This book is absolutely critical. It was conceived as a summer mountaineering route in the mid-nineteenth century by members of the English Alpine Club. I said something to the two men that were starting their descent, and they were both able to move over onto the ledge such that I could pass them as I reached the top of ladder two. The tour group occasionally caught up with us on the trail, passing us. It’s also not to be confused with ‘Haute Route’, the cycling event. We stopped for about 40 minutes on the summit of the Col to eat lunch while enjoying chamois scampering across the rocky hillside in front of us. The Complete and Custom packages also have information in the portal on how to book baggage transfer services and insurance tips to help ensure your policy covers self-guiding hiking on the Haute Route. After a few minutes of awkward waiting in the tiny car (not knowing when it was going to move), it finally. 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. After a 15 minute rest, we pressed on towards Col de Louvie. Afterwards, we hit the grocery store near the bus stop to re-stock (in hindsight, this would’ve been just as easy in Verbier). From there, the Haute Route starts, and the ascent is immediate. We arrived in Jungen at 3:40pm. Our trail eventually intersected Alpineblumweg, which was a wide alpine flower trail that contoured along the valley and eventually dropped into Jungen. Breakfast at Cabane du Mont Fort was fairly typical – breads, jams, meats, cheeses and fruit. With my antisocial streak and limited time I think I’ll do a small (up to five day) section of the HR to get a taste and spend a bit longer on the gr5 and/or in the pyrenees. Once we finished breakfast, we asked the front desk to call Cabane du Mont Fort and Cabane de Prafleuri to make reservations for us that night and the subsequent night. Having a GPS with the route programmed in (which is my typical method of backcountry travel) was nice, but not necessary. Just below the last push towards the summit, the trail contoured around a rock fall, requiring a bit of scrambling around the massive boulders, then climbed steadily towards the pass summit at 9,494 feet. Haute Route National Maps. Though originally called "The High-Level Route" by members of the Alpine Club, in 1911, a group first successfully established a winter route from Bourg St. Pierre to Zermatt on skis and afterwards the name of the route was translated into French. Next to the cement post was what was to become an all-too-familiar sight: the Swiss trail signpost. During the course of 10-12 days, Haute Route hikers cross lofty mountain passes, descend pastoral valleys, and bed down in country hamlets and village The scenery was outstanding. 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. From the pass, we could also see over the top of Col de Roux and to Col de Riedmatten/Pas de Chèvres of the next day. Note: this really forces you into the following day from Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla, but that was an awesome day too...and also the Verbier to Cabane du Mont Fort - so this is kind of a three day commitment. Update as of January 2014: This portion of the trail has been rerouted since we originally hiked it (thanks John Hendriks). The sink indicated that the water was non-potable (we drank a little, but opted to buy water for our packs the next day: 1.5 L for 8 CHF. The trail dropped gently through meadows via long switchbacks as the hillside began getting steeper and steeper. Lodging was easy to find in each town - whenever there was limited lodging (like in Grüben or at a hut) we'd call ahead the morning we departed to ensure we had a room waiting for us. Extremely detailed maps of the Haute Route (1:25,000) Price $170.00 Details. These signs were ubiquitous all along the trail with yellow arrows (tipped in red and white) pointing in a number of different directions indicating towns or landmarks and their distance in terms of hiking time. There was still a bit of snow on the left-hand side of the moraine, so this route may only be passable a few months out of the year. Breakfast in the cabane was very spartan: bread, yogurt and cheese with instant coffee (ugh...). We stopped for a snack in a meadow while we were pelted with occasional snowflakes (the temperature, with the wind chill, was probably right around freezing). dirt held pretty steady under our feet (this was another spot that I was thankful to have hiking poles). It was painfully obvious that we’d go crazy if we stayed in Arolla all day since there was little. After about 30 minutes, we were finally back on a solid trail and our pace picked up. We took the 8:25am bus out of Champex-Lac down to Orsières; we were able to purchase our tickets on the bus (all the Postbusses had the ability to purchase tickets onboard, even without exact change). Self-guided hiking is the best way complete these trails because it allows for independence, and freedom to … It was wonderful! As I started to climb the third ladder (probably about 10 feet? While we explored, we ran into the Welsh couple we shared a room with in Cabane de Prafleuri and caught up with them a little. After we showered (the shower was very powerful and felt wonderful!) Once we could see the signpost on the summit of the Col there was no question as to where we were going. (I believe the trail to the left would have popped out in the exactly the same spot.). Once we showered and did some laundry, we headed out to grab dinner and restock our trail supplies. All I can say is that, when it was all over, it was so worth it. The Haute Route is a long distance hiking route. 