A little bit of history
Two large landslides dominate the story of Derborence.
On the 23rd September 1714, a huge part of rock detached itself from the face under the summit of Diablerets, at a place called Derotchieu and this can still be seen very clearly today. The biggest part of these rocks landed mainly on the left side of the river and afterwards it spread out on the right side until the "Vallon de Cheville" 1500 meters below. It spread in the shape of a cone between the pastures of Derborence and the Godey, over 1800 meters wide. The largest part of the rock fall stayed at this point and a certain amount went through the narrow part of the valley and stopped at about 1100 meters, having slid over 5 and a half kilometers in total.
It has been estimated that the thickness of this rock fall between the Godey and Derborence is around 100 meters. According to the testimony of a local priest from Ardon, fifty five chalets and fourteen people were buried under the rubble and only five people were saved. He came up to the site two days after the catastrophe, to exorcise the "Devils of the Mountains". A second rock fall happened at the same place in 1749. The mass of rocks slid down more on the right side and here started the formation of the lake of Derborence. The people, who were staying in this mountain area during the summer months, could see the rocks gradually beginning to fall, and therefore they decided to leave early and were able to lead their animals to safety. This time 40 chalets and alpine huts were buried, but no human lives were lost.
The Alps (French: Alpes; German: Alpen; Italian: Alpi; Romansh: Alps; Slovene: Alpe) is the name for one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east, through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west. The word "Alps" was taken via French from Latin Alpes (meaning "the Alps"), which may be influenced by the Latin words albus (white) or altus (high) or more likely a Latin rendering of a Celtic or Ligurian original.
The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), on the Italian-French border. All the main peaks of the Alps can be found in the list of mountains of the Alps and list of Alpine peaks by prominence.
The Alps are generally divided into the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps. The division is along the line between Lake Constance and Lake Como, following the Rhine. The Western Alps are higher, but their central chain is shorter and curved; they are located in Italy, France and Switzerland. The Eastern Alps (main ridge system elongated and broad) belong to Austria, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Slovenia and Switzerland.
The Alps are a classic example of what happens when a temperate area at lower altitude gives way to higher elevation terrain. Elevations around the world which have cold climates similar to those found in polar areas have been called alpine. A rise from sea level into the upper regions of the atmosphere causes the temperature to decrease. The effect of mountain chains on prevailing winds is to carry warm air belonging to the lower region into an upper zone, where it expands in volume at the cost of a proportionate loss of heat, often accompanied by the precipitation of moisture in the form of snow or rain.