Pigne d'Arolla on Snowshoes

~ Sunday 22nd September 2013

 After the knee-deep ploughing on Tuesday we decided it might be wise to take snowshoes for the Pigne d'Arolla traverse. They're a nuisance to carry if you don't need them so it was a gamble, but it paid off - on the shady aspects the snow had hardly consolidated and we'd have been knee deep again. 

snowshoeing up the glacier des Pieces

We were the only ones in the winter room at the Vignettes, which is nowadays very cosy with a great log-burning stove. Evenings are long in winter rooms and there's not much to do, but then we were treated to a stunning sunset and some frantic photography. In the middle of this a lone chamois crossed the col de Chermontane, and a weasel peaked in through the hut window. Not a bad evening! Plenty of pics here as I couldn't choose the best ...

No Photoshoppery either...

The next day dawned in spectacular fashion...

and we set off up the Pigne. No-one else in sight, no tracks in the mountains, a perfect day. The summit was cold and windy though!

summit of Pigne d'Arolla

Descending the Dix side was untracked and snowshoes were again useful. We swapped them for crampons on the Mur de la Serpentine, the back to snowshoes for the rest. 

Crampons for the Mur de la Serpentine

It's important that your snowshoes match your rucksack. 

All was going very smoothly until...

Happily a shaken, not stirred, Jim was hauled out of the hole. Fresh snow + wind = thinly covered crevasses!

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