Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • March 31 - April 7, 2016

Back on the Haute Route this year! We were joined by an intrepid crew, which was lucky as Mother Nature didn't exactly make things easy for us!

Other Trips with some of these folks

Elizabeth Hampson

Val Maira - Chamonix - February 2016
Albula, St Moritz to Davos, March 2015

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Day one, into the fog on the Aiguille du Midi ridge!


Actually the forecast, for good weather, proved accurate and we had a fantastic run down the Vallée Blanche.


Pausing to wait for the fog to clear, we got some good freshies, if a bit heavy, and took in the views.


Pretty good snow!


The next day was not so lovely, with high winds and poor visibility. But we started out undaunted. From Left to right, Kevin Clark, Curt Slater, Elizabeth Hampson, Dave Hoffman, Kevin (unrecognizable!) Lederer and Linda Piper.


Hut Number One: the Argentière.


Getting to the hut.


The next day dawned clear, as we left the Argentière hut.


We descend the glacier a short distance, before beginning the first, and biggest, climb of the day.


The Petite (and Grande) Aiguille Verte behind us in the early morning light as we approach the Col de Chardonnet.


Getting close to the Col now.


The usual rope shenanigans down the back side, it is deep but steep.


Gloating over nice turns, and the key segment of the day safely passed.


The sun got hot as we approached the Fenêtre de Saleina.


A steep boot pack, with heavy loads.


Quite the hump over this one!


At last we pull over the top.


Our reward, the comfort of the wood stove in a cozy corner of the Trient hut.


The next morning, the clouds are back as we leave the hut.


The Fenêtre d'Arpette was quite busy this morning!


Another challenge overcome.


Nearing the end of the long downhill run in the Val d'Arpette.


And another reward, coffee and pie in the bakery in Champex!


After the taxi transfer from Champex to Verbier, our trek through the lift system was made more ... "entertaining", and certainly longer, by the fact that the Freeride World Cup competitions were taking place that very day.


The crowds await a lull in the high winds and flat light, which have temporarily halted the competition.


Competitors began to launch down among the cliffs above us as we skinned up out of the ski are.


At the Col de la Chaux, vicious winds complicated our changeover to downhill skiing mode.


The following day again was partly cloudy, and increasingly fierce winds as we made our way from the Prafleuri hut...


... to the Dix hut.


From the Dix hut, continuing high winds and poor visibility ruled out an ascent and traverse of the Pigne d'Arolla, but not the continuation of our trip. We decided to use our extra weather day to retreat to Arolla for a night of relative luxury before returning to the route via the Vignettes. A slightly improving weather forecast for the last day, seemed to support this tactic.


En route to Arolla, the ladders of the Pas du Chêvre make things interesting.


Breaking up clouds, warm sunshine.


We celebrate the moment when we join the groomed slopes of the Arolla ski area.


The Hotel du Glacier in Arolla, our cozy home for the night.


A bit of luxury in the middle of a challenging week.


The next day, we headed out in RAIN! Yes, that's right, RAIN! The Post bus mocks us as we start out.


But it turned out to be a pleasant skin up the glacier to the Vignettes hut.


Until the very last moment, that is, when we reached the hut on the ridge crest, and for a few moments were in the brunt of a howling wind! It was a relief to stagger inside.


The morning of our last day, not as windy and not as threatening, but far from clear. Leaving the hut at dawn.


Off we head.


We were certainly not alone as we marched up to the Col de l'Evêque.


Nor were we alone skinning up the steep slopes to the Col du Mont Brûlée.


Nor starting up our last climb of the day, to the Col de Valpelline.


On the descent, foggy conditions allowed just enough visibility, and the snow though heavy, was quite fun skiing.


Sadly, no views of the Matterhorn as we traversed below its North Face.


As we reach Stafelalp, the sleet turns again to rain! That's right, RAIN!!!!


Soggy and bedraggled, but still euphoric, we march triumpant into Zermatt.


The next morning, as we prepared to break up the company, the Matterhorn made it's appearance in the early morning. A beautiful farewell!

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