As we entered town, we encountered the tour group once again (who once again leap-frogged us) enjoying a drink in the sun on a restaurant patio (they were waiting for the last bus of the day to take them down to their campsite in Les Haudères). Once we arrived in Les Haudères, we wandered around the small town (huge compared to Arolla, but still pretty small) looking for a hotel. Only 2 hotels along the route had Wi-Fi (Chamonix and Zermatt) but we had cell coverage everywhere except Cabane de Prafleuri, Cabane de Moiry, and Grüben (our signal was weak in Grüben…we could check email, but not make phone calls). Buy your Swiss Topo hiking maps before you leave to ensure you stay on the right track, especially if you're interested in a self-guided tour. The top of the third ladder had a section of iron that extended along the right-hand side as a hand rail, plus a metal grate had been placed at the edge of the cliff face to facilitate easier stepping off from the ladder. Additionally, the Combin massif dominated our sight lines as well. Plus, the alternative didn't sound that appealing. behind the clouds and it was too cool to remain outside. Having a water filter on the hike was not necessary, but we each carried about 3 liters of water a day; a filter would have saved us some money at the cabanes where you had to purchase drinking water. Update as of January 2014: This portion of the trail has been rerouted since we originally hiked it (thanks John Hendriks). All restaurants or hotels were accommodating of her dietary needs (the trickiest part was communicating!) There was still a bit of snow on the left-hand side of the moraine, so this route may only be passable a few months out of the year. We quickly stopped at Refuge de la Gentiane La Barma as we’d seen the Brits and the tour group head this way. It was good to start seeing familiar faces along the trail or at the cabanes – we did get to know our trailmates. Watery Trailheads: The Pyrenean Haute Route may well be – along with the GR10 and GR11 – the only long distance hike in the world where you can start with a dip in the ocean and finish with a swim in a sea. When we did the hike, reservations weren’t necessary anywhere along the trail; none of the Cabanes were more than half full and the towns had adequate lodging (but I’d still recommend it…just to be on the safe side). Rainier National Park. Personally, I think doing it without a guide was WAY better - we got to hike at our own pace (rather than stopping whenever the group decided to stop), we picked our own lodging (rather than camping or staying in large hostels), and eat where we chose to. I used this after our hike in Italy and whenever we wandered around town (plus this was my carry on luggage for the flight over). Haute Route: Trient - Arpette is a 9.8 mile heavily trafficked point-to-point trail located near Trient, Valais/Wallis, Switzerland that features a river and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trailhead is on one side of the Summit Central parking lot. Both of them hiked the route without a group or guides using only the Kev Reynolds book; we took a cue from our friends and decided to do the route the same way - guideless and groupless. To our right, we could see up to the Glacier du Trient and Fenêtre d’Arpette (tomorrow’s challenge) as we arrived into the southern side of Trient. We had a narrow floor-to-ceiling window which overlooked the glacier, plus a panel next to the window that we could open for fresh air, a bench the length of the narrow room, an electric overhead light (no power outlets) and a set of shelves and hooks on which to hang our gear. Thirty minutes later, we were down from the rocky outcropping and continued down the trail via the lateral moraine, backtracking down towards the Parking du Glacier. Once we finished breakfast, we asked the front desk to call Cabane du Mont Fort and Cabane de Prafleuri to make reservations for us that night and the subsequent night. (Oddly enough, a CAIC (Colorado Avalanche Information Center) sticker was stuck to this pole…it’s good to see a little slice of home so far away!). For your planning purposes, I’ve included costs of lodging, meals, and transportation in this report – this is to help you gauge what this trip cost us in September 2010. It approximately follows the French and Spanish border and passes through Andorra. We arrived at our hotel in Chamonix around 10:15am (Hotel de L’Arve (€95)). I strongly recommend picking up the latest edition! For the best experience on our site, be sure to turn on Javascript in your browser. The willingness of others to pass on information to help others that follow is an inspiring part of the hiking community. Be sure to get updated information before attempting that route (thanks John Hendriks). Update: For those that plan to continue hiking from here, the route from EuropaHutte to Zermatt was closed as of September 2013. Just keep that in mind when you look at our meal and lodging costs and plan for your own trip. Once we had reached the cabane, this theory was confirmed by the number of people up there to enjoy a nice lunch or some hot chocolate. For dinner we had soup, bread, a delicious beef stew, and a pineapple dessert. Who we recommend it for: This trail is for everybody (with some caveats)! Requires a free download of the Avenza PDF Maps app. Unfortunately, the group of paragliders were in the large dorm room next to us and their snoring made it a bit difficult to sleep – not to mention the fact that they got up around 5am to depart (the cabane's walls didn't do a terrific job of blocking the noise...you may consider earplugs). After relaxing a bit with few games of cards, most of the day-trippers had departed and dinner