Our first day’s hike was cold and windy – we found ourselves wearing all of our layers for warmth (which worked perfectly). It cost us a total of 6.80CHF to ride for 5 minutes, as opposed to hiking for an hour...well worth the expense! The guide of the British tour group had indicated (after ascending the landslide gully) that the climb up the landslide gully was a “warm up” for Riedmatten (one of our friends that hiked the Haute Route called Riedmatten the scree chute of death...low praise indeed!). The cable car was self-operating (sort of) in Jungen. The trail climbed steeply up the hillside, eventually crossing the road that led to Col de la Forclaz. Just as we checked in, it started to rain for the first time since we left the cabane that morning. Requires a free download of the Avenza PDF Maps app. Our room (180 CHF half board) was decently spacious in the corner of the hotel, looking north and west, with two twin beds pushed together (with the standard down comforter on each one), two small closets, a few electrical outlets, and a sink. Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived, but they allowed us to drop our stuff in the unmade-up room and change clothes, then provided us with our Chamonix valley bus passes, allowing us travel throughout the valley (we used these to get to Le Tour the next day for free). Of course, we survived the cable car with no issues. Before departing Chamonix, we’d asked the hotel front desk to call Hotel du Col de la Forclaz to make us a reservation. In turns, the road was wide enough to accommodate the bus and maybe a tiny car passing; at each curve (and there were a lot as the road contoured the side of the mountain), the driver would honk his horn. Haute Level Route, a high level walk: Walkers' Haute Route - a demanding hike! It took us about 20 minutes to get down this steep section of trail which eventually gave way to a large boulder field. After carefully following signs out of Verbier, we found ourselves following a forested trail that cut across a number of different ski slopes and dirt roads. For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. For dinner, they prepared Lisa a bowl of beef broth for soup (instead of the soup the rest of the hut guests enjoyed) but the rest of the meal was fine for her to eat. Haute Route: Trient - Arpette is a 9.8 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Trient, Valais/Wallis, Switzerland that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. We decided that we should do at least some hiking during the day, so we opted not to take the gondola up to Les Ruinettes and instead found our way out of Verbier and onto the trail towards Clambin by following the signposts within the town. Enjoy glorious mountain vistas, crisp air, and challenging terrain on what is a truly rewarding experience through one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland. At 11am, we were finally able to see the summit of the pass in the distance. It was important to plan ahead our cash supply – many of the small towns we stayed in did not have ATMs. To wrap it up, in case you haven't gathered already, this hike was amazing. As we climbed, the ridgeline we crested yesterday came into view, offering a spectacular glimpse of where we had come from. The Haute Route looks the most stunning, but I’m also one of those people who prefer solitude hiking. We savored our last summit of the trip as much as we could – with sort of a love/hate relationship; we’d crested a total of 9 passes on our journey and despite the amount effort required to reach each one, the views were truly amazing at each one. At every other town, we just showed up and hit the tourist office for info (or wandered to various hotels based on the description in Reynold's or Stewart's book). We encountered no issues in finding a room on our hike. Eventually we encountered a trail junction point which pointed the way to Jungen. Trip cost includes trip transportation, accommodations, meals, deluxe excursions, luggage transfers (so you can hike light during the days) for guided tours Shortly after entering the rocky section of trail we encountered a fork. This was really fine with us: the road was steep but paved and the level surface felt rather nice on our feet contrasted against all the rock we were on during the day. Surprisingly, after a few days of hiking, we really got into the groove of things and felt really very good at the end of the hike. We found that laundering our clothes each night kept the dirty clothes pile minimal (which is good, since we really only had two sets of everything) and if we had a balcony, we could line dry our clothes in whatever sun we had left. The trail still climbed steadily, but now without the need for switchbacks. Dinner was a spectacular three course meal with salad, bottomless spaghetti, and a pudding dessert. As we descended, the small side valley we were in began to open yielding views of the