Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 2 - 9, 2014

It's April, time to leave Chamonix behind en route to Zermatt! Joining us, the following crew of strong skiers:

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From left to right, Malcolm McPhee, Sharon Grasso, Michele McPhee, John Wason, Eric White, Bill Posanka (behind Kathy), Mark Jennings, Jim Wason, and Mark.


The typical hurly-burly of the Aiguille du Midi ridge descent, well equipped for the ski season with sturdy posts and hawsers.


Lunch at the Requin hut; John and Sharon take a break from cheesy Savoie fare, to stock up on fresh veggies while they can.


The Géant icefall in all its crumbly glory!


After our shake-down on the Vallée Blanche, our second day coincided with a cold, windy, very foggy day. Hiking the last few steps to the Argentière hut, we don't have far to go in any case.


Another group of skiers braving the gale-force winds on the Argentière glacier.


We decide to hole up and be cozy instead. A chilly afternoon, even in the shelter of the hut!


Early morning at the Argentière hut; the look of the sky promises a much nicer day!


And in fact it is a beautiful morning as we approach the Col de Chardonnet.


Looking back toward the Grands Montets ski area and the Aiguille Verte. Despite the lovely weather, we are nearly alone on this ascent!


Which is a very nice thing as we negotiate the technical descent off the Col. Great to have it to ourselves for a change.


On toward the Fenêtre de Saleina.


And the end is in sight! The Trient hut is off on that ridgeline on the left. An easy glide in to the finish line.


Leaving the Trient hut the following morning, things aren't so cheery.


Thick fog on the Col des Ecandies.


Into the soup! The Val d'Arpette, could be anywhere by the look of this shot! It would have been easy to lose sight of each other, but good teamwork kept us together.


An assist by Jean-Yves Michelod, to Le Chable...


And we continued on to the Prafleuri hut. Nearing the Rosablanche in the persistent murk.


But what's this!? The sun broke out just as we approached the hut. Beautiful late afternoon light.


The scene at the busy Prafleuri hut the next morning, another sunny one is on the way.


At the Col des Roux, as the sun rises.


After a long traverse above the Lac des Dix, interrupted by the obligatory crossing of frozen avalanche debris, we take a detour to approach the Dix hut by the road less traveled.


Catching sight of the hut as we clear the ridge, we also get a good preview of the following day's big climb over the Pigne d'Arolla (in the center background).


Lovely evening light on the Dent Blanche and the Aiguille de la Tsa, from the terrace of the hut.


Another clear, cool morning as we start our climb up to the Pigne d'Arolla. Mont Blanc de Cheilon in the background.


The high point! On top of the Pigne. The Matterhorn on the left in this photo, is looking pretty close now!


The morning of our last day dawns clear enough, but the forecast is not great for this day. We start out from the Vignettes hut, cautiously optimistic...


Sure enough, by the time we get to the Col du Mont Brulé, it is snowing heavily and thick clouds once again gather around us. The wind is not strong however, and the temperature quite moderate, so we continue on.


We make it through the last col, the Col de Valpelline, with just a bit of wind and quite poor visibility, but things improve quickly as we descend.


The Matterhorn gradually appears through the quickly dispersing clouds.


Despite thin snow cover at lower elevations, it's still quite good up here as we draw near to Stafel.


Gliding beneath the Matterhorn's North Face.


And onto the pistes, and down to town and... we made it!!! In Zermatt right on schedule! End of ski run, we take our last steps on cobblestones and pavement.


The following morning (our last day), the weather is still brilliant, so we head up to do our favorite "dessert" run, down the Schwarztor. Checking out the celebrity as we head back up to the lifts.


Pollux (left) and Castor (right) as we skin up to the gap they call the Schwarztor.


We find some buttery snow at last!


Not exactly "ego snow", but Mr. Jennings makes it look easy.


stopping to admire the "features" of this glacier descent.


Up close and personal with a few more "features"!


The Matterhorn again, what a backdrop to a gorgeous descent.


Pausing on the moraine, for the last pitch down the steep glacier.


What a week! What a crew! What a blast. Thanks Team, for making it such a successful and unforgettable journey.

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