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Haute Route Ski Tour

Ski tour from Chamonix to Zermatt with Chamex Mountain Guides

The Haute Route is the classic ski touring adventure that links the two Alpine centres of Chamonix-Mont Blanc in France and Zermatt in Switzerland.  The main Haute Route season runs from mid march to late April when the mountain huts are open and the glaciers are safely snow-covered.

It was first completed as a glacier trek during the summer of 1861 by the British Alpine Club, then first skied in 1903 by a group of Frenchmen who translated the name to the Haute Route ski tour. It has since become part of ski mountaineering history and remains one of the most famous and most coveted ski tours in the world, with fantastic scenery and exhilarating skiing.

The Haute Route will test your stamina and endurance and is by no means a walk in the park as it will entail long days at high altitude on mountain glacier terrain, so a good level of fitness and ski touring experience is needed. You will, however, be rewarded with exhilarating scenery and a close up view of magnificient alpine peaks such as the Dent Blanche and the Matterhorn.

You will start your journey at Les Grands Montets in Argentiere at the northern end of the Chamonix valley before crossing over a number of stunning alpine cols into Switzerland and the canton of Valais. At the end of each day you will stay in warm and cosy mountain huts such as the Trient, Prafleuri, Dix and Bertol as you cross glaciers, skin up mountains, ski fabulous off-piste terrain as you get ever closer to the magnificent Matterhorn.

 

Why book your Haute Route with Chamex guides? 

  • Our trips are all inclusive - even the transport from Zermatt is included. 
  • The only costs you have to add to your budget are packed lunches, snacks and drinks on huts. 
  • Guaranteed pre-reserved places on huts.
  • Flexibility - we will adjust the itinerary in case of bad weather. 
  • We work with fully qualified UIAGM mountain guides, local to Chamonix with years of guiding experience.
  • All our guide speak English. 
  • We are locally run and fully French registered business based in Chamonix. 

 

Description

This is ski touring at its best; high in the mountains, from refuge to refuge, with long climbs and stunning descents. There are constantly changing views of Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, Grand Combin and Monte Rosa.

Starting in the heart of the Mont Blanc massif and ending up in the shadow of one of the most famous mountains in the Alps, the Matterhorn, this is a journey that every experienced ski tourer should undertake at least once in their lives.

Chamonix Experience’s Haute Route consists of 7 days of ski touring. The itinerary has been updated this year to ensure maximum descent and to stay in the most spectacularly located mountain huts along the way.

This is an all-inclusive ski touring trip. There are NO HIDDEN COSTS such as taxis, lifts or huts added on to your expenses during the trip. Everything is taken care of by your mountain guide, so you can just relax and enjoy the fantastic ski touring. The only thing you should budget for are your daily lunches and drinks. Your mountain guide will make sure that you have time to pick up what you need during the trip.

Prices:

  • Group of 3 skiers : 2 250€ per person
  • Group of 4 skiers : 1850€ per person
  • Group of 5 skiers : 1650€ per person
  • Group of 6 skiers : 1550€ per person

 

Level requirements 

  • This trip is for experienced ski tourers who have already done at least one hut-to-hut tour or a multi-day ski tour. You should be able to do up to 5 hours skinning with up to 1100m vertical gain per day, at a good steady pace. 
  • You have to be good and efficient in your skinning technique and confident moving over a steep and exposed terrain. You are expected to be comfortable and safe doing kick turns on slopes of over 35 degrees. 
  • You have to be skilled using ice axe and crampons and be happy to climb over steep, snowy and rocky terrain. 
  • You have to be an excellent off piste skier, confident and efficient in skiing in all snow conditions without stopping or losing control over your skis. You have to be confident and safe skiing on slopes of 40 degrees. 
  • You have to be physically fit, ready to hike and ski for up to 8 hours per day without being too tired the next day. You have to be able to move reasonably fast (climb 400m/h). 
  • We recommend our ski mountaineering course as a preparation for the Haute Route. 
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the ski & fitness levels for this trip, we will be happy to help. 

