Around the Vaud Alps: sports camp and mountain adventuresUn camp itinerant facile à travers le ciel nocturne le plus sauvage de Suisse. Autour de Château-d'Oex, suivant l'itinéraire adapté de la mythique Via Alpina, nous camperons, explorerons des sites naturels uniques, et nous ferons de nombreux jeux et sports comme l'escalade !!
As of 2019, this camp is a new addition to our proven hiking camp program. Our goal was to provide a hiking camp that incorporates all of our essential goals of exploration, safety, learning, and memorable experiences, but in an easier, more local route. We have therefore adapted the Via Alpina 2019 camp to make it accessible to all newcomers to hiking camp. The route follows a version of the “Tour des Alpes Vaudoises” trail in the heart of the canton of Vaud with start and finish in Château-d’Oex. This area is known for its dark skies, and so one of the main goals of the trip is to explore this part of nature with nighttime activities and night sky observations. Each day will include hiking, backcountry skills lessons, delicious food, and lots of fun. Campers will learn how to cook meals in the woods, set up a campsite, read a map, and leave no trace. We’ll play scavenger hunts, search for native wildlife and plants, camp along the lakes, and soak up the beauty of the area.
Why should I attend this camp?
The Milky Way Explorers Camp is an exciting and unique adventure that allows you to explore one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in Europe. The Vaud Mountains offer a unique combination of natural beauty, including glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and alpine meadows, and cultural heritage, including traditional mountain villages and historic towns. While we see and explore all of this, we will focus on developing independence, self-reliance, and problem-solving skills.
Still, another reason for the uniqueness of this camp program is its suitability for beginner backpackers. This means that it’s definitely a good start to an outdoor hiking camp. The uniqueness of the daily landscapes completes the extensive night-time programme of activities and astronomy outings. As a teenager, this camp will be an opportunity to break away from the monotony of everyday life and immerse yourself in the beauty and adventure of the great outdoors.
As you travel through breathtaking landscapes, explore new territories, and challenge yourself physically and mentally, you’ll find that you’re growing in ways you never thought possible. You will develop self-confidence and self-esteem by taking on new challenges and overcoming obstacles. You will develop a deep appreciation for nature and gain a new perspective on life.
From vineyards to alpine pastures to old mountain villages, alpine dairies with delicious raw milk cheeses, lonely mountain lakes, panoramic views and deep gorges. The 8-day tour combines the most beautiful highlights of the Vaud Alps.
Impressive natural landscapes guarantee unique scenery: it is worth mentioning the plaster pyramids of the Col de la Croix, where, for thousands of years, water and wind have produced a diversity of altered shapes. Anyone who wants to aim higher can opt for mountain transport: the Kuklos cable car station above Leysin offers stunning views. The Glacier des Diablerets offers eternal ice and is accessible with the Glacier 3000 cable car. A refreshing dip in one of the crystal clear mountain lakes, such as Lake Arnon or Lake Retaud, is not frigid, but pleasantly cool.
Your well-being will also be taken care of in the typical Alpine dairies. Wheels of superb raw milk cheeses cooked over a wood fire have been stored in old cellars for years. Tastings are offered in the mountain pasture refuges of Les Mosses and Etivaz, the birthplace of the Gruyère cheese speciality of the same name. Famous far beyond Switzerland’s borders, it is one of the best by far.
The camp consists of several one-week sessions: Session 0: 01.07.23 – 08.07.23, Session 1: 08.07.23 – 15.07.23, Session 2: 15.07.23 – 22.07.23, Session 3: 22.07.23 – 29.07.23, Session 4: 29.07.23 – 6.08.23, Session 5: 06.08.23 – 13.08.23 and Session 6 : 13.08.23 – 20.08.23. Attendees can participate in one or more consecutive sessions. And for those who want longer camps, we have many other 2 and 3 week camps (especially in Switzerland and elsewhere).
For Swiss participants, the meeting point for all the different sessions of the camp is at Parc Bourget in Lausanne. From Lausanne, transport is organised to the departure of the camp in Château-d’Œx. Another meeting point will be organised from Geneva airport for international participants as well as Genevans wishing to come directly from Geneva. Transport will also be arranged from there.
The return point at the end of the camps is again at Parc Bourget in Lausanne where a small barbecue and farewell party will be organized and offered to participants and parents.
Ages & Languages
We offer this camp in 2 versions, one for 9 – 11 year olds (activities adapted to the needs) and the other for 11 – 15 year olds. In addition, we have enthusiastic 16-18 year olds participating to help manage camp tasks, in case you want to come as a helper, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We believe in bringing together an international community, which is why the languages spoken at the camp are French and English, which is what we have seen from our past experience and the huge benefit of mixing Francophones and Anglophones and learning from both groups.
