Zinal is a Swiss mountain village located in the Val d'Anniviers and overlooks beautiful peaks. This walk takes you along these beautiful peaks and includes the quiet Lac de Moiry where you can take a break. Certainly worth it!
Height difference: 1193m
Difficulty: Up to the glacier T3, on glacier T5 - Sophisticated alpine hiking (Alpine F)
Gear: crampons, ice axe/hiking poles, optional mountain guide
Starting point: Center of Arolla or from Hotel Kurhaus
Untill the glacier, the trail is rated T3 with some exposed sections secured with steps and steel cable.
From the glacier it’s Alpine territory, do NOT do this without knowledge of high Alpine terrain and glacier experience. Alpine F trail with several open crevasses!
Do not perform this during bad weather, paths could get flooded near the glacier!
The route itself is indicated on the sign poles towards the Cabane and the glacier. From Arolla center we ascend first to Hotel Kurhaus along the forest and from the Hotel the white red white marks and sign poles toward Glacier de Pièce lead you further trough the forest and climbs further above the tree line, the trail gets steeper and you’ll climb the moraine up towards a water collection point of the barrage des Dix. Do not follow the trail at the right side of the flow because that's the winter trail towards the cabane (it's indicated in that way too). At this point keep left and follow the trail further where you’ll go bit around the mountain and then climb further towards the glacier. Where the sign “Glacier de Pièce” is situated, the trail is marked with white blue white indicating alpine territory; but the glacier itself is still further away and each year it shrinks further. These white blue white alpine trail marks soon vanish and where not at the glacier yet, so it gets trickier from now on. Look out for yellow/red old paint and stone men. The stone men lead the way to the glacier through the rocks. Time to put those crampons on and step up the glacier for the most difficult part. When there is no snow covering the glacier, there are no trails visible, nothing is marked on the glacier too and the open street map trail is incorrect. As the glacier retreats, the paths change year over year. Good knowledge of alpine terrain is advised. The first part of the glacier is relatively flat but then gets steeper and steeper towards the cabane. You'll need to find a safe way over the glacier, don't go in a straight line towards the hut as the glacier is not that easy. Look out for several open crevasses in the mid section and near the end, they can be covered with snow so watch out! From the glacier, you'll get amazing views over the Pigne d'Arolla. You'll always have the hut in sight, but it's a demanding climb to the hut, take your time. Once you get below the hut, a few steps remain before you’ll get an amazing view that you’ll definatly not forget! In the Cabane you can rest out a bit, eat and drink or stay over the night. The descent is along the same “trail” back to Arolla.
A challenging Alpine hike to a breathtaking panorama view over the icy world of Glacier du Mont Miné
Height difference: 1300m
Difficulty: T4-T5 - Challenging alpine hike (very depending on the conditions snow/ice)
Gear: hiking poles/ice axe + crampons
This is an Alpine route and ONLY for experienced hikers with Alpine experience.
Do NOT perform this hike in bad weather or without appropriate gear.
Check the conditions of the trail at the tourist office or ask mountain guides.
This trail goes on the remnants of Glacier de Bertol, depending on the time of the year you can go along the snowtrail or along the rocky section with ropes and ladders with added danger of falling rocks (keep an eye on who's beneath you!)
To get in the hut, you'll need to climb some long ladders, not for persons with vertigo!
The route starts just below the village of Arolla at a parking lot. The trail towards the cabane is well indicated so keep following the sign poles towards Plan de Bertol, Glacier de Bertol, Cabane de Bertol. Along the trail you'll get to learn more about the work that has been done in the valley for water collection of the barrage des Dix. Once you arrive at Plan de Bertol, you'll get to see the crows nest where we are headed to, the trail becomes more rocky when you arrive at Glacier de Bertol sign pole. From this point we enter Alpine area and it's also indicated that way with all the dangers that are possible. The glacier itself is still a bit further and you can follow the white/red/white marks through the rocks to get to the glacier. Depending on the conditions and time of the year, it's good to get your crampons on before proceeding. Further the climb will get much more steep and good grip is needed so crampons are a must. The markings will dissapear and now you're on your own, if there is snow follow the snow trail further up, at some points a red pole will guide you through. Don't try to go in a straight line to the hut, it's really steep, stick to the snow trail. Depending on conditions the next part is over the rocks with ladders, ropes; it's possible to ignore these by going on the snow trail to the left of the rocks; it takes a turn around these rocks and it's off trail (like most of the trail on the glacier). The snow trail brings you right at the big ladders to the hut. You can try to get on the col too but be carefull. A warm welcome awaits at the cabane but also a breathtaking view over the Glacier de Mont Miné. To get back to Arolla, we follow the same way back, but be carefull on the glacier/snow.
