The famous trek between the resorts of Chamonix (France), and Zermatt (Switzerland), was pioneered in the mid-19th century. It takes us through the most spectacular scenery: glacial valleys, forests alpine meadows and through rustic villages that retain their centuries-old charm and rural way of life.
Wildlife abounds in the high alpine meadows, giving us good odds of seeing a Steinbock, chamois, marmot or even an eagle. The days end in a comfortable hut or hotel, allowing us to carry only relatively light day packs. After a warm-up day in Chamonix we will complete the route in a 9-day trip, using cable cars, taxi, bus and train transfers for connections between the hikes.
The Walker’s Haute Route is a long and demanding trip requiring very good physical
fitness and preparation. After our first two relatively gentle days, we cover from 10 to
almost 17 kilometers most days, through great changes in elevation; ups and downs per day are usually well in excess of 1000meter, and often more than 1200 meters.
Good endurance, balance, and agility are required to get safely and comfortably through the toughest days. Weather and temperature extremes also can entail hazards we must be prepared to manage.
I particularly enjoy this hike because…
– we go through small, preserved, traditional and beautiful swiss villages (ex. Arolla, Zinal)
– there is an awesome final reward after a long hike, the city of Zermatt and the breathtaking view on the Matterhorn.
– we do nice meetings along the way including with peasants taking care of their cows in the alpine grassland.
– I love the local snacks in Zermatt: Nusstorte, a traditional, sweet, caramelised and nut-filled pastry 😉
Please find below the itinerary and the detailed day by day program:
Rendez-vous in Chamonix, dinner all together and night at the hotel in Chamonix.
Day 1 – Warm up hike in the Chamonix Valley.
Our hike will take us into the Aiguilles Rouges, with spectacular views across the Chamonix valley to Mont Blanc and the famous glacier, the Mer de Glace. We will ride the cable car to the Planpraz at 2000m to begin our walk, thereby acclimatization to higher elevation.
3-4 hours hike
Day 2 – Village Le Tour to Col de Forclaz.
We hike up above treeline to the Col de Balme and descend into Switzerland, where we get an up-close view of the Glacier de Trient. Night at the Hotel at Col de la Forclaz.
– total ascent 950 m
– total descent 890 m
– total distance 15.5 km
Day 3 – Col de Forclaz to Champex-Lac.
Steep climb over the Fenêtre d’Arpette. After a pause for views at the col, a long descent down the Val d’Arpette brings us through larch forests, into deeper evergreen woods and to the pretty lakeside village of Champex.
– total ascent 1050 m
– total descent 1170 m
– distance 12.6 km
Day 4 – Champex-Lac to Cabane du Mont Fort
Via the Orsiére Valley and trough the villages of Sembrancher and Chable. Cable car to Les Ruinettes within the Verbier ski area and walk to the Cabanne du Mont Fort 2457m)
– total ascent 350m
– total descent 700m
– distance 17 km
Day 5 – Cabane Mont Fort to Cabane Prafleuri.
Via the Col Termin(2648m), Col de Louvie (2921m) or optional via the Col de la Chaux we traverse the grand desdert before ascending to the final Col de Prafleuri. Night at cabane de Prafleuri (2624m)
– total ascent 900 m
– total descent 500 m
– distance 14 km
Day 6 – Cabane Prafleuri to Arolla.
Via Col des Roux (2804m) where delightful views awaits of Lac des Dix. Climing again to Col de Riedmatten(2919m) and from here descent through tumbling stream drainages and flowery meadows to our grand old hotel tucked deep within mature larch forest in Arolla.
– total ascent 850m
– total descent 1380m
– distance 17 km
Day 7 – Arolla to La Sage
Via Lac Bleu on to the Vald’Herens to the village of La Sage (1667m)
– total ascent 300 m
– total descent 700 m
– distance 9km
Day 8 – Zinal to Gruben
Via Barnueza alpage (2211m) and Col du Forcletta at (2875m) into the german speaking
village of Gruben.
– total ascent 1200m
– total descent 1000m
– distance 14 km
Day 9 – Gruben to St. Niklaus
Via Augustbordpass (2894m) and Jungen / 1955m) to St.Nicklaus.
– total ascent 1260m
– total descent 1100m
– distance 13.5 km
Day 10 – St.Niklaus to Europahutte
Today we start the two-day finale into Zermatt, called the Europaweg. The Matterhorn comes into sight at the head of the valley and we reach the wooden Europahutte at 2,265m and our home for the night. (As an alternative to this difficult 2-day finish,
we also offer the easier 1-day valley route from St Niklaus to Zermatt.)
– total ascent 1131m
– total descent 570m
– distance 14km
Day 11 – Europahutte to Zermatt
The Europaweg continues today to finally walking high above Zermatt. A last descent past barns and huts at Findeln brings us into Zermatt.
– total ascent 348m
– total descent 962m
– distance 18km
Please get in touch with me if you are interested to experience this fantastic hike linking together the 2 capitals of alpinism in Europe. It will be my great pleasure to bring you there and share with you my mountaineering knowledge along the way.
I will provide you with a list of things you need to take with you.
Based on your wishes, I will organise the lodging in mountain huts or in more confortable hotels.
8 persons max