Pigne d Arolla

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Valais, Switzerland, Europe
12454 ft / 3796 m
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Pigne d Arolla
Created On: Mar 23, 2001
Last Edited On: Apr 24, 2008


Dominant and snow clad mountain at the end of Val d'Hérens (spoken as the french Hérin). It is an excellent ski mountain,
that is often climbed on the famous Haute Route that leads from Saas Fee - Zermatt to Chamonix (or the other way round).
In early summer the north face offers a wonderful climb for all those who would like to do some ice climbing and did not dare.
The usual starting point is the Vignettes hut (in older guides: Jenkins hut), but it is also possible to start at the Chanrion or
Dix hut. I give a short description of those three variations.

1. Cabane des Vignettes (3160 m), normal route. Go back to the Vignettes pass, then go down to the Otemma glacier, go
around the rocks 3189 m, and crest the steep slope of Pigne d'Arolla's south flank. 2.5 hours. Easy,

2. Cabane des Dix (2928 m). Cross the Cheilon glacier, climb along the foot of the Pointes de Tsena Réfien, then cross the
Tsidjiore Nouve glacier and head for Pt. 3592 (very steep) to Col de Breney. Then on the normal south ridge to the top. 4-5
hours, only for experienced mountaineers. Recommended, not boring.

3. Cabane de Chanrion (2460 m). Descent to the foot of the Otemma glacier. 9 km walk on the glacier. Just before you reach
the Vignettes hut, head for pt. 3189 and join the normal route. 7 hours, boring. This is part of the Haute Route, which I think
is a long bore, but most people think differently.

Link for books and maps:

Literature and Maps

Alpes Valaisannes, Vol. I, du Col Ferret au Col Collon, in french.
Ski alpin, Alpes Valaisannes, for skiers, Vol. III, in french.
Map Nr. 1346 Chanrion 1:25'000
Map Nr. 5006 Ski Arolla 1:50'000
Map Nr. 283 Arolla 1:50'000

See the Swisstopo Map with many interesting features. Upload is in a seperate window.

Getting There

There are three possible starting points.

1. Cabane des Vignettes 3158 m. Phone ++41 (0) 27 283 13 22,. 127 places.
Open all year, as are all huts of the Swiss Alpine Club, but only waited from 15 March to 15 September. To be reached from
Arolla (2000 m, bus, hotel) in 3-4 hours. Ascent mostly on glacier, but well marked with poles. To be reached all year round.

2. Cabane des Dix 2928 m. Phone ++41 (0) 27 281 15 23, 146 places.
By bus or car to the dam of Grande Dixence lake in the Hérémence valely to be reached from the city of Sion. With a height of 285 m it is the world's largest concrete gravity dam. In summer: a footpath on the western shore of the lake leads to the hut. 3.5 hours. This path is not accessible in winter. Try to use the tunnel railroad of the electrical company that leads ca. 2500 m, or just walk to this altitude, then climb to pt. 2804, ski down to La Barma 2458 and follow the summer path. 6 hours.
Alternative: start in Arolla (2000), climb the Pas de Chèvres (ladders and fixed rope), cross the Cheilon glacier (4 hours).
This is ideal, if you have your car in Arolla and want to ski down on the normal route. Recommended.

3. Cabane de Chanrion 2462 m. Phone ++41 (0) 21 96 36 07, 86 places.
Summer: Starting point is the foot of the Mauviosin dam (ca. 1840 m) in the Val de Bagnes. Parking. Path with ups and
downs on the western shore. 3 hours. In winter the Chanrion hut is used along the Haute Route or reached from the
Vignettes and Dix huts.

Red Tape and Equipment.

Free to climb. Take with you: rope, axe. In winter: avalanche transceiver and shovel.

When To Climb

Summer: north face (June)

Spring: with skis


Camping and hotels in the valley. Camping not allowed near huts.


Pigne d'Arolla huts

(credit to om)
Cabanne des Vignettes (3158m)
build in 1945
Places: 127
open 15 March to 15 september unless sometimes in june
to come: from Arolla by Tsijiore Nouve 3h30
Ascents: Pigne d'Arolla, Mont Collon, L'Evêque, La Singla
map:CN 1:50000 - 283 Arolla
map:CN 1:25000 - 1347 Matterhorn, 1346 Chanrion
hut phone: :027 283 13 22

Cabanne des Dix (2928 m)
build in 1945
places: 146
open 15 March to 15 september unless sometimes in june
to come: from barrage de la Grande Dixence by La Barma 3h30; from Arolla by la Remointse - Pas de Chèvres (scales and glacier) 4h.
Acents: Pigne d'Arolla, Mont Blanc de Cheilon, La Ruinette, La Luette, Le Pleureur
hut phone: 027 281 15 23

General Information

For books, maps, webcams, trains, buses, weather, avalanches, rescue see my list Swiss Links in a new window.

External Links