Champex to Cabane d'Orny and return via La Breya summit and ski lift.

A circular walk from Champex Lac; ascending the tranquil and beautiful Combe d'Orny and joining the path to the Cabane d'Orny where there are refreshments available. The descent is via the path back to the La Breya ski lift taking in an optional ascent of La Breya. (It is also possible to descend by foot via the Val d' Arpette or from the ski lift, similarly the walk can be shortened and height gain reduced by taking the ski lift up.)

Technical sheet
No. 2454102
A Orsières walk posted on 20/08/19 by Alwayswiththehills. Update : 21/08/19
Calculated time Calculated time: 8h05[?]
Distance Distance : 12.64km
Vertical gain Vertical gain : 1567m
Vertical drop Vertical drop : 863m
Highest point Highest point : 2824m
Lowest point Lowest point : 1451m
Difficult Difficulty : Difficult
Back to starting point Back to starting point : No
Walking Walking
Areas Areas : Alps, Mont-Blanc (Massif)
Location Location : Orsières
Starting point Starting point : N 46.031931° / E 7.106875°
Arrival Arrival : N 46.021505° / E 7.103136°
Download : -
Bouquetin sculpture outside the Orny Hut, Petit Clocher du Portalet behind Moraine crest leading to the Cabane d'Orny. Aiguilles d'Arpette above Petit Clocher du Portalet and Le Portalet. The end of the Glacier d'Orny below Looking back


Park at the Breya ski lift just west of Lac de Champex.

(D) From the parking, cross the road and walk past the ski lift building to take an obvious track on the left which leads up to road to Relais d'Arpette. Cross the road and take the path through the woods which leads down to join a broad track with a view over the west end of the lake. Follow the broad track through woods again to the second junction on your right.

(1) Turn right at the junction and follow the track gradually uphill to a prominent bend.

(2) At the bend, look out for a path into the woods part of the "Chemin des Trappeurs" local walk and indicated with named markers and a drawing of a man wearing a fur hat. Follow the path to where the "Chemin des Trappeurs" turns steeply uphill.

(3) You can follow the "Chemin des Trappeurs" to the top of the La Breya ski lift however you will miss out on the Combe d'Orny. Instead, continue ahead contouring the hill until you emerge from the woods with a fast flowing stream called Torrent du Darbellay on your left. The path now runs parallel to the stream until it crosses it.

(4) Cross the stream and follow the path up and through grass, small beeches and some undergrowth. It climbs more steeply in a series of zig-zags in more open terrain to the left of a steep gully cut by the torrent through the rock. Listen out for the whistle of marmots. The path continues to ascend and you come to a final section where it starts to cross rock slabs and boulders. As you near the top of this section there may be patches of old snow which can be crossed or easily avoided. You will arrive at a junction with the main path from the ski lift to the Orny and Trient huts at the foot of a flatter corrie.

(5) Turn left, cross the corrie floor and ascend a steeper slope made of boulders which then becomes a moraine crest. You will come to a signpost and junction with a path down to Salienaz. Great views of the Petite Clocher du Portalet there.

(6) Continue up the old moraine crest with the remains of the old Orny hut to your right before a lake then climbs over some slabby rocks to reach the Cabane d'Orny.

(7) The Orny hut is a good place to rest after the long ascent, it is fully equipped and serves refreshments. When recovered, follow your tracks back to (5). Instead of going back down the Combe d'Orny, continue along the obvious path on the left. This will take you to the top of the Breya ski lift. First, you will come to a junction marked with a sign painted on the rock. This junction will lead over the Col de la Breya and down into the Val d' Arpette. It's an alternative way to return by foot if you wish.

(8) However this walk continues along the main path until you are just above the ski lift with La Breya above you on the left.

(9) A faint path on your left leads up through the myrtille bushes. It is easy to lose in ascent and easier to see in descent. It generally heads up through the boulders and avoids the smaller rocks and scree. Take your time and pick your way up carefully, it is not far to the top and the views are good.

(10) Retrace your tracks to (9) and take the broad track to the ski lift (A)
Take the lift down to the bottom station and the car park (D) Alternatively, follow the broad track used by service vehicles.

Waypoints :
D : km 0 - alt. 1492m - Car park
1 : km 1.06 - alt. 1472m - Lac de Champex
2 : km 1.41 - alt. 1476m
3 : km 2.37 - alt. 1501m
4 : km 3.57 - alt. 1645m
5 : km 6.02 - alt. 2465m
6 : km 6.93 - alt. 2684m - Lac d'Orny
7 : km 7.59 - alt. 2824m - Cabane d'Orny
8 : km 9.82 - alt. 2393m
9 : km 11.68 - alt. 2219m
10 : km 12.05 - alt. 2362m
A : km 12.64 - alt. 2190m - Ski lift

Useful Information

The Cabane d'Orny is a fully functioning mountain hut, You can stay overnight (best to book) and but refreshments at a premium. (Better value to buy a litre of tea and 2 cups rather than 2 bowls of tea). You can eat your own food inside so long as you buy something.

Once past the corrie and into the moraine there is little water to drink.

Check the forecast and take appropriate clothing. I recommend walking boots with a good sole or at the very least sturdy approach shoes. The ground is rough and some sections in the Combe d'Orny will be middy and slippery after rain.

Note it is best to ascend Combe d'Orny if you have worn knee joints as it can be jarring in places.

Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.

During the walk or to do/see around

There is varied and changing scenery. It is great to ascend the tranquil and beautiful Combe d'Orny and pass through the different layers of vegetation as you ascend, through the forest, high pasture, scrub and into scree and moraine.

The views then start to reveal themselves. The Grand and then Petite Clochers du Partalet, the Glacier d'Orny and Aiguilles d'Arpette. The Grand Combin will also be visible.

Plenty of options to shorten or lengthen this walk.

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The GPS track and description are the property of the author.