THE HAUTE ROUTE
The original tour from Chamonix to Zermatt
READY TO SKI ?
The Haute Route is one of the most famous ski tours in the world. The classic route crosses more than 23 glaciers on a 90 mile ski traverse between Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. On the way you climb and descend about 10,000 metres, ski in three countries, pass Mont Blanc, the Aiguilles Rouges, the Col du Chardonnet, the Fenêtre du Saleina and the Matterhorn. The Haute Route was first completed on foot by members of the Alpine Club in 1861 and later developed into a ski route by Joseph Ravenal and his party of ski-mountaineers in 1903. The days are long, the climbs are tough and the skiing is just fabulous. Most ski tourers aspire to completing the Haute Route. We do not recommend this route as a first ski tour as it is quite tough, but it is definitely a great 2nd or 3rd ski tour.
• The classic ski tour from Chamonix to Zermatt
• Six days on skis along the most famous ski touring route in the world
• Ski in France, Italy and Switzerland and cross more than 23 glaciers
• Follow the footsteps of Joseph Ravenal and the successful Alpine Club members who pioneered this route
GRADE : D2 : A2 : F3
see our grade coding here
This price includes :
• 6 days guided ski touring with a qualified UIAGM high mountain guide
• 7 nights accomodation
• All dinners, breakfasts & picnic lunches
• Transfer from/to Geneva
• Lift passes
• Hire gear
Arrival in Geneva and minibus transfer to Hotel Couronne in Argentiere. We meet up in the evening to collect hire gear, chat with our guides and instructors and prepare for the week ahead. We are following either the Verbier variante of the Haute Route or the Grand Lui variante.
The first day of the tour starts with a descent from the top of the Grandes Montets ski lift across the Argentière glacier with its tumbling seracs and ice falls. Then there is a long, three hour climb up to the Col du Chardonnet on the ridge of the Aiguille d’Argentière before a steep (sometimes roped up) descent on the other side. You ski across the Plateau du Trient and on to the Trient refuge at 2691m.
We set off on one of the best ski descents on the Haute Route to the small village of Champex. From the Trient hut we ski down the Glacier du Trient before taking a short climb to the Col des Encandies. Then there is the long, classic ski descent of the Val d’Arpette to Champex village. From there we take a bus or a taxi to the ski resort of Verbier and take the cable car to the Mont Fort hut.
Today’s route takes us on a long traverse of the mountains to the Dix Refuge via the Rosablanche and a good ski decent of the Prafleuri glacier down to the Lac des Dix. Then we climb the long gradual route to the hut.
We attempt to ascend to the summit of the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) on our route to the Vignettes hut. This is the highest peak on the tour and a great ski route. The day is long and dramatic and there is plenty of stunning scenery to keep your mind focussed throughout the day.
We set off early from the Vignettes hut and climb the short distance to a col before skiing the long route down the Arolla glacier. From there we put skins back on and climb once more, this time to the small Bertol hut perched high up above the glaciers on a rocky outcrop. The Bertol hut is one of the quietest and nicest huts anywhere on the Haute Route.
The climax of the tour takes us on a 30 kilometre ski across seven glaciers and three passes as we head down to Zermatt. We pass the Matterhorn (first climbed in 1865 by Edward Whymper with a group of mountain guides and friends) as we ski the final leg on the Stockji glacier. We walk down through the village for a well deserved drink in Zermatt. We will then transfer back to Chamonix for the night, making the Geneva transfer the next day much easier.
Today you head back to Geneva for your return trip home.
Please note: This itinerary may be altered if conditions, weather forecasts or the overall fitness of the group are judged to put the safety of the group at risk. Pyrenean Mountain Tour Guides reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary without notice. These changes will be explained to the group as and when they occur.
VARIATIONS OF THE HAUTE ROUTE
The itinerary we have described above is called the “Verbier Route”. There are a number of variations to this route that can be used; the two main variations are known as the “Classic Route” and the “Grand Lui Route".
The Grand Lui provides the hardest skiing with the longest climbs and steepest descents. On day two of the Haute Route we climb to the top of the Grand Lui and ski down to the village of La Fouly and take a taxi from there to Bourg St. Pierre to join the classic route once more. A further stage can be added via the St Bernard Monastery if time allows.
The Classic Route route is often difficult to complete as it is very avalanche prone. From Champex you take a bus to Bourg St Pierre and climb from there to the Valsorey hut, then the Chanrion and the Vignettes hut.