A fine hike up the Soreiller valley to see the extraordinary Aiguille Dibona and visit the mountain hut nestling at the foot of the needle. The hut terrace is the perfect place for watching mountaineers on the rock face.
Starting point: Saint Christophe en Oisans
Height gain: 1 139 m
Total duration: 3 hours
Distance: 5 km
The traditional route starts from the entrance to Les Etages. After a climb up through rhododendron bushes, the path reaches the Combe d'Amont and crosses over the mountain stream on a footbridge. This is where you first see the extraordinary Dinona (3130 m), a needle standing proudly in the middle, with the mountain hut nestled at its foot. The flatter section following the Combe is a perfect place for a rest, before tackling the final, very steep switchbacks leading up to the hut, with its red shutters already within sight.
The alternative, less tamed and more difficult route follows the "Montagne d'en bas" path which starts around 500 m before the hamlet of Les Etages, next to a small bridge, before crossing a large rockfall. It passes alongside some caves and you can see a large, flat, balancing slab of stone. Surprising! The first half of the route zigzags up through rocky outcrops, before turning sharply right (eastwards) to join the ridge separating the two valleys. The Aiguille Dibona suddenly comes into view around a bend. You then turn westwards into the silent Vallon d'en Bas at the foot of the imposing Aiguille du Plat de la Selle (3596 m). Turn eastwards again to the Arête du Soratay at 2800 m, before carrying on to the mountain hut. Take care, as this alternative route is exposed and difficult and is only suitable for the upwards hike in dry weather.
The mountain hut is the starting point for many rock climbs. There's always someone to watch!
Outside of the Ecrins National Park boundary, so dogs are allowed on a lead on the path, but please be careful as there are flocks of sheep in the valley.