 

Ski the Haute Route as a Private Trip

If you are travelling with a group of friends or just wish to ski the Haute Route on your own, let us know! We will be delighted to organise a custom made, private Haute Route guided ski tour for you.

Don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know the dates of your holidays, your previous ski touring experience and your expectations. We will create and organize a tour that suits you and your friends the best!

 

Price

1550€

Price per person for a group of 6 participants

Course Dates

2017
Start Date End Date Spaces
G
Mar 14 Mar 20 Full
G
Mar 26 Apr 01 Full
G
Mar 26 Apr 01 Full
G
Apr 09 Apr 15 2
2018
Start Date End Date Spaces
Mar 19 Mar 25 6
Mar 26 Apr 01 6
Apr 09 Apr 15 6
Apr 16 Apr 22 6
Apr 23 Apr 29 6

G
  The Course is guaranteed to run


Included

Guide Fees

7 days of guiding and instruction by a UIAGM qualified mountain guide.

Accommodation (half-board)

6 nights accommodation in mountain huts with breakfast and dinner included.

Transport

Any transport that is required during the course including the return trip from Zermatt to Chamonix.

Group Equipment

Ropes, safety equipment, etc will be provided when needed by your guide.

Office Support

Our team is based at the foot of the Aiguillle du Midi cable car and will be happy to help you with any questions you may have before, during or after your trip to Chamonix.

Lift passes

The cost of any lift access that is required during the course for the itinerary described above. 

Not Included

Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need. Anything that you do not already have can be rented here in Chamonix, if there is anything you need then please contact us and we will be happy to organise it for you.

For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your perdoanlised kit list.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take our Search and Rescue mountain insurance - we can organise this for you on request.

Food & Drink

The price does not include lunch or snacks. You can bring your own food and we can stop for a picnic, or there may be the option to buy lunch at a mountain hut. Please make sure that you are carrying sufficient water and snacks as we will be in the mountains for a number of hours.

Travel to Chamonix

The price does not include flights, airport transfers or any other travel to/from Chamonix. However, we can organise airport transfers for you on request, please contact us for details.

Accommodation in Chamonix

If you whish to stay at the Yeti Lodge, teh extra cost is 340€ including a shared based room, breakfasts, diners and afternoon tea.

Any accommodation additional to that provided during the course. If you wish to stay in Chamonix for a few days before or after your trip, we will be happy to help you find and book accommodation on request.

The group will meet at our office in Chamonix Sud the evening before the first day of the trip. You will have an informal chat with your guide about the week ahead, weather, conditions, itinerary, etc. The guide will also want to check all of your equipment and make sure everything is in order.

Day 1: Ski Les Grands Montets and hike up to the Argentière Refuge

You start with some steep ski runs on Les Grands Montets. Your guide will want to check that you all have the right ski level before you set off and make sure that there are no issues with any of your equipment. After lunch you will ski down the Rognon glacier and across the Argentière Glacier to the Argentière Refuge (2771m). You will spend your first night there. Enjoy the beautiful views of the Argentière Basin!

Descent 800-900m • Ascent 200-300m • Time 4-5 h

Day 2: Argentière hut to Trient hut via Col du Tour

The day will start with a short descent from the hut down to the glacier, where you will put on your skins and climb up to the Col du Passon (3028m). From the col it’s a short descent before putting the skins back on for a short climb to the Col du Tour (3282m). Then the route takes you across the magnificent Trient plateau and up to the Trient hut where you will spend the night.

Descent 300m • Ascent 1100m • Time 6-8 h

Day 3: Trient hut to Prafleuri hut via Col des Écandies

This is a long day, which is rewarded by long descents. It starts with descending the Col des Écandies (2796m) followed by a descent by the Val d’Arpette down to the village of Champex (1500m). Transfer by taxi will be arranged to take you to a cable-car station in Verbier. Climb up to the Col de la Chaux (2940m), followed by another descent. Then hike up to the Col de Momin (3015m) and to the highest summit of the trip, the Rosablanche (3336m). From the summit you have a great ski down the Glacier de Prafleuri to the Prafleuri hut (2624m) where you will spend the night.

