Pigne d'Arolla | Alpinism | Swiss Alpine Club SAC

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Pigne d'Arolla 3787 m Alpinism

The Pigne d'Arolla is not a four-thousand-meter, but is still an impressive mountain. Its silhouette - seen from Arolla - is more subtle than that of the blocky Mont Collon, but the Pigne d'Arolla looks very arctic and cold with the mighty glaciers that cover it almost entirely. Its ridges are wide, the topography is very complex. While the west and east ridges are rather short, the NNE ridge runs out into the grassy crest of the Louettes Econdoué. The SSW ridge stretches like a comet's tail over 7.5 km over the Pointes du Brenay, Les Portons to the Pointe d'Otemma. The Pigne d'Arolla has two peaks. The north summit, at 3790 m, is the highest point. The lonely and deserted S-summit (3772 m) is separated from it by a firn saddle. Alpinists, especially ski tourers, usually only visit the main summit. The S-summit stands atop a craggy rock face with a horseshoe-shaped valley below, in which an arm of the Glaciers d'Otemma lies embedded.

Contrary to tradition, the Pigne d'Arolla has a strongly glaciated S-side, while the N-side is rather rocky. The 2 km wide north flank is divided into a NNW, a North and a NNE wall. Some routes in the NNW and in the N wall are described, while the NNE wall has been left out due to higher instances of rockfall. The Pigne d'Arolla is one of the busiest peaks in the area. A rewarding destination, with some nice traverse options, the difficulties are limited and accommodation is not far away. The mountain is just four kilometres as the crow flies from Arolla. It can also be reached from the Cabane des Vignettes, the Refuge des Bouquetins, the Rifugio Nacamuli, the Bivouac de l'Aiguillette à la Singla, the Cabane de Chanrion and the Cabane des Dix.

The name: pigne (French le pigne) comes from the patois and means tip. Arolla is the name of the valley village (Patois: aroula = Arven tree / stone pine).

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