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~ Sunday 2nd November 2014

The North Face of the Pigne d'Arolla is a valley classic but rarely in condition, especially in summer. This year however it's been white all summer - the first time I've seen it stay snowy in 8 years living here - so conditions were probably going to be pretty good.

Upper part of the Pigne d'Arolla North Face

The path up from Arolla is still almost snow-free, but at glacier level there's plenty of snow and the first gully is well filled in.

Pigne d'Arolla North Face showing the first gully and rubble ridge leading to the main face

Next comes a long section of "mixed" scrambling that leads up to the face itself. (Mixed rubble and snow that is) This was easy until my crampon broke...

Oh dear.

Luckily, there were some spare straps hidden in the bottom of the rucksack, and after a nervous few moments standing on one leg I got the crampon lashed together. Phew.

Hopping up the upper face

The upper face is in good condition with good snow and some ice.

The ridge high on the face

You could climb direct on snow but I traversed onto the rocks in case the crampon repair didn't last.

Final few steps in the sun

No tracks and no-one in sight from the summit of Pigne d'Arolla

And the ski back down past the Vignettes hut was good too!