Descent 2700m • Ascent 900m • Time 7-8 h

Day 4. Prafleuri refuge to Refuge to Dix

This day starts with a steep climb over the Col des Roux before starting the long traverse above the Lac Dix. At the head of the lake there is a steady climb to the Pas du Chat and then a little more traversing before a short climb to Refuge des Dix hut (2928m). Here you will leave some of your equipment before setting out for either the Col de Cheilon (3237m) or to the summit of La Luette (3548m) for some extra descent before you dinner. This add on is optional!

Descent 450m . Ascent 800m . Time 5h

Day 5: Refuge des Dix to Vignettes Refuge via Pigne d’Arolla

From the hut you will cross the Glacier de Cheilon to climb the Glacier de Tsena Refien towards the Col de la Serpentine and on to the Col du Brenay. It is then an easy climb to the summit of the Pigne d’Arolla (3772m). Now you have a great descent to the Col des Vignettes and the spectacularly situated hut (3160m) of the same name.

Ascent 850m • Time 6 h

Day 6: Vignettes Refuge to Bertol hut via Col de Charmottane and Col de l’Evêque

The day will start with a quick descent to the Col de Charmottane (3037m) followed by a hike up to the Col de l’Evêque (3382m). A beautiful, long descent of the Arolla Glacier to the Plans de Bertol is followed by a long, but absolutely spectacular, hike up to the Bertol hut (3311m), where you will spend the last night in the of this trip.

Descent 750m • Ascent 1100m • Time 7-8 h

Day 7: Bertol hut to Zermatt via Tête Blanche and Stöckji glacier.

Fun day! A hike up to the second highest point of the trip, the Tête Blanche (3707m) is followed by a brilliant, long and relatively complex descent of the Stöckji and Zmut glaciers. You will be making your way through crevasses and around rocks as you go. The views of the Matterhorn are always changing and always spectacular.

Eventually you will reach the edge of Zermatt’s huge piste area and stop for a well-earned beer at a piste-side bar before continuing to Zermatt. From here you will catch the train to Tasch to meet the minibus waiting to take you back to Chamonix, a 2.5 hour drive. Once back in Chamonix you will have a short debrief over a coffee at our office, where you can also swap photos before heading home.

Descent 2100m • Ascent 500m • Time 6 h

Clothing

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Sun hat

Sun hat

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Telescopic poles

Telescopic poles

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Screwgate carabiner

Screwgate carabiner

60 - 120 cm tape sling

60 - 120 cm tape sling

Belay device

Belay device

35 - 45 litres rucksack

35 - 45 litres rucksack

Crampons

Crampons

Ski / splitboard skins

Ski / splitboard skins

Ski poles

Ski poles

Ski touring skis

Ski touring skis

Ski touring boots

Ski touring boots

Extras

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liner

Food

This trip includes breakfast and dinner every day. You will responsible for organising your packed lunches, drinks and snacks. You will need to bring some cash to pay for these, about 20€ and 200CHF should be sufficient for the trip.

We suggest you bring plenty of snacks that you can take into the mountains with you each day; things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favourite trail snacks are ideal. You can buy all of these things in Chamonix.

Equipment rental

We highly recommend that you bring or hire modern and light ski equipment for this trip. Skiing with a heavy backpack is very difficult and tiering. We recommend using modern touring skis ideally 85 - 95 mm under foot - using skis that are too skinny will be hard work in deep powder and skis that are too wide are not great for skinning on a hard-packed snow. Prior to the trip, make sure that your equipment is freshly serviced (waxed and sharpened edges) and in good working order. 

