Classic Summer Haute Route Trek

slider image
slider image
slider image
slider image
slider image

Introduction

The summer Haute Route Trek is one of the world’s great multi-day treks. The route links two renowned alpine mountaineering centres, Chamonix in France, home to Mount Blanc and Zermatt in Switzerland, home to the Matterhorn. The path passes through breathtaking alpine scenery and you will enjoy stunning mountain panoramas every step of the journey.

Spectacular views are standard on this trek and it is a great stepping stone for the trekker to experience the High Alps and its glaciers. The summer haute route trek is for hill walkers and trekkers keen to get higher in the mountains
and experience some higher altitude. The hiking route follows a network of well-marked and signposted trails that stays below 3000m and takes advantage of the popular mountain huts and small inns and hotels in the charming villages along the way. In the spring, summer and fall, the route is safe, entirely non-technical and while challenging because of its daily elevation gains and distances, is achievable by any hiker in reasonably good physical condition.

We offer two options of Summer Haute Route, the Classic Haute Route which is done over 11 days at £1795 and the Highlights trip which is done over 7 hiking days. In this listing we show the details and itinerary for the classic trip.

SUMMER 2017 SET DATES:

11th – 23rd July – Available
1st – 13th Aug – 3 more to guarantee
29th Aug to 10th Sept – Available

Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability.

Course Details

  • icon

    A Cloud 9 Adventure

  • icon

    Price €2649.00

  • icon

    TREK B ( Moderate)

  • icon

    Location: Chamonix – Zermatt

  • icon

    Guide ratio: 1:10

  • icon

    Season: Mid June – Mid September

  • icon

    Duration: 12 nights accommodation, 11 Days guiding

ENQUIRE NOW
BOOK NOW


Location

We meet in Chamonix before heading over the mountain range into Switzerland and then onto the iconic village of Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn.
ENQUIRE NOW

Further Information

What's included
  • All accommodation (from the first night in Chamonix, to the last night in Zermatt)
  • IML Guides fee and expenses
  • Luggage transfers (apart from 2 nights in huts)
  • Any transfers on itinerary
  • All breakfasts and evening meals
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Airport transfers to Chamonix & from Zermatt
  • Packed Lunches
  • Travel insurance
  • Snacks, Bottled water, beers, drinks in huts
Who is this for?

The summer haute route trek is for hill walkers and trekkers keen to get higher in the mountains and experience some higher altitude and trekking. You should be capable of carrying a rucksack (~10kg) for 6-8 hours a day for 11 days in a row. We will be crossing high cols/saddles and traversing valleys with tricky hiking terrain such boulders and morrain. You do not need any experience of glacier crossing/using crampons as our guides will teach you all the necessary skills at the start of the course.

Accommodation and huts

During this trip the group will spend 10 nights in good quality, comfortable hotels, chalets, auberges or gîtes, and 2 nights in mountain huts with blankets or duvets provided. If you are booking as a couple you can expect to be in a twin or double room, usually with en-suite facilities. Single travellers will be accommodated in same-sex twin rooms, which are also usually en-suite. (Some of the auberges don’t have en-suite facilities but we book them where possible). In the mountain huts the accommodation will be in non-segregated dormitories. They are simple and basic but in fantastic locations. Due to the nature of the accommodation on this trip, with small hotels in remote villages, we can’t always book single rooms, so places with a single supplement are limited. Drinking water is not available in all of the huts (currently the water is not drinkable at the Prafleuri hut) in which case you may need to purchase bottled water.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Chamonix
Our trip begins in the famous mountain town of Chamonix, at the foot of Mont Blanc. We meet the group at 6pm for a trip briefing followed by our evening meal.

Accommodation: 3* hotel, dinner included
Luggage access

Day 2 – Montroc to Col de la Forclaz via the Aiguillette de Posettes
We start with a beautiful train journey on the famous Mont Blanc Express. We start our trek in the hamlet of Montroc, and begin with a climb up the stunning Aiguillette de Posettes. Most other treks then head for the Col de Balme, but we stray from the standard route and take a quiet, and beautiful variant through the meadows of Les Tseppes and into Switzerland as it offers fantastic views.

