The Haute Route traditionally starts in Chamonix, home of Mont Blanc, and travels East through the French speaking part of the Swiss Alps until it arrives in the German speaking Zermatt, which is the home of the Matterhorn - probably the most famous mountain in the world.
Along the tour, you will cross impressive high mountain passes to go from one alpine valley to the next. You will experience a variety of stunning mountain scenery, which includes mountain pastures, pine forests, deep alpine valleys, majestic rugged peaks, mountain lakes, rivers and glaciers. At night you will rest in charming mountain villages or remote mountain huts, whilst enjoying tasty regional food and wine. The route is bursting with mountaineering history all the way.
Day 1: Meeting in Chamonix.
Arrive Chamonix and meet with your guide in the afternoon for welcome, equipment check and a day-by-day briefing on your Haute Route trek ahead. At night, you're free to explore the many bars and restaurants in Chamonix at your leisure.
Day 2: From Chamonix to Trient.
From the top of the Chamonix valley, we ascend to the Aiguilette des Posettes ridge where we enjoy stunning 360 degree views. We continue to the Balme pass, which forms the border between France and Switzerland and descend into Switzerland and the village Trient, where we spend the night in a bustling auberge. (B+D).
Day 3: From Trient to Champex.
From Trient we have a spectacular walk ahead of us. We climb to the notorious Fenêtre d’Arpette - a tiny mountain pass cut into a rugged alpine ridge - and descend steeply into the Arpette valley on the other side. Our walk ends at the charming lake-side village Champex. (B+D).
Day 4: From Champex to Cabane Mont Fort.
From Champex we start the day with a gentle, downhill walk, through alpine pastures and idyllic Swiss villages. From the village le Chable, we take a cable car up through the famous Verbier ski resort. From the top of the cable car, we have an easy ascend along old irrigation channels to the stunning Mont Fort hut where we watch the sun set behind the mountains before we turn in. (B+D).
Day 5: From Cabane Mont Fort to Cabane Prafleuri.
From the Mont Fort hut we have a stunning and very wild walk ahead of us, tackling no less than three mountain passes - Col de la Chaux, Col de Louvie and Col de Prafleuri. The walk takes us through very rugged alpine terrain where there is a good chance of spotting ibex. We end the day at the Prafleuri mountain hut. (B+D).
Day 6: From Cabane Prafleuri to Arolla.
From the Prafleuri hut, we quickly ascend to Col des Roux and descend to the enormous Dix lake and dam. A gentle and enjoyable walk along the lake takes us to the main climb of the day. The climb follows the moraine created by the Dix glacier until we cross the snout of the glacier, where the terrain steepens and becomes bouldery as we near our pass. We cross the Riedman pass, or the Pas de Chevre via it's ladders, and commence the descend to the village Arolla. (B+D)
Day 7: From Arolla to La Sage.
Today we have a wonderful walk through Swiss country side from Arolla to the village La Sage. We traverse high above the valley to a small lake with it's magical green colour. We then drop down to Les Hauders before a short ascent takes us to the village la Sage. (B&D).
Day 8: From La Sage to Zinal.
From La Sage we have a long day ahead. We ascend through Swiss mountain pastures to the Torrent mountain pass. Descending from the pass, we keep an eye out for the rare edelweiss, which flowers in this area. The descent takes us to the beautiful Moiry lake and dam where a cafe provides refereshments before our second climb of the day. This time, our climb takes us to the Sorrebois pas and we descend through the Zinal ski area to the village center. It's possible to shorten the descent by taking a cable car. (B+D).
Day 9: From Zinal to Gruben.
From our charming auberge in Zinal, we traverse upwards through pine forest to the Forcletta pass. From the pass we descend into the small Turtmann valley, which is the beginning of the German speaking part of Switzerland. We stay in the historic Schwarzhorn Hotel in the small village of Gruben. (B+D).
Day 10: From Gruben to Gasenried.
The walking trail starts directly outside our hotel and takes us up to the Augstbordpass. At the pass, we can look into the large Mattertal valley where we’ll be hiking for the rest of our tour. We may even catch our first glimps of the Matterhorn. A wonderful descend takes us through the old hamlet of Jungu before we reach St. Niklaus. It's a long descend so it's possible to take a small cable car from Jungu to St. Niklaus. In St. Niklaus, we jump on the local Postbus for a short transfer, through the build-up area, to the smaller, and much more charming, village Gasenried. (B+D).
Day 11: From Gasenried to Europahutte.
From Gasenried, we ascend to join the famous Europaweg, which traverses high above the Mattertal. The walking is challenging and interesting and we are treated to views of Zermatt and the matterhorn in the distance. We stay the night high up in the Europa hut. (B+D).
Day 12: From Europahutte to Zermatt.
We leave the Europa hut for our final leg of the journey towards our end-destination Zermatt. The high traverse on the Europaweg continues along interesting terrain and amazing views of the tall mountains that surround the Mattertal. All too soon, we begin our descend to Zermatt and the end of our journey. We spend the night in the historic Zermatt. (B)
Day 13: Depart Zermatt.
Breakfast in Zermatt and the official end of our Haute Route trip. (B). Our Walker’s Haute Route trek is completely tailored to walkers and hikers and avoids glaciers and sections where technical climbing skills are needed. It is a true mountain hikers itinerary and we complete the whole tour on foot, which makes it quite a challenging proposition. We'll be on the trail for around 8 hours every day, covering on average 20 km and 1000 meters of ascent. We'll stay in rugged mountain huts and hiker's hostels as often as possible and we'll not have support vehicles ferrying equipment up and down the valleys, which means we'll carry our personal equipment for the duration of the tour. Not only is this a more authentic, adventurous and satisfying way to complete the tour but it also helps cut down the cost and reduce our environmental footprint.
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