Haute Route Glacier Trek Day 6 - Cabane des Vignettes to the Cabane du Bertol

A long, beautiful and circuitous day through some desolate mountains.

Also in Valais, Switzerland

Alpine Climbing Moderate

Distance
14 km
Ascent
1.2 km
Descent
1 km
Low Point
2.5 km
High Point
3.4 km
Gradient
24˚
VIEW ON MAP
Haute Route Glacier Trek Day 6 - Cabane des Vignettes to the Cabane du Bertol Map

Description

By any measure this is a big day, and although there's still plenty of rugged terrain to be covered on the last 2 days of the Haute Route Glacier Trek, this is the last day featuring a lot of ascent.

Get an early start and leave the hut in the pre-dawn darkness. Drop onto the Glacier d'Arolla and make an enjoyable ascent of this, soaking in your surroundings and watching the daybreak slowly arrive from the east. If you have your timing right you should emerge into the sun at the first landmark of the day - the Col de l'Evêque.

Drop east off this and make a long descent of the Haut Glacier d'Arolla, which features a steepening at around 3200m but is otherwise pretty straightforward to travel down.

Drift over to the right side of the glacier and then, as it begins to narrow, head out right on a rocky path which leads to the Plans de Bertol - the flat-ish area at the foot of the climb up to the Cabane de Bertol. If the weather has turned and you need to escape, it's a straightforward walk from the Plans de Bertol down to the village of Arolla.

The climb is mainly non-glaciated but it is challenging, not just for its length but also because it crosses a variety of difficult terrain. The path you begin the climb on quickly begins to peter out and you'll need to have a good nose for route finding to piece a route together through the glacial slabs and boulder fields that you encounter. As you near the Col de Bertol there are also some sections of steep snow and some short ladders too. A final steep snow slope leads to the Col de Bertol, from where the hut is tantalisingly close. Head up a final series of ladders to reach a well earned drink!

The view from the hut is truly magnificent, with the Mont Miné and Ferpècle glaciers in the foreground and the Dent Blanche looking gorgeous over to the north-east. The top half of the Matterhorn is also visible to the east, as if to emphasise how close you are to completing this epic trek.

Difficulty

Moderate

May involve slightly more complex glacier hikes, easy but possibly long rock ridges and steep snow up to 45 degrees. Equivalent to PD, PD+

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The route features some exposed and/or difficult to protect sections.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

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