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: approx 7-8 hrs
Distance: 14 km
Altitude gain / loss: +1100m / -1100m

Day 3 – Trek from the Col de la Forclaz to Champex via the Fenêtre d’Arpette
Today we start with an easy stroll along the bisse (Swiss irrigation system) to the Chalet des Glaciers, a small café next to the impressive Trient glacier. Here we begin a long and sometimes steep ascent through spectacular scenery up the high pass known as the Fenêtre d’Arpette, from which we have wonderful views of the Trient Plateau. Next we have a steep descent through the Val d’Arpette to our accommodation in Champex.

Accommodation : Family-run hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: Approx 7 hrs
Distance: 16 km
Altitude gain / loss: + 1411m / -1200m

Day 4 – Champex to the Cabane de Louvie
We leave the picturesque village of Champex to meander through summer meadows in the Val de Bagnes, to reach the village of Sembrancher. Here we take a short taxi ride to Fionnay. We have chosen to deviate from the standard Haute Route and head for the Cabane de Louvie as it offers a truly remote setting next to a high alpine lake, and our route steers clear of the ski lifts of Verbier. We finish our day with a steep ascent to the Louvie hut: it’s tiring, but we are rewarded with fantastic views of the Grand Combin and the Mont Blanc Massif.

Accommodation: Mountain refuge, dinner included
No luggage access
Walking: Approx 8 hours
Distance: 20 km
Altitude gain / loss: +1350m / -1300m

Day 5 – Trek from the Cabane de Louvie to the Cabane de de Prafleuri
This is one of the most spectacular days of the trek, crossing 2 cols with dramatic views throughout. After climbing the Col de Louvie, we make a steep descent at the edge of the Grand Désert glacier. We then traverse the aptly-named Grand Désert and make our way up to the Col de Prafleuri (2987m) then descend to the Cabane de Prafleuri (2642m) for the evening.

Accommodation: Mountain refuge, dinner included
No luggage access
Walking: Approx 8 hrs
Distance: 18 km
Altitude gain / loss: +820m / -550m

Day 6 – Trek from the Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla
A short, steep climb greets us this morning as we quickly summit the Col de Roux, overlooking the milky waters of the Lac de Dix. A gentle descent then takes us to the shore of the lake, which we follow to its end, in the shadow of Mont Blanc de Cheillon and the Pigne d’Arolla. Next we make a steep ascent to the base of the Col de Riedmatten, where we have the option of either climbing the col or taking the Pas de Chèvres ladders to a nearby col. The leader will decide which route we take, based on the weather and the group. There are more spectacular views of the Dix glacier, then it is all downhill to Arolla and our bed for the night.

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: approx 6-7 hrs
Distance: 16 km
Altitude gain / loss: +735m / -1360m

Day 7 – Arolla to La Sage
We are now approaching the halfway point of the trek and today is something of a recuperation day, involving a leisurely walk through woodland (although there are 1 or 2 chains!) to the Lac Bleu, a favourite local beauty spot. From here, there is an easy descent through a beautiful gorge to Les Haudères where we have lunch. A final short climb complete this stage at the small farming hamlet of La Sage.

Accommodation: 3* hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: approx 4-5 hrs
Distance: 11 km
Altitude gain / loss: +215m / -550m

Day 8 – La Sage to Zinal
No rest today as we have quite a long day and 2 high passes to cross! The first ascent to the higher of the two, the Col de Torrent (2912m), is long, but not too difficult, and the path is in good condition. We then descend to the turquoise Lac de Moiry, a great lunch spot. Ahead we can see some of the giant peaks of the Pennine Alps, including the Dent Blanche and the Weisshorn. Of more concern will be the imposing Col de Sorebois, a climb which is shorter but steeper than the ascent of the Torrent, but again presents no real problems. From here, we have spectacular views of the Weisshorn, the Dent Blanche and the Zinal Rothorn. It’s a steep downhill from here, and the hotel at Zinal is a welcome sight after the hardest day of the trip so far. For those whose knees are suffering, there may be the option to take the cable car from the mid-station down (if it is running, which it usually does in the summer – this is not included in the trip price).

