Beautiful treatment of a very impressive subject When the photo is enlarged by clicking on it, the nice detail in the foreground really shows up and helps frame the main subject of the photo.
I agree it's an impressive sight. When I took this photo, I just did so because of its looks. We made our plans on a day by day basis, and today we were ice climbing at La Gouille. That's 8 km north of the summit of Pigne d'Arolla, and 2 km lower.
Little did I know that I would be on top of Pigne d'Arolla two days later! How did that happen? Well, a big high pressure system brought very stable weather, but also too high temperatures to continue climbing the icefalls in the valley. And, well, with a mountain like this right next door...
Mind you, it may look difficult, but appearances can be deceiving. While the direct route up this face is hard indeed, the normal route is pretty easy. Starting at Arolla, the village at the end of the road, it ascends up the high valley left of center, disappearing behind the small peak on the left. Higher up, well past the steep north face, the route turns to the right. Though it stays well away from it, the crest shows how gentle the slope on the other side really is.