If you need to hire your skis or other equipment, please let us know at least 2 weeks in advance as the hire shops can have limited availability in the busy season.

You can collect your equipment the evening before the start of the course and return it in the evening at the end of your course. We work with the following Chamonix ski hire and mountain shop :

• Concept Pro Shop which is conveniently located directly next door from our office. Open 7/7 08:00-19:00

Optional equipment

Thermos – not essential due to weight, but it can be comforting to have a hot drink on a cold day.

Water Bottle – should be at least 1.5 litres and durable. 

Camelbak hydration systems are good as long as they are kept clean, but not recommended as the tube tends to freeze up.

Extra Gloves - a pair of spare gloves is essential.

Extra Goggles - spare goggles are highly recommended.

When is the best time to do the Haute Route?

The Haute Route season starts mid March and ends at the end of April. The huts are closed outside of this time span and the snow conditions / weather are rarely favourable for this trip. If you enquire for this trip for a private group, you can chose any dates within this time-frame as long as you place your booking with us by the end of September. Check with us for later booking, we may still be able to reserve your places in huts. If you wish to book for a group trip, please check the dates we have on our website. 

Training for Haute Route

Haute Route and its variations are all physically and technically very demanding. 

You have to be able to hike and ski for about 6 hours without getting too tired the next day. Remember that skiing with a rucksack is more tiring than skiing without one. We will advise you how to reduce the size & weight of your backpack to minimum but you will still have to carry all the essentials. The snow may also not be the easiest to ski if windblown or crusty - you can expect all snow conditions along the way. In short, the fitter you will be more fun you will have on this trip. Best way to prepare is to regularly exercise - running, biking and uphill hiking will keep you stamina at a good level. 

You have to have very good skinning technique and know how to efficiently use your equipment (skis, skins, boot crampons and ice axe, ski crampons). Therefore it is very important that you have good ski touring experience and done some technical tours with use of crampons and ice axe. Ideally, you have already done one hut to hut tour and know how to be energy efficient while hiking and skiing. Since Haute Route season starts closer to the spring time, you have plenty of time to ski and ski tour prior the trip. 

 

Haute Route Variations

There are few variations of the classic Haute Route itinerary. Our group trips are run as per the itinerary listed on the ‘itinerary’ section of this page. But if you wish to book a private trip, we can organise any of the trips below. 

The Verbier Route

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This is a shorter and the most popular itinerary for skiers. This itinerary includes a short transfer by a taxi from Champex to Verbier, where a lift system will help you to gain back the elevation you have lost skiing down to Champex. This itinerary offers plenty of good ski descends and it is the most direct way to reach Zermatt. 

D1 From Grands Montets to Argentiere hut. 

D2 Ski to Prafleuri hut via Trient Plateau, Champex and Verbier

D3 Ski to Dix hut

D4 Ski to Vignettes hut via Pigne D’Arolla

D5 Ski to Zermatt via Col l’Eveque, Col de Mont Brule and Col Valpelline

The Plateau du Couloir Route

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This is the most technical itinerary for true ski mountaineers. While this route is adventurous and fun, it requires good snow conditions to be doable. 

D1 From Grands Montets to Trient hut

D2 Ski to Valsorey hut via the Trient Plateau, Champex and Bourg st. Pierre

D3 Ski to Chanrion hut via Valsorey hut and Plateau du Couloir

D4 Ski to Vignettes hut via Chanrion hut and Pigne D’Arolla

D5 Ski to Zermatt via the Vignettes hut

Gran Lui Route

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This is our favourite Haute Route trip. While being longer an physically & technically more demanding than the other itineraries, you will be rewarded by a true feeling of achievement. 

D1 Argentiere to Trient hut

D2 Ski to La Fouly

D3 Ski to Grand St Bernard Hospice

D4 Ski to Valsorey hut

D5 Ski to Chanrion hut via plateau du Couloir

D6 Ski to Vignettes hut

D7 Ski to Zermatt