Accommodation: HOtel dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: approx 8-9 hrs
Distance: 21 km
Altitude gain / loss: +2000m / -1850m

Day 9 – Zinal to Gruben
We start with a steep but pleasant ascent through larch forest, before a rising traverse takes us through alpine pastures with excellent views across the Val d’Anniviers. We have a choice of 2 passes today, the Forcletta (2874m) or the Meidpass (2790m), but we normally take the Forcletta as it offers a more direct route, and slightly better views. From here we can see into the Turtmanntal, and we enter the German-speaking part of Switzerland. We often see the rare edelweiss on our descent of this col, if we can manage to take our eyes away from the incredible vista of 4000m peaks on offer. Tonight we stay in the tiny hamlet of Gruben.

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: Approx 7 hrs
Distance: 19 km
Altitude gain / loss: +1200m / -1165m

Day 10 – Gruben to Saint Niklaus across the Augstbordpass
A really superb trek today as we start out through open woodland, then across high pastures followed by an alpine rocky wilderness. The trek soon opens up to some of the most spectacular views in the Swiss Alps. Our final pass is the Augstbordpass (2894m), beyond which we descend steeply to the wonderful viewpoint known as the Twära – and here is your first view into the Matterhtal.. A steep descent takes us to the hamlet of Jungu, perched on the side of the mountain. And from here there is a steeper descent of a couple of hours to take us down to Saint Niklaus. No one will judge you if you take the cable car down from Jungu, as it will save your knees around 1000m of steep downhill!

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: Approx 7-8 hrs
Distance: 16 km
Altitude gain / loss: +1070m / -1765m

Day 11 – Saint Niklaus to Zermatt
Today we make our way easily along tte valley into Zermatt to experience our first close-up views of the Matterhorn. We have chosen not to do the Europaweg section of the Haute Route as the path is becoming increasingly hazardous, with regular rockfalls wiping out sections of path along with entire bridges. Some parts of the path have been closed for several years and show no signs of reopening. Therefore we have chosen instead to include 2 nights in Zermatt, so that tomorrow we can offer one of the most spectacular walks in the world. Please note that if the Europaweg section between Täsch and Zermatt does reopen, then we will take that route into Zermatt. We would prefer to be honest about the Europaweg – many companies are not.

Accommodation: Hotel, dinner included
Luggage access
Walking: Approx 4-5 hrs
Distance: 13 km
Altitude gain / loss: +450m / -0m

Day 12 – The Höhenweg and the Matterhorn!
We have included this extra day in Zermatt firstly to maximise our chances of seeing the Matterhorn, but more importantly as it is one of the most spectacular walks in the world! We climb from the centre of Zermatt up through a gorge, to Trift. We then climb on higher towards the Matterhorn, along a breathtaking balcony path, with views of the Monte Rosa and the glaciers which lie above Zermatt, round a corner and the majestic Matterhorn reveals herself. For the rest of the day you will not be able to put your camera down – a true finale to your Walker’s Haute Route.

Day 13 – Depart Zermatt
Our trip finishes after breakfast.

There are a number of alternatives to this itinerary, we can be flexible according to the groups desires.

Training

To maximise your enjoyment of the Summer Haute Route Trek it is important to get as fit as you possibly can. Good fitness will also make it more fun and less exhausting! The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!

Trekking is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and
your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going on long days hill walking as this simulates the real
thing and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!). However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are good.

The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance and so if in the gym, cycling/running/rowing machines are
much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time, 4 times a week. Remember to
build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up
to avoid injury. Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really
helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a
plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals.

Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years.
Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.

