The Pierre Avoi in the canton of Wallis / Switzerland is a mountain that on one side is overlooking the Rhone Valley and on the other the Bagnes Valley. You can see it from far and it is a popular destinations for hikers and climbers. I like to think it is popular because of the labelled panoramas that are installed at the top ?
In 2015 the commune the Saxon installed 2 labelled panoramas on the top of the mountain, each facing the different valleys. I was not involved in this process. Unfortunately, these panoramas became a bit of a problem for the two main tourist offices in the area (Verbier and La Tzoumaz) as the labelling of the mountains was a bit random and hikers started to complain. The photos weren’t taken from the top of the mountain either which added to the confusion. Vandals even scratched on the perspex to hide the names that were labelled wrongly.
In 2016 the head of the Tourist office of La Tzoumaz recommended me to the Commune de Saxon in case they intended to replace/rectify the panoramas. Having secured the financing by getting La Tzoumaz and Verbier to participate, I got the job in Autumn 2016 to take new pictures and label the mountains again.
While I was able to take the photos the same year, it became soon obvious that we will not manage to put the panoramas up before the winter. The Pierre Avoi cannot be reached during the winter due to the avalanche risk.
After I finished naming all the mountains, the commune de Saxon asked a local specialist to check in order to make sure that the peaks are correctly signed. The changes this person proposed were minor, mainly suggestions about the height of the mountains (check 2 different maps and you have 2 different heights). I decided then that in future I will always use the height mentioned by the Federal Office of Topography. I soon got the ‘good to print’ and then it was just a question of waiting for the snow to melt.
When the time was right, I delivered the panoramas to the Commune de Saxon (printed on a 140cmx42cmx0.5cm aluminium plates). The community worker of Saxon carried the pictures up the mountain and installed them on the existing tables. I usually leave the final installation to the local specialists. He told me later that he nearly got blown off the mountain when he climbed up the final ladder and the plates on his back started to act as sails! Well done to him.
Since the new panoramas are up, the complains stopped. Go and check them out, the view from the top of the Pierre Avoi is spectacular. See a larger version of the above labelled panoramas in the gallery