was served. I completed the bottom ladder just fine, and it transitioned smoothly into the second ladder. dirt held pretty steady under our feet (this was another spot that I was thankful to have hiking poles). A few trails seemed to pick their way through the increasingly rocky landscape and all were well marked. Thus, whether you choose to wear skis or hiking boots, the Haute Route is an adventure unlike any other. The stream had a set of rocks forming steps to cross (I probed the depth of the stream while crossing and I couldn't hit the bottom with my hiking pole). Enjoy! LODGE LAKE: This 3 mile hike takes you right under several ski lifts before leveling out and crossing through flower-filled alpine meadows and the smaller Beaver Lake on the way to your destination of Lodge Lake. Like any guidebook, though, their descriptions made more sense after we finished hiking for the day. (It turned out that Cabane de Moiry took credit cards, but if you need cash, plan ahead, because there’s none here). Thankfully, the trail relented shortly thereafter and levels out a bit as it contoured the hillside. After taking a 25 minute lunch break, we began our descent down the steep rocky trail. We arrived in Verbier around 10:40am. We settled on Hotel du Glacier, which came highly recommended from some of our friends that had hiked the route before. We had a few rainy/sleety/foggy days where rain jackets were necessary (but no drenching rains that required our rain pants or pack covers that we had with us). We typically ate the fresh food as our lunch. We started down the trail out of the center of La Sage at 8am – it started by climbing a dirt road southward out of town which became steeper and steeper as it switchbacked under an old chairlift while crossing a few pastures. Maps: Two very good maps by the Carte nationale de la Suisse cover the entire Walker’s Haute Route: #5003 Mont Blanc-Grand Combin and #5006 Matterhorn-Mischabel. Based on their description, it involved contouring around a cliff by way of wooden planks bolted to the rock face...that sounded even less appealing than the exposed trail we were heading to. Next, we tried Hôtel du Glacier just down the street and thankfully they had rooms available. As we descended to the valley floor, it felt much more like fall than it had so far along the route. The descent from the pass was very pleasant; the trail meandered through the tundra with lots of marmots chirping and scampering about. Unlike a weekender in the Enchantments, a long-distance hike (we’re talking a week to a month or even up to six months if you’re looking at the entire Pacific Crest Trail) is an exercise in endurance and perseverance, both mentally and physically. The biggest problem I had was keeping my eyes off the glacier below us – the dirt striations in the ice and snow far below gave me vertigo as I climbed! Lodging was easy to find in each town - whenever there was limited lodging (like in Grüben or at a hut) we'd call ahead the morning we departed to ensure we had a room waiting for us. Most guidebooks only provide high level sketches, and topographical maps don't highlight which trail to take or where you currently are on the trail. We explored the cabane a little and were incredibly surprised to see a poster of Arapahoe Basin, a popular Colorado ski area, hanging in one of the rooms! Hardest stage: Fenêtre d’Arpette – it’s hard to say if this was difficult because it was early on in the hike (and we weren’t quite up to shape yet) or because it was a lengthy, steep climb with a lot of distance. Out in front of the cabane was a large stone deck with picnic tables, but the best part by far was the dining area which offered clear views of the glacier below through massive windows. All of the lunch menus seemed rather heavy (and pricey) so we decided to pick up some meat, cheese, fruit, and bread from the supermarket for lunch. Unlike the ascent, there was no scrambling here; instead, the route was steep braid of slick dirt trails the dropped 300 feet in 400 feet of walking (a grade of 61%). The cabane had 3 minute showers available for 5 francs, but we decided to skip the shower. If not, please don't hesitate to drop me an email at . The trail climbed steeply up the hillside, eventually crossing the road that led to Col de la Forclaz. The entire town was about a half mile long, and on the southern end there a number of old buildings constructed around the early 1800s. As we descended around Chalte Berg, we lost the trail and ended up following a false spur that contoured around to the north instead of dropping down to the road. Though originally called "The High-Level Route" by members of the Alpine Club, in 1911, a group first successfully established a winter route from Bourg St. Pierre to Zermatt on skis and afterwards the name of... Read More. Panoramic Haute Route Maps now in stock These are the maps most frequently requested requested by our clients on the Haute Route. Past the farm, the terrain leveled out a bit and we finally caught sight of Augstbordpass in the distance. - See 18 traveler reviews, 4 candid photos, and great deals for Chamonix, France, at Tripadvisor. Update: For those that plan to continue hiking from here, the route from EuropaHutte to Zermatt was closed as of September 2013. The exposure started making me real anxious...but the views of Grand Combin and the valley below couldn't be ignored and played a wonderful distraction! Also, pick up an elastic clothes line at somewhere like REI - they hardly weigh anything and they're invaluable for drying clothes). The trail started off with a pleasant walk along a bisse. After climbing for a few minutes, we passed the fork that lead to Pas du Chat. Not once did I ever see the