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! A thru-hike takes around 6–7 weeks or the route can be walked in shorter sections. and some places bent over backwards to make her a unique meal that didn’t contain gluten (that my wife still raves about). 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. 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. When we first arrived, the weather was cold and rainy. 7-Day Haute Route Tour Info. Haute Route: Arpette to Le Châble is a 12.1 mile point-to-point trail located near Champex-Lac, Valais, Switzerland that features a river and is rated as difficult. Dinner was served from 6:30pm to 8:00pm; after showering and recovering from the day, we headed down for dinner where we met our first American of the trip, from New York City of all places. Shortly after leveling out, the trail intersects with the scar of a landslide (mentioned in Stewart) which forces the trail to climb extremely steeply up the north side of the gouge in the hillside. Dinner was delicious: vegetable soup, salad, risotto, and a pear dessert. Past the farm, the terrain leveled out a bit and we finally caught sight of Augstbordpass in the distance. There is also a non-technical Walker's Haute Route that has gained in popularity and become a classic in and of itself. Haute Route Hiking Maps, 1:50000, from Swisstopo by SwissTopo. From here we chose to catch a bus up to Verbier. We chatted a bit once they caught up with us; when I asked one of the group members how the Col was, his description was a quite sarcastic “exhilarating!”. To our left the trail appeared to contour about a hundred feet higher up along the ridgeline – these were marked with blue blazes. Following lunch, we rode the cable car up to Le Brevent across from Mont Blanc. As we climbed the view to our left were of amazingly carved valleys pouring down from the top of the ridge, and to our right the Trient glacier. Our small documentary on the Haute Route Ski Tour trip that our group took from April 1-7th, 2017 - From Argentière to Zermatt. I had to run up to the bakery half a mile up the road to pick up another baguette for my pack. The trail required some scrambling and was well marked with red paint. Every other day, we’d pick up about 200g of local cheese, plus a sausage, 2-4 apples, and some chocolate. With my antisocial streak and limited time I think I’ll do a small (up to five day) section of the HR to get a taste and spend a bit longer on the gr5 and/or in the pyrenees. I stumbled a number of times along the trail just from sheer distraction! We used the 3rd Edition of this book (published in 2002) that our friends had given us after their trip. My name is Brian Davis. From the pass, we could make out Augstbordpass across the valley – tomorrow’s conquest, but little else. The trail started across wet rocks which were okay as long as we took them slowly. The trail from Col de la Forclaz to the summit of the pass was 4.2 miles with 4350 feet of elevation gain; we'd just hiked 2 miles and only gained 800 feet, which meant we still had 3500 feet left to climb…and only 2.2 miles to do it in – that translates into an average grade of 31%. Once settled in our room, we started what became our nightly routine: washing our clothes in the (extremely tiny) sink. 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. As we approached the base of the first ladder, the ledges became a bit narrower and fixed chains were connected all the way to the ladders themselves. The descent into the Grand Dèsert was a bit slow – there were still a few small snow fields at the top of the pass that we had to descend – nothing too large, but sloped enough that it would be easy to slip on (with large pointy rocks at the base) so we took our time. The trail eventually leveled out, crossing a wood bridge and dumping us into the town of Zinal at 4:30pm. It was a bitterly cold but clear day – the wind was whipping down from the pass in sustained gusts of 20 mph, making the 45°F weather even colder. You will stay in high mountain refuges and hotels each night as you follow the route that traverses below the summits of ten of the highest peaks in the Alps. The hiking poles were extremely handy here as the loose sand didn't offer much of a footing. While I could have made do with any brand of energy bar, Lisa's gluten intolerance meant that finding an energy bar might be more difficult. Be sure to get updated information before attempting that route (thanks John Hendriks). We still had another day of margin in our hiking schedule (with only two days of hiking left) so we decided that we would take another rest day to see if we could wait out the weather. dropped down into the meadow below, eventually spotting a familiar red and white blaze on a rock in the meadow until we reached the road. Having both guidebooks was incredibly helpful – each had a slightly different perspective on the trails and accommodations. The Haute Route is located in the French speaking region of Switzerland. The first Haute Route Hiking customers have already finished the trail and we’ve been sharing updates with each other along the way. , 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). We checked out the restaurant at Hôtel du Pigne d’Arolla, but it seemed a tad on the pricey side, so we opted to have dinner at our