Chanrion Hut to Vignettes Hut (via Pigne d’Arolla)

A modern variation via Les Portons and Pigne d'Arolla

Ski Touring Difficult

Distance
11 km
Ascent
1.6 km
Descent
929 m
Duration
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2.5 km
High Point
3.8 km
Gradient
37˚
VIEW ON MAP
Chanrion Hut to Vignettes Hut (via Pigne d’Arolla) Map

Description

This is a modern variation which is more in keeping with the rest of the route, and avoids the sometimes difficult icefall of the Glacier du Brenay. From the Chanrion Hut head north staying low close to the summer footpaths before swinging right to reach point 2624. A higher line is possible but the south facing slopes are steep and often icy here. Continue up the left bank of the Glacier du Brenay heading to the east of Pt 2840, taking the high lines of Les Portons to reach Pt 3387. A traverse here accesses the Col Nord des Portons which is gained by a short rocky climb up mixed ground on foot. Enjoy the north facing descent here on the other side before traversing to the right to reach the upper section of the Glacier du Brenay, a short climb remains to reach the Col du Brenay and the Pigne d'Arolla's summit (often marked by red flags for heliski parties). A short deviation allows you to skin directly to the summit.

Descent 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. Variations do exist here cutting off the corner, but all options are steep and require confident skiing. Aim for the Col des Vignettes, skating or side stepping along the slope on the north side of the ridge, or doing a short section on foot. Following this some steps take you up and into the hut.

Difficulty

Difficult

Serious gradient of 30-38 degrees where a real risk of slipping exists.

Medium Exposure (E2)

2 out of 4

As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

February, March

Features

  • Cliffs

Equipment required

  • Rope
  • Skins
  • Crampons

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area