Have you ever braved the classic Haute Route ski tour or is it something you’ve got on your bucket list? Snowsafe breakdown what the Haute Route is, the distance, equipment and way more, everything you need to know about the haute route and more:
The Haute Route or otherwise known as the the High Route or Mountaineers’ Route is the name given to a route (with several variations).
The classic haute route consisits of ski touring between the Mont Blanc Chamonix in France, and the Matterhorn Zermatt in Switzerland.
You start the haute route in the west of the town Chamonix-mont-blanc – 1042m (3,396 ft) above sea level, The highest peak in Western Europe at 4807m (15,770 ft) and you finish in Zermatt in the East.
The total distance is 200km (125 miles) and there are 6,000m of ascent and descent.
The highest altitude of the haute route ski tour is when you ascend the summit of Pigne d’Arolla at 3790m above sea level.
This part of the tour allows you to take in the stunning panaronanic views back towards the Mont Blanc and onto the Matterhorn. from here you get a steep ski descent which leads to Cabane des Vignettes at 3160m.
The ‘haute route‘ or otherwise known as high-level route is a 8 Day traverse across the mountains and glaciers between Chamonix and Zermatt
This great tour traverses glaciers and high passes through the very heart of the alps, taking in such peaks as the Rosa Blanche and Pigne d’Arolla.
All guides offer different touring plans, heres one of the most popular routes shared by mountaintracks.co.uk
Arrive in Chamonix and meet the guide and the rest of the group in the early evening for a welcome meeting, briefing and equipment and Transceiver check.
We start the tour with a warm-up on the Grands Montets ski area in the morning. Your guide will run skills sessions on avalanche search and rescue, skinning technique and use of crampons/ice axe. This will give you a chance to use all your kit and get your ski legs ready for the challenge to follow! In the late afternoon we ski and skin to the Argentiere hut for the night.
Starting from the Argentiere hut we ski and skin towards the Col du Passon 3028m, which is our preferred route due to the technical difficulties you now encounter descending the Col du Chardonnet. From the col there is a short descent down to the Glacier du Tour from where we ascend to the Col du Tour 3288m. We then cross onto the Trient plateau in Switzerland and arrive at the Cabane du Trient 3170m where we spend the night. Approx 1100m ascent, 1200m descent (6-7hrs).
One of the best descents of the trip – initially down the Trient Glacier before turning east and making the short crampon climb over the Col des Ecandies 2796m and then down the wild and remote Val d’Arpette which ends in the village of Champex 1466m. From here we take a taxi transfer to La Chable and ascend using the lift system in Verbier. A quick piste ski down from Mont Fort accesses a short skin to the Col de la Choix. A short descent and then ascent to the Col de Momin 3003m gives amazing views of the Grand Desert and Rosablanche up ahead. If time allows we make the short ascent of Rosablanche 3336m then descend via the Glacier de Prafleuri to the privately owned Prafleuri Refuge 2624m where we spend the night. Approx 900m ascent, 2400m descent (8-9hrs).
We make an early start and skin over the Col des Roux 2804m and then follow a long descending traverse on the west side of the Lac des Dix. At the end of the lake we make the long ascent via the Pas du Chat 2372m which leads us to the Cabane des Dix 2928m our stop for the night. Approx 900m ascent, 600m descent (5-7hrs).
A spectacular day. Beginning from the Cabane des Dix we make the long ascent to summit the Pigne d’Arolla 3790m (the highest point on the Haute Route). From here you get stunning panoramic views back towards Mont Blanc and onto the Matterhorn. A steep ski descent then leads to the spectacularly perched Cabane des Vignettes 3160m. Approx 950m ascent, 700m descent (5-6hrs).
There are few days in alpine ski mountaineering to match this one. Covering 30km, we cross the three cols of the Col de L’Eveque 3386m, Col du Mont Brule 3218m and the Col Valpelline 3562m and seven glaciers. A fitting finale to the Haute Route before arriving in Zermatt. Approx 1,100m ascent; 2,400m descent (8-10hrs).
On arrival in Zermatt we stop for a celebration drink before taking a train to Tasch station below Zermatt where we meet a pre-booked private minibus to return to Chamonix at our hotel. Overnight in the hotel in Chamonix.
The group will disperse after breakfast.
Ski touring in the high mountains can be affected by the weather and snow conditions and you are likely to encounter lots of different snow types during the haute route, everything from fresh powder to crusty, wind-blown snow.
Occasionally if the weather is poor (heavy snow, high winds or high avalanche risk).
The haute route consists of over 6000 m of ascents and descents through various terrain so you will need to have a good level of fitness to be able to take part.
you should be comfortable with hiking 25 km (walking 15 miles a day) and climbing 1200 m (4000 ft).
Acclimatisation takes around 3 to 4 days, you should start slowly until your body adjusts to having 25% less oxygen in the air.
Full 10 week ski touring stregth and endurance plan by Ortovox Below:
The Haute route consisits of 8 days of ascending and descending mountains so a vast amount of kit is needed, when booking with a guide they will send you the full list of kit needed to make the tour succesful.
Here is snowsafes essential haute route kit list:
For a hut night:
All guides offer different prices, prices start from around £1,425 for the full guided tour, this does not include food, travel to chamonix, flights etc ect, this is just the guide cost.
Please ensure you read all of the T&C’s before booking your spot, you do not want any unexpected costs.
Now you have read this blog, are you up for the challange? The Haute Route is one of the best ways to travel throughout the Alps, ascending and descending vast amount of terrain, seeking new powder and more.
Tag snowsafe in your favourite houte route photos.
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