Day 1: Arrive in Chamonix and meet the guide to discuss the week’s plan, check and sort food and equipment. Stay overnight in the valley.
Day 2: Warm-up morning off-piste on the Grands Montets ski field before heading up on skins to the Argentiere hut in the afternoon. Coming out of the Grands Montets the panoramic view is stunning and dramatic with L’Aiguille du Chardonnet, L’Aiguille d’Argentiere, Le Tour Noir, Les Aiguilles Rouge and Mont Dolent all visible.
Day 3: Early start for the ski down the right bank of the Argentiere Glacier and the skin up to the Col du Chardonnet and across the Trient plateau into Switzerland and a night in the charming Trient hut.
Day 4: Leisurely start (about 8 am) to enjoy the descent of the wild Val d’Arpette to Champex with good snow conditions. A brief relaxing road transfer by taxi to Bourg St Pierre before the big climb to the Valsorey hut.
Day 5: The key section: the delicate climb and traverse to the Plateau du Couloir, the committing crossing of the Col du Sonadon and the complex route down the Mt. Durand Glacier to the Chanrion hut.
Day 6: The traditional route goes up the Otemma Glacier. However, it can be rather tedious and if conditions allow, the route up the Brenay Glacier to the summit of Pigne d’Arolla (3796 m) is much more interesting with magnificent views and a good ski descent to the Vignettes Hut.
Day 7: ‘There are few days in alpine ski mountaineering to match this one’. You have to cover 30 km, cross three cols L’Eveque (3392 m), M.Brule (3213 m) and Valpelline (3568 m) and seven glaciers and climb 1100 m.: a fitting finale to the Classic Haute Route. You stay overnight in Zermatt.
Day 8: From Zermatt we transfer back to Chamonix by train or taxi for some well-earned R&R. This is also a contingency day in case of bad weather.
Day 9: Depart after breakfast.
Notes: Getting there: Chamonix is best reached by air. The nearest airport is Geneva and the transfer time is about 75 minutes. On arrival at the airport you will be collected and transferred direct to your hotel in Chamonix.
Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured for ski touring and mountaineering on glaciers using ropes and crampons. You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
Accommodation and meals:
- On the tour and on Mont Blanc you stay in alpine huts run by the French and Swiss Alpine Clubs. These are operated as basic hotels and are comfortable and warm. Facilities are limited – most do not have running water. Food is plentiful but there are limited menu options for vegetarians. The huts are perfect settings to relax in after each day’s activities.
- In the Chamonix valley and Zermatt you will stay in superior hotels or chalets (twin-rooms).
Skills and Stamina:
- The Haute Route is a challenging and advanced level ski tour. It is strongly recommended that participants will have previously completed at least 1 previous multi-day ski tour. Advanced off-piste skiing ability in all conditions is also essential.
- Equally important is fitness. On most days you will be ascending on skis for at least 4-5 hours which requires excellent physical stamina. You are advised to prepare yourself well in advance with a rich diet of aerobic activity.
- For advanced off-piste skiers with no/limited ski touring experience we offer a 2-day ski touring skills course immediately preceding the scheduled Haute Route trips. This course will provide you with the essential technical ski touring & ski mountaineering skills which we consider a pre-requisite for undertaking the Haute Route.
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