Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route
The Classic Tour of the High Alps between the two historic hometowns of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
The Classic Tour of the High Alps between the two historic hometowns of Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Travel rugged, glaciated terrain in with light packs in Haute style. We are accepting custom bookings only for this season (late March to early May).
This trip has a minimum of 4 to run with 1 guide or 6 with 2 guides. The maximum group size is 8 skiers + 2 guides and the max guiding ratio is 4:1.
This tour has everything you would expect in an Alps classic, steep mountain terrain with huge sparkling glaciers and jagged peaks.
The Haute Route is the most classic ski tour in the Alps. It traverses the most spectacular and wildly rugged terrain from the lofty Mont Blanc massif to the foot of the iconic Matterhorn. This tour has everything you would expect in an Alps classic, steep mountain terrain with huge sparkling glaciers and jagged peaks. All of this is made accessible with little more than a daypack due to a remarkable fully staffed high mountain hut system. There is no other place on earth where a skier can travel such terrain in a short of a time with as light of a load, in as much comfort.
Although we can schedule a custom itinerary to go the original route through Bourg St. Pierre on request, we generally prefer the classic variation through Verbier as more of a “skier’s Haute Route,” with more high quality downhill skiing opportunities and additional ski summits possible with less uphill effort. The Verbier itinerary is described below. If the original route is your preference, for the added challenge, we recommend adding a day to incorporate Mt. Velan, an outstanding ski mountaineering objective. Any way you do it, this tour should be on every skier’s lifetime list. Warning: Ski Mountaineering in the Alps is highly addictive and the addiction is contagious!
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TRIP ITINERARY: Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route
DAY 0Welcomed by your guide(s) in the hotel in Chamonix for an apertif. Get out the maps for a tour overview, and do an equipment check for the trip.
DAY 1Prepare for the Haute Route by skiing the famous Vallée Blanche. Ski lifts and a tram access this 3600m+ ski run down intricate and beautiful glaciated terrain. This day will allow us to acclimate to the altitude and to the type of ski terrain found on the Haute Route. This is classic Alps skiing amidst the most spectacular mountains in Europe. Spend the night in Chamonix.
DAY 2Leave Chamonix for the village of Argentiere where we ascend to the Grand Montets by tram. From there we ski down to the Argentiere Glacier beneath the Aiguille Verte and ascend to the Col du Chardonnet, the technical crux of the route. After a roped technical descent, we climb to the Fenétre de Saleina and ski down the gentle slopes of the Trient Plateau to the Trient hut.
DAY 3One of the best ski runs- from the Trient Hut, down the amazing Val d’Arpette, to the small lakeside mountain village of Champex. The classic Haute Route, through Verbier, is justifiably the most popular way to go, and is a skier’s favorite. We travel to Verbier by bus, then by ski lift back up into the mountains. We arrive in the afternoon at the Mont Fort hut, complete with showers!
DAY 4A classic tour day. We will ski up and over two cols through rolling terrain to the Grand Desert Glacier. We traverse the upper reaches of the glacier and ascend steadily toward a beautiful ski mountaineering peak known as the Rosablanche ("the white rose") 3336.3m (10,946’). After reaching the summit, we ski a fantastic run down to the Prafleuri Hut where we relax on the beautiful sun deck, or perhaps make more turns after a tasty, home-cooked meal.
DAY 5From the Prafleuri Hut we ascend over the Col des Roux and down along the Lac des Dix, the highest "dammed" lake in the Alps. We ascend the Pas du Chat and along the Glacier de Cheilon to the fantastic Dix Hut.
DAY 6Ski down then across the Glacier de Cheilon and up the beautiful Glacier de Tsena-Refien. We continue upward via a steep, exposed traverse that allows access to the Col du Brenay. From there we climb to the summit of the Pigne d’Arolla at 3790m (12,434’) for a most spectacular panorama and the high point of or trip. We descend a popular heli-ski run to the precariously perched Vignettes Hut.
DAY 7Vignettes Hut to Zermatt. This is the longest day of the Route. 30km (19 mi.), 3 cols, 7 glaciers, and 1100m (3608 ft.) of ascent, with a pass beneath the North face of the Matterhorn. The glacier rollercoaster ride down from the Col de Valpelline all the way into the town of Zermatt is a dramatic and memorable finish!
- Advanced-expert downhill skiing skills
- Ability to control speed and execute fall-line turns in control and comfort in difficult snow conditions (deep powder, heavy and/or moist snow, breakable crust, firm or icy, etc.)
- Ability to execute hop turns on 40 degree+, firm slopes, coming to a complete and immediate stop at the finish of each turn
- Ability to sideslip forward and backward, with edge control, on steep, firm slopes
- Experience ski touring in the backcountry using ski touring equipment (boots, bindings, skins, transceiver, shovel, probe, etc.
- Ability to make uphill facing kick-turns in an uphill track on a slope
- Very good fitness
- UIAGM Mountain Guide(s)
- All lodging during the trip (hotels and mountain huts)
- Meals on route (dinners and breakfasts)
- All transportation and lifts on route
- Mountain Rescue Insurance
- Travel to Chamonix or from Zermatt
- Food or drink in towns
- Snacks/lunches or drinks on route