Turtmann and Brunegg Glaciers to the south, and eventually Grüben. Note: potable water is available on the trail about a mile into the next days’ hike). Out in front of the cabane was a large stone deck with picnic tables, but the best part by far was the dining area which offered clear views of the glacier below through massive windows. The route traverses below the summits of 10 out of the 12 of the highest peaks in the Alps, and crosses several high passes. Lisa mentioned to the host that she was gluten intolerant, to which the host indicated that it would be no problem – we were having risotto for dinner because apparently there were 3 others with gluten intolerance in the cabane that night. The front desk spoke perfect English as well. We donned our rain gear and put on our pack covers as we began our descent. Both of them hiked the route without a group or guides using only the Kev Reynolds book; we took a cue from our friends and decided to do the route the same way - guideless and groupless. Once we reached the end of the ridgeline, the Mattertal valley came completely into view…and what a view! into the rung itself, making footing a bit awkward. We started down the trail out of the center of La Sage at 8am – it started by climbing a dirt road southward out of town which became steeper and steeper as it switchbacked under an old chairlift while crossing a few pastures. Every other day, we’d pick up about 200g of local cheese, plus a sausage, 2-4 apples, and some chocolate. The group had opted to use ropes, which slowed them down considerably. That said, if you need a shorter trip or to cut out stages for time or weather, here were our most spectacular days that I wouldn't miss: Did you need an ice axe for any of the route? I completed the bottom ladder just fine, and it transitioned smoothly into the second ladder. Our main hiking guide spoke French and some German beside her main language which is English. Based on our lodging options in Trient and the fact that we’d had a light day of hiking, we decided to continue hiking up to Col de la Forclaz another 1.2 miles, to gain 1000 feet on tomorrow’s hike (in hindsight, this was an extremely wise move, as the climb to Fenêtre d’Arpette had enough elevation on its own). We set off through town in search of the trail. Hike the Walker’s Haute Route, one of the world's great treks, through the French and Swiss Alps from Chamonix to Zermatt. We had a few rainy/sleety/foggy days where rain jackets were necessary (but no drenching rains that required our rain pants or pack covers that we had with us). It was conceived as a summer mountaineering route in the mid-nineteenth century by members of the English Alpine Club. Buy your Swiss Topo hiking maps before you leave to ensure you stay on the right track, especially if you're interested in a self-guided tour. All of the lunch menus seemed rather heavy (and pricey) so we decided to pick up some meat, cheese, fruit, and bread from the supermarket for lunch. JavaScript seems to be disabled in your browser. Le Tour to Col de la Forclaz (September 31, 2010) 6.5 miles, +3482 ft, -3324 ft; 18.2% avg grade up, … Next, we tried Hôtel du Glacier just down the street and thankfully they had rooms available. Watch Alpenwild's free video training series to answer basic questions and help you prepare for a wonderful journey on the Haute Route. My trip was made better by the reports that others took the time to write, which is why I offer this trip report to you! This trek is rigorous to say the least and is reserved for the fittest of mountain walkers as the daily height gain on the Walkers Haute Route full self guided trek can be substantial with the overall accumulation of 12,000m. Guidebook to the Pyrenean Haute Route, a challenging 750km trek following the high ridge of the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The clouds broke a little at the summit of the Col and we could make out some of the ridgelines surrounding us, and see some of the ski area below us on the other side of the Col. We continued to descend in heavy fog surrounded by sheep and cows and ski lifts. Our small documentary on the Haute Route Ski Tour trip that our group took from April 1-7th, 2017 - From Argentière to Zermatt. We hit the restrooms at the base of Le Tour and began our hike up at about 9:40am. I've received a number of questions from folks that have read this page; I figured I'd post my answers in the hopes that they may help you! The trail continued to drop at about the same grade, but the plants changed from alpine tundra, to taller grasses, and finally to a forest. (Watch this trail crossing - we missed it as the trail does not directly cross the road, you have to hike down to your right about 100 feet to pick it up in the correct location). We arrived at our hotel in Chamonix around 10:15am (Hotel de L’Arve (€95)). It seemed that most of the other guests had departed an hour earlier but, alas, we were