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Walker's Haute Route Full Self Guided Trek

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Journeying over a distance of 180 kilometers the Walkers Haute Route is fast becoming a 'must do' long distance trek. This trek is rigorous to say the least and is reserved for the fittest of mountain walkers as the daily height gain on the Walkers Haute Route full self guided trek can be substantial with the overall accumulation of 12,000 meters. The Haute Route self guided trek takes you over 11 mountain cols and through 2 alpine regions within France and Switzerland from Chamonix to Zermatt. Not for the faint hearted and when undertaken self-guided, a good deal of mountain experience is advisable.

11 night itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN CHAMONIX:

As we are based in Chamonix please ask if you wish to have a self guided trek briefing to go through any aspect of your trek before you start on your adventure.

If you require a briefing on your day of arrival please specify at the time of booking so we can make sure someone will be available.

Accommodation:

Hotel, private en-suite rooms, B & B

DAY 2 CHAMONIX TO TRIENT:

You take a short bus ride to Montroc where you start the route with an ascent to the Col du Balme via the beautiful Aiguillette des Possettes. You make your way to the col by crossing the border into Switzerland and descending to the Swiss village of Trient.

Daily stats:

14km | Height gain: +1100m | Descent: -1000m

Accommodation:

Auberge, private rooms with shared facilities, evening meal with breakfast.

Guide notes:

The route over the Aiguillette des Possettes is magnificent and one of my favourite peaks in the Chamonix valley. Enjoy the 360 degree far reaching views over the Mont Blanc massif, the Aiguille Rouges and the Swiss Valais. Refreshments of a kind at the Col du Balme but don't expect service with a smile!! It's worth the experience nonetheless!

DAY 3 TRIENT TO CHAMPEX-LAC:

Leaving Trient, you climb steeply to the Fenetre d’Arpette. A tricky descent over boulders leads us to pastureland and to the picture postcard village of Champex-Lac.

Daily stats:

Distance: 14km | Height gain: +1400m | Descent: -1200m

Accommodation:

Hotel with private rooms and en-suite, evening meal with breakfast.

Guide notes:

Option to take the Bovine route if the weather isnt so good which is more sheltered in poor weather. The true Haute Route goes over the Fenetre d'Arpette and although tough you wont be disappointed.

DAY 4 CHAMPEX-LAC TO CABANE MONT FORT:

You start the day with an easy descent into to the Orsiére Valley and trough the Swiss villages of Sembrancher and Châble. From Châble, you take the cable car to Les Ruinettes within the Verbier ski area and a short trek will take us to the Cabane du Mont Fort.

Daily stats:

Distance: 17km | Height gain: +350m | Descent: -700m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

A lovely leisurely day after the challenges of the first two days. Enjoy the easy angled terrain and recharge yourself for what is to come!

DAY 5 CABANE MONT FORT TO CABANE PRAFLEURI:

You make our way on a lofty traverse via the Sentier des Chamois to the Col du Termin. From here, you continue to the rocky Col de Louvie and traverse below the Grand Desert Glacier where you pass a series of small tarns before ascending once more to the Col de Prafleuri and descending steeply to the Cabane de Prafleuri.

Daily stats:

Distance: 14km | Height gain: +900m | Descent: -500m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

It’s up and out early as possible today as the day is long and hard. Amazing views of the Grand Combin & the lunar landscape of the Grand Desert. The statistics don’t give the day justice, as the high altitude terrain is larger than life!

DAY 6 CABANE PRAFLEURI TO AROLLA:

Passing over the Col des Roux, you descend to the Lac Dix and contour above the shoreline for several kilometers before rising again to the Col de Riedmatten. Descending from the col, you finally reach the small Alpine village of Arolla.

Daily stats:

Distance: 17km | Height gain: +850m | Descent: -1400m

Accommodation:

Hotel in private en-suite rooms, evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

Another big day over challenging terrain so an early start is a must. Fabulous views of Mont Blanc Cheilon as you ascend the glacial moraine. There is of course the option of the Pas de Chevre for those with a head for heights!

DAY 7 AROLLA TO LA SAGE:

An easy day as you make your way via Lac Bleu to the typical Valaisian village of Les Hauderes and on to the hamlet of La Sage in the Val d'Herens. You arrive in Val d'Herens around mid-afternoon with time to rest and relax.

