Sander Vancanneyt

Haut Glacier d'Arolla

CH | | 19 km


Author: Sander Vancanneyt

448 views | Public

Route description


Length: 19,9km
Height difference: 993m
Duration: 5 hours
Difficulty level: T2 untill 2600m - T3/T4 untill 2800m
Directions: Arolla - Bas Glacier d’Arolla - Plan de Bertol - Haut Glacier d’Arolla
Parking space can be found just below the center of Arolla


Do not do this hike when bad weather is predicted! It's a long way from Arolla and the paths could become dangerous and flooded.
Do not do this hike if you are unfamiliar with glacier and alpine area, good observation techniques are a plus.


We start in the direction of Cabane de Bertol/Plan de Bertol, along the trail we learn more about the water collection that’s been done here for barrage des Dix, the production of electricity and it’s history. We keep on the asphalt untill the electricity building, a bit further we take the trail along the river which further joins the normal route again. We cross the bridge a bit further and keep right. We ignore other paths and keep heading towards Plan de Bertol. From Plan de Bertol you’ll get a view on the Cabane de Bertol and it’s glacier (or what remains of it) that you would miss otherwise. It’s also good if you’re planning to do the cabane de Bertol, to get a view on how the conditions of the trail are. From Plan de Bertol we take a slightly descending path (and no goat trail!) to the right. The paths descends further until a junction which we take to the left. We are now entering alpine area, the white red white marks stop at around 2550m at a sign pole. From here it’s an alpine trail, but (experienced) hikers can still go further until the glacier tongue. Do not follow the white blue white markings, this glacier area keeps changing and traces of the marked trail can vanish completely. To get to the glacier, it's good to keep close to the glacier river and look out for stone men for guidance. They are sometimes hard to see but they are there. Also don’t follow the GPS trail of open street map, it’s not correct. After a bit of searching and progressing towards the glacier, it gets more obvious and it gets better to advance to the glacier. Once arrived at the glacier tongue you can climb on top of the glacier but be careful! From the glacier, the alpine trail runs further towards Refuge Des Bouqetins or Col Collon (Italy border) but these require the use of crampons and more alpine material and is NOT for the inexperienced hikers. Enjoy the views before heading back, search for your way back until you’re back at the white red white markings, we start ascending again in the direction of Plan de Bertol but at the next junction (not the one with the forbidden sign!)we turn left in the direction of Arolla. The path descends now and gets a bit adventureous, a steel cable is attached to the rocks a bit further where some iron steps are attached to the rocks to descend on. Just watch you’re step if your not used to this. Next cross a snow field (depending on the conditions) or go around it to get back on the main trail of Cabane de Bertol. Now we descend back to Arolla to finish our trip.

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