Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 12 – 19, 2008

Our first Haute Route this year, a Verbier version, was wtih a private group from Duluth, MN. Birkebeiner runners and cross-country racers all, they knew how to ski hard and have fun!

Other Recent Trips

From left to right: John Anderson (who, sadly, had to leave us on day 2 due to health issues), Bruce Derauf, John Bergstrom, (Mark in the back there peaking around), Steve Kuross, and Andy Baertsch.


Pausing to take in the epic scenery on the Vallee Blanche descent.


We pause for a lunch break at the Requin hut. Great skiing conditions for us, but after weeks of heavy snowfalls every couple of days, the hut keepers are getting tired of digging out and shoveling acres of snow every morning!


On day two, John B. heads up the line to the Col du Chardonnet.


Descending the back side on a rope is always exciting. Once tested, the deep and heavy snow proved stable, but made for an arduous side slip.


Topping out on the Fenêtre de Saleina in warm sunshine.


We feel lucky as we arrive at our first hut, the Cabane de Trient, in beautiful weather and in good time.


Less lucky the following morning, we boot up the short climb to the Col des Ecandies in a blizzard.


On day 4, leaving the Montfort hut, all the recent snowfalls pay off as we wander in a powdery wonderland up toward the Rosa Blanche.


We pause to take in the summit of the Rosablanche before a beautiful descent to the Prafleuri hut. Here our group is joined by Kaspar and Charlie and Kenneth, who were skiing with our friend Michael Silitch.


Beautiful snow!


Clear and cold weather on day 4 rendered the often-stifling traverse across Lac Dix quite powdery and pleasant! Our march was accompanied by the BOOOM of avalanche control for the upcoming Patrouille des Glaciers race from Zermatt to Verbier.


We approach the Dix hut from above, just in time to watch our rösti being delivered by helicopter (or so we liked to think).


Arriving early at the Dix hut, we headed out again after lunch to ski up the nearby "Luette". Approaching the summit, we look back to the Mont Blanc de Cheilon right next door.


Once again milking due north-facing slopes, we tried to avoid the heavy stuff and stick to the fluff. With some success, as you can see! Not too shabby.


On day 5, we approach the "Serpentine". This often-icy slope was beautifully packed with perfect snow this year, allowing us to skin up it without having to resort to boot crampons, a rare treat.


The transition on the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla, in a cold wind.


Blustery conditions as we approach the Vignettes hut.


The following morning dawned beautifully clear, and we made haste to get on the road in the pre-dawn twi-light.


Donning skins at the Col de Charmotane.


Fog came and went as the morning wore on. Here we are joined by a couple dozen of anonymous new friends (actually we did know the guides!) as we boot up to the Col du Mont Brulé.


However, as luck would have it, we re-entered the sunshine just in time at the Col de Valpelline. Thank you, weather gods!


The snow gods were kind as well, as we enjoyed a fluffy ride down the Stockji Glacier toward Zermatt.


Bruce rips it up under the shadow of the Matterhorn.


Ah, yessssss. No commentary needed.


Some serious work awaits at Stafelalp... we actually have a CHOICE of menu...? Hmmm. The rösti, the omelette, the salad.... This is hard.


The following day the weather holds, so we head up to do our favorite tour, the Schwarztor! A high point of the trip, despite challenging snow up high, we did get some really nice skiing in, among such impressive surroundings.


But the really fun part is the watercourse labyrinth, safely dry and snow-covered at this time of year, as we glide down the lower reaches of the Gorner Glacer.


The strange ice forms provide lots of playing opportunities and surprising photo ops.


Er, maybe not a place to linger.


The end of a great day, and a great trip. Sayonara, Zermatt!