The course convenes in Leysin and Arolla is only a one and half hour transfer from there.
Day 1 We use the poma lifts from the Arolla ski resort to start our approach to the cabane des Dix. A one hour walk takes us to the pas de chevres, a steep col, which has been newly equipped with ladders to allow a safe passage.A further one hour walk across the glacier de Cheilon and a final steep pull takes us to the cabane des Dix. This is a large and comfortable hut perched on a hilltop with spectacular views of the north face of the Mont Blanc de Cheilon, Pigne d’ Arolla and Dent Blanche. Once we are settled into the hut we shall make a review session on transceiver training.
Day 2 Mont Blanc de Cheilon
(3870m) is a very inspiring peak, sporting a steep triangular north face
and a narrow summit ridge. The ski touring route takes us underneath
the north face of La Ruinette after crossing the col de Mont Blanc de
Cheilon. The route is north facing and glaciated following a terrace on
the right hand side of the glacier de Gietro. The winter summit is our
goal and this is just before the start of the narrow summit ridge. We
have a magnificent panorama from Mont Blanc and the Grand Combin to the
west to the 4000m peaks around Zermatt to the east. The shady northerly
aspect generally gives a powder descent with the north face of la
Ruinette and Mont Blanc de Cheilon providing an impressive and imposing
back drop. We shall return and spend a second night at the Cabane des
Dix. If the conditions are appropriate an ascent of Luette (3548m), a
small peak behind the hut (2hrs) can be made for the keen.
Our journey continues by traversing the Pigne d’Arolla (3790m). This
classic traverse if often done as part of the haute route. A short
descent from the hut takes us back to the Glacier de Mont Blanc de
Cheilon, from here we put our “skins” on our skis and climb up the
glaciated northern flanks of the Pigne d’Arolla. A tricky step on the
col de serpentine sometimes requires us to take of the skis and put on
the boot crampons as it can be icy and a bit exposed. Again the summit
of the Pigne d’Arolla (4 ½ hrs) rewards us with an amazing panorama
looking at the Matterhorn in the east and Mont Blanc in the west. The
south facing slopes of the Pigne await our descent to the Col de
Charmotane. From here we climb to the col de l’Eveque (1 ½ hrs) and then
make our final descent via col Collon to the Refuge Nacamuli in Italy.
Our ascent of the Tete Blanche (3700m) requires us to climb back to
the col Collon and then we take a beautiful ski descent in the early
morning light to the haute Arolla glacier. From here we follow the
classic haute route over col de Mont Brule to the col de Valpelline,
whereby we continue climbing to reach the summit of the Tete Blanche
(7hrs from the Nacamuli). We now start our descent down one of the
biggest and most adventurous glaciers in the Alps, the Ferpecle glacier.
this glacier is rarely skied due to its remoteness. There are a few
routes on this glacier and our descent takes us down the west side of
this north facing glacier under the flanks of the dominating Dent
Blanche. The scenery is breath taking as we ski the two vertical
kilometres down to the small hamlet of Ferpecle. Return to Arolla for a
comfortable night is a hotel.
Day 5 Our exploration of the
Arolla region continues by taking the drag lifts at the Arolla ski
resort and climbing La Cassorte (3300m, 2hrs) to the north. This is a
great peak which overlooks the Lac des Dix and has quite a technical
passage traversing the summit. A short roped descent is required to
negotiate a narrow couloir which then leads to north facing powder
slopes. We ski down under the Aig Rouges which are an impressively
jagged chain of mountains on the west side of the Arolla valley on
generally on cold shady snow taking us under the cascade Ignes and down
through the Arolla pines to the hamlet of La Gouille and on to the
terrace of pension lac blue for a celebratory drink.
Maps and Guidebook - Map 283S Arolla 1:50K Swiss National Map Map 1346 Chanrion 1:25K Map 1347 Matterhorn 1:25K Guide book Ski Randonnée Bas Valais CAS