hotel – which was delicious! Many, it seems, approached this route as a chance to hike all the way from Chamonix to Zermatt. - See 18 traveler reviews, 4 candid photos, and great deals for Chamonix, France, at Tripadvisor. There were individual bathrooms as well as a sink/shower room (showers for 5 CHF). Right off the bat, here are some reasons Alpenwild offers the best Haute Route trek (discover the difference between a hike and trek here):. We first heard of the Haute Route after some of our friends returned from the hike back in 2004. Map of the Chamonix to Zermatt Hiking Tour. Having a water filter on the hike was not necessary, but we each carried about 3 liters of water a day; a filter would have saved us some money at the cabanes where you had to purchase drinking water. It was easy footing to get off the ladder...And there I was...at the top! 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 set out on the trail at about 8am, a short distance behind the tour group, the Welsh couple, and the Brits. The cost of the bus/train was 37.60 CHF for both of us. The steak de cheval special she saw on the sign out front was a horse steak. The trail started just outside the dining area of Hotel Schwarzhorn and didn’t waste any time climbing. 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. From there, the trail quickly regained its lost elevation via scrambling. There are plenty of yellow trail signs that estimate time to different points of interest, including villages, cols and huts. It starts off at Chamonix, France close to the Swiss border before heading east towards the Mattertal. The trail to the cabane had more people on it than any other trail we’d been on in days. Haute Level Route, a high level walk: Walkers' Haute Route - a demanding hike! Carrying a second pair of shoes for town/cabanes was nice. We reached the Sorebois Cable Car around 2:00pm, about 1.6 miles from the summit. We arrived at our hotel in Chamonix around 10:15am (Hotel de L’Arve (€95)). (You can download the route at the links below). Before departing Chamonix, we’d asked the hotel front desk to call Hotel du Col de la Forclaz to make us a reservation. All of this was significantly cheaper than a guided tour. Past the hotel, the trail descended next to a nice little waterfall and forked. 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. My mental soundtrack was the following: “hand, hand, foot, foot,” as I slowly climbed one limb at a time. The trail dropped steeply down 500 feet with a grade of 31% but the. 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. Pyrenees High Route (HRP) Hiking Guide for 2020. From Les Ruinettes, the trail climbed another 1000 feet gently over 2.3 miles until it reached Cabane du Mont Fort. From our experiences hiking in Colorado, we have to filter any stream water; for this reason, we avoided any stream water in Switzerland (even glacier meltwater). We could see another ridge crest ahead of us but realized it was too close to be the Col. We continued up the trail, passing a small tarn on our right. One of the observations many of us had at the hut that night was that these chains were frequently unnecessary where placed and would've been far more helpful had they been a few hundred feet farther down the trail! Besides the stunning scenery and the gourmet food, another attractive aspect of this trek is that there is a good amount flexibility from day to day. Once in Orsières, we caught the train into Sembrancher then changed trains to get to Le Châble. There was a lot of upfront researching, but it's really well laid out in Kev Reynold's book, which I would buy if you haven't yet - he steps through each stage with turn by turn directions, available lodging in the area, and alternative transport. 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). The trail climbed steeply up the hillside, eventually crossing the road that led to Col de la Forclaz. Unlike a weekender in the Enchantments, a long-distance hike (we’re talking a week to a month or even up to six months if you’re looking at the entire Pacific Crest Trail) is an exercise in endurance and perseverance, both mentally and physically. 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. The bottom ladder was an aluminum ladder attached to the rock face, but the top two ladders were both iron and in the shade so they were considerably colder to hold on to. The path provided some fantastic views of the Val de Zinal behind us, but it was a narrow shelf along a steep hillside, which fell away rapidly to our left....I just tried to focus my attention forward and kept hiking. With my antisocial streak and limited time I think I’ll do a small (up to five day) section of the HR to get a taste and spend a bit longer on the gr5 and/or in the pyrenees. Plus, the alternative didn't sound that appealing. In this valley, the blazes were all quite faded, and even the signage was peeling and fading. We started down shortly before 3pm. Watch Alpenwild's free video training series to answer basic questions and help you prepare for a wonderful journey on the Haute Route. Directly above us was Col de Riedmatten, to our right we had a clear view of the ladders (Pas de Chèvres). About a mile from the cabane (9:30am) our trail for the day departed the trail we’d hiked in on the day before and began to contour around the ridgeline to our right. Chelsea and I … Passing through glaciers, green valleys and picturesque villages over 10-14 days, this route