At the Cabane de Louvie we awoke to the strains of The Eagles ‘Desperado’ at 6:30. This has been the team wake up alarm since it was first used in Corsica on the GR20 in June 2016 but sadly not used sooner on this trip. What a difference it made! We awoke to blue sky. To say the crowded dorm of 14 exalted would be a step too far at this hour but the joy and relief was palpable. This is the view over the lake that greeted us.

As I watched from outside while trying to find the satellite on my satphone, the sun crept over the horizon and illuminated the crests to my left. I can still feel the goosebumps now. At last. AT LAST!

In the other direction the left flank of the Grand Combin appeared majestic and commanding in a crystal clear azure sky. Today was going to be a great day!

After breakfast we set off around the western side of Lac de Louvie. We were still in shade and some mist had returned. It was cold but the track was firm and the sky was pale blue rather than grey.

While on the track Pascal pointed out some fox tracks. Little by little the mist lifted. Then we saw Ibex tracks too and scanning the mountainside we saw the animals themselves.

Shortly after we turned away from the lake and climbed towards the Col de Louvie. As we climbed the mist lifted, the sky became darker blue and the sun reached us.

The gradient gradually increased and we then found ourselves in a boulder field. Boulders covered in snow and ice aren’t fun and the way became quite tough.

The best solution was to hop from one exposed and dry rock to another. But that technique tempts a slip and is not adopted by everyone. However a few of us did use that technique without mishap and were soon at the col. Others followed close behind. Jacqui, Bobbie and I were among the first up.

After another al fresco picnic lunch close to the col we continued into Le Grand Dèsert. This was a blasted and barren area of rock through which it was necessary to go to reach the Col de Praz Flueri.

Once over the col it was a straightforward matter to head down through greener pastures to the Cabane de Prafluri where we were to spend the night.

This accommodation presented challenges in terms of drinkable water, showers that worked, its welcome and its unique operating rules but it was comfortable enough for a one-night stay.