The Haute Route requires no previous high-altitude trekking experience. However it is physically demanding and on most days you will be walking for 6-8 hours. You must prepare yourself well in advance by regular aerobic activity and if possible some rigorous hill walking!
The Mont Blanc ascent extension is similarly not technically difficulty, though there is one short 45 degree snow slope on Mont Maudit. However the climb and descent make a very long day (8-12 hrs) between 3500-4800m.
Most of our progression-level and advanced-level off-piste weeks and intermediate ski tours are of this level of strenuousness. You must be able to cope with continuous, long days out on the hill. On a ski touring week you need to fit enough to cope with up to 3-4 hours of mountain walking or ski-touring up-hill carrying a backpack with all you need for a week staying in mountain huts.
Day 1: Outward journey. Arrive Geneva and transfer to Les Contamines. Meet up with your Mountain Tracks guides. Check equipment and make final preparations. Overnight in Les Contamines.
Day 2: Les Contamines – Les Chapieux (6-7 hours, 10 miles/16km). Ascend to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and traverse to the Col de la Croix de Bonhomme (2479m). Descend to Les Chapieux.
Day 3: Les Chapieux – Courmayeur (7-8 hours, 12 miles/18km). After a steady ascent past Ville de Glaciers, cross the Col de la Seigne (2516m) into Italy. Follow the south side of the Val Veni to Courmayeur.
Day 4: Courmayeur - Refugio Bonnati (6–7 hours, 10 miles/16 km). Ascend the Mont de la Saxe ridge with superb views of the Italian side of Mont Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses.
Day 5: Refugio Bonatti – La Fouly (7-8 hours, 11.5 miles/18km). Cross the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) to enter Switzerland. From Grand Col Ferret descend through alpine meadows to Ferret and on to La Fouly (1595m), beautifully situated below the Glacier de l’A Neuve. Short transfer by road to Champex.
Day 6: Champex– Trient– Les Contamines (5-6 hours, 12 miles/20km). One of the highlights of the tour across the Fenetre d’Arpette (2665m) before the descent to the Chalets du Glacier and on to Trient. On request this day could be extended to include the traverse of the Trient Ice Plateau, a fitting end to the walk. The traverse will require the team to use crampons and ice-axe. Return to Les Contamines by road.
Day 7: Departure after breakfast for Airport and return flight.
Total distance covered: approx 54 miles.
Note: the exact itinerary will depend on a number of different factors including the weather and ground conditions and fitness/preferences of the group. It will also be feasible for the group to plan their own route and be responsible for navigation and leading themselves in small groups – excellent leadership training. The above mentioned itinerary is therefore a suggestion only
Price: between £375-600 per person depending on group size and staff numbers.
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