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Glacier d'Orny and Cabanne du Trient

Excursion to the imposing Orny Glacier, in the Mont Blanc group
6:00 h


In a panorama of alpine glaciers in continuous retreat, the Glacier d'Orny stands out among the few still retaining some grandeur and being easily accessible. Moreover, continuing the hike to the Cabane du Trient takes us into a glacial environment with an atmosphere reminiscent of the Little Ice Age.

We start from the upper station of the La Breya chairlift from Champex to Grande Plans (2194m, 14 CHF one way, 19 CHF round trip). From here, the view already opens up to Lake Champex below us, the Grand Combin, and a slice of Swiss plain opening up at the end of the valley.

The ascent to Cabane d'Orny (Orny Hut) follows a long, exposed but consistently wide diagonal, sometimes equipped with chains, cut into the mountainside. We then reach the semi-flat crest line of the gigantic moraine of the Glacier d'Orny, and with one final uphill push, we arrive at Cabane d'Orny (2826m, 1.30 hours). On the ascent, don't be fooled by the motionless ibex in front of the refuge—it's not what it seems.

The spectacle from here is already incredible and very "alpine"—with the glacier below us, the afternoon light cutting through the valley, and the sharp pinnacle at the end of the valley, inhabited by some tiny climbers.

From here, we can continue to Cabane du Trient (Trient Hut), with a short stretch on the glacier that doesn't require any equipment (at least it was so in 2009) and then up to a rocky balcony overlooking the Plateau du Trient (3170m, 1 hour).

We descend via the same route (2 hours). Alternatively, halfway between Cabane d'Orny and Grande Plans, there's a very narrow and exposed trail that branches off to the left and crosses over to Col del la Breya. Then it descends sharply into the Val d'Arpette from where we can return to the chairlift starting point.






The mountains are a dangerous environment: make sure you always have the right equipment — hiking or trail shoes, warm clothes and waterproofs in case of unexpected changes in weather conditions, a small emergency kit.


I've made an Amazon "shopping note" to make sure you have everything — ps if you buy from these links, 3% goes to support the development and maintenance of Hikes of the World 🙏.


  • Breathable t-shirt ( example )

  • Sweatshirt, fleece, or light jacket

  • Waterproof windbreaker (for example: men / women )

  • Gloves and hat (you never know)

  • Backpack with rain cover

  • Trekking poles (not essential, but they help to unload the weight of the backpack and ease the impact on the joints)

  • Trekking or trail running shoes (in great vogue lately because they are lightweight. These Salomon ones - for men and women - are an excellent entry-level, preferably Gore-Tex)

  • For via ferratas: complete via ferrata kit (I have this one , very light and compact, with this harness and helmet — or you can buy complete kits ). Buy in store to receive ad hoc support

  • To sleep a night in a refuge: sheet or light sleeping bag

  • Water bottle or thermos

  • Light crampons if you think you will find ice or snow on the route

  • Power bank or cell phone charger

  • Camera

  • Drone, for those who love to "fly" (used in moderation and at a distance from other people. I have had the DJI Mini 2 for over 2 years and have found myself very happy with it. The DJI Mini 3 also allows you to take vertical photographs)

  • Small emergency kit ( example )

  • Sun cream (essential)

  • Sunglasses


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