Itinerary and activities
Stage 1: Château-d’Oex to L’Etivaz
The path invites you to discover the meanders of the Sarine River, before leading you to L’Etivaz, a destination known for its exceptional cheese L’Etivaz AOP. The rocky nature reserve of La Pierreuse, located in the Gruyère Pays-d’Enhaut Regional Nature Park, offers breathtaking panoramas.
Stage 2: L’Etivaz to Les Diablerets
You travel through the land of the canton of Bern, along a gentle path that rises gently upwards. The panorama stretches as far as the Scex Rouge and the imposing glacier of Les Diablerets. The Col de Voré, marked by a small stone wall, marks the language border and gives a foretaste of the adventure that awaits you.
Stage 3: Les Diablerets to Le Sepey
Trechadèze was the scene of violent clashes in 1798 between the Ormonans, supporters of Bern, and the Waldensian Republic. The Col de la Croix offers a fascinating site for geology enthusiasts, with its gypsum pyramids sculpted by the elements over the centuries.
Stage 4: Le Sepey to Les Mosses
The route takes you through forests and pastures, all the way to Les Fers. You continue on your way to the Tour de Famelon, then the Pierre du Moëllé. This stage gives you the opportunity to admire spectacular geological formations. Following the Mont d’Or, you finally reach Les Mosses.
Stage 5: Les Mosses in Château-d’Oex
Pretty paths guide you to the Pays-d’Enhaut, crossing vast pastures. From La Lécherette, you start the climb to Les Moulins, a charming little mountain village. The section ends in Château-d’Oex, the main town in the Pays-d’Enhaut.
Days 6 & 7: Multi-activities
Spend two days full of discoveries exploring the multi-activities offered in the region. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation or discovery, you will certainly find what you are looking for.
Prices & Materials
With the help of our local sponsors we are able to provide a discounted price to all Swiss nationals: Swiss national: The price of a 1-week session is 670 chf. International participant: The price of a 1-week session is 1180 chf. This includes all of the participant’s expenses during the camp period, i.e. any public or private transportation during the camp, food, accommodation costs, and any common group equipment (tents and any other equipment related to the activities, harnesses and climbing equipment). Not included: transportation to and from the meeting point and any personal equipment (sleeping bag (contact us if you need it), clothing and other personal expenses). We offer a 50% discount to all participants who come with sisters, brothers and friends who have already registered.
A typical day
What physical condition should I be in?
Since we will be participating in different outdoor activities throughout the trip, our students must have a minimum of physical fitness to participate in the Milky Way
Explorers camp. But in our experience, this is the case for 95% of young people between 9 and 16 years old! In the months leading up to your trip, we recommend that you participate in physical activity at least once a week if you are not already doing so. Contact us if in doubt, we will be happy to guide you to the best camp.
What equipment should I bring?
- Sleeping bag, mattress and pillow
- Favorite Snacks
- Diapers for 4 days and 3 nights
- Hiking boots
- Reusable water bottle
- Several swimsuits and sunscreen
- Towels (Shower & Beach)
- Multiple sets of socks and underwear
- Toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, shampoo, etc.)
- T-shirts, shorts, pants and long-sleeved shirt
- A slice of house (photos, notes, stuffed animals, etc.)
*Note: A more detailed packing list will be emailed one week prior to camp*
Learning outcomes from this trip:
- Leadership & Teamwork
- Outdoor Survival & Camping Skills
- First Aid and Emergency Preparedness
- Environmental Awareness and Conservation
- Personal Values and Ethical Decision-Making
- Cultural understanding and respect for diversity
- Fitness & Healthy Habits
- Citizenship and Community Service
- The ultimate goal is to help our participants become responsible and well-rounded individuals, ready to make a positive impact in the world.
What if I don't know anyone else?
Most of our students come to Young Explorers Club without knowing anyone before their trip. You’ll start making friends as soon as you arrive at the airport (and our instructors will be there to help). Once the journey is over, you won’t want to leave your new community! Most of our students remain friends long after their summer is over. We firmly believe that life is about having new experiences and making the most of every moment. However, we also recognize that the most meaningful experiences often require stepping out of our comfort zones and venturing away from familiar surroundings. When we do this, we find ourselves in unfamiliar and challenging environments, which forces us to fully engage with our surroundings and truly live in the moment. These new places and situations often bring new perspectives and can inspire us to continue seeking out new experiences that push us to grow and broaden our horizons.
What are the other students like?
The teenagers who come to the Young Explorers Club are kind, welcoming, eager to learn and come from all over Switzerland, France, USA and elsewhere. Our groups are full of positive young adults who will work well with each other. Young Explorers Club places a strong emphasis on group dynamics and creating a supportive social environment, and our students reflect this.
Safety: Is this camp safe?
Do you have any other questions?
We believe in human-to-human interaction: write to us via our contact methods (https://youngexplorersclub.ch/contact/) and schedule a call or meeting with one of our employees. We will be happy to answer any doubts or questions you may have. Or find the list of all frequently asked questions on FAQs.
Preliminary Registration Form (free of charge):
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