Daily stats:

Distance: 12km | Height gain: +215m | Descent: -700m

Accommodation:

Hotel with private en-suite rooms, evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

At last an easier day! Enjoy the lofty traverse & rest a while at the beautiful Lac Bleu with wonderful views back down the Arolla valley and the mighty Mont Colon.

DAY 8 LA SAGE TO ZINAL:

You climb steadily to the Col du Torrent before descending via Lac Autannes to Lac de Moiry and the barrage. From here, you have two options. Ascend towards Col de Sorebois and descend steeply through the ski area where you take the cable car to Zinal, or take the bus from the barrage to Zinal to shorten the route and reduce the height gain and descent (dependent on weather, fatigue and time).

Daily stats:

Distance: 12.5km | Height gain: +1750m | Descent: -900m or full route: 18km | Height gain: +1870m | Descent: -1745m

Accommodation:

Hotel with private en-suite rooms, evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

This potentially can be a very long day but we have options! Don't underestimate this col as its high at 2916m, with far reaching views from the col back towards Arolla and its significant peaks, on a good day you can see Mont Blanc!

DAY 9 ZINAL TO GRUBEN:

A steady climb through woodland to the high mountain pastureland passing the remote Barnueza Alpage. Once at the Col du Forcletta, you make your descend in to the Gruben valley to the small village of Gruben.

Daily stats:

Distance: 14km | Height gain: +1200m | Descent: -1000m

Accommodation:

Auberge with private rooms & shared facilities, evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

Making your way over the Col de la Forcletta and into one of the most remote valleys of the trek is a fabulous experience. This valley is closed off from autumn to spring and is used during the summer months for cattle farming. Get ready for the Hotel Schwartzhorn which seems totaly incongruous to this remote valley.

DAY 10 GRUBEN TO ST NICKLAUS & GRACHEN:

Another steep climb from Gruben to high-level pastures of the Augustbordpass. You make your descent steadily from the col towards Jungen where you take the little cable car to St Niklaus and a short buss ride across the valley to Grachen.

Daily stats:

Distance: 16km | Height gain: +1100m | Descent: -1000m

Accommodation:

Hotel in private en-suite rooms, evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

The Augustbordpass passes without any notable acclaim as the col seems to be somewhat hidden away, the views are reserved for later in the day with the narrow traverse above Jungen which reveals the delights of the Matterhorn valley!

DAY 11 GRACHEN TO RANDA:

Today you have a choice of two routes depending on weather, route conditions and ability you can take the high route via the Europaweg or a lower route leading down into the Matterhorn valley to Randa.

Low Route via the Matterhorn Valley
Departing Grachen you traverse along the Wanderweg to Gasenreid and beyond before descending into the Matterhorn Valley and taking the valley path to Randa.

High Route via Europaweg
Departing Grachen you traverse along the Wanderweg to Gasenreid before gaining height steeply to Mittelberg and the St Bernard statue, which offers great views of the Bernese Alps and magnificent Grosser Aletschgletscher. The path continues over difficult terrain at times before descending to Randa.

Daily stats:

Via the low route, Distance: 14km | Height gain: +200m | Descent: -460m

Via the high route:Distance: 14km | Height gain: +1000m | Descent: -700m

Accommodation:

Hotel with private en-suite rooms, evening meal and breakfast.

Guide notes:

If taking the high route via the Europaweb then great care needs to be taken as this terrain is constantly moving and is prone to rock fal so is potentially dangerous. It’s not a good idea to do this route in bad weather, if in doubt take the lower route.

DAY 12 RANDA TO ZERMATT:

Departing from Randa, you ascend to the Europaweg and take the impressive Charles Kuonen suspension bridge for the final day on this stunning traverse via Taschalp and finish taking the hight route into Zermatt.

Daily stats:

Distance: 21.5km | Height gain: +1175m | Descent: -850m

Accommodation:

Hotel in private en-suite rooms, B & B.

Guide notes:

In August 2017 the Europaweg was reopened after closure for some years. Therefore there are many options for today, which can be decided before the day. My recommendation would be to include the final stage from Taschalp, which has stupendous views on the mighty Matterhorn.

DAY 13: DEPART ZERMATT:

Breakfast is included however on the departure day you are free to leave at any time you wish.

Option to add an additional day in Zermatt.

Guide notes:

Once you have completed the trek I hope you will agree that the Walkers Haute Route is truly an exceptional trek and has a worthy place as of one of the worlds top 10 long distance walks.

"Take only memories, leave only footprints"
Chief Seattle