July 08 - 18
August 14 - 24
September 04 - 14
Price: US$ 3300 (CAD$ 3400)
Originally a ski traverse, the Haute Route, meaning the high level route, has become a must for any aficionado of the Alps. Almost entirely in Switzerland, the trek winds it way below some of the highest peaks in the Alps, skirting glaciers and following trails high on lateral moraines.
This itinerary is for the experienced walker, demanding an excellent level of fitness and some prior hill walking experience. Avoiding some of the more traditional passes or cols, which can see more traffic, our route takes us to some less frequented regions of the Valais. Passes are high, days are long and we will be carrying most of our gear for the entire trip. There are many variations to the Haute Route linking the iconic towns of Chamonix and Zermatt. Using the excellent hut system, combined with public transportation, we are offering a less expensive version of our Classic Haute Route trek without sacrificing any aspect of the mountain experience. Certified hiking guides will provide professional leadership, allowing you to enjoy the mountains without having to worry about route finding or where to stay. Several nights in hotels will allow you to reconnect with clean clothing and a single bed, getting you ready for another spectacular adventure the following days.
Day 1: Transfer day. Meet in Chamonix. Welcome dinner to discuss details of the trip.
Day 2: Verbier to Cabane du Mont Fort. Transfer to Verbier in the Val de Bagnes in order to purchase snacks/lunches and begin the trek. Hike up to the Cabane du Mont Fort. Overnight in this Swiss Alpine Club hut with incredible views out towards the Mont Blanc Range. 4 hours of hiking. Double-rooms or dormitories. Shared bathrooms with showers. No luggage transfer.
Day 3: Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Pra Fleuri. One of our longer days of the trek as we cross three mountain passes; Col de la Chaux, Louvie and Pra Fleuri. 8 hours of hiking. Overnight in the newly built Cabane de Pra Fleuri. 6-8 hours of hiking. Dormitories, shared bathrooms with showers. No luggage transfer.
Day 4: Cabane de Pra Fleuri to Arolla. The day begins with a short climb to the Col des Roux and views out towards the Dix dam and lake. The Dix hut, our lunch destination, is an engineering marvel, perched on a rocky outcrop jutting out towards the glacier below. This hut is very popular and the ambience is always excellent with guides and their clients coming from all over the mountaineering world. Weather-permitting, we will have a picnic with our first glimpse of the Matterhorn. At the hut, we can purchase cold drinks and pastries before crossing the Cheillon glacier and up towards the Reidmatten. The climb to the pass is steep and requires some care, but the views at the top are well worth the effort. A steep decent takes us to Arolla.
Once a thriving summer destination a century ago, this sleepy town is still a gem built at roughly 2000 meters above sea level. Grand old hotels, hark back to the "Golden Age of Mountaineering" when wealthy clients hired guides for months at a time and climbed the surrounding peaks. Our night’s accommodation is a majestic old hotel, with modern amenities and an excellent restaurant. Double rooms and luggage transfer.
Day 5: Arolla to Cabane de Moiry. Taking the early morning Swiss Post bus from Arolla, we descend to the village of Les Hauderes and then on to La Forclaz. A steep hike awaits us as we wind our way up through pastures, and past small raccards or shepherds’ huts. Once above tree line the pass is visible in the distance. Views from the Col du Tsate are incredible as the large Glacier de Moiry unfolds before us as we head down to the Cabane de Moiry for a much deserved rest. 8 hours of walking. Dormitory accommodation. No luggage transfer.
Day 6: Cabane de Moiry to Zinal. An alpine start awaits us as a long day is in store. We leave the Moiry hut and the glaciers behind as we follow a path called the "Haut Tour du Lac" or high-level lake traverse. The Moiry lake is iridescent, changing from turquoise to green, contrasting amazingly with the snow capped mountains above. This is one of the more memorable hikes of the trip. Following a contour line above the Moiry dam, we hike towards the Col de Sorbois before descending to Zinal. Overnight in double rooms in a small inn. No luggage transfer.
Day 7: Zinal to Gruben. Another day is spent above tree line as we hike up to the Forcletta pass. Following well-marked paths, we spend the last few hours in French speaking Switzerland. The eastern ridge-line above the Val D’Anniviers is the border to the German part of the Valais canton. Gruben, a summer only village is typically Swiss with perfectly maintained homes, immaculate pastures and sweeping views toward the Turtmann Glacier. 8 hours of walking. Overnight in small inn, double rooms. Luggage transfer.
Day 8: Gruben-St Niklaus-Zermatt. Today is our last day of hiking. We climb steeply up towards the Augstbordpass and pass several small lakes where sheep are often found grazing under the watchful eye of a local shepherd. Making our way to the tiny hamlet of Jungu by mid afternoon allows us to have a drink and snack before taking an amazing, privately owned cable car, which glides down high above the valley floor to St Niklaus. A short, scenic train journey on a cog railway brings us to our final destination, Zermatt and the majestic Matterhorn. Overnight in Zermatt. Hotel, luggage transfer.
Day 9: Transfer day. End of trip.
Trip Leaders: All our guides are internationally certified, and have an in-depth knowledge of the area they are guiding in. Most guides working for us in the Alps live in the Chamonix valley on a permanent basis, where the mountains are both recreation and their livelihood. All of our guides are professionals, and are skilled at transmitting their tremendous knowledge of the region/country to you. All our guides speak fluently English and at least another foreign language. Wherever you go with us, your guide will be able to communicate at ease, enabling him/her to take care of any problem/special wishes that might occur.
Trip Difficulty: Level 4 (From 1-easy to 5-very strenuous). Strenuous walking on mainly marked trails with some cross-country hiking. Scree slopes, boulder-hopping, snow patches, ridge-walking with some exposure. 6-10 hours of daily walking, consecutively for 6-11 days. 1350 (4100ft) maximum elevation gain per day. Day-pack and occasional overnight pack. Maximum altitude in the Alps: 3000m (10000ft).
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