Sunday, 26 September 2010

Haute Route: Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla

After our previous days exertion we were slightly dreading today.....but the weather was just perfect and were soon enjoying the sun warming our faces and bodies. From the Cabane there is an initial half hour climb upto Col des Roux - where the morning sun greeted our arrival. From the Col it is a long, but easy descent towards Lac des Dix, along the way we saw some very healthy looking marmots, shapely snow capped peaks to the south and spindly rock spires to the east. This picture taken above the head of the lake shows the Col to the right and the path down and along the lake in the background.

As soon as we reached the track beside the lake we came upon a large number of other hikers - most seem to have come up from Le Chargeur for a day hike to Arolla. As the day was so balmy, the views so wonderful, we took our time and let all pass ahead as we dawdled along.

The going gets tough at the head of the lake as the path begins its long and unrelenting climb towards Col de Riedmatten. Kev Reynolds (of the ubiquitous guide book) says, in his understated, way; '....the last pull up to the Col de Riedmatten is a little demanding.' He must have meant the 30 metre zig zagging section of the path on loose gravel at 60 degree angle, then the rock field that the path weaves through followed by the final section just below the Col where boulder hopping intermixed with loose gravel sections.

For me the 'pièce de resistance' must be the ladders at the Pas de Chèvres just beyond the Col, which to my mind is much more preferable that going up the steep loose gravel path to the Col. This should definitely not be tried by anyone who suffers from vertigo. 3 vertical ladders bolted onto an almost vertical rockface - does get the adrenaline flowing.....

.....but once the ladders have been overcome we were rewarded with a stupendous views of giant peaks - Pigne d'Arolla, Mont Collon and even the Matterhorn in the very far distance.

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