Kit List

Essential items:

Rucksack – approx. 30-40L
Hiking boots – it is possible to do a lot of the TMB in walking trainers, but you should make sure they are trekkingspecific trainers (or trail-running trainers). For the June trips, hiking boots are definitely recommended as there is usually a lot of snow on the passes. Sandals are not appropriate for mountain walking so please do not bring these for trekking.
Waterproof jacket and trousers – both essential items, should be as light as possible (not insulated: your other layers should provide the insulation).
Socks
Underwear
Trekking trousers – bring something lightweight.
Shorts
T-shirts – wicking t-shirts are better than cotton as they are lighter and dry faster.
Mid layer – fleece jacket is good
Warm jacket – We recommend brining a really lightweight synthetic belay jacket (eg. Rab Photon / Arcteryx Atom / Patagonia Nano) – just in case it gets cold. Remember, you are carrying this in your rucksack so it should be as light as possible. You don’t normally need to bring a down jacket because it won’t be much use if it gets wet.
Warm hat (lightweight woolly hat is fine)
Gloves (a light pair of gloves is fine)
Sun Hat
Sunglasses (essential as we will spend some time walking on snow)
Suncream (small bottle to save weight) • Lip protection (with sun protection)
Water bottles / camelback – you should have the capacity to carry at least 2 litres of water, but on very hot days you could need 3L.
Walking poles – These often go in the “optional” section, but for June trips they are essential for the snowy sections.
Sheet sleeping bag – only needed for the mountain refuge. All of the accommodation is high standard with freshly made beds, so no sleeping bags are needed. There is just one night where we stay in the Bonatti hut where the sheet sleeping bag will be needed. Silk is best, it’s lighter than cotton.
Travel towel – again, only needed for the mountain refuge – everywhere else provides towels.
Wash kit – Bring whatever you like for wash kit – but for the 1 night in the refuge where you have to carry it, you would normally just take a toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, mini contact lens solution if applicable, a couple of wet wipes and a tiny travel soap (although they provide ecologically sound shower gel in the showers).
Head torch – just a lightweight torch, such as a Petzl Tikka / Zipka is fine for this trip.
Plastic bags / dry sacks to keep essentials dry.
Passport – to be carried whilst trekking. Make sure you keep it dry.
Cash – for packed lunches and any drinks whilst on the trip (we have 3 nights in Switzerland, where you can spend euros if you prefer but will get a slightly better deal if paying in CHF. There is a cashpoint in La Fouly or Champex if you need CHF. You can normally spend euros if it’s just for the sake of a few drinks. There are also cashpoints in Chamonix, Les Contamines, Courmayeur and Argentière for euros).
Basic first aid kit – your leader will carry a large first aid kit, but you should bring a small first aid kit containing plasters, blister treatment, painkillers and diarrhoea treatment (rehydration sachets and immodium)

Optional items:

Thermal base layer
Long johns / thermal leggings
Buff – can be useful for extra warmth if it’s cold, or sun protection for your neck on a hot day
Camera
Book
Lightweight sandals / flip flops – whilst these are provided at the mountain refuges, they aren’t provided in the nicer hotels, so it’s really nice to have footwear to change into in the evening, especially if you want to have a wander round Courmayeur or Champex.
Trainers – it can be nice to give your feet a break from your walking boots on some days. Your leader can advise on which days this might be suitable, and if you are thinking of doing this, your shoes must be suitable for trekking in!
Mobile phone – there is phone reception for the majority of the trip. It is a good idea to have a phone in case of emergency or if you need to leave the group for any reason.
Earplugs
Snacks – not essential as we do go past shops most days so you can top up your supply of snacks fairly regularly
• Antibacterial handwash
Insect repellant

You can bring a small 40-50L bag that can carry your change of clothes, and anything that is not essential on the day trips. Our vehicle support will bring the bags to the hotels on most evenings other than the night at the Cabane de Mont Fort and the Prafleurie..

Booking info

To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.

We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.

Insurance

We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.

Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk)or Travel Guard for US redicents – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.

Getting to Chamonix

It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure.

Easyjet have many cheap flights to Geneva from all over the UK. Swiss Air have cheap and convenient flights from London to Geneva.

