Signposting in the Alps

It rained late yesterday and today we woke to a mist-shrouded valley. But by lunchtime the mist had dispersed leaving areas of low lying cloud wreathing the high peaks, and blue sky has progressively replaced the cloud cover. So today has been a pottering about day as our holiday comes towards an end.

One thing you can rely on in the Alps is accurate signposting on paths and trails. And Zermatt, with an abundance of routes, is excellently marked.

Maps for walkers will often provide information on the likely time required for an average walker to complete sections of walks.  Signposts at the start of trails will provide average times to reach the available destinations and an indication of the ‘grade’ of the walk (using the markings shown below).

In addition along the trails (as well as signposts) the walker will find markers that assist with route finding and also act as reminders of the ‘grade’ of the walk that they are on.

Low level and other easy walks (often termed Wanderwegs) are marked by a yellow diamond edged with black.

More difficult trails, requiring proper hiking shoes, (and which may be narrow, steep or exposed) are marked with a white-red-white set of stripes – often painted onto boulders and arrowed to aid navigation.

Alpine trails – for example those heading towards Mountain Huts – are marked with a white-blue-white set of stripes, again commonly with directional arrows.

In all the time I have been walking in the Alps I have never got lost. Many countries could learn a lot from the way walking in the Alps is made safer for its visitors.

About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'.
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2 Responses to Signposting in the Alps

  1. So beautiful. I don’t know but getting just a little “lost” in the alps sounds appealing.


    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Edith. One can easily ‘lose’ oneself up high on a beautiful day contemplating the stunning scenery and feeling completely divorced from all the cares and worries of a commercial world. Sadly, eventually, one has to become re-attached with reality. It gets cold up there at night! But the way the Alps re-charges one’s emotional and psychological batteries is very real. Tomorrow we journey home. Ugh!


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