La Luette sous les nuages

Keytie came to visit me and Tanya in September, and together we went into the Alps for a walk to La Luette. We left Lausanne early on a Saturday morning, and caught the classic yellow postbus up to Arolla. Nut-cracker birds sang from the Arolla Pines as we walked up through the valleys to the Pas de Chèvre for lunch.

Approaching the Pas de Chèvres (2854 m).

At the col it was snowing lightly; the path down to to the Vallée des Dix goes via steel ladders that were burningly cold to the touch. We crossed the Glacier de Cheilon, following markers put down by the good folks of the Cabane des Dix, and arrived at the cabin in time for a wander around the surroundings and a quick ramble up the ridge of the Tête Noire.

Stepping onto the Glacier de Cheilon.
Glacier power!
Arrival at the Cabane des Dix.
The amazing Cabane des Dix.
Keytie and Tanya on Tête Noire (2981 m), just next to the cabin.
Pigne d’Arolla (3790 m) pops out to say hi.
Moonscape near the cabin.

The next morning we got up early. Peering outside into the blackness, the stars were out and it was clear. But after our quick breakfast we looked out again to discover that it had started to snow heavily. As we set off to follow the moraine towards La Luette the ground was rapidly being covered by snow and we followed cairns to stick to the proper route.

Mont Blanc de Cheilon at dawn.

We arrived at the Glacier de la Luette just before dawn. The clouds were heavy and low and it was still snowing lightly, and even as the sky lightened the visibility was bad. We ended up waiting at the edge of the glacier for a long period before, finally, the clouds lifted enough that we felt comfortable to head up onto it. It was cold and while we waited we ran in circles and jumped up and down to keep warm.

Glacier de La Luette.
Glacier rest-stop.

The weather held as we got to the col and moved up to the summit of La Luette. Whereas the top had been bare rock the day before, it was now covered in snow which gave it a much more wintery air. At the summit it started to snow again and we didn’t waste any time before heading back down and off the glacier.

From the ridge, the view down to the Glacier du Giétro.
On the summit – 3548 m.
Looking down to the Lac des Dix.
Heading down.

On the way back to the cabin we were buzzed by a drone belonging to the cabin guardian, who wanted to see where we were up to. With the weather forecast to continue to change we ate a quick lunch and then started walking down to the Barrage des Dix.

La Luette from the cabin.
Mont Blanc de Cheilon (3870 m).

Just as predicted, rain and clouds started to appear from the west. As we descended the scenery regained its greenness. There was a herd of ibex high on a distant hill, and in the fields below the Swiss cows were entirely unfussed by the cold change. We contoured around the lake and arrived at the dam just as the snow started in earnest.

Amazing rock folds on a boulder next to the Lac des Dix.
Lac des Dix.
Frozen garden.

The weekend was fantastic — a great tour with wonderful company, a nice summit, about a thousand marmots, and weather that cooperated for the most part. You can’t really ask for more!

Snowflakes at the Barrage des Dix.
November 8, 2017


  1. Andy on

    Gorgeous. Happy memories! Man you guys get up to some amazing stuff on your weekends!!

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