Ski Tour  Haute Route Chamonix - Zermatt

classic version via verbier

The Haute Route Ski Tour or more commonly known as Chamonix - Zermatt is by far the most popular and prized ski destination in the Alps. Each year many skiers set out to attempt to complete this coveted traverse, yet not all will succeed in reaching the final destination of Zermatt. Whilst there are many ways to get from point A to point B, I have tried to eliminate as many variables as possible by putting together two different tours to help you successfully reach your goal.
The first is the ultra classic Verbier version which the vast majority  of skiers undertake and although it is certainly more popular. However it does provide several occasions to seek alternate routes and bonus summits along the way. Additionally I have "spruced" it up even further.
The second option is via the Grand Combin - Plateau du Couloir - which sees fewer skiers and is certainly harder and longer. It's a purist route and should only be considered by those with some solid ski mountaineering background.
 

Other variations are also possible

Most Popular Haute Route via Verbier - the most common way to "do" this uber classic ski tour

The True Classic Haute Route via the Grand Combin - for the purists looking for the authentic route

Heli Haute Route - the most amazing way to rally Chamonix - Zermatt  

 

Week highlights include:

  • skiing from the top of the infamous 3842m Aiguille du Midi tram on some of the legendary steep ski runs
  • sampling the Italian side of Mont Blanc with the Skyway lift above Courmayeur, Italy - some of the best skiing in the massif
  • Overnight at a mountain hut to capture the true full flavor of being in the mountains
  • The week is capped with the traditional celebratory evening dinner and prizes will be awarded to guests for "special categories".
Included

Cost Includes:

  • Guide fees
  • accommodation and half board based on dbl occupancy or in huts
  • assistance for travel logistics and planning


Cost Exclusions:

  • lift fees 
  • lunches, snacks or drinks
  • personal equipment
  • travel to or from the course departure point
  • rescue insurance
Program

Ski Tour Haute Route Verbier option Details

This "modified" Haute Route itinerary takes us by way of Verbier is quite classic aside from the following important details:

  • we bypass the Trient hut on our first day allowing us to ski better mid day snow in the Val d'Arpette and offering a more relaxed 2nd day.

  • in my opinion, this route variation has the best balance between uphills and downhills

  • we have a mid week stop in the town of Arolla which gives everyone a chance to recoup, shower and rest for the final days/or allow for alternate plans in the event of poor weather.

  • the second to last day we go to the Bertol hut to allow for a more enjoyable final day into Zermatt.

Day 0 Evening meeting at your hotel
Arrive in Chamonix. Welcome meeting and aperitif, kit check and briefing on the itinerary for the week. Night at La Couronne Hotel in Argentiere.    

Day 1 Chamonix Vallee Blanche
We will use this first day of the trip for an important equipment check, any last minute gear problems and most importantly for a good day of moderate skiing to allow you to get over jet lag, adjust to the altitude and of course "stretch" your legs…The day starts with a ride on the Aiguille du Midi cable car to reach the impressive rock spire summit 3,842m-12,602’. The skiing commences after a short walk down a steep ridge. What follows is 2,800m-9,185’ of some superb skiing back to the town of Chamonix. The skiing and the views are incredible as we cruise down through the scenic heart of the Mont Blanc range. During the day we will discuss the following days itinerary, brushen-up ski technique and of course take some great photos! 
vertical descent = 2,800m-9,185’ Night at La Couronne Hotel in Argentiere.    

Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Day 2 Argentiere - Champex
After an early rise, we start the day by walking to the Grands Montets cable car. Our Haute Route commences from the top of the 3,296m-10,811’ summit and we get under way with a fun ski down to the Argentiere glacier. Here is where the long climb starts to reach the Chardonnet pass 3,323m-10,890’ our first major obstacle. After a short but steep descent down the backside of the pass with help of a safety line, we continue on to the Saleina pass 3,267m-10,716’a short steep climb we will tackle on foot. Once on top, we head off down the Trient plateau past the Trient cabin, and over the last short pass of the day the Col des Ecandies 2,796m-9,171’. From here the view of the Arpette valley is amazing and the skiing down to the village of Champex 1,486m-4,874’ even better!
Many groups stay at the Trient hut, but I prefer to ski down to the cosy village of Champex, benefiting from the soft afternoon snow in order to enjoy a great ski down the Arpette valley. Here is where we will spend the evening in a very cozy Swiss lodge and sample some great Swiss food.
vertical climb = 1,075m-3,526’ vertical descent = 2,770m-9,086’ Night at the CAS in Champex.    

Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Day 3 Champex - Prafleurie Hut
After an early breakfast, we will hop into a taxi for a short ride to the well known Swiss ski area of Verbier. Old wooden chalets and a typical Swiss atmosphere are to be found here. From Verbier, we will take the Attelas cable car and the Jumbo to the col des Gentianes 2,894m-9,492’. We start by skiing down towards the Monfort cabin but instead head over the first of 3 ascents - the Chaux pass 2,950m-9,676’ then the Momin pass 3,059m-10,034’ and finally the summit of the Rosa Blanche at 3,336m-10,942’. After this spectacular ascent an even more spectacular descent follows: down the Prafleuri glacier to the pretty Prafleuri hut 2,832m-9,289’
vertical climb = 790m-2,591’ vertical descent = 804m-2,637’ Night at the Prafleuri Hut.   

Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Day 4 Prafleurie Hut - Arolla
Things get underway by climbing the Roux pass 2,908-9,085' down to Barma 2,581m-8,062', where the view of the Dix lake is a stunning contrast to the white, snow covered mountains. After an endless traverse above the lake, we reach the start of climb of the Pas du Chat (cat's passage) and then finally up to the Pas de Chevre 2,855m-8,919' with the help of some ladders. From here the view is spectacular and the skiing is all downhill to our comfy hotel in Arolla 2,006m-6,267' for some more good Swiss food and and another warm shower.
vertical climb = 2,170 ft. vertical descent = 3,210 ft. Night in your hotel in Arolla.

Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Day 5 Arolla - Vignettes Hut
Having spent a nice afternoon recuperating, this morning sees us off up the slopes of Arolla with the help of one of the drag lifts. The uphill part starts by crossing a massive moraine and finally the glacier situated below the Vignettes hut. Once we have reached the hut we can opt to continue on to the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla.
vertical climb = 1,305m-4,280’ vertical descent = 0 Night at the Vignettes Hut.    

Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Day 6 Arolla - Vignettes Hut - Bertol Hut
Today brings our last long hill ascent and gets underway with a long, flat glide up the Arolla glacier below the towering Mont Collon. Part way up, we head off to reach the Bertol glacier by way of several plateaus. As the slope gets steeper we reach the pass and Bertol hut 3,311m-10,860’, perched on top of the ridge like a watch tower looking over the alpine valleys and offering astounding views in every direction. 
vertical climb = 1,305m-4,280’ vertical descent = 0 Night at the Bertol Hut.    
Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Day 7 Bertol Hut - Zermatt
This may be the most beautiful day of the trip. We start off by gliding down the Mont Mine glacier towards the col de Herens. Once we reach the top of this pass, we can leave the packs and run up the Tete Blanche (12,218 ft). From here the views of the Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn are literally outstanding. Once again a great descent awaits us, down past the Schonbiel hut (8,838 ft) off beneath the Matterhorn, skiing in it's shadow down to the pretty resort town and final destination of Zermatt (5,302 ft). Time to celebrate!

vertical climb = 1,750 ft. vertical descent = 8,315 ft.

Elevation gain : 714m / Vertical loss : 1200m / Moving time: 5-6h

Although the Haute Route is probably the most well known ski adventure on the planet - DO NOT under estimate this trip. It is not a walk in the park or nor a good choice for your first ski tour adventure. The Haute Route will test your stamina, your abilities and get you out of your comfort zone. Please contact me if you have questions.

* Actual course details may vary due to safety reasons and the guide may modify the itinerary due to terrain, weather or other conditions

Haute Route FAQ here

    Dates

    Length:
    7 days, 6 nights

    2018 COURSE DATES
    April 8-14

    Custom dates are also available - please contact me for more information

    Skills

    Required Level:
    Excellent base fitness
    Very good skiers - good standard off-piste skiing level capable of turning in any type of snow

    Skiing/Climbing Grade:
    Skiing may include sustained 35 degree slopes. S2/3

    Technical Level:
    3 out of 5

    Fitness Level:
    4 out of 5

    Price

    2,395 € / pp with min 2 guests
    3,995 € private arrangement

    Group Size:
    Maximum group size is 6 : 1

    Local links

    Course Base:
    Chamonix, France

    Local Airport:
    Geneva Intl Airport, Switzerland - GVA

    webcam Chamonix Arrête de l'Aiguille du Midi - Vallée Blanche
    Map
     
    Equipment List

    Off-Piste Skiing Courses

    • Your ski clothing (socks, hats, extra gloves, goggles w/ extra lenses).
    • Your personal ski gear (boots, skis – tuned and waxed, poles).
    • A small day pack 20-30l for food/water and extra clothing 
    • A mountaineering style harness with opening leg loops and a locking pear shaped HMS carabiner
    • Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe
    • Optional ABS style pack (not mandatory)
    Reserve

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