Classic Walker's Haute Route Trek: Chamonix to Zermatt

Classic Walker's Haute Route

 

  • One of the best treks in the world

  • Trek from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

  • See 10 of the highest peaks in the Alps

  • A challenging, stunning trek

  • Cross the new Charles Kuonen suspension bridge

Why Choose Cloud 9 Adventure

 

  • We are the Haute Route experts

  • Outstanding fully-qualified guides

  • Trek part of the Europaweg

  • Excellent quality hotels wherever possible

  • Fully guided trip with luggage support

Classic Walker's Haute Route: Dates and Prices

AT A GLANCE

 

11 nights

10 days' trekking

 

Luggage delivery

 

Group size 4-10

 

Price: £2395

 

Join: Chamonix

 

End: Zermatt

 

Nearest Airport: Geneva

 

ACCOMMODATION

9 nights in hotels

2 nights in mountain huts

 

DIFFICULTY GRADING

9

Extremely Tough

Classic Walker's Haute Route Trek: Overview

The Classic Walker's Haute Route, linking the famous mountaineering capitals of Chamonix and Zermatt, is one of the best multi-day trekking journeys in the world.  Our adventure begins at the foot of Mont Blanc in the Chamonix Valley.  En-route from France into Switzerland, the lower sections of the trek take us through green alpine valleys, pretty mountain hamlets and flower-strewn meadows. The higher sections of the trek take us across high alpine passes, with spectacular views over 10 of the 12 highest peaks and glaciers in the Alps.

 

Throughout this 180km (111 mile) trek, we follow good paths and tracks, travelling through picturesque valleys and crossing over several 3000m (10,000 ft) passes. Our trek ends in Zermatt, beneath the Matterhorn, one of the most iconic mountains in the world. This trip combines luggage support and good quality hotels, with just 2 nights in mountain huts, and 2 nights in simpler auberges, making for as comfortable trip as can be done on this route.

 

There is no need to carry a sleeping bag or a camping mat, and we have access to luggage on all but 2 nights. A superb trek, and a must-do on any hiker's tick-list.

 

How difficult is the Walker's Haute Route?

 

Although demanding at times (and slightly harder than the Tour du Mont Blanc), the Walker's Haute Route is a non-technical trek from Chamonix to Zermatt and is suitable for regular hill walkers. It is not really a trek for first-time hikers, and we'd recommend tackling something slightly easier first such as the Tour du Mont Blanc or the Alta Via 1 in the Dolomites. There are a couple of passages where it is important to take care, but in general the walking is straightforward and shouldn't pose any problems.

 

Which Walker's Haute Route shall I book?

 

We offer the Walker's Haute Route in 5 different options:

 

Classic Walker's Haute Route - the classic itinerary completes the trek over 10 days. We start hiking in Argentière and trek all the way to Zermatt, using 1 short cable car journey to enable reaching the Mont Fort hut the same day that we leave Champex. This is a pure trekking trip and does not involve glacier travel (so no crampons or ice axe needed).

 

Highlights of the Haute Route - we use vehicle transfers to miss out a couple of easy sections, enabling us to complete the highlights of the trek over 7 days. Perfect for those who want to maximise their time in the Alps. We also use the Cabane de Louvie instead of the Mont Fort, to get off the beaten track and away from the ski lifts.

 

Self-guided Walker's Haute Route - if you would like an independent trip at dates to suit you, then just let us know. We can offer any number of itineraries for groups of all sizes and budgets from a luxury Walker's Haute Route to a budget trip staying entirely in huts, or a trek with a good mix of hotels and huts. You can add some extra days in order to take a more leisurely pace, or to do an "Every Step of the Way" trip, or perhaps to visit the Cabane de Moiry.

 

Glacier Haute Route - for fit, experienced trekkers only. This is a more challenging version of the Haute Route, crossing glaciers over 7 or 8 days. For this trip we stay high in the mountains, and you will need mountaineering equipment. This trip is normally for private groups but we can organise a group trip if there is enough demand - just let us know if you are interested.

 

Skier's Haute Route - for advanced off-piste skiers and ski-tourers only. This is the most famous ski tour in the Alps and justifiably so. We offer this for private groups (maximum 6 people per guide), and we recommend booking well in advance as the mountain huts tend to be fully booked.