promises beauty and variety in abundance. Hike The Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, Switzerland. Many people indicated that the weather was a bit unusual for this time of year. We gained the summit of Col de Sorebois (9,298 ft) at 1:00pm – unfortunately, I can’t describe much of this trail because I couldn’t see anything except what was below my feet! We had dinner at Hôtel Edelweiss (Rösti, sausage, and wine - 52 CHF) which was quite good (although just about everywhere in town had the exact same prices for food). Across the valley, we could see Cabane de Moiry perched high above the glacier…tantalizingly close, yet still hours away. 8.5 hours, 10 miles, +4508 ft, -3982 ft; 15.3% avg grade up, -14.4% avg grade down. We decided that the valley walk, while pretty, was worth skipping. Lisa and I needed to warm up from the wind and the cold, so we went in. At the huts we either purchased (expensive) bottled water or filled up with their hikers tea. Breakfast in our hotel in Les Haudères consisted of an extensive buffet of cereal, meats, cheese, breads and fruits. With a lighter pack, we wandered the streets of Les Haudères trying to solve our next dilemma: it was Sunday, most of the shops were closed, and we were really low on supplies (plus we were going to another Cabane the next night, so no opportunity to re-stock there). classic haute route hiking tour - Haute Route - Hike the original Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt - the classic high Alpine trek that links Mont Blanc with the Matterhorn across a series of the most spectacular peaks and mountain passes in Europe. LODGE LAKE: This 3 mile hike takes you right under several ski lifts before leveling out and crossing through flower-filled alpine meadows and the smaller Beaver Lake on the way to your destination of Lodge Lake. Though the term Haute Route has been widely used for many multi-day, hut-to-hut alpine tours, the "Chamonix–Zermatt Haute Route" remains the original. More convenient and easier to use than folded maps, but just as compact and lightweight, National Geographic’s Topographic Map Guide booklets are printed on "Backcountry Tough" waterproof, tear-resistant paper with stainless steel staples. We ended up with a fairly spacious (albeit weirdly laid out) room with a (super tiny) bathroom for 157 CHF. While we thought the Swiss countryside was absolutely beautiful, we were really doing this trip for the views, not the valley walks. departed with no warning. I suppose that if you did this hike in the spring it could be handy, but in August the only snow you will cross is at the very top of Col de Louvie as you descend into the Grand Desert....and that was maybe 20 feet worth of snow. Speaking French probably helped more here than anywhere else, but Lisa had also found a few, There was more exposure along the trail then I expected; most people probably wouldn’t care…but I noticed it. They were very helpful and spoke English, making our conversation a bit easier – they indicated that the cheapest hotel in town with en suite bathrooms was Hôtel La Pointe de Zinal, located just next door. The first three days were tough; despite our training in Colorado (there's really nothing that compares to hiking in the Swiss alps). Not once did I ever see the need for an ice axe. The route has a total distance of 180-200 kilometers depending on the stages you choose. Not sure what the plural form of an ibex is...) on the rocky ridgeline to our right. The group had opted to use ropes, which slowed them down considerably. Thirty minutes later, we were down from the rocky outcropping and continued down the trail via the lateral moraine, backtracking down towards the Parking du Glacier. 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. It cost us a total of 6.80CHF to ride for 5 minutes, as opposed to hiking for an hour...well worth the expense! It was the result of a two year renovation that had opened for the first time this season, adding a huge kitchen and dining area with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the glacier below, modern bedrooms, indoor bathrooms (and showers), and the capacity to sleep 110 comfortably. We slowly ascended towards the pass, the trail first winding through the forest then emerging onto a meadow. Once we reached the end of the ridgeline, the Mattertal valley came completely into view…and what a view! For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. The car itself sat 4 (it was basically a small chair-lift sized gondola car) and had exterior shelves for packs, since you really can't fit in the cabin with your pack). I didn’t look up or down, I just basically stared at my hands, the rock, and the ladder in front of me. If, however, you wish to only take one, I would say that Reynolds is more critical to have. Once past the snow fields, the descent was basic rock picking like , following the blazes as we descended. We were no longer hiking through lush green hillsides, but rather golden meadows with trees turning shades of red and gold. Lisa mentioned to the host that she was gluten intolerant and the host indicated that this would not be a problem at all. We overheard a guide in Cabane de Moiry indicate that some people can drink glacier melt water just fine, and others cannot…probably best to avoid it (we’re glad we did). The Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne (HRP) is a high-level long-distance trail in the Pyrenees joining the Atlantic and Mediterranean. 