An extraordinary tour towards the popular Cabane des Dix in a landscape of high mountains and glaciers.
Height difference: 1400m
Difficulty: T4 - Alpine hiking (glacier crossing)
Directions: Pas de Chèvres - Lac des Dix - Cabane des Dix - Glacier de Cheilon - Col de Riedmatten - Arolla
Starting point: Arolla (alternative starting point: La Grande Dixence, see the other route!)
Can be performed as a 2-day trekking with a sleepover at the cabane, be sure to make your reservation in that case!
This hike contains a glacier crossing, rated T4, this means that this hike is only for experienced hikers with basic alpine experience. Do NOT attempt this with less experience!
It is a lengthy and demanding hike, start early so that you'll have plenty of time relax a bit at the hut and to get over the glacier.
Do NOT perform this hike in bad weather or cancel the glacier crossing so you'll stcik to safe paths.
Due to the rapid retreating of the glacier, the glacier crossing gets more dangereous each year and have cost several lives of people who are mostly not that experienced and that try to cross the glacier. Besides the big rock fields you'll need to cross, there are several streams you'll need to cross over where you'll need to look for a safe passage (at least one you'll need to jump over). Also, the trail over the glacier continues to change each year due to the dangers and safe passage points, do NOT rely on the GPS trail; only follow the red markings and stones on the glacier that will guid you to the other side.
Ask for the conditions of the trail in the Cabane des Dix, these know the terrain and it's dangers.
Enough warnings, let's go on this amazing hike! From Arolla center we take the forest route to Hotel Kurhaus and from the hotel up in the direction of Remointse / Pas de Chèvres. This forest trail ends on a gravel road which you'll take to the left climbing up to the Wilderniss Hut, a nice place with great pancakes! Be sure to visit on your way back. Just behind the hut, we take the trail on the right climbing zigzag up the mountain in the direction of Col de Riedmatten / Pas de Chèvres. At 2760m altitude the path splits, the left leading to Pas de Chèvres and the right towards Col De Riedmatten. You can choose between the two, their trail will join a bit further in Val de Dix. We take the highest one first and that is Col de Riedmatten with a height of 2919m. When reaching the col, you'll see a very steep path that leads down into Val de Dix. A chain is attached to the rocks to help you go down, be careful though as not every rock is solid. Now look for white red white paint and descend further through the rock field, on a big rock you'll see red painted hut of Dix (over the glacier) but we go in the direction of the lake to the right. Keep descending along this trail that turns along the retreated glacier bed and further joins along the big glacier stream, the trail climbs again to join the main trail to the lake and the Cabane. We turn left toward the cabane along a nice trail that gets steeper and marks the final ascend to the hut. You'll be glad that you see the hut once passed over a small col. From teh cabane you'll definetly enjoy the view, grab a drink and relax because the toughest part has yet to start. Descend from the cabane along the stairs and go left where you'll see red painted rocks and markings, these will be your ultimate guide towards the glacer and to get safe on the other side. Sometimes it can be confusing or you'll need to look good to see the next one but most of the time it's pretty clear. The trail descends towards the glacier and gets less and less visible. As the first part of the glacier is filled with rocks, you won't notice immediatly that your already on the glacier. But watch out, there are cracks and openings in the glacier so watch your step. Further there will be more ice but also water that flows over the glacier, at a few points you'll need to look for a safe passage over the streams, the water flows very rapidly so don't attempt to go through the water because you'll be dragged away immediatly. Many of the rocks are loose so always watch your step. The glacier crossing ends with a final passage over a stream. You made it to the other side, congratulations, but the danger is not over. Now you'll need to find a way through the big rocks and climb your way further untill you join the main route that we got on earlier. Now the final part is getting to Pas de Chèvres, climb your way up and follow the indications to the pas, you'll see the ladders in front of you which need to be climbed to get on the pass. If you don't like ladders, take the Col de Riedmatten. From the pass, take a last good look of what you just crossed, amazing! Now return to Arolla and make a stop at the Wilderniss hut for a pancake.
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