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Arolla Enchainement

08/10/2013



At the start of September I headed to Arolla for a grande enchainement with Brian Souness. Brian comes out the same week every year and always seems to bring great weather with him. This year was no exception, and we had blue skies throughout !

The other great thins about this period is that it is so quiet. We hardly saw anyone each day, and had every summit to ourselves.

By his own admission, Brian is not a technical climber, but he loves being in the mountains. As such I designed a week to get the very most out of the Arolla region. Starting in Arolla, we took a leisurely walk to the Refuge des Bouquetins for our first night. This remote bivouac hut is a magical location, with a wood-burning stove, and incredible views. After a comfortable night there we headed to the summit of Mt Brule. We had the peak to ourselves, enjoying views to the Dent D'Herens and Matterhorn to name just a few. After retracing our steps we crossed the border into Italy, and stayed at the Rifugio Nacamuli.

A steady climb the following morning allowed the legs to warm up before we traversed the Point D'Oren and then climbed L'Eveque. Yet again there was not a soul, and on arrival at the Cabane des Vignettes we were not surprised to find that this usually popular hut had only 7 guests.

Jean-Michel Bournissen, guardian of the Cabane des Vignettes, produced an incredible breakfast for us the next morning and we had plenty of energy for the ascent of the Pigne D'Arolla (3790m). Traversing the peak, we took a steady walk down to the Cabane des Dix, where a well-earned Rosti was had.

I had been concerned about how the Dix would be after the departure of the long-standing guardian Pierre Sierro. However, I am pleased to announce that the new guardienne has definitely got things under control.

Our final day was the highlight of the week, with an ascent of Mont Blanc de Cheilon, before descending all the way to the valley. What a week ! Empty peaks every day, quiet huts every night. If only it could be like that more often....


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