still recovering from jet lag and got a bit of a later start. Most of the time, the trail just cut across a steep angled grassy slope (possibly a 50 degree angle?) We ordered some french fries and hot chocolate while we chatted with some locals from Argentière (who told us that it was unseasonably cold…that gave us a bit of hope) and some other hikers traveling the Tour du Mont Blanc in the opposite direction as we were traveling. As we reached the summit of the pass, we saw a herd of ibexes (ibi? In addition to this food, we stocked up on lunch items along the way: One word of caution: Plan ahead for Sundays (or cabanes) when you may not be able to restock. The bottom of the gully was 120 feet below the cabane...so we had to reclimb that lost elevation. The Walker’s Haute Route – Alexander Stewart. Just outside the tourist office was an ATM (the first one we'd seen since Champex), so we replenished our cash supplies and headed over to the hotel. From the Chalet, the climb became grueling. We avoided eating Mr. Ed and instead ordered cheese and tomato fondue, plus a wonderful dessert. The Haute Route is a long distance hiking route. Hardest stage: Fenêtre d’Arpette – it’s hard to say if this was difficult because it was early on in the hike (and we weren’t quite up to shape yet) or because it was a lengthy, steep climb with a lot of distance. The trail barely climbed at all, gaining just 800 feet of elevation over 2 miles. The first three days were tough; despite our training in Colorado (there's really nothing that compares to hiking in the Swiss alps). All I can say is that, when it was all over, it was so worth it. We realized at this point that the Haute Route really was a small community - if you meet someone along the trail, odds are you'll see them at least a few more times in a small town or along the trail again. After we showered (the shower was very powerful and felt wonderful!) We saved a significant amount of money going on our own, plus unlike the tour groups, we got our pick of lodging and dining....we stayed at pretty nice spots and ate very well (that's typically with a half bottle of wine with each dinner too). The trail to the cabane had more people on it than any other trail we’d been on in days. From there, it was only a short distance before we reached a small (but very sturdy) metal suspension bridge that crossed the stream leading down from Glacier de Cheilon above us. Enjoy glorious mountain vistas, crisp air, and challenging terrain on what is a truly rewarding experience through one of the most beautiful regions of Switzerland. The cost of the bus/train was 37.60 CHF for both of us. 9 hours, 6.5 miles, +5686 ft, -1989 ft; 22.3% avg grade up, -20% avg grade down. The Chalet hadn't opened yet for the day (the proprietor arrived just as we were departing) but we took the opportunity to shed some layers since the trail was now turning into the sun - this was a nice change, as we were concerned the entire hike was going to be as cold as our first day had been. eventually found our way up onto a grassy bench and the path became obvious again. 7% of our revenue is donated to sustainability initiatives in the Alps - find out more by clicking here. The Haute Route—aka the High Route or Mountaineers' Route—traverses the French and Swiss Alps. True, looking down into Val d’Arpette was nice (hence the name of the pass, meaning Window of the Arpette), but the Trient glacier was now out of view. The trail gained elevation at a very consistent grade up the rocky valley. I strongly recommend picking up the latest edition! Eventually, the steep climbing trail intersected another flat trail along a bisse (irrigation channel) and we followed this to Col de la Forclaz for about half a mile (this is the same trail we’d double-back on the next day). As the trail descended, the route became a bit tougher to follow – we had to pay close attention to paint blazes on rocks to avoid following the (much longer) road down the mountain. As we departed from the bus stop, we were greeted by one of the Belgians who had injured his knee and was taking a rest day in La Sage. One of the biggest misconceptions about long-distance hikes is that they are just like a regular backpack, only longer. The bathroom was co-ed; an odd experience for many of us there – the toilet and shower stalls (3 minute showers were available for 8 CHF) were fairly private, but there were urinals out in the main area of the bathroom. The trail then skirted around two small tarns, dropping yet another 150 feet from the shelf we had been on before it began to climb steeply towards the Col, 400 feet above. The weather gradually warmed throughout the trip and we found ourselves hiking in short sleeves (but still keeping the zip-off pant legs on our pants), donning warmer layers only at the tops of passes. Based on other trip reports I read, I was expecting a relativity primitive cabane with an outdoor outhouse and no running