Start: Arolla, 6 km, almost 1200 m altitude change and you’re next to Vignettes hut. Easy? No. Hard? No. Stunning? Hell yes.
How to get there
This hike is popular among people who do the Haute Route Chamonix- Zermatt. We started from a different side of the valley and our starting point was Arolla (the same as one year ago as we walked to Cabane des Dix. click here to check the post). Then we just followed the signs…no, not the ones from above. Took a coffee or 2 on the stunning terrace and we were off.
Hike to Cabane des Vignettes/ Vignettes hut
It’s not easy to write about hiking. Yes, it’s always stunning, wherever you move you will find something that might leave you speechless. Have to keep in mind that there are hikes that are higher on the scale of ‘stunningness’ and this is the one that I will remember forever.
The diversity of flora during the hike is mindblowing. You start your hike in the forest, then slowly the rocks are starting to appear and you find yourself next to a moraine. The trees dissappear and you find yourself surrounded by huge rocks, that are piling up all over the place. You think there’s no way you can see any more flowers but to your surprise there’s tones of them around. Later you are on the glacier and looking at the serac and thinking ‘damn I hope we’re not going to walk next to this monster’. Checking if there’s some crevasses and moving slowly up with crampons on your shoes.
This hike is not for ‘Sunday’ hikers. 200 m of altitude change for each km makes it not extra hard, but already demanding. When we hiked on the glacier we were lucky enough since it was still covered with snow and the crevasses were nowhere to be seen (just on our hike down the next day we saw one slowly opening). We thought: ‘glacier hike? Easy peasy’. It wasn’t. It is long and steep and when we were there it was hot so the snow was melting and we weren’t the fastest to climb up. After reaching the hut we were happy to take the crampons off and enjoy our well deserved beer on a terrace surrounded by mountains which left us speechless (well, almost speechless).
After delicious dinner with some amazing company we hit the bunk beds. Since we decided this weekend was our ‘tourist’ weekend, we were happy to hear that we can have our breakfast after 7 o’clock and not at 4 a.m. as rest of the ‘non-tourists/ alpinists’. We left the hut at around 8 a.m and took the same trail down.
Starting point: Arolla, next to the hotel Kurhaus (2117 m)
Target: Cabane des Vignettes/ Vignettes hut (3157 m)
Hike lenght: around 12 km both ways
Time: hike up took us more than 3,5 hours (with all the breaks, taking photos etc), hike down – 2 hours 20 minutes
Tip: Take crampons with you just in case, you might not need them but … it’s better to have them with you. Stay overnight, enjoy the hut atmosphere and have a beer on a terrace! Plus the people who work there are extremely nice.
Text: Agnieszka Wajs