Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • Via Verbier • April 14 - 21, 2007

Our first Haute Route tour this year was via the Verbier route. Flawless weather, and corn snow conditions were the "regle du jour".

Other Recent Trips


"The Crew", seen above at the start of our trip near the top of the Grands Montets, from left to right: Hamish Love from Wellington New Zealand; Cricket Fisher, currently studying in Oxford UK; Jay Coburn of Beverly, MA; Bill Graham of Tallahassee, FL; Terry Fisher (father of Cricket) from Lexington, MA; Bryan Desloge—also from Tallahassee—and Rachelle Love, married to Hamish.


Our first day was meant to be a descent of the Vallée Blanche. Strong foehn winds pouring over the range from the south, kept the Aiguille du Midi telepherique closed for the day, so we instead rode the lifts to the top of the Brévent. The views across to Mont Blanc were fantastic, even if the snow was rather ... heavy.


The next day however was all we could hope for. Universally understandable signs at the edge of the managed ski slopes, inform us of some inherent risks associated with our endeavor!


Dry conditions at the base of the glacier leading to the Col du Chardonnet, led us to opt for skis on the pack for the first few minutes.


The Col du Chardonnet, seen here from below, was free of traffic—an unusual and welcome situation! A fairly straight-forward lower leads to easier ground below.


The group approaches the Fenêtre de Saleina in the mid-afternoon. Our last obstacle before reaching the Trient hut.


Arriving at the top of the Fenêtre de Saleina.


The Trient hut has recently had a brand spankin' new addition built. While not architecturally inspiring, it nevertheless adds considerably to the comfort inside.


As evidenced by this photo of the new dining addition. Thierry's cooking remains as excellent as ever, in his enlarged new kitchen.


The following day we continued down to Champex. Here we "boot it" up the few meters of climbing of the day, to the Col des Ecandies.


Our descent of the Val d'Arpette was well-timed for some nice corn snow conditions on south-facing aspects.


How many "authentic moments" have passed since 1788? Well, here's another one!


Cute? Or creepy? You decide... Mark was struck by this "non-traditional" garden gnome in Champex.


After taking a taxi from Champex to Verbier, we enjoyed a meal, and what a meal! Dr. Atkins would no doubt approve of this "Devil's Tower" of a salad. .


The comfortable and cozy Mont Fort soaks up the last rays of the sun later that evening.


And the sunrise was just as nice the next morning!


We left the hut (Mont Blanc catching the early light behind), early so as to minimize our time spent in the heat of the day later on.


Frozen conditions on one side of the col de la Chaux gave way to corn on the other.


Hamish and Rachelle unveil their version of "Blue Steel". Hamish here sports the new "look" of the glacier, Pirate style.


The Prafleuri hut basks in the midday sun as we arrive.


Another early start the following morning, we turn off our headlamps as we leave the hut.


Heading up to the Col des Roux


The heat caught us out this day, heading up to the Cabane des Dix in "reflector oven" windless conditions.


Cresting a small col above the Cabane des Dix, we skied the last few meters down to it in time for lunch.


On our day 5 of the tour, we reached our high point, the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla. The Matterhorn makes an appearance under Cricket's right hand.


Leaving the Vignettes hut on our last day, "Zermatt or bust", we're still so sleepy we can't see straight.


Crossing the border into Italy at the Col du Mont Brulé.


There's some corn snow! Billy likes it.


The long haul up to the Col de Valpelline, ends at last with a great view of the Matterhorn from the West.


We made it! Now just 6000 feet to descend...


in every kind of snow and snow-like substance imaginable.


And finally, in non-snow-like substances. A bit more walking than usual, but rewards await in Zermatt.


More snow-like and un-snow-like terrain, it ain't over 'til it's over. Pine needles are good for your bases, aren't they?


Prost! To a job well done.


Having arrived in Zermatt without using up our "weather day", we had an extra day to spend. Despite the rising hem of the snow-line, we decided to eke out a trip down the Schwartz Tor. First, we had to pause at the viewpoint of the Klein Matterhorn, and admire from a distance the scenery we had spent the last week crossing.


The view eastward to the Mischabel Group of peaks, Saas Fee is hidden behind.


The usual "whoop-dee-doo" shenanigans keep life exciting on the Schwartz Tor descent!


Yowee zowee!


The corn is holding up, but barely... Hamish stylin' on the lower slopes.


Back to the boots for our exit at the bottom of the glacier. It was worth it though!

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