water. We reached Parking du Glacier at 1:35, taking a quick break and advantage of the public restrooms located there before re-ascending the opposite side of the valley. We arrived at Col de la Forclaz (4,985 ft) at about 3:20pm, about 5 and a half hours after departing (including breaks). Le Tour to Col de la Forclaz (September 31, 2010) 6.5 miles, +3482 ft, -3324 ft; 18.2% avg grade up, … The cabane had 3 minute showers available for 5 francs, but we decided to skip the shower. We ended up leap-frogging this group continuously throughout the day and, as it turned out, the remainder of our trip! 7-Day Haute Route Tour Info. We opted to skip the hotel’s breakfast (€10 per person) because they just didn’t seem to have a lot of gluten-free breakfast options; instead we walked down to the nearby Super U grocery store to pick up. Breakfast at Hotel du Col de la Forclaz was bread and croissants with jam and butter. From our lunch spot, the trail turned steeply up a hill towards Alpe Nava and became difficult to follow for a while. We began the day with intentions of climbing over the Col, but as we watched a few people climb the ladders, it really didn’t look too bad (this coming from a guy that had freaked out most of the day before). We reached the road at the lake’s shore about an hour and twenty minutes after reaching the summit of Col des Roux, just before 10am. The air was still quite cool (we started in 42 degrees F), but the sun (when out) provided some nice warmth. We ate lunch at Bar Creperie La Ferme for €19. After joking with her (indicating that our meal of the night was veal sweetbreads), he said that there wouldn’t be a problem with her gluten intolerance (he did recommend that this should be mentioned ahead of time when making a reservation). The trail along the lateral moraine was more defined and easier to follow (it only stayed on the very top for a few hundred feet) but it was decidedly more airy. The trail was well worn due to the high traffic as it climbed slowly up the far side of the valley, eventually reaching the crest of the glacier’s lateral moraine. It was a cool crisp September morning, so the climb helped us warm up quickly. Electricity could be purchased for 5 CHF to power an overhead light, a heater, and one power outlet (I believe the power lasted about 8 hours). Between our broken French and their broken English, we managed to get by just fine! As we entered town, we encountered the tour group once again (who once again leap-frogged us) enjoying a drink in the sun on a restaurant patio (they were waiting for the last bus of the day to take them down to their campsite in Les Haudères). The trailhead is on one side of the Summit Central parking lot. We arrived in Verbier around 10:40am. Based on their description, it involved contouring around a cliff by way of wooden planks bolted to the rock face...that sounded even less appealing than the exposed trail we were heading to. We went down to breakfast, which was a very elaborate buffet of many juices, coffee, ham, cheese, fruit, yogurt, bread as well as the best, and I do mean BEST, croissant I’ve ever had. From the top, we could see the tip of the Matterhorn, just a few valleys away (the view from Riedmatten would have been better, but, I was okay with where I was at). Experience hiking in The Alps while wildflowers are in bloom, & breathtaking views of the Matterhorn during this stunning hike in Switzerland & France. 8.5 hours, 7.5 miles, +3879 ft, -3422 ft; 18.3% avg grade up, -17.4% avg grade down. We purchased a 50 MB international data plan for Lisa’s iPhone (from AT&T) which was perfect; we used about 15MB to occasionally surf the web (for things like bus schedules), check weather, send emails, or re-read others’ trip reports while we were on the trail. We stopped into the two sporting goods stores to look for replacement sunglasses for me (mine met an untimely end along the trail a few days before) but couldn’t find anything quite right. We ended up with the nicest room at the hotel (Room #2) with lots of sunlight from a west-facing window and a small porch overlooking the Trient below! From the south side of Trient (4,443 ft, 2:40pm), we continued following the signs up towards Col de la Forclaz. We followed the slightly overgrown and poorly marked trail (this was probably the hardest section of the hike to follow – obviously not as frequently traveled as other portions of the route) until it departed from the road and began to switchback more steeply down into the valley. The scenery was outstanding. After relaxing a bit with few games of cards, most of the day-trippers had departed and dinner was served. Journeying over a distance of 180km the Walkers Haute Route is fast becoming a 'must do' long distance trek. The boulder field required some scrambling to get up, down, and around the large boulders. Hella steep. Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Prafleuri via Col Termin - this day scared the crap out of me (I'm not big on heights....I'm sure you gathered that already) but it was honestly the most amazing day of hiking. Below us was a vast wasteland of rock and ice (very similar to the terrain on a lot of Colorado 14ers). We. The staff spoke a little English and Lisa’s French came in handy. They were very solid switchbacks with a steady grade (not too steep, surprisingly). Hike the Walker’s Haute Route, one of the world's great treks, through the French and Swiss Alps from Chamonix to Zermatt. Most guidebooks only provide high level sketches, and topographical maps don't highlight which trail to take or where you currently are on the trail. I ordered a beer and returned to the spacious deck out in front of the cabane to soak in the remaining sun of the day while Lisa tried to explain her gluten intolerance to the cabane host. I agonize over what to bring on a weekend backpacking trip...so I really was struggling with my pack list for this trip. Unfortunately, a rather nervous (I’ve been there...) father and his 10 year old daughter (and a third man) were descending the ladders quite slowly. Updated 2019-07-12 to reflect my final setup on the eve of my hike.. From mid-July 2019, I’ll be thru-hiking the Haute Route Pyrenees. and some places bent over backwards to make her a unique meal that didn’t contain gluten (that my wife still raves about). Your transfer by bus will take you to Fionnay, the starting point of this trek. Even with our break at the summit plus the delay in waiting for the group ahead of us to descend, we managed to beat them! We decided to skip the Chamonix to Argentière stage since it basically followed a road the entire way. After dinner, some folks stayed down in the dining room and played cards or read. Journeying over a distance of 180km the Walkers Haute Route is fast becoming a 'must do' long distance trek. Once we reached Le Tour, we were extremely tempted to hop on the gondola and reduce our hike by a thousand feet or so, but we decided against it. behind the clouds and it was too cool to remain outside. In scouring the web for GPS routes of the Haute Route, I found a lot of free Garmin-compatible maps to load into my GPS unit. The biggest problem I had was keeping my eyes off the glacier below us – the dirt striations in the ice and snow far below gave me vertigo as I climbed! The day cleared up a bit in the valley (although clouds were still clinging to the ridgelines) so it was pleasant enough to meander through town. We first heard of the Haute Route after some of our friends returned from the hike back in 2004. The Summer Haute Route or 'high-route' is a spectacular and demanding trek through the French and Swiss Alps, from Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland. The footing along the climb up the gully made me quite anxious, and the idea of climbing another 300 feet up (and then down) something that steep didn’t seem particularly appealing – so in an impulse decision, we decided to tackle the ladders instead of the Col. By this point, we were directly behind the tour group (we’d been leap-frogging with them since Lac des Dix), so we parted ways once again to head over to the ladders. It was conceived as a summer mountaineering route in the mid-nineteenth century by members of the English Alpine Club. The hotel was small and unassuming, perched right alongside the chalky white L’Arve River. We set out on the trail at about 8am, a short distance behind the tour group, the Welsh couple, and the Brits. Perched atop Col de Balme is the Chalet-Refuge Col De Balme, a small gray building with bright red shutters and a small outdoor deck. We were in the shoulder season where they only operate it on select days of the week...and today was apparently not selected (as of 2010, it’s closed on Mondays and Tuesday in September). I was anxious about this day of hiking; I knew there was a section of exposure as the trail neared Jungen and I was not looking forward to it. typically down a valley), take a bus - hiking along a road just doesn't seem all that fantastic. The Hiker's Haute Route inn-to-inn hike from Chamonix to Zermatt is legendary, and it crosses the highest mountain range in Europe, the Pennine Alps. and continued on towards Col de Riedmatten. , so I’ve decided to share it here instead of listing out what to bring and what not to bring (keep in mind, I’m an uber-geek, so there’s lots of nerd paraphernalia that I traveled with that many of you won’t need to). The grocery store had. There were individual bathrooms as well as a sink/shower room (showers for 5 CHF). We spent three hours wandering around Les Haudères looking for a place to buy food on Sunday (until discovering a grocery store on the edge of town). Be sure to get updated information before attempting that route (thanks John Hendriks). Pyrenees High Route (HRP) Hiking Guide for 2020. It was wonderful! 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