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Itinerary

The Haute Route Itinerary

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DAY 1

Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland airport and take shuttle to Chamonix (around 45 minutes). We will spend a night at a hotel in Chamonix, France.  We will have a trip meeting at 7pm in the hotel lobby followed by dinner.

  • Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.

DAY 2

In the morning we will meet for breakfast and go over any last minute details.  All our luggage will be packed up and driven to Zermatt in a private shuttle.  Once we leave Chamonix we head up the valley of Le Tour towards the Albert Premier Hut.  We will ride one gondola and another open air ski lift to get us into the mountains.  From the top of the lift we will walk on a beautiful trail along side of the Le Tour glacier.  The hike to the Albert Premier hut takes about 2-3 hours. This hut is perched right on the side of the Le Tour glacier.  In the afternoon we will learn cramponing and glacier travel skills just outside the hut.  We will have a three course meal served to us at the hut for dinner.

  • Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.
  • Top Le Tour lifts: 2,193m/7,195ft
  • Albert Premier Hut: 2,702/8,865ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 509m/1,670ft
  • Travel time trekking: 2-2.5hrs to Albert Premier hut – 2hrs of skills outside hut.

Day 3

In the morning we will meet for breakfast and leave the hut shortly after sunrise.  We will work our way across the Le Tour glacier and up to Col Superior at just over 3300m.  As we cross over the Col Superior we leave France and enter Switzerland.  The views at the col will allow us to see many 4000m peaks including the Mont Blanc (4810m), the highest peak in Western Europe.  After a nice break we will cross the Trient Plateau and head down towards the Orny Hut at 2826m.  We will spend the night at the Orny Hut.

  • Albert Premier Hut: 2,702/8,865ft
  • Orny Hut: 2,826m/9,271ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 660m/2,165ft
  • Travel time trekking: 5.5-6.5hrs to Onry Hut

Day 4

After breakfast, our day starts by descending just over 2,000ft into the valley of Champex.  Once we reach the valley we will take a private shuttle to move us onto the second leg of our day.  Along the way we will stop and have lunch in Bagnes.  The shuttle will drop us off near Mauvoisin lake.   We will walk alongside the lake and work our way up to the Chanrion hut.  The trail is a nice gentle grade with some switch backs up the hillside.  We aim to by at the Chanrion hut late in the afternoon and we will spend the night here.

  • Orny Hut: 2,826m/9,271ft
  • Chanrion Hut: 2,462m/8,078ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 815m/2,673ft
  • Travel time trekking: 6-7hrs

Day 5

After breakfast, we start the day by ascending up towards the Brenay Glacier.  As we move around the side of the glacier we will make our way up to the Col de Lire Rose (3130m).  From the col we will cross a high alpine trail that is known for having amazing wildflowers.  This section of the trek takes us towards the Ruinette glacier.  We will rope up for glacier travel as we cross over the Col du Mont Rouge at 3326m, which is the high point for the day.  Today is the half way point from Chamonix to Zermatt.

  • Chanrion Hut: 2,462m/8,078ft
  • Dix Hut: 2,928m/9,606ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 905m/2,968ft
  • Travel time trekking: 6-7hrs

Day 6

Today we travel from the Dix hut to the famous Vignettes mountain hut. Today we reach the highpoint on the Haute Route at just under 12,500ft at Pigne d’Arolla. Today is one of the longer and harder days on the trek as much of the day is spent above 9,000ft.  As we near the Pigne d’Arolla we get amazing views of many 4000m peaks, including our first glimpses of the Matterhorn.  After Pigne d’Arolla, we make a gentle down traverse towards the Vignettes hut.  The Vignettes hut is known for it’s incredible views, as it’s perched up high on the side of a rock buttress over a large glacier.

  • Dix Hut: 2,928m/9,606ft
  • Vignettes Hut: 3,160m/10,367ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 970m/3,182ft
  • Travel time trekking: 7-8hrs

Day 7

After leaving the Vignettes hut, we will hike a short ways up to the Collon glacier.  Once on the glacier, we will rope up and continue using our newly acquired skills as we make our way up to the col between the Collon glacier and the Arolla glacier at 3,200m.  We will enjoy lunch at this cold and take in the views of the high country and massive glaciers.  After lunch we will descend down the Arolla glacier and down to the toe of the glacier.   At the bottom of the glacier we will unrope and put the crampons and rope away.  We will then walk up a trail towards the Bertol hut which stands on top of a rock tower.  Our effort is rewarded once reaching the Bertol hut as the deck overlooks a massive glacier plateau.  Views of Dent Blanche and other 4000m peaks are seen from the hut.

  • Vignettes Hut: 3,160m/10,367ft
  • Bertol Hut: 3,311m/10,862ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 1,154m/3,785ft
  • Travel time trekking: 6-7hrs

Day 8

As our trek to Zermatt is getting closer we are rewarded today with the possibility of summiting Tete Blanche 3710m (optional).  We start the morning by walking up a large glacier and making our way to our final col to get into the Zermatt valley.  Once at the col we get amazing views of the Matterhorn and can look down into the Zermatt valley.  We do a short walk down a snowfield, and then make our way up towards the Schonbiel hut.  This hut is directly below the massive north face of the Matterhorn.  This day is much easier than the previous days.

  • Bertol Hut: 3,311m/10,862ft
  • Schonbiel Hut: 2,694m/8,834ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 741m/2,430ft
  • Travel time trekking: 4.5-5.5hrs

Day 9

Our ninth and final day of our trek is one of the easier days but also one of the most spectacular days.  As we depart the Schonbiel hut we follow a moderate grade trail down to the town of Zermatt.  The descent takes us through fields of wild flowers.  Once in Zermatt we will go to the hotel where our luggage we left in Chamonix will be waiting for us.  In the evening we will go out for a group dinner to celebrate our trek from Chamonix to Zermatt.

  • Schonbiel Hut: 2,694m/8,834ft
  • Zermatt: 1400m/4,593ft
  • Vertical gain trekking: 0m/0ft
  • Travel time trekking: 4-5hrs

DAY 10

Depart Zermatt via train to Geneva or Zurich. When booking flights, climbers should be aware the train ride is 4–4.5 hours. The first train departs around 5 a.m.

It far exceeded any expectations I may have had … I cannot imagine having done this with anyone but Alpine Ascents.

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