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Traverse of the Pigne d'Arolla

A long and beautiful day over a famous peak.

Alpine Climbing Moderate

13 km
991 m
1.9 km
Low Point
2 km
High Point
3.8 km
Traverse of the Pigne d'Arolla Map

Leave the Dix Hut and head down onto the Glacier de Cheilon. Once on the glacier climb eastwards up the glacier below the Pointes de Tsena Réfien, sticking fairly close to the cliffs above in the upper section. After a brief deviation onto the glacier proper, climb upwards again towards the Col de la Serpentine.


Swing east again along the plateau to reach a conspicuous steep section known as 'The Serpentine'. This steep slope can be hard packed or icy and the steep drops off the seracs to the left lie very close to the track, meaning that a fall could be fatal.

Also, there are often crevasses as the angle eases. Continue over the Col du Brenay towards the col just below the Pigne d'Arolla's summit, from where a short deviation takes you directly to the summit.

The view from the top if fabulous and you'll be able to pick out numerous 4000ers, and as well as some equally beautiful but slightly lower summits like Mont Blanc de Cheilon and L'Evêque.

Descend the east side of the mountain down to approximately 3400m, avoiding the steepest sections of the slope. Close to some small rock buttresses the best descent swings to the right (south) before heading back to the north to avoid the cliffs.

Aim for the Col des Vignettes and then descend easily to the hut, which lies in the heart of some wild scenery. Grab a bite to eat and summon a last bit of energy for the hike down to Arolla via the Glacier de Pièce. The prospect of a hot shower and a good meal should be enough to coax you down the final section of the hike into Arolla village!



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

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Much of the route is difficult to protect and a fall could be disastrous at certain points.


3 out of 4

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

Best time to visit

between June and September

Equipment required

  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Glacier kit

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area