After arriving in Arolla we decided to make the most of a weather window by heading straight up to the Cabane des Vignettes with the aim of climbing the Pigne d’Arolla on the next day. The weather on the walk up was stunning but it was very hot, and with the combination of the excessive heat and altitude I really struggled on the ascent. Thanks to some encouragement from our friends we continued, and thankfully as we got onto the glacier it clouded over which provided some respite from the heat.

After an excellent evening in the hut, followed by the best hut breakfast I have experienced (bacon, scrambled egg and pancakes) we started the climb up the Pigne d’Arolla the next morning. The route is meant to be an easy snow plod, but due to the very hot summer there was a short section which was steep, bare glacial ice. As we were four on a rope we pitched the ice on the way up and down to ensure that we were safe. After the icy section the rest of the route was straightforward snow where we were able to enjoy the fantastic views.

The 1800m descent back down to Arolla was very long, and increasingly hot but the desire for a beer in Arolla kept us going!

Hot walk up to the hut

Dry glacier on the approach to the hut

Roped up as the glacier turned wet

Dawn light

Dawn over the Dent Blanche

Hot ascent in the sun

Stunning views approaching the summit

On the summit of the Pigne d’Arolla

On the summit of the Pigne d’Arolla

Descending from the Pigne d’Arolla

Descending from the Pigne d’Arolla

Descending looking towards the Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn

Steep ice on the descent

Looking towards the hut and the Dent Blanche

Descending back to Arolla