Plateau Haute Route day to day description, map and photos

Day 5 - Cabane de Valsorey to Cabane de Chanrion

This is a crux day on the classic Haute Route. The traverse of the Plateau du Couloir is steep and we need good snow stability and reasonable weather to complete this section. From the Valsorey Hut we climb very steeply and directly up to the Plateau du Couloir. Much of this section is done on foot with boot crampons, skis strapped to our packs. The slope reaches about 45 degrees in steepness at its top. After this early morning ascent we descend a short way, then over the Col du Sonadon, to a long and complex descent of the Glacier du Mont Durand. The day ends at the Cabane de Chanrion.

This is a big day, not so much in length, but more in the sense of being deep in the heart of the mountains, remote and committed. The Chanrion hut is far from any road, there is no quick and easy exit.

Day 5 - Cabane de Valsorey to Cabane de Chanrion
831 meters
2726 feet
1399 meters
4589 feet

This photo was taken from part way up the slope between the Valsorey hut and Plateau du Couloir You can see skiers at the bottom, working their way up. Mont Blanc is the rather large peak behind, not so far away, really.

Kathy nears the top of the slope up to the Plateau du Couloir.


Early morning sun on the start of the descent from the Col du Sonadon.


Here we are, skiing down the short slope between the Plateau du Couloir, which is just up and right, and the basin leading up to the Col du Sonadon


Pulling off the skins on the Col du Sonadon, Mont Blanc behind.


This photo was taken from near the Col du Sonadon at the head of the Glacier du Mont Durand. These skiers area taking a short side trip up the nearby Grand Tête de By. After a quick ascent of this peak (just for fun) they'll ski down the glacier to the Chanrion hut. The big massif in the background is the peaks of Monte Rosa, just above Zermatt.


Skiing down the Glacier du Mont Durand. The Chanrion hut is in the center of the photo, low, near the valley bottom. We are looking east in this photo, in the direction of travel toward Zermatt.


This is the key traverse on the descent of the Mont Durand Glacier. Here, you can see three skiers on the correct line. For obvious reasons you don't want to go to low!

Kathy about to dive into her Rösti avec fromage in the Chanrion hut.


The Cabane de Chanrion. This hut is in a wonderful setting, remote, with incredible views. Behind we are looking at the Grand Combin de la Tsesette, one of the many high summits of the Grand Combin. Of all the mountain huts on the Classic Haute Route, we have to confess that this is probably our favorite.

Continue on to Day 6.....

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