The rugged, 3 kilometre-long silhouette of the Dents du Midi mountain range dominates the Illiez and the Rhone valleys and is clearly visible from as far away as the shores of Lake Geneva. The 7 vertiginous summits, all over 3,000 metres high, are our ever present guardians and have been an iconic local landmark since time immemorial.
One of the oldest hiking tours in the Canton of Valais, the Tour des Dents du Midi was inaugurated in 1972. Adventurous mountaineers and hikers can circumnavigate the iconic mountain range in two, three or four days, enjoying the stark contrasts in landscape between the glacial peaks and the verdant alpine meadows. Experienced mountain runners complete the tour in less than a day, on the Trail des Dents du Midi (7 Summits Challenge) race.
The Dents du Midi are our very own 7 natural wonders. Their shady forests, steep rocky mountainsides, rivers, lakes and glaciers here are home to countless species of fauna and flora. Keep a watchful eye out for wildlife when you’re hiking; you might spot a local chamois, ibex, marmot or ptarmigan. If you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a spectacular, and rare, Bearded Vulture or its 'bald' cousin, the Griffon Vulture.
The seven 'Dents' have been known by many other names by past generations.
Cime de l'Est
The Cime de l'Est was known as the Mont de Novierre up to the middle of the 17th century. Following the rockfalls in 1635 and 1636 it was called Mont Saint Michel and then the Dent Noire until the 19th century.
La Dent Jaune
The Dent Jaune was known as the Dent Rouge as late as 1879.
The Doigt de Champéry (1882) and the Doigt de Salanfe (1886) later became, simply, Les Doigts.
La Haute Cime
The highest of the 7 peaks, the Haute Cime has also been know by many names. The Dent de l'Ouest (1874), Dent du Midi, Dent de Tsallen et Dent de Challent.
Plusieurs ruptures dans le massif changèrent la forme des dents si bien que les noms s'adaptèrent en fonction de l'évolution géologique. On suppose que l'Éperon comportait deux sommets mais qu'un éboulement au Moyen Âge changea de manière significative sa crête.