Europe Haute Route Ski Tour

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VERBIER TO ZERMATT OR SAAS FEE

Day

 

0

Arrive and meet in Verbier or Le Châble

1

Meet in Verbier, off-piste/ski tour revision to Mont Fort Hut via ski lifts

2

Traverse (and climb) Rosablanche to Prafleuri Hut

3

Traverse (Pas de Chat) Lac des Dix to Dix Hut

4

Traverse Pigne d'Arolla to Vignettes Hut

5

Traverse 3 Cols to Zermatt 
Overnight in hotel
Ski lift to Zermatt, if dry or late season

6

Departure day


There are a number of outstanding Haute Route variations. Some are more logical than others, we prefer the above because you keep to skis and snow for the entire tour. Other variants have a road transport section and the Zermatt  to Saas-Fee stage can be used as a spare day in case of bad weather.

DETAILED TOUR PROGRAMME

Saturday
The team meets at 8:30pm in Verbier. Your guide will go over the activities for the week, answer last minute questions and arrange last minute hiring of equipment.

Sunday (alternative meeting/briefing point)
The team meets at 8:30am in Verbier.  This day is used for revising off-piste and ski touring techniques. We will have a chance to make last minute changes to equipment as well as enjoying the excellent off-piste runs for which Verbier is famous. We will end the day in the Mont Fort Hut, to give us an early start the next day.

Monday
We make an early start from the hut (2,457m/8,061ft), and climb gently, crossing the Col de la Chaux (2,940m/8159ft) and then the lovely Col de Momin (3,004m/9,856ft) which suddenly lets us out onto a glacial plateau below the Rosablanche (3,336m/10,945ft). In good weather we will have a chance to climb this excellent mountain before descending to the Prafleuri Hut (2,624m/8,609ft)…excellent skiing.

Tuesday
From the hut we climb 150m/492ft up to the Col des Roux, before traversing the 5km/3 mile long western shore of the frozen Lac des Dix until we can pick our way through the Pas de Chat and climb 600m/1,968ft gently up to the Dix Hut (2,928m/9,606ft) where the food is always delicious.

Wednesday
Another big day today, we climb the Cheilon Glacier, the Serpentine and then the Pigne d'Arolla (3,796m/12,454ft). The subsequent ski down to the Vignettes Hut (3,160m/10,367ft) can be, and often is, filled with champagne powder. This is a spectacular day with outstanding views, and the following day is even better!

Thursday
Making an Alpine start again, we slide down to the Col de Chermontane (3,053m/10,016ft), then cross in (hopefully) quick succession, the Col de l'Evêque (3,392m/11,129ft), Col du Mont Brule (3,213m/10,541ft), and Col de Valpelline (3,568m/11,706ft). Each of which has a fine ski descent after the climb. Now we have the option to climb the Tête de Valpelline (3,802m/12,474ft), adding an extra hour to our day, before skiing under the spectacular North Face of the Matterhorn, and then on down to Zermatt (1,614m/5,295ft), hotel, showers and a well-deserved beer or two or a refreshing cup of tea! This is the most special and scenic ski touring day of the trip, providing unsurpassed views.

Friday
Depart or add one more day and finish in Saas-Fee...

Additional day: After an early breakfast we take the Gornergart railway and cable car to the Stockhorn (3,405m/11,171ft), which allows us to ski down to 3,100m/10,171ft on the Findel Glacier before climbing gently up to the steep Adlerpass (3,789m/12,431ft) which is sandwiched between the 4,000m/13,123ft summits of the Rimpfischhorn and the Strahlhorn. This pass is the gateway to Saas-Fee. On this day we will have skied under three 4,000m/13,123ft peaks. The tour will end with yet another day in paradise.

Alternatively, it is also possible to finish the day in Zermatt with some of the best lift-based off-piste skiing in the Alps, you can descend into Cervinia, ski the top-notch Schwarztor Glacier,  or climb and ski down the Breithorn  (4,164m/13,661ft), which is easily accessible from the Kliene Matterhorn lift.

FRENCH HAUTE ROUTE: CHAMONIX TO VERBIER OR ZERMATT

Day 0 - Arrive Chamonix, Hotel night.

Day 1  - Meet after breakfast in Chamonix, check gear and organize last minute hiring of gear. Off-piste skiing and practice climbing with skins.  Return to hotel.

Day 2 - Early morning start, take first lift to Grands Montets (3,200m/10,499ft) and enjoy a delightful 600m/1,969ft ski down to the Argentière Glacier. There we stick the skins to our skis for the first big climb of the tour 700m/2,297ft of gentle zigzagging up to the Col du Chardonnet (3,323m/10,902ft) followed by an exciting rappel descent to the Saleina Glacier. A short ski traverse leads to the next col and an easy climb (skins again) to the Fenêtre de Saleina, (3,261m/10,699ft) and the Trient Glacier, from where a gentle ski brings us to the remote Trient Hut (3,170m/10,400ft).  The skins go back on again for the 100m/328ft climb up to the hut.

Day 3 - From the Trient Hut we ski down the right bank of the Trient Glacier to 2,750m/9,022ft. We climb 50m/164ft steeply up to the Col des Ecandies (2,796m/9,173ft). In good conditions there is a superb 1,000m/3,281ft powder descent into the Arpette Valley to join the piste and the picturesque little town of Champex (1,500m/4,921ft). We then take road transport to Verbier, join the Verbier lift system, and ski over to the Mont Fort Hut (or stay at a hotel if finishing in Verbier).  Here we join our Swiss Haute Route itinerary.

Day 4 - Depart or continue on to Zermatt.  If continuing on you will ski to the Prafleuri Hut.

Day 5  - to Dix Hut

Day 6  - to Vignettes Hut

Day 7  - to Zermatt

Day 8 - Departure

 

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