Adventures with a French touch - Touring Weekend in Val d'Arolla

Seven Hüttli decided to confront the changing weather of the ending summer and do a Hochtour
weekend close to Arolla, sleeping, some in tents and the bravest one(s), outside. Their goal was
to reach the Mt. Blanc de Cheillon (3870m).
Three of them, Karen B., Philip O. and Josquin P., decided to leave on Friday, walking into the
night with heavy packs up to a very comfortable looking meadow overlooking a little river at
around 2500m of altitude. In this pastoral setting, the trio dined on cheap chinese soups before
bivying under a perfectly clear sky without moon. After a brief night, only disturbed by a few
falling stars, and a breakfast composed of couscous and studenten-futter mix (with a dash of olive
oil), the mountaineers went off to conquer La Luette (3548m) by the normal route (F) under
perfect weather conditions. The mountain did not present any difficulties, as one would expect by
a mountain celebrated throughout France by the famous bedtime song “La Luette, gentille La
Luette […]”. The summit is as little a challenge to reach as the view is spectacular: it offers a
stunning view over three countries and mountains as powerful as the Mont-Blanc, the Dent-
Blanche or the Matterhorn.
The afternoon was spent relaxing in the sun at the Cabane des Dix. The time flew by thanks to a
few beers, local cheese and sausages and the recently installed (and clearly not in line with any
safety regulations) zip-line. In the evening, the trio set up the camp in a lunar setup, just a bit
higher than the hut and was rejoined by Ulla H., and Loïc C. The quintet prepared a risotto with
mushrooms, wine and parmesan making from this dinner at high-altitude a real haute-cuisine
event. The final two Hüttli, Alessandro M. and James P., arrived at the camp just after diner to
complete the international group. The next morning, before dawn, Alessandro, James and Philip
went climbing the Mt. Blanc de Cheilon by the normal route (PD, II), over the Col de Cheilon.
The trio scrambled over the West Ridge up to the steep upper glacier. The glacier lead, without
any particular difficulties, to the final ridge, which was scrambled up by the club members who
reached the summit and were able to enjoy a clear view over the Alps.
The four other Hütlli decided to do the traverse, over the East Ridge (AD, III). After a nice hike
on glacier, with a bit of route finding through open crevasses the Col de la Serpentine was
reached. From there, the terrain got steeper on firm snow, up to about 3810m, where the most
interesting part of the tour started: a clean rocky ridge leading to the summit. The climb, quite
aerial most of the time, was secured by running belays and a gendarme had to be rappelled down
(10-15m). Both groups descended over the normal route, scrambled down the West Ridge paying
attention to some loose rocks, and reached the campsite without any noteworthy incidents. A
couple more hours were needed to hike back out to Arolla.

Philip, Karen and Josquin (left to right) at the summit of La Luette. In the background the Grand Combin and  France

Philip, Karen and Josquin (left to right) at the summit of La Luette. In the background the Grand Combin and France

Loïc just before arriving to the rock ridge. Behind him the Pigne d’Arolla and further the Matterhorn