Haute Route Ski Tour
Chamonix - Zermatt
6 day trip | March - April
The Haute Route is one of the most famous ski traverses in the world. We offer scheduled tours on specific dates where individuals can book to join others as well as offering trips on a private basis. For this you can put together a group of friends (up to 6 people) and pick the dates, and we will take care of the rest. We can also adjust this trip to be longer if you wish to include a peak descent such as the Mont Blanc, Gran Paradiso or Monte Rosa; or simply just a few more days of skiing.
Day 0: Arrival day in Chamonix, equipment check at hotel at 5pm. Group dinner to discuss the adventure ahead, overnight in our preferred hotel in Chamonix.
Day 1: We will ride the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car to 12,605ft/3842m. From there we will ski one of the epic Vallée Blanche Descents. We can chose between the classic Vallée Blanche and five other variants including the steeper variant called the Grands Envers. You will spend a second night at the hotel in Chamonix.
Day 2: We start our day at the Grands Montets and take the lifts into the ski area. We start with a ski tour from the top of the Herse chairlift to the Col des Rachasses at just under 9845ft/3000m we have a nice descent down to the Argentière Glacier. Then we have a long tour up to the Col du Chardonnet 11,033ft/3323m. A rappel and descent on the backside lead to a short climb up the Fenêtre de Saleina at 10,725ft/3267m and to the Trient Hut at 10,394ft/3170m. We overnight in the Trient Hut.
Day 3: The classic descent is down the Trient Glacier, over the Col des Ecandies 9,200ft/2796m and down the Val d’Arpette. Our descent is long and we can enjoy plenty of great turns in this beautiful valley. This valley leads to the village of Champex at where we will take a taxi ride across the low valley to Verbier. Here we will ride the cable cars up through the Verbier lift system and tour through the Col de la Chaux at 9,649ft/2940m. After a short descent we start our climb up to summit the Rosablanche 10,945ft/3336m. We are rewarded with a nice descent down to the wonderful Prafleuri Hut at 8,684ft/2662m where we stay the night.
Day 4: We set off from the hut and have a short climb over the Col des Roux 9,239ft/2804m, this leads to a long traverse above the Lac de Dix and a climb up to the Cabane des Dix at 9,583ft/2640m. The hut is warm and welcoming and you can make the most of the rest time on their sunny terrace.
Day 5: A classic day over the Pigne d’Arolla 12,454ft/3796m, the highest point reached on this tour. The day starts with a steady climb from the hut to the summit where you can enjoy the amazing panorama of peaks surrounding it. From the summit there is a great descent down to the Vignettes Hut 10,341ft/3157m where we spend the night.
Day 6: The touring climax of the Haute Route. An early start brings us over the Col de l’Evêque 11,135ft/3386m, then the Col du Mont Brule at 10,512ft/3213m and finally the Col du Valpelline at 11,700ft/3568m. From there the sharp summit of the Matterhorn appears directly in front of you. For the final ski we have a huge 6,400ft/1950m of glacier descent, under the north face of the Matterhorn and on down to Zermatt town. Here we can relax and celebrate with a well-deserved beer.
Overnight in Zermatt - we do not include the cost of accommodation in Zermatt but can help arrange this if required.
*Please note that the itinerary can change along the way due to changes in weather, mountain conditions and any other unforeseen circumstances.
