Haute Route


Haute Route

The Haute Route, (or The High Route or Mountaineers' Route) is the name given to a route (with several variations) undertaken on foot or by ski touring between Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland.

First charted as a summer mountaineering route by members of the Alpine Club (UK) in the mid 19th century, the route takes around 12+ days walking (or 7+ days skiing) running the 180 km from the Chamonix valley, home of Mont Blanc to Zermatt, home of the Matterhorn.

Since the route was originally walked by members of an English club they dubbed it the The High Level Route; however, this became translated into French when it was first successfully undertaken on skis in 1911. Now it is commonly referred to by English speakers only by the French title for both summer and winter routes.

Technically, haute route has become a generic description for any of the many multi-day alpine hut-to-hut tours; the correct term is therefore, "Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route".

Walking Haute Route

The danger of collapsing glaciers has increased recently and some parts of the route have become virtually impassable. This is believedWho|date=October 2007 to be due to global warming; however the glaciers have been receding since the end of the Little Ice Age.Fact|date=October 2007

A lower level variation exists that crosses no glaciers at all. [Reynolds, Kev, "Chamonix - Zermatt: The Walker's Haute Route" ISBN 1-85284-327-6 "(as of the 2001 revision)"]

Huts and villages on the walking route

*Le Tour village, France
*Albert Premier Hut
*Cabane du Trient or Orny Hut
*Champex town, Switzerland
*Valsorey Hut or Chanrion Hut
*Vignettes Hut
*Arolla village, Switzerland
*Bertol Hut
*Schonbiel Hut
*Zermatt town, Switzerland

Low level variation huts and villages

*Chamonix town, France
*Argentière village, France
*Trient village, Switzerland
*Champex village, Switzerland
*Sembrancher village, Switzerland
*Le Chable village, Switzerland
*Verbier village, Switzerland
*Arolla village, Switzerland
*Les Haudères village, Switzerland
*Zinal village, Switzerland
*Gruben village, Switzerland
*St Niklaus village, Switzerland
*Zermatt town, Switzerland

ki Touring Haute Route

First successfully completed in 1911, The Haute Route ski tour is likely the most famous and coveted ski tour in the world. Using high mountain huts to allow skiers to stay high and cover substantial distances, it winds through the highest, most dramatic peaks of the Alps from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. It requires good weather, favourable snow conditions and strong effort to complete this line. Because of this, only 50% of the skiers who begin the tour complete it.

There are many variations of the HLR (High Level Route) [Cliff, Peter, "The Haute Route: Chamonix-Zermatt" ISBN 1-871890-21-7] that work their way between Chamonix and Zermatt, including those listed below. It is also possible to add ascents of a number of excellent ski peaks to any of the routes.

Many people will also ski the Haute Route in the opposite direction, by variations that select more optimal ascent and descents.

[http://www.markseaton.com/haute-route.htm Google Earth file] of Haute Route features.

Verbier Variation:

The purest skiing line, and the most frequently done.
*Day 1: Argentière, France, over the Col du Chardonnay and the Fenetre du Saleina to the Trient Hut.
*Day 2: Champex-Lac via the Val d'Arpette. Bus or taxi to Verbier and the Mont Fort hut.
*Day 3: Over the Rosablanche to the Prafleuri hut.
*Day 4: Around Dixence reservoir and up to the Dix hut.
*Day 5: Over the Pigne d'Arolla to the Vignette hut.
*Day 6: A long day to Zermatt over the Col de l'Eveque, Col du Mont Brulé and Col de Valpelline, then a long descent under the shoulder of the Matterhorn and Dent d'Herens.
*Day 7: Optional extension to Saas-Fee over the Adler Pass.

Classic Route:

The winter Haute Route's original line which involves long climbs and mountaineering with ice axe and crampons.
*Day 1: Argentiere village, France, over the Col du Chardonnet and the Fenetre du Saleina to the Trient hut.
*Day 2: Champex-Lac via the Val d'Arpette. Bus or taxi to Bourg-St.Pierre.
*Day 3: Long climb up to the Valsorey hut on the shoulder of Grand Combin.
*Day 4: Over the Plateau du Couloir and down the Glacier du Mont Durand to the Chanrion hut.
*Day 5: A long climb up the Otemma Glacier to the Vignette hut.
*Day 6: A long day to Zermatt over the Col de l'Eveque, Col du Mont Brulé and Col de Valpelline, then a long descent under the shoulder of the Matterhorn and Dent d'Herens.