Booking a place on a minibus airport transfer service is by far the best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix (it takes about an hour or so, is cost effective and is a door to door service). We can book your airport transfers at a competitive rate – just email us with your flight details…

Returning from Zermatt
This trek ends in Zermatt after breakfast on the last day. The most convenient way of returning from Zermatt to Geneva (or Zurich) is by train. Tickets can be booked in advance at www.sbb.ch – and if you are doing so, note that the Swiss Rail website defaults to the concessionary fare which is half-price (for which you need a half-price card). If you are doing any additional travelling in Switzerland at the beginning or end of this trip, then it can often be worth purchasing the half-price card, as you will have most cable cars, trains, buses and boats at half- price. For example, it’s worth having on its own if you intend to go up the Jungfraujoch in Grindelwald! There are railway stations at both Geneva and Zurich airports, and trains run regularly throughout the day. When booking flights, do make sure that you can get to the airport in time – the first train out of Zermatt is normally around 06:00, and it takes approximately 3.5 hours to reach either airport. The journey costs approximately 95 CHF. If you intend to return to Chamonix at the end of the trip, please contact our office, as if several of you want to do it, it could be better value to share a taxi, and we can help organise this.

Food
All breakfasts and evening meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 9. For lunches your leader will advise on the best place to buy them each day. There will be the opportunity on some days to purchase them in local shops as buying them in the accommodation can be expensive. Drinks are not included with the dinner, but you can normally order beer, wine and soft drinks at all hotels including the mountain huts. Breakfasts in the mountain huts tend to be more basic and usually consist of tea, coffee, bread, jam and cereal. Mountain huts are becoming more used to dealing with vegetarians and more specific dietary requirements, although gluten-free can be tricky for the packed lunches as most places provide sandwiches, so it would definitely be worth bringing your own gluten-free bread if this is required. Vegans are still a mystery to the Swiss and we would recommend contacting us to discuss before booking. Feel free to ask us if you are concerned, and please do let us know in advance if you have dietary requirements.

Luggage delivery
We deliver your main luggage each day that we have vehicle access, which, on this trip, is every day apart from the 2 nights in mountain huts (Days 3 and 4). For these days the only extra things you need to carry will be a sheet sleeping bag liner, a travel towel and a basic wash kit, with perhaps a change of clothes. We ask you to keep your main luggage to one kit bag of less than 15kg, plus a small day pack (around 30L, which you will carry). Your kit bag will be collected each morning around 08:30, and is normally delivered by 16:00. Please note that you cannot usually travel with the luggage as there are no passenger seats. If you wish to have more than one kit bag, please let us know in advance as there will be a supplement to pay.

Money
There are cash machines at Geneva airport, Chamonix, Zinal & Zermatt. Note that Geneva is in Switzerland, so you should get Swiss Francs there, as the trek start in Chamonix in France, and you can only get euros here. Mountain huts do not normally accept cards, but most of the hotels do. A coffee or soft drink costs around 4 CHF, and a beer around 5- 7 CHF. Bottled water can be expensive but we can usually fill up with tap water. The first night of this trip is in France, but all of the other nights are in Switzerland, so it could be useful to have some euros in addition to your Swiss Francs. Around 150-200 CHF plus 50 euros per person should be enough to cover your personal expenses but it does depend how many coffees, beers and wines you consume!

Confirming bookings

We need a minimum of four trekkers to run this course. Your booking will remain pending if you are the first to book onto a course and we will send you a confirmation as soon as a the course is confirmed. We recommend not booking flights till the course is confirmed. We will confirm the course at the latest 6 weeks before the start date. In order to increase the chance of confirming trips as soon as possible we team up with another couple of small suppliers, so you may be on the trip with trekkers who booked from a similar company.

Sarah Wood
“A must for all trekking lovers. Travel across beautiful cols all the way to the iconic Matterhorn and sample the best of Swiss cuisine, a classic and one for your bucket list!”
Sarah, Sales and Administration

Related Adventures

 

icon-phone-light-grey+44 (0) 845 527 5812

Reviews

/* u.heatmap.it */