The Haute Route is a multi-day ski tour from Chamonix to Zermatt. This classic journey was first completed as a glacier trek in the summer of 1861 by members of the Alpine Club. They named it the High Level Route. The name was translated into French and became commonly known as the Haute Route when it was first successfully undertaken on skis in 1911.
Starting in Chamonix, skiing through the heart of the Alps and finishing in Zermatt with the remarkable view of the Matterhorn. This is truly the ski adventure of a lifetime.
Skills and stamina
The Haute Route is a challenging ski tour over 6 quite intense days. It is suitable for skiers who have previous experience of multi-day ski touring and backcountry skiing.
You need to have a good level of fitness and have the skiing ability to cope with variable off-piste snow conditions.
Since we travel in high altitude terrain this ski tour is suitable for the later part of the season. The huts open in mid-March and the season continues until the beginning of May.
This is a wonderful time in the Alps with lots of snow in the high mountains and at the same time warm and pleasant temperatures in the valley. We often enjoy powder skiing on high north facing slopes before we descend to the valley, and once there relax in the sun with a beer in our hand.
Program for the week
The following is a typical Haute Route program. There might be changes due to weather conditions.
Day 1, Saturday
Arrival day in Chamonix
The hotel will be available for check in from 2 pm. If you want to spend additional days before or after the trip, please let us know.
Day 2, Sunday
We make a shorter ski tour in the Chamonix valley to get to know everyone in the group. Then we get to try all the equipment and see that all is in order for the trip to Zermatt. This extra day also gives flexibility for bad weather. The night is spent at hotel in Chamonix.
Day 3, Monday
Argentiere – Trient hut
The first ski day of our 6 day tour. Your mountain guide will meet you at the hotel and go through the equipment. We set off to the Grands Montets Ski station for some warm up runs. This gives the guide the opportunity to find out the ski level of the group. Then we put our skins on and start walking up. The goal is the extended and newly renovated Cabane de Trient at 3170 meters, where we will spend the night.
Day 4, Tuesday
Trient hut – Prafleuri hut
To wake up at the Trient Hut just as the sun reaches the summit of the nearby Aiguille du Tour, is a truly magical feeling. After breakfast we start skiing. One of the best runs of the week is ahead of us. A 1300 meters' vertical descent to the village of Champex-Lac. From here we go by taxi to Le Chable, a part of the Verbier ski resort. After taking several lifts from Verbier we skin up to Col de la Chaux at 2940 meters. Skins off since we ski down a short section then a second climb to the Col de Momin, 3003 meters. From here we ski down to the Prafleuri hut, the final destination of the day.
Day 5, Wednesday
Prafleuri – Dix hut
Today we head for the Dix hut beginning with a climb to Col de Roux at 2804 meters. From here we can ski down to La Barma. As we continue beside the lake, Lac des Dix we have a great view and one can truly feel why this is called The Haute Route. After about five hours of hard work we can finally relax in the impressive and welcoming Dix hut.
Day 6, Thursday
Dix hut – Vignettes hut via Pigne d'Arolla
On our sixth day we will climb to the summit of Pigne d'Arolla, 3796 meters, before we arrive at the Vignettes hut.
Day 7, Friday
Vignettes hut – Bertol Hut
We prefer to put in a little extra effort on this day in order to take the pressure off the last day. We start with a climb to the Col des Vignettes and continue up Mt Collon Glacier to Col de L'Evêque at 3392 meters. From here we get some turns in before a final skin to the sunny terrace of the Bertol hut.
Day 8, Saturday
Bertol hut – Zermatt
The last day of the Haute Route. In the far distance the Matterhorn becomes bigger and bigger for every step we take. We travel through terrain with stunning views over glaciers and several passes on this last day before we finally ski down to Zermatt.
After at beer in the village we return to Chamonix by train or taxi.
Day 9, Sunday
We recommend the train back to the airport, but there is also taxi service. Geneva in the closest airport.
The following items will be provided by your mountain guide. Ensure there is room in your back pack.
• 2 locking carabiners and a sling
This is an equipment list for the Haute Route ski tour
• Skis with ski touring bindings
• Climbing skins
• Ski crampons
• Poles, adjustable with big baskets
• Ski touring boots
• Ski backpack, about 40-45 litres
• Travel sheets to sleep in, at the huts
• Clothes for skiing
• Extra underwear
• Down jacket, lightweight
• Extra gloves
• Ski goggles
• Sun block (minimum factor/SPF 20)
• Crampons and ice axe (available for rent in Chamonix)
• Lunch food for 1-2 days (we can buy extra food along the way and prefer to travel as light as possible)
• Bring a book or something to read (sometimes you spend time in the huts)
We only take 4-6 skiers per guide on the Haute Route. Some weeks there are 2 groups and then the guides will work together. However, we travel independently so the groups can ski different lines.
• Professional mountain guide, authorised by UIAGM/IFMGA
• 7 days ski touring
• All safety equipment for off-piste and glacier skiing (transceiver, shovel, probe, rope and harness)
• All transport during the week including return to Chamonix
• Ski passes
• Hotel accommodation in twin room including breakfast for 3 nights (single room can, where possible, be arranged at additional cost)
• 5 nights at mountain huts including breakfast and dinner
• Amazing views and good skiing in a remarkable high-mountain environment
• Lunch and drinks at the mountain huts (beer, soda, wine, etc)
• Ski touring equipment, see list above
• Travel to/from Chamonix
• Mandatory insurance to cover mountain rescue costs