need for an ice axe. We had decided to take the cable car from Jungen down to St. Niklaus and avoid another 3,000 feet of steep descent - this made Jungen the end of our Haute Route hiking. Much to our surprise, it was a semi-sweet berry tea – a little unusual in taste (a few others we talked to hated the flavor) but the warmth and sweetness was actually kind of nice! 8.5 hours, 7.5 miles, +3879 ft, -3422 ft; 18.3% avg grade up, -17.4% avg grade down. It cost us a total of 6.80CHF to ride for 5 minutes, as opposed to hiking for an hour...well worth the expense! We were definitely in a cow pasture (the cows surrounding us and staring curiously at us was a big giveaway...but so were the cow pies), so paying attention to our foot placement became a bit of an important detail. Second hardest: Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Prafleuri – the numerous passes on this hike (including the highest pass along the trail) really stretch it out, plus you’re still an hour or so out once you begin your descent of the last pass. I was just staring ahead and didn't look down once! Really steep. We managed to cover all 2.5 miles of road in about an hour before reaching the end of the lake and the beginning of the day’s real climb. Generally, they were faster hikers than we were (we’d like to think it was because there packs only weighed 10 lbs. lazy and easy). We began the day with intentions of climbing over the Col, but as we watched a few people climb the ladders, it really didn’t look too bad (this coming from a guy that had freaked out most of the day before). Ahead of us, on the other side of the col, we could see a non-descript ridgeline and a silt settling pond below a glacier; the valley walls prevented us from viewing much else. Are you planning to hike one of the legendary trails in the Alps, such as Tour du Mont Blanc, Walker's Haute Route or Tour of Monte Rosa, but want to self-guide rather than join a tour group?. The trail along the lateral moraine was more defined and easier to follow (it only stayed on the very top for a few hundred feet) but it was decidedly more airy. All I can say is that, when it was all over, it was so worth it. We arrived at Clambin after 45 minutes of hiking (about a mile outside of Verbier). The trail became faint at times, eventually giving out completely; we found ourselves consulting the guidebooks a few times to ensure we were on the right path. The smaller rooms (as opposed to the dortoir rooms, which were in the old cabane) were on the second floor of the new “wing” – we had a narrow room that could sleep 4 in two head-to-toe bunk beads (we ended up having the room to ourselves, as the hut only had about 30 people that night). Our small documentary on the Haute Route Ski Tour trip that our group took from April 1-7th, 2017 - From Argentière to Zermatt. The 7-day tour is a great choice if you want the best hiking the Haute Route has to offer but don’t have time for the full 14-day trip. Amazingly, as we strolled up the street, we ran into 3 hikers from the UK Tour Group we’d been leapfrogging in the first few days. 7-Day Haute Route Tour Info. As an added complication, we weren't doubling back on our route, so we couldn't store any luggage anywhere for our after-hike trip down to the beaches of Italy - everything we had for our trip we had to carry. There are plenty of yellow trail signs that estimate time to different points of interest, including villages, cols and huts. Copyright 2008 – 2020 National Geographic Maps, 4001 :: Haute Route Map [Chamonix to Zermatt]. Once done with breakfast, we were ready to hit the trail – which was just out in front of the hotel. We hit the trail a little after 8am with the Brits after the tour group departed, figuring we’d let them get some distance ahead of us. We reached Col Termin (8,685 ft), 3 miles from the Cabane, at 10:20am, about 2 hours after starting our hike. I’ve created over 30 different personalised itineraries for the Haute Route so there is a good chance I can help. From our experiences hiking in Colorado, we have to filter any stream water; for this reason, we avoided any stream water in Switzerland (even glacier meltwater). These signs were ubiquitous all along the trail with yellow arrows (tipped in red and white) pointing in a number of different directions indicating towns or landmarks and their distance in terms of hiking time. There was a public restroom located just off the trial here. Haute Route Chamonix Zermatt MapS The Haute Route hike is not marked on any trail signs along the 180km journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. The trail dropped about 100 feet down to skirt a section of boulders along the ridge. Haute Route: Gruben to Saint Niklaus is a 10.6 mile point-to-point trail located near Turtmann, Valais/Wallis, Switzerland that features a river and is rated as difficult. We avoided eating Mr. Ed and instead ordered cheese and tomato fondue, plus a wonderful dessert. A weatherproof carrying case like this one wouldn’t hurt to have either. Past that choke point, the valley opened up significantly and we could finally start to see the other side of the Mattertal valley (however our viewpoint was still constrained by the ridges on both sides of us…and clouds). The trail was slick in spots from some morning frost, but generally the trail was pretty solid. It was here that we met the Belgians – three men and one woman that were also tackling the Haute Route; we talked for a while as we ate (their English was impeccable); this was another group that we encountered many times along our route. Trails in Europe amazing views and the trail relented shortly thereafter and levels out few... 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