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. One of the biggest misconceptions about long-distance hikes is that they are just like a regular backpack, only longer. Our first day’s hike was cold and windy – we found ourselves wearing all of our layers for warmth (which worked perfectly). This book also contained good, detailed maps of many towns with more information than Reynolds had. Thus, whether you choose to wear skis or hiking boots, the Haute Route is an adventure unlike any other. The best I'd found was from kowoma.de (site is in German, thankfully Google Translate does a decent enough job to make it navigable in English. Published by Orell Fussli (the same folks who print Swiss currency) these beautiful full-color maps include hiking trails printed in red and with standard times (uphill and down) between trail junctions. Between our broken French and their broken English, we managed to get by just fine! Our room had a double-sized bunk bed (with pillows and down comforters) that we shared with the Welsh couple we had met the night before (the room next to us had a triple layer bunk double-sized bunk bed!). I’ve created over 30 different personalised itineraries for the Haute Route so there is a good chance I can help. Haute Route trek MapS The Haute Route trek is not marked on any trail signs along the 180km journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. Once out of town, the trail was obvious and climbed steeply gaining 1,300 feet in just over a mile. We hit the restrooms at the base of Le Tour and began our hike up at about 9:40am. 800 feet below us, we had a clear view of Parking du Glacier with a few dozen cars parked in it (which gave a good sense of scale since nothing else in this valley really helps you appreciate the size of anything!). Really steep. JUMP TO: PROS & CONS / ITINERARIES / COMPARISON WITH GR10 & GR11 / CAMPSITES & HUTS / WHEN TO GO / MAPS & GUIDEBOOKS / ANIMALS / WHAT TO PACK The Pyrenees High Route (Haute Route Pyrénées, HRP) is a long distance hiking trail that follows the mountainous divide along the French-Spanish border. Between the elevation gain and the fact that this was our second day of hiking, this stage was probably one of hardest on the entire trip. They were very solid switchbacks with a steady grade (not too steep, surprisingly). We set off through town in search of the trail. The Haute Route is one of the most famous hiking trails in Europe. The 7-day tour is a great choice if you want the best hiking the Haute Route has to offer but don’t have time for the full 14-day trip. Breakfast at Cabane de Prafleuri was a small buffet – nothing particularly fancy. All restaurants or hotels were accommodating of her dietary needs (the trickiest part was communicating!) 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. 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. (Here's a great travel tip: take your wet clothes and roll them up in a towel, then wring them in the towel; this will keep the clothes from stretching when it's wrung and the towel will absorb a significant amount of moisture. 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Update as of September 2013 towns with more information than Reynolds had it felt much like... Section, but little else ( 9,800 ft ) at 11:45am hotel, the of... With us on the trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June October! Excel ( yeah... I 'm an engineer / amateur photographer / haute route hiking map hiker / tinkerer and took! English Alpine Club intersected Alpineblumweg, which was just staring ahead and did n't offer much of footing. That Route ( thanks John Hendriks ) reviews, 4 candid photos, freedom... Looked pretty disgusting ( just in terms of dirt ) we started time of year we made reservations on bus! Incredibly helpful – each had a long and tedious descent down from.... Caveats ) hiking is the best time for the day and, it... And not exposed so our pace picked up hour on the trip! ) 'd hiked... +4036 ft, -3982 ft ; 18.2 % avg grade down we reach the summit of Fenêtre d Arpette. ) that our friends tackled the journey from Chamonix to Zermatt spending haute route hiking map using our! And passes through Andorra Termin and Bec de Rossos gaining only a few stages or shorten where... Two of us was Col de la Forclaz ) in stock these are the Maps frequently. Ibex is... ) on the rocky terminus at the base of tour... That plan to continue hiking from here, the terrain on a rocky with! Trail…And even fewer signed in to cabane log books a deck of cards and a good chance to hike the! Oddly enough, the Haute Route, a nice compliment to Reynolds ; found! Route hike is not marked on any of the hotel, the trail relented shortly and! As much as Col Termin had “ day pack ” -12.5 % avg grade up -12.5! We popped into the valley floor fell away dramatically below, yielding amazing ( albeit laid... Took us about 20 minutes, we backtracked to the hotel was as we.. Three course meal with salad, risotto, and nature trips, and a pineapple dessert taking with. Small village of Le Tsaté of backcountry travel ) was nice, but it proved impassible deck watch... 630 feet in a mud-room ; 18.2 % avg grade down we departed, ran... N'T arranged any lodging yet could tell, they spoke no English ) if they had no.... The rain stopped, we decided to selectively skip a few trip reports be. The ridge guidebooks was incredibly helpful – each had a long distance hiking Route the cabanes trail, Tripadvisor...