The 'haute route' or high-level route is a six day traverse across the mountains and glaciers between Chamonix and Zermatt and is sometimes continued to Saas Fee.
This great journey traverses glaciers and high passes through the very heart of the alps, taking in such peaks as the Rosa Blanche and Pigne d'Arolla. There are constantly changing views of Mont Blanc, Matterhorn, Grand Combin and Monte Rosa.
This is ski touring at its best, high in the mountains, from hut to hut, with long climbs and stunning descents, only once dropping to valley level.
Starting in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif and ending up in the shadow of one of the most famous mountains in the Alps, the Matterhorn, it is a journey that every ski tourer should undertake at least once in their lives.
The haute route was first crossed on foot by an English party, at the end of the nineteenth century, before being gradually linked together on skis in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
The most famous of all the Ski Touring trips in the world, right here Chamonix-Zermatt, an extraordinary trip through the heart of the Alps glaciers. The warm nights in the mountain huts and memorable ski days. On the footsteps of pioneers - who traced the in the late 19th century - we will link the two capitals of the Alps: Chamonix and Zermatt.
Zermatt is about 70 km from Chamonix, as the crow flies, but the actual route travelled is much further than this.
Most guided parties take the slightly easier Verbier route but the more difficult route around the Grand Combin may be taken if conditions, group size and ability permit.
Itinerary: Grands Montets, Col du Chardonnet, Cab Trient, Verbier, Rosablanche, Pigne d'Arolla, cab Bertol, Tête Blanche, period: march and april.
There are many variants to the Haute Route, including Grand Lui Variation, Zermatt-Saas Fee, Verbier-Zermatt. We give you here a description of the two most common routes.
Both routes require a competent level of off-piste ability, fitness, about one week's touring experience and a guide.
Classic Haute Route Chamonix Zermatt - Grand Combin / Bourg-St-Pierre route
After crossing the Mont Blanc range to Champex a night is usually spent in the village of Bourg St. Pierre.
Day 3 - A long and steady climb to the Cabane de Valsorey (3030m) passing through an interesting gorge at one point.
Day 4 - A steep climb (often made on foot wearing crampons) leads to the Plateau du Couloir. After the Col de Sonandon (3504m) is a fantastic run, mainly downhill, with a short climb at the end to reach the Cabane du Chanrion (2462m).
Day 5 - Either over the Pigne d'Arolla via the Glacier du Brenay and a junction with the Verbier route, followed by a descent to the Cabane des Vignettes, or reach the hut via a dull, but easy climb up the Glacier d'Otemma.
Verbier Haute Route Chamonix Zermatt
Day 1 - Telepherique from Argentière to Grands Montets (3295m). Descent of the Glacier des Rognons to the Argentière Glacier followed by a long climb to the Col du Chardonnet (3323m). After a short descent and long traverse the Fenêtre du Saleina is climbed to reach the Plateau du Trient, Switzerland, and the beautifully sited Cabane du Trient (3170m).
Day 2 - A long and superb descent of the Val d'Arpette to Champex is followed by crossing the large Val des Bagnes by public transport, to reach Verbier and a short tour to the Cabane de Mont Fort (2457m).
Day 3 - Ascent of Rosablanche (3336m) a very fine viewpoint. Descent to the unusual Cabane de Prafleuri (2931m).
Day 4 - Over the Col des Roux and a long traversing descent above the Lac des Dix, followed by a gradual climb to the isolated Cabane des Dix (2928m).
Day 5 - Over the Pigne d'Arolla (3796m) to the Cabane des Vignettes (3160m).
Day 6 - The longest day! Up and down over three cols amid magnificent mountains and then the huge descent, passing below the Matterhorn to Zermatt from the Col du Valpelline (3568m).
Return to Chamonix by minibus / train.