Classic Walker's Haute Route Trek: Itinerary

 

Day 1 - Arrive in Chamonix

Our trip begins in the famous mountain town of Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc. We meet the group at 6pm for a trip briefing  followed by our evening meal.

 

Accommodation: 3* hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

 

Day 2 - Argentière to Trient or Forclaz

We start with a beautiful train journey on the famous Mont Blanc Express.  We start our trek in the hamlet of Montroc, and begin with a climb up the stunning Aiguillette des Posettes. Most other treks then head for the Col de Balme, but we stray from the standard route and take a quiet, and beautiful variant through the meadows of Les Tseppes and into Switzerland, as it offers fantastic views. We stay in either Trient or Col de la Forclaz depending on accommodation availability.

 

Accommodation: Simple hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 7-8 hrs

Distance: 14km

Altitude gain / loss: +1100m / -1100m

 

Day 3 - Trek from Trient or Forclaz to Champex via Fenêtre d’Arpette 

Today we start with an easy stroll along the bisse (Swiss irrigation system) to the Chalet des Glaciers, a small café next to the impressive Trient glacier. Here we begin a long and sometimes steep ascent through spectacular scenery up the high pass known as the Fenêtre d'Arpette, from which we have wonderful views of the Trient Plateau. Next we have a steep descent through the Val d'Arpette to our accommodation in Champex. In bad weather we can take the Bovine route, as it does not have a rockfall risk. 

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 7 hrs

Distance: 16km

Altitude gain / loss: +1411m / -1200m

 

Day 4 - Champex to the Cabane du Mont Fort

We leave the picturesque village of Champex and hike through summer meadows, and farmland to reach the little village of Sembrancher. From here it's a short walk to Le Châble, a traditional village en-route to the famous resort of Verbier. From Le Châble we take the cable car to Les Ruinettes, above Verbier. We follow another bisse on our way up to the well-known Cabane du Mont Fort, and are rewarded with fantastic views of the Mont Blanc massif and the Grand Combin.

 

Accommodation: Mountain refuge, dinner included

No luggage access

Walking: Approx 8 hrs

Distance: 20km

Altitude gain / loss: +1350m / -1300m

 

Day 5 - Trek from the Cabane du Mont Fort to the Cabane de Prafleuri

This is one of the most spectacular days of the trek, crossing 3 cols with dramatic views throughout. After climbing the Col Termin, we next have a traverse then a climb to the Col de Louvie, from where we make a steep descent at the edge of the Grand Désert glacier. We then traverse the aptly-named Grand Désert and make our way up to the Col de Prafleuri (2987m), then descend to the Cabane de Prafleuri (2642m) for the evening. A very long, but truly stunning day in the wilderness.

 

Accommodation: Mountain refuge, dinner included

No luggage access

Walking: Approx 8 hrs

Distance: 16.7 km / 10.4 miles

Ascent: 1377 m / 4517 ft

Descent: 1170 m / 3838 ft

 

Day 6 - Trek from the Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla

A short, steep climb greets us this morning as we quickly summit the Col de Roux, overlooking the milky waters of the Lac de Dix. A gentle descent then takes us to the shore of the lake, which we follow to its end, in the shadow of Mont Blanc de Cheillon and the Pigne d'Arolla. Next we make a steep ascent to the base of the Col de Riedmatten, where we have the option of either climbing up to the col or taking a more direct route up the Pas de Chèvres ladders. The leader will decide which route we take, based on the weather and the group. There are more spectacular views of the Dix glacier, then it is all downhill to Arolla and our bed for the night.

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 6-7 hrs

Distance: 16km

Altitude gain / loss: +735m / -1360m

 

Day 7 - Arolla to La Sage

We are now approaching the halfway point of the trek and today is something of a recuperation day, involving a leisurely walk through woodland (although there are 1 or 2 chains!) to the Lac Bleu, a favourite local beauty spot. From here, there is an easy descent through a beautiful gorge to Les Haudères where we have lunch. After a final short climb, this stage finishes at the small farming hamlet of La Sage.

