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Arolla Ski Haute Route

The area around Arolla gives the ski tourer some fantastic and accessible off-piste ski descents great hut to hut ski touring, in amongst some of the most beautiful peaks of the Swiss Valais

Level 4 Guiding & Coaching

5 days, 6 nights

Prerequisites: Ski Touring Skills Or equivalent

Price: £1245*

* Fully inclusive price

 Course Dates
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Course Highlights

  • The mountain’s above Arolla are traversed by the classic Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route however there is much more to this region.
  • A challenging ski touring traverse in at high altitude within dramatic glaciated mountains.
  • The ascents of three major alpine peaks, Mont Blanc de Cheilon, Pigne d’Arolla, and the Tete Blanche.
  • Long memorable glacial ski descents and ascents including the beautiful and remote Ferpecle glacier.
  • Exploring some of the quieter areas in the Arolla region.
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Is This Course For Me?

Ski ability required - Prior ski-touring experience on glaciated terrain, effective turns off-piste in a variety of snow conditions, and a high level of fitness. This is a demanding course and a sustained ascent rate of 300m hour is required.

Sample Programme

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.

Day 3 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.

Day 4 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

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
15 9 Apr 2017 15 Apr 2017 £1245