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🏗️ Cleuson Dam

Keyword
2018 Mai
  • Date de Visite
    19.05.2018 && 23.09.2018
  • Création
    1950

Cleuson Dam


The Cleuson dam is a building built between 1947 and 1959 in the municipality of Nendaz, very close to the ski resort of Siviez or Super-Nendaz. Measuring 87 metres high and more than 400 metres long, it is part of the Grande-Dixence hydroelectric complex.

The Super-Nendaz ski resort on the road to the Cleuson dam.
The Super-Neudaz ski resort on the road to the Cleuson dam.

Access to the dam


Access to the dam by car is officially not possible until its crowning but stops shortly after the Super-Nendaz ski resort at the end of the paved road. Two traffic ban signs remind of this. From there, the ascent to the crown of the Cleuson Dam and its turquoise waters takes just over an hour along a small dirt road.

Access by car is possible up to the forbidden sign. We then walk up the dirt road.
Access by car to the cleuson dam is possible up to the sign forbidden to circulate Earth path leading to the Cleuson dam

However, the Torpille team noticed that in summer, the cars did not respect the prohibition sign and climbed to the top of the dam. We therefore also recommend doing so rather than walking along the road, which will often be disturbed by the constant stream of cars on a weekend day in good weather. The unpaved road is in good condition but very narrow and care should be taken when crossing with another vehicle or pedestrian.

The parking lot at the top of the dam.
The parking lot at the top of the cleuson dam.

The Dam in summer


The visit of the dam is optimal from July to October because it is at this time that the level of the reservoir is the highest and the temperatures the most pleasant. We can try to climb as early as mid-May as La Torpille did, but at that time, access can only be done on foot and parts of the road are still largely snow-covered on the top and the road, which can be dangerous with small children because of the risk of slipping.

The path to the Cleuson Dam is still largely covered with snow in mid-May and the same photo in September.
The path to the Cleuson Dam is still largely covered with snow in mid-May. The path leading to the Cleuson dam in summer

One of the two tunnels in the terminal part just before the crowning of the dam in May and September.
One of the two tunnels in the terminal part before the top of the Cleuson dam  one of the two tunnels on the access road to the Cleuson dam

The lake in mid-May and late September.
The empty cleuson lake in May The lake filled in summer - Cleuson dam

The lake in mid-May and late September.
The empty cleuson lake in May The lake filled in summer - Cleuson dam

The strolls


The tour of the Cleuson dam can be done in a little more than an hour along a path with no real difference in altitude.

The crowning of the dam


the crowning of the dam is located at an altitude of nearly 2200 meters and allows you to enjoy a beautiful view.

Le couronnement du barrage de Cleuson.
the crowning of the cleuson dam

  • Downstream side. View of the Val de Nendaz with the ski resort of Super-Nendaz to the Bernese Alps.
    View of the Val de Nendaz with the ski resort of Super-Nendaz to the Bernese Alps - cleuson dam
  • Upstream side. View of Cleuson Lake, the surrounding mountains and the Printse stream that flows into the lake.
    View of Cleuson Lake, the surrounding mountains and the Printse stream that flows into the lake.

The Saint-Barthélémy Chapel


The Saint-Barthélémy chapel is built in 1951 during the construction of the dam. The old chapel is built before the 15th century but was swallowed up by Cleuson Lake.

The Saint-Barthélémy chapel.
The Saint-Barthélémy chapel next to the cleuson dam

The Tortin water intake


On the west side of Cleuson Lake, near the dam, there is a tunnel leading to the lake. It is the water intake collecting water on the other side of the mountain in Tortin.

 the collector bringing the water from Tortin to the Cleuson dam

Picnic places


A pretty picnic area overlooking the lake with fireplaces for BBQs is located very close to the car park at the top of the dam’s crown. All you have to do is follow a small road along the lake for 100 metres. If you wish to barbecue, you should not forget to take wood as the dam area is located at an altitude of 2200 metres above the tree line.

The view of the lake from Picnic Square.
The view of the cleuson lake from Picnic Square.

Technical specifications


The Cleuson dam is the only large dam in French-speaking Switzerland whose water is not directly turbined by an electricity plant. Indeed, four pumps bring water from the Cleuson dam to the reservoir of the Grande Dixence dam through an underground gallery. The Cleuson Dam watershed is relatively small with an area of 23 km2, of which 7 km2 comes from a collector bringing water from Tortin.

The foot of the dam with the pump house.
The foot of the cleuson dam with the pump house. 

The Cleuson dam in the Grande Dixence complex.
Le barrage de Cleuson dans le complexe de la Grande Dixence.

A dam of the buttress type


In terms of its shape, contrary to what one might think, it is a buttress dam and not a weight dam as in Salanfe and Grande-Dixence. This is because the spaces between the buttresses are filled with concrete to strengthen its strength in 1950, not to fight against water pressure, but to improve its resistance in the event of bombing. Indeed, the end of construction took place a few years after the end of the Second World War and images of the destruction of some dams during the war, particularly in Germany, are still very much in evidence at that time.

The Salanfe and Grande Dixence dams.
Salanfe dam - Cleuson dam Grande Dixence dam - Cleuson dam

See all the technical details of the dam.

Videos


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wrhzcrOKm8

Linked Attractions


Attractions in the canton of Valais.
Attractions in the district of Conthey.

Historical buildings in french-speaking Switzerland.
Dams in french-speaking Switzerland.

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