**If you would like to arrange additional guided days at the start of the tour, a shake-down day or any skills training then please contact us and we can arrange this on a private basis for you**
$2995 per person
3 or more skiers: $2895 per person
2 skiers: $3395 per person
1 skier: $5995
Program Cost Inclusions:
6 days of skiing with a UIAGM/IFMGA certified guide (1:4 maximum ratio)
2 nights hotel lodging on a shared basis in Chamonix
Lift tickets during the program (2 days in Chamonix and 1 day in Verbier)
4 nights of hut lodging, including dinners and breakfast as per hut menu
Ground transportation during program (including luggage transfer to Zermatt)
Use of avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, and climbing harness
Program Cost Exclusions:
Travel to Chamonix and from Zermatt
Lodging in Zermatt after the tour
Any meals, drinks, or snacks other than the breakfasts included at the hotel or huts and the dinners included at the huts
Rescue Insurance (required, see options below)
Travel Insurance (highly recommended)
Personal Ski Equipment or rental
Single Room Supplement $360
If you prefer to have a private room in Chamonix and Zermatt, we can arrange that for an additional $360. The huts are dormitory style, so there is no option for private rooms.
The Haute Route requires basic ski touring skills, good downhill skiing skills, and a high level of fitness. We will be touring for 4-6 hours each day with a 20-30 lb pack.
We will be touring through various snow conditions (possibly including everything from deep powder to ice). You should be comfortable touring on slopes up to 40 degrees, using ski crampons, and making kick turns. If you have not had much experience ski touring, we recommend going out with a guide in your local area for a day or two before the trip. Alternatively, if you are a good athlete and a quick learner, you can hire one of our guides for a day or two before the trip to help nail down some of these important touring skills.
The downhill skiing component of this trip is also very important. You should be comfortable skiing black diamond runs in the ski area in any condition (crud, powder, ice, etc). It is very helpful to practice skiing on your touring skis to get used to their performance as it may differ from your typical downhill skis. If you feel comfortable on them on black and double black runs as well as crud and powder, you should do well.
Spring weather in the Alps can vary from hot and sunny to cold and stormy very suddenly. The temperatures can fluctuate between highs in the 70’s and 80’s (Farenheit) during the day to lows below freezing at night. If we are touring on the glacier in the mid-day sun, it can feel extremely hot, but a strong wind or cloud cover can cause the temperature to drop drastically. We could also encounter stormy conditions that could be bad enough to make us abandon the route and search for skiing at lower elevations or in marked ski areas.
The mountain huts in the Alps are essentially basic high alpine hotels. They provide dormitory style accommodation with basic washing facilities. Pillows, duvets (or 2 blankets) are provided, you just need to bring your own cotton or silk sleeping bag liner. They serve breakfast and dinner and plenty of other hot and cold food on request. Lunches, drinks, beer, wine etc can all be brought in the huts. These huts are typically big and will sleep up to 120 people each night, so they can seem busy and noisy (bring your ear plugs for night time).
We suggest you fly in to Geneva airport and book a seat on one of the shared minibus transfer services that operate. If you require assistance with this please let us know and we can book it on your behalf, you will need to provide your full flight details (including flight numbers) and payment in advance of travel.
Departing from Zermatt is usually best done by train back to Geneva or Zurich airports, you can look up train timetables at HERE.
Luggage Transfer from Chamonix to Zermatt:
We include in the price of the trip 1 transfer which will take your bags from your hotel in Chamonix to Zermatt. This is scheduled for the final ski day of the tour. Typically your guide will return on the same minibus to Chamonix. If you have hired any skis in Chamonix then they can be sent back on this transfer.
Accommodation in Chamonix:
You will be staying at the Hotel Pointe Isabelle in Chamonix. It is centrally located making it very easy to get to restaurants or gear shops in case you need anything at the last minute. They include a great breakfast and are close to a bakery where you can grab sandwiches for lunch on the first ski touring day.
There are 2 different types of insurance: Travel or Trip Cancellation insurance and Rescue insurance. Typical travel insurance will cover the cost of the trip if you have to cancel before or during for any reason. There are many companies that offer this type of insurance such as Travelguard and Travelex. For rescue insurance, we recommend getting the Swiss heli rescue insurance (http://www.air-glaciers.ch/sion/carte-de-sauvetage/charte-du-sauvetage/english). If you have rescue insurance through an Alpine Club or your own provider, that may work also but you must check the policy to be sure.