Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • March 24 - 31, 2017

On our one Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route for season, we were joined by a very old friend John Cleary, his good buddy Eric Struhsacker, and Dan McPherson (who we skied with us in the Ortler the previous winter).

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Normally we try to ski the Vallée Blanche on our first day, but poor weather in the higher mountains suggested an alternate plan. With the foehn wind blowing in from the south side of the crest, the Aiguilles Rouges remained, if not clear, at least not too nasty. We headed up to the Crochues-Bérard traverse.


Arriving at the Col des Crochues.


We were not alone.


Eric starts down from Col de Bérard.


The following morning we battle the ground blizzard getting to the Argentière hut.


Truly nasty weather, but still some smiles.


Arriving at the Argentière hut.


The next morning dawned clear. Beautiful light on the Droites and the Verte.


Skiing down the glacier to the base of the Col du Passon.


Nearly the entire hut had the same plan. The Col du Passon is at the top of one of the steep gullies above the lead skiers.


The little boot-up to get off the glacier.


...and a long skin up to the final boot pack up the gully to the Col.


The sun comes up and it gets quite warm. Almost too warm.


John arrives at the top of the Col du Passon.


After a short descent, we have another skin up to the Col Supérieur du Tour.


Dan in the Col Sup du Tour.


After a long day, we arrive at the Trient hut. Sunset on the Aiguilles Dorées.


Dinner in the Trient hut.


An early start the next morning.


Arriving at the Col des Ecandies.


At the Col des Ecandies, we are greeted by the warm sun.


Col des Ecandies.


After a taxi ride to Bourg-Saint-Pierre, we walk, then skin up towards the Valsorey hut.


Passing though a small canyon on the way up to the Valsorey hut.


Sunrise on Mont Blanc from the Valsorey hut.


Higher, the sun lights up Mont Vélan.


We had a great track up the Plateau du Couloir. Here, we are almost to the top.


After a long ski down, we arrive at the Chanrion hut.


Another beautiful day. On our way up to Les Portons, the Pigne d'Arolla, and finally the Vignettes hut. The Grand Combin in the background.


The route to the Portons climbs the wide couloir in the background.


Up on the very scenic plateau of Les Portons.


Crossing the Col Nord des Portons via a wee bit of rock climbing.


Looking south past the Col Nord des Portons.


The short, but sweet descent to the upper Brenay Glacier.


After a very long skin up to the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla, we finally can see the Vignettes hut, our home for the night.

Roll your mouse over to find the hut.


Another beautiful sunrise as we cross the Col de Charmotane on our final day to Zermatt.


Another party arrives at the Col de l'Evêque, and the sunshine.


After a descent of the upper part the Haut Glacier d'Arolla we skin towards the Col du Mont Brulé


A boot pack up the Col, a short descent, and a long skin up the Haute Glacier de Tsa de Tsan, and we finally arrive at the Col de Valpelline. The Matterhorn in the background.


Skiing down the Stockji Glacier under the Matterhorn.


Looking up towards the Col de Valpelline, a long long ways up there.


Eric, Mark (bad hair day) and Dan at the end of the trail.


With such fine weather during the tour, we had an extra (weather) day to explore Zermatt.


John and Dan, and the Matterhorn.

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