last day of the tour, Day 7.
the Verbier Route and the route over the Plateau
du Couloir are the same on this, then final
day of the tour.
climax of the trip, this challenging day takes
us over three high cols, and rewards us with
the long, pleasant slopes below the Matterhorn
and down into Zermatt. We begin our day early
in the cold dawn, but finish in the warm late
afternoon skiing spring snow in the trees above
pass, the Col de l'Evêque is an easy ski up the broad and gentle
Mont Collon Glacier. From the col normally good snow is skied down until
a small icefall forces us right and then down to the next bench of the
glacier. More superb skiing leads down to the Arolla Glacier. Our next
col, the Col du Mont Brulé is steep and often windblown, and depending
on conditions we may elect to ascend it on foot.
Col du Mont Brulé comes one of the most isolated parts of the Haute
Route. We traverse the Haut Tsa de Tsan Glacier, a high glacial bench
on the Italian side of the ridge. Below us, the glacier flows south into
a wild and deep canyon, seemingly inaccessible. A long and gentle ascent
leads us to our last pass, the Col de Valpelline. As we arrive at the
Col the amazingly sharp summit of the Matterhorn appears. Our run down
the Stockji Glacier is tremendously varied and normally begins with dry
winter snow, warming to spring corn as we descend. The route is complex
as it weaves through crevasses, around the rocks of the Stockji itself
and onto the lower Zmutt Glacier. The changing views of the Matterhorn
on this long descent are memorable.
we reach Stafelalp, a welcome restaurant at the edge of the vast on-piste
ski complex on the Zermatt side of the Matterhorn. After a welcome beer
we weave our way down the easy ski run to Furi, just above Zermatt. If
there is still enough snow on the ground we can ski all the way into town.
If not, we jump on the lift for the quick ride to civilization. Then it's
a hot shower and a good Swiss meal (along with the obligatory Dôle
wine from the upper Rhône valley) to celebrate our trip.