Date: 29th of July, 2007
Map used: 1:50,000 Arolla hiking map, 283T
Distance, Elevation Gain/Loss: 10.6 km, 950/200 m
Cabane de Prafleurie Coordinates: 595 410 / 102 610
After breakfast, during which I saw several ibex near the hut, I started my hike. Initially it was easy, above the lake with little elevation gain,followed by a gentle climb for a couple of hundred vertical meters to reach Plan da Gole. Here it rose steeply, and was joined by the trail coming from the Cabane du Mont Fort over the Col Termin. The trail rises gently, but is more difficult than the elevation gain might suggest as it crosses a couple of unpleasant boulder fields. The final climb to the Col de Louvie is not too steep.
The descent was steep and tricky, part of it on snow. While descending I met a hiker going in the opposite direction who gave me the only piece of bad advice I have received in the Alps. He suggested that I not waste my time trying to find the waymarks, but simply navigate a short distance above the lakes into which the glacier drained. That led me to a crossing of the glacier's outflow stream that was hard to cross (but crossable!). Shortly after I stumbled on the waymarks and followed them, and the few cairns, religiously.
Shortly before the final climb to the Col de Prafleurie I reached a tricky (rocks plus snow) descent to a group of three small tarns. I was tired, so I descended very slowly and with great care, and got to the bottom. The final climb of the day, to the Col de Prafleurie, was arduous, as I was thoroughly tired by now. The descent was longer than I might have hoped, and as is often the case the hut was on a prominence, requiring one last, fortunately short, climb.
For dinner I was seated with two couples, one Swiss (francophone) the other British (I believe Welsh). All of us were bilingual, so we had one of those hut conversations that continually jumped from one language to the other. While eating and talking we saw several ibexes quite close to the hut.