Grande Lui variation:

A longer, harder, more technical route that eliminates the road break of the Verbier and Classic variations.
*Day 1: Argentiere village, France, over the Col du Chardonnet and the Fenetre du Saleina to the Trient hut or down to the Bivouac Dores.
*Day 2: Over the Grande Lui through the Col du Saleina or around it via the Swiss Three Cols and a long descent to La Fouly.
*Day 3: Up the Val Ferret and over to Grand St. Bernard Hospice.
*Day 4: Down to Super St. Bernard and over the shoulder of Mont Vélan to the Vélan Hut.
*Day 5: Up the Grand Combin and over the Plateau du Couloir, down the Glacier du Mont Durand to the Chanrion hut.
*Day 6: A long non-technical climb up the Otemma glacier or a stiffer climb over Les Portons to the Vignette hut.
*Day 7: A long day to Zermatt over the Col de l'Eveque, Col du Mont Brulé and Col de Valpelline, then a long descent under the shoulder of the Matterhorn and Dent d'Herens.
*Day 8: Optional extension to Saas-Fee over the Adler Pass.

"Backward" Haute Route

*Day 1: From Zermatt under the Matterhorn up to the Schonbiel Hut.
*Day 2: Over the Col de Valpelline and up to the Bertol Hut.
*Day 3: Down then up over Col Collon to the Vignettes Hut.
*Day 4: Over the Pigne d'Arolla and down Les Portons to Chanrion Hut.
*Day 5: Across the Otemma Gorge, up & over into the Aosta Valley. Hitchhike to La Palud.
*Day 6: Ride the lift to the Vallee Blanche. Descend to Montanvers and ski or take the cog train out to Chamonix.

Peaks and passes on the route

See the route descriptions.

Optional ski peak ascents along the listed Haute Route variations include the Mont Blanc, Rosablanche, Pigne d'Arolla, Mont Blanc de Cheilon, Mont Vélan, Breithorn. Some of these peak ascents will require an additional day or more.

ee also

* Swiss Alps

References

External links

* [http://sabegg.googlepages.com/walker'shauteroute Walker's Haute Route 2005 - trip report and photos]

* [http://hauteroute.horolezci.cz Haute Route 2003 - report] - Czech

* [http://hauteroute2001.horolezci.cz Haute Route 2001 - report] - Czech

* [http://www.swisstopo.ch/en/products/analog/maps/fkski Swiss Topo] maps are gorgeous. Remarkably, every map is ground-truthed and updated at least every 5 years. The 1:25,000 series are beautifully detailed, but too bulky to use as field maps for long tours. "5003: Mont Blanc - Grand Combin" and "5006: Matterhorn - Mischabel" cover the area the summer Haute Route runs through specifically. The winter Haute Route & its variations rest mainly on the following 1:50,000 maps which include ski touring routes in red:


*282 S Martigny 1:50,000
*283 S Arolla 1:50,000
*284 S Mischabel 1:50,000 [includes Saas Fee extension & Zermatt day-tours]

* [http://www.pagetwister.com/generic/templates/cej_news_wide.cfm?id=598&secver=sec1name&pid=33&storyid=2265 Vanishing Glaciers] Skiing the Haute Route grows more difficult each year, as global warming shrinks the glaciers.

* [http://www.chamonixwalks.com Walks in and around the Chamonix Valley]

* [http://theadventure100.com/adventures.php?TourID=ed6f5f25adde62609c8fb36a1ca0f45 Haute Route Guided Tours]

* [http://www.kevreynolds.co.uk/ Kev Reynolds] Writer of "The Walker's Haute Route" "(see #Reference)"

* [http://www.cicerone.co.uk/product/detail.cfm/book/513/iid/9/show/updates#tabs "The Walker's Haute Route" updates] Updates to "The Walker's Haute Route" are posted here.


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