Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 1 - 8, 2015

Our first Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route this year started out with a big storm and lots of new snow! Very welcome of course, but the timing was awkward. We had to work around some avalanche risk in the first few days, but enjoyed some great snow conditions later on.

Other Trips with some of these folks

Scott - Ortler - March 2015
Scott - Berner Oblerland - April 2014
Scott - Albula - March 2014

George and Diane - Ortler - March 2014

Return to all recent trip


Our crew on this jaunt: from left to right, Mark, George and Diane Ciavola, Alexander Zinoviev, Scott Wood, and Marco Pavoncelli.


Heading up to the Argentière hut in yet another squall.


Climbing the moraine to the hut.


The next morning dawned beautiful, sun chasing clouds in high level winds.


We headed out early fom the Argentière hut.


Pausing on the glacier to photograph the dawn light.


Chased by the wind!


Given the high winds and deep fresh snow, we decided to head for the Col du Passon, rather than the more exposed Col du Chardonnet. Diane tops out of a steep snow pitch on the moraine.


Heading up the virgin slopes toward the Col du Passon.


Beautiful snow!


But, rapidly rising temperatures, a crowd of people overtaking us, and the last straw, a loud slope settlement, convinced us to ski that beautiful snow, and head to the Mont Fort hut, rather than push our luck trying to get to the Trient hut today.


It was a fun descent! And a suitable consolation prize.


Pausing for breath in the ski area.


After a pleasant night in the Mont Fort hut, we headed up the slopes of Verbier the following morning.


Topping out on the Col de la Chaux.


The cozy and welcoming Prafleuri hut was our destination. Seen here as we headed out in the twilight of the following morning.


Once again the weather challenged us as we headed down toward Lac Dix.


Heavy snowfalls of the past few days meant we had to finish our traverse above the lake as early as possible. A large Finnish group helped us break a trail in the deep snow.


Heading up toward the Pas du Chat, the worst of the terrain is behind us.


The weather began to break up as we approached the Pas du Chat.


Beautiful views as the sun comes out at last.


The first sunshine we've seen on the trip so far.


Welcome to the Dix hut!


Heading up toward the Pigne d'Arolla on our day 5, we have well and truly passed beyond the storm and our reward is clear blue skies.


Mont Blanc du Cheilon in the background.


Into the sun, but also into the wind!


Approaching the Serpentine.


Climbing up the Serpentine in a frigid wind.


Last steps to the col below the Pigne d'Arolla.


Skiing down toward the Vignettes hut, the Matterhorn waves hello.


On the summit of the Pigne, it looks like Everest, the way we are dressed.


Around the corner, and our first view of the Vignettes hut, perched on its cliff face.


Half buried in deep drifts of windblown snow from the recent storm, the hut is a welcome sight.




Heading out for our last stage in to Zermatt, in the early morning.


A setting full moon lights our way.


At the Col de l'Eveque.


A couple of lone contrarians at the Col de l'Eveque.


Some nice turns as we descend to the Upper Arolla Glacier.


Great snow! Worth waiting for.


But soon enough it's on to the next climb, up the Col du Mont Brulé.


A couple of hours later, we are on the Col de Valpelline, the final climb of the trip! It's all dowhill to Zermatt now!


And what a downhill it is.


The Matterhorn is up close and personal now.


Pausing for the views, before skiing all the way in to Zermatt.


The following day, the stars were aligned (i.e. the weather was good) for our favorite off-piste descent above Zermatt, the Schwarztor. Heading toward Castor here.


Wind-hammered, but wintry, snow.


The wind had hammered the upper slopes of the glacier.


Descending through the icefall.


An more descending through the icefall!


Oh, nice north facing stash here!


Into the frozen watercourse, for some "whoop-de-doos".


Local guides have set up this ramp to avoid falling into the rushing stream.


A fun ending to a big adventure.

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