely away from the mounaint itself, it only took us six days to leave for the top of Mount Thabor.

We can recruit only one camarade, just recovered from a soccer injury, and we already know he won’t come to the peak with us. He just joined us for a light hike. The rest of our usual group keep off from our challenge, so we exploit the possibility of makin great things: tent in the backpack, the goal is to cover the whole ring that begins in Valle Stretta, touch mount Thabot peak and on the way back goes to the Thabor’s hut passing by Peyron Lake. We still can’t realize what is really expecting us.

The begin of the path is already know from our previous excursion to Lavoir lake. Soon after Des Chamois hut, we turn for the Thabor’s path. The day is wonderful, the sky crystal clear -our biggest luck- and perfect for our ambitious program.

view on Stretta valley

We declare as our official sponsor of this adventure the Accademia Torino, and then we left. Gaining the first milestone is easy, we already know the trail and the full backpacks still feel light. The fresh autumnal air and the early morning start -for once not in early afternoon- spare us the heat; lucky us, there is no wind today, our trek will be much easier this way.

cows on the path towards Thabor

Ridden out our first stage, we follow for a while an unknown path, but soon take a newer one that will bring us directly to the top. The path that unfolds in front of us is new -for us at least- and full of grazings. The flat land cheers us with a long but light morning, our step quick and not so hard. We stop a hundred time to photograph every little detail -the colour contrast is awesome, green and blue- but this doesn’t slow us down. And some stolen pics of a very close encounter are taken too.

Cows on the paths towards Thabor, backpack

At last we arrive at the crossroad that signals the real begin of the climb to the peak. Our legs are now warm enough and we enjoy a little stop. The early start has make us come halk way just in time for lunch. Dried fruit as dessert -it will help after- and we have to say goodbye to our friend -nope, not the cow, the injured footballer. The cows hang around with us almost to the top. We leave again, time is in our favour, we have several hours indeed, and with no rush we begin to go up. The ascent is beginng to be serious finally, pebbly and hairpinned, the peak no longer visible, not at first at least. We only know that we have three steps awaiting for us, the three cross: two along the way, pointing out the two cols, and the last one so far away, up there, the little chuch on top of Thabor.

The climb is hard, the path very well signales but quite strenuous. Our backpacks become havier and havier. More than once we are temptedmore to leave them along the way and take them on the way back -well, for me at least. It has to be told that the photographer is some kind of ibex, he’s almost running!-. The second cross seems an illusion to me, I glimpse it from below, almost out of reach. When I finally come closer, the sight in front of me is as stunning as worrisome: find oneself face to face with the path that still has to be walkes is shocking, but no matter what, we still go on, straight to the top!

Far away thabor

Reaching the peak is really an harsh task. You should never and ever go up there with all that deadweight on the shoulders -even an Italian alpine trooper is fascinated about the heavy load we carry. Everything not absolutely necessary has to be left back, because every pound carried will slow you down and weight your legs, such a lot.

A life of judo training has been fudamental to the task -never give up, to the last second…centimeter in this case- and in the end we reach the top, both the ibex-man almost half an hour before me and me at last. It’s a big satisfaction, our first 3.000 meters peak, both of the season and of our life. It took us a while to regain our breath, a sip of fresh water and something to wat, but we are soon ready to enjoy the show: 360 degrees of wonder.

There is nothing between us and the view surrounding us. We reach for the cross that pinpoint the heighest reacheable point -the real peak is actually higher, but is a spike that can maybe be climb, and I’m not even sure of that. Finally, we are on top of Mount Thabor, the climbing time is not available, but it really doesn’t matter.

view from Mount Thabor

We took all the time we want to enjoy the deserved show. There are arguments about the names of all the visible peaks, only the Monviso is unmistakable, and it seems also the ski resorts of Monginevro and La Grave-La Meije can be seen. Unfortunately, our map is not wider enough to verify our theories, we just like to think that way.

There is quite a crowd up here, a lot of foreigners, french for the most, and a nice italian lonely guy who loves mountains as we do. Chats at this height and with sucha a view, have obviously a common subject: Mountain, landscape, climbing and so on. So here we are, delighted in the view of Valle Stretta, from which we are coming

Chilling out on Mount thabor

and the Val Frejus and the French, with our new friend concentrated in his landscape admiration, enjoying the amazing view that the clear sunny day offer us.

Landscape mount thabor

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads”
Henry David Thoreau

There is time for a little nap too -the wind absence is as rare as delightful and let us stay up there with no rush and no freezing.

Around and below us only mountains, mountains everywhere. And down there the grazing dotted with white spots -from up here cows seems little white ants.

Suddenly, we become aware of being alone. It is unbelievable, everything is still and silent, not quietly comparable to what we are used to hear in our cities. Is absolute stillness, even the crows, lonely inhabitants of the peak, don’t dare to make a sound. It’s magical, for real, we could stay here for days and contemplate, breathing the fresh brisk air, admiring the landscape.

landscape mount thabor

Reluctantly, we set to leave. Our backpacks are heavier even there is no more climb in front of us: we carry the weight of leaving this wonderful place. Just one more second to leave our reminder up here, inside the damp dark little church we leave a trace of us, one among the crowd that had climbed up here.

mount thabor journal

Our adventure doesn’t end here…see you tomorrow  —>  Thabor: 3.000 mt of silence – PART 2

“People go to the mountain to feel the free, to shake down the chains of social coexistance, not to fell in duties and prohibitions at every step. People go to the mountain to elapse from ancient rules, to go wild once in a time and gather new energies”.
Tita Piaz (Italian climber and mountaineer)


This article is available : Italian