 

Accommodation: 3* hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 4-5 hrs

Distance: 11km

Altitude gain / loss: +215m / -550m

 

Day 8 - La Sage to Zinal

No rest today as we have quite a long day and 2 high passes to cross! The first ascent to the higher of the two, the Col de Torrent (2912m), is long, but not too difficult, and the path is in good condition. We then descend to the turquoise Lac de Moiry. Ahead we can see some of the giant peaks of the Pennine Alps, including the Dent Blanche and the Weisshorn. Of more concern will be the imposing Col de Sorebois, a climb which is shorter but steeper than the ascent of the Torrent, but again presents no real problems. From here, we have spectacular views of the Weisshorn, the Dent Blanche and the Zinal Rothorn. It's a steep downhill from here, and the hotel at Zinal is a welcome sight after the hardest day of the trip so far. For those whose knees are suffering, there may be the option to take the cable car from the mid-station down (if it is running, which it usually does in the summer - this is not included in the trip price). 

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: approx 8-9 hrs

Distance: 21km

Altitude gain / loss: +2000m / -1850m

 

Day 9 - Zinal to Gruben

We start with a steep but pleasant ascent through larch forest, before a rising traverse takes us through alpine pastures with excellent views across the Val d'Annivers.  We have a choice of 2 passes today,  the Forcletta (2874m) or the Meidpass (2790m), but we normally take the Forcletta as it offers a more direct route, and slightly better views. From here we can see into the Turtmanntal, and we enter the German-speaking part of Switzerland. We often see the rare edelweiss on our descent of this col, if we can manage to take our eyes away from the incredible vista of 4000m peaks on offer. Tonight we stay in the tiny hamlet of Gruben.

 

Accommodation: Simple hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 7 hrs

Distance: 19km

Altitude gain / loss: +1200m / -1165m

 

Day 10 - Gruben to Saint Niklaus across the Augstbordpass

A really superb trek today as we start out through open woodland, then across high pastures followed by an alpine rocky wilderness. The trek soon opens up to some of the most spectacular views in the Swiss Alps. Our final pass is the Augstbordpass (2894m), beyond which we descend steeply to the wonderful viewpoint known as the Twära - and here is your first view into the Matterhtal. A steep descent takes us to the hamlet of Jungu, perched on the side of the mountain. And from here there is a steeper descent of a couple of hours to take us down to Saint Niklaus. No one will judge you if you take the cable car down from Jungu, as it will save your knees around 1000m of steep downhill! 

 

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 7-8 hrs

Distance: 16km

Altitude gain / loss: +1070m / -1765m

 

Day 11 - Saint Niklaus to Zermatt

Today we have a choice of two different routes. Either we take a short taxi journey to Randa, then head up to a high level route to finish the Haute Route in style. We cross the newly opened Charles Kuonen suspension bridge - at 500m it’s the longest suspension bridge in the world. We finish along the high level Europaweg to reach Zermatt. This route has been closed in previous years due to rockfall and has only just reopened. We can only take people who can move nimbly over rocky terrain, but anyone wanting to miss this section can either take the train to Zermatt or can walk up the valley floor on an easy path. If the weather is bad, or there is any other reason that there may be rockfall, we will all take the valley floor option  -  the guide will make the decision on this.
 

Accommodation: 3* Hotel, dinner included

Luggage access

Walking: Approx 4-5 hrs via the valley floor, or 8-9 hours via the higher Europaweg route

Distance: 13km or 18km

Altitude gain / loss: +450m / -0m via the valley floor, or approx +1400m / -1000m via the Europaweg

 

Day 12 - Depart Zermatt

Our trip finishes after breakfast. Alternatively you can take the opportunity to stay on for some extra nights in this beautiful area. There are plenty of hikes to be done with incredible Matterhorn views.

 

Included

 

  • All accommodation 

  • All breakfasts & evening meals

  • Transfers as detailed in the itinerary

  • Cable car from Le Châble to Verbier

  • Luggage transfers on all but 2 nights

  • Qualified & experienced International Mountain Leader

Not Included

 

  • Flights

  • Travel insurance

  • Airport transfers

  • Packed lunches

  • Personal drinks & snacks

  • Tips

Classic Walker's Haute Route Trek: Book Online

The Park, Waresley, Sandy, Beds SG19 3BS

+44 208 144 8102     

© 2018 Cloud 9 Adventure

info@cloud9adventure.com

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