Sander Vancanneyt

Cabane des Dix from Arolla over Col de Riedmatten, Glacier de Cheilon and Pas de Chèvres

CH | | 19.9 km


Author: Sander Vancanneyt

1669 views | Public | Dutch

Route description

An extraordinary tour towards the popular Cabane des Dix in a landscape of high mountains and glaciers.


Length: 18,5km
Height difference: 1400m
Duration: 8h
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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