Walk 24: Plans de Bertol (Distance: 10.9 km and 710m ascent)
This is a very easy walk from a navigational point of view. The first 2 kilometres are almost flat, before the path ascends to the left of the Arolla valley. It provides fabulous, close-up views of Mont Collon and its glacier.
There are signposts at several points along the route, all except one point to the Plans de Bertol or Cabane de Bertol. The other one points to the Refuge des Bouquetins, which is also the right direction to follow (until the next signpost).
The description below is from the car park on the U bend just below Arolla.
- Walk to the far end of the car park and take the road/wide track through some trees. Very soon you will emerge at a wooden bridge on the left. Do not cross the bridge, but continue along the road/track, passing a large building on your right. Soon the track veers to the right but a path continues forwards. Both routes take you to the same place, which is to quite a large wooden bridge over the river.
- Cross the bridge and follow the track around and up slightly to the right. After crossing a flat area of land, the path runs along the left hand side of the valley, rising slightly to begin with, then zig-zagging (quite steeply at times) upwards. Take care when crossing a gully (the Torrent de Bertol) as the path has been washed away and it now detours slightly upwards and across some rocks. Soon the path passes underneath a rock face which is supported by several concrete pillars. Look out for the statue up to the left.
- The path now swings around to the left and rises, possibly even more steeply, before it finally levels out again at the Plans de Bertol. Here there is a signpost and a small hut, which provides a good resting point for lunch. You can return from here or continue upwards to a signpost saying Glacier de Bertol (@2880m).
Look straight ahead and upwards to see the Cabane de Bertol perched on the ridge.
Note that it is possible to continue further upwards, but the path becomes indistinct and very rocky (many of which are loose). It’s also not advisable to try to reach the Cabane without crampons or a qualified guide.
- Return to Arolla via the same route.