The Chamonix to Zermatt Summer Haute Route

The Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route is world-famous and for good reason. It passes through a huge variety of terrain; alpine meadows, forests, glaciers, rocky cols and alpine peaks making it a perfect introduction to those with a keen interest in hill walking or trekking and wish to experience hut to hut touring in the Alps.

Dates: June, July, August, September.

Ratio: 1:4

Who’s it for: This course is suitable for those with British hill walking experience or trekking experience in the greater ranges and the fitness level to complete an 8 hour hill day carrying an overnight rucksack.

Instruction/GuidingInsurance (essential)
Harnesses, helmetsCrampons, ice axe, boots
(can be hired in Chamonix)
Personal hut fees and accommodation in Champex and Arolla on a half board basisAccommodation in Chamonix
Guides’ hut fees, lunches and upliftTransport: Taxi costs during the course (250 SFr in 2012, divided by the group); and return travel back to Chamonix
Uplift (25 euros and 12 SFr in 2012)
Personal lunches, drinks and drinks at huts

Sample program

Day 1: We meet in Chamonix and use the Le tour lift system to gain some altitude before trekking to the Albert Premier Hut (2702m). After lunch, we complete an Ecole de Glace session on the Glacier du Tour. (5 hours).

Day 2: From the Albert Premier Hut we ascend early in the morning to ensure good snow conditions on the glaciers via the Col Superior du Tour (3288m) to the Orny Hut for Lunch. After lunch, we descend to Champex to overnight. (7 hours).

Day 3: A taxi service is used to travel between Champex and Mauvoisin from where we make the ascent to the Chanrion Hut (2462m) which is a great place from which to spot Edelweiss. (4 hours).

Day 4: Leaving the Chanrion Hut at around 6am we ascend the Otemma Glacier to the Cabanne des Vignettes (3610m) for lunch. Following lunch, we descend the Piece Glacier overnight in a hotel in Arolla. (7.5 hours).

Day 5: We leave the hotel in Arolla after breakfast and make the ascent to the Bertol Hut (3311m) via good footpaths and a short Via Ferrata. (6 hours).

Day 6: An early start and good weather are required from the Bertol Hut to ensure good snow conditions on the traverse of the Tete Blanche (3710m) and the descent of the Stockji Glacier to the Schonbiel Hut (2694m). (8 hours).

Day 7: We descend from the Schonbiel Hut to Zermatt for a celebratory lunch before using trains to return to Chamonix. (3.5 hours).

Other possible objectives

  • Day 3 can be made into a longer day by traversing three Cols, passing the Dix Hut and continuing over the Pas De Chevre to Arolla.
  • The ascent of the Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) can be completed. This adds an extra day to the tour.
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