Thursday, August 30, 2012

Walkers Haute Route August 2012

It seemed a little optimistic to discuss the good weather to come as Chamonix was shrouded in low cloud and rain, somehow I don't think the group could believe my optimism! 

little did we know at that point in time that we would be blessed with two weeks of almost near perfect weather, fabulous views, blue skies with a total of 2 hours of rain all the way from Chamonix to Zermatt!

The Walkers Haute Route is a tough undertaking, much harder than the Tour du Mont Blanc in terms of terrain, daily height gain, distance and trek duration. Its definitely not for the faint hearted and un seasoned trekker. We had a few of those thankfully.

Day 1: a relatively easy day we took the bus from Chamonix to La Tour and made our ascent of the Aiguillette des Possettes with fabulous 360 deg views of Mont Blanc, Aiguille Rouges and the Valaisian Alpes. We made our way to Trient via the Col du Balme, Alpage Catogne and Alpage Tessepes an great belvadere before making our descent through the trees to the Relais du Mont Blanc.

Day 2: a toughy, taking the steep path from Trient we made our ascent of Fenetre d'Arpette. 1300 meters of ascent from Trient to the Col followed by a long and tricky descent on the other side to Champex Lac, the blueberry pie was our only encouragement at the Relais d'Arpette 40 minuits from our final destination. A hard day deserves good accommodation and the Hotel du Glacier did not disappoint.

Day 3: an easy a day today which is not a bad thing as I knew what was to come! A descent in to Sembrancher followed by a valley walk through alpine meadows to Le Chable before taking the lift via Verbier to Les Ruinettes saving a slog up through the ski resort which is never pleasant. A 4k ascent to the Cabane du Mont Fort and a relax on the sun terrace taking in the views was a fitting end to the day.

Day 4: There is never a dull moment when trekking from Mont Fort to Prafleuri & today was no exception! Normally the weather has something to do with it but the forecast was perfect so what could go wrong?... path closures! As in my previous post the Sentier des Chamois has been temporarily closed due to rock fall our only option was to take the path via the Col des Chaux. Residue hard packed snow made the top section tricky, the descent was no better steep and loose and this was only the first Col of the day! the rest of the day went according to plan although long and tough as we tackled the Col de Louvie, Grand Desert & the Col de Prafleuri. Beers were order of the day on our arrival at the Cabane as our group had risen to the challenge!

Day 5: another beautiful morning, a short sharp climb over the Col de Roux and steep descend to Lac Dix on the other side we were treated to some fantastic views of Mont Blanc Cheilon and the Pigne Arolla. After a 4k interlude walking along the banks of Lac Dix we started our second climb of the day towards the Cabane des Dix and the Col de Reidmatten. The installation of the new footpath makes so much more sense (see previous post) and keeps you away from the loose & dangerous gully over the other side of the glaciated valley. The trail winds it's way up over moraine on either side of the Cheilon glacier bringing you out at the junction below the Col de Reidmatten & Pas des Chevres (ladders). From here we made a short and very steep final ascent of the Col over loose and precarious rocks and boulders making use of the fixed chains to pull us up the last final section where views of the Matterhorn awaited our arrival. The descent from the col is straight forward yet long as the path descends into Arolla. Nice hotel with good food was just what we needed after another fantastic day on the high route!

Day 6: A very easy day in comparison as we headed for Les Hauderes via Lac Bleu. This is the most beautiful traverse through the woods at high level (gaining a little height at times) the path finally brings you out at Lac Bleu with stunning views back towards Mont Colon. So attractive was the lake it was worth a quick icey plunge in the crystal clear 5 deg waters. We made our easy and leasurely descend to Les Hauderes and a 2pm arrival gave us all time to relax & recover from the challenging days that had gone before on our trek from Chamonix to Zermatt.

Part 2... Les Hauderes to Zermatt, to be continued.

For more information on the Walkers Haute Route and the guided & self guide,d treks we provide see:


  1. It seems you enjoyed a lot on this mont blanc trekking program. Even I love trekking and want to join this program. Can you please tell me when we have to register for the same.

  2. Hi Jordan, many thanks for your comments... & yes the group had a great time with great weather. Take a look at the following pages on our website this will give you more information about the trek. We will have more information about our 2013 treks in the next few weeks.

    Kind regards from the Chamonix Valley,

    Sara Haley