Classic Haute Route
The Haute Route is possibly the most famous ski tour in the world! An epic 6 day journey crossing spectacular terrain – a must for every ski mountaineer…
We have chosen the ‘skiers Haute Route’ as it offers better skiing and a higher chance of completion than the summer mountaineering route.
SET WINTER 2017 DATES:
If the dates don’t suit your group we are happy to make a bespoke trip for you.
Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability
What's not included
Who is this for?
You should be fit enough for 6 hut to hut days of hard work (5-8h/day) and capable of skiing in different types of snow. To ascent some summits it is important you have basic mountaineering experience because we’ll have some crampon work with a couple of easy rock moves. Previous ski touring mileage is essential. It’s very important your ski touring equipment is in perfect shape.
Accommodation and huts
They are basic but comfortable. They can cater for vegetarians. Food is usually on a set menu basis (3 course in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and so you have to buy water to drink and wash with (no showers). You can usually buy tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, chocolate bars and snacks. Sleeping arrangements are normally dormitory style bunkbeds (eg 6 people on the bottom, 6 on the top) with blankets or duvets, so you don’t need a sleeping bag. Huts provide slippers to be worn inside.
You can expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
Saturday: Arrive in Chamonix and settle in to the chalet. We meet in the evening to discuss the weeks plans, do a kit-check etc.
Sunday Warm up skiing, avalanche transceiver training and kit checks followed by descent to the Argentiere glacier and short skin to the Argentiere mountain hut (45mins).
Monday An early start and ascent to the col du Chardonnet or col du Passon, followed by skiing to the Trient hut (4.5 hours uphill).
Tuesday After a fantastic ski down the north facing vallee d’Arpette, we take a taxi from Champex to Verbier. We then use the lift systems to access another great descent from Mont Fort. Another skin up the Rosablanche leads to a ski to the Prafleuri hut (3-4 hours uphill). A great day!
Wednesday We travel over the col des Roux and then traverse and climb to the Dix hut (5-6hours total).
Thursday Climb up the Pigne d’Arolla and ski down to the superbly positioned Vignettes hut. A long skin up (5 hours) followed by stunning views and a great ski descent…
Friday An early start. We cross 3 cols before skiing down the stunning slopes of the Stockli glacier leading under the Matterhorn to Zermatt. One of the best days skiing in the Alps. (10-12 hours total). We return to Chamonix and stay in our chalet this evening.
Good fitness will make it more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course
to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. Ski mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going for a long hill walk or cycle as this simulates the real thing as closely as possible and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!).
However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are just as good. The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains. For cardio cycling, running and rowing machines are much better than weight training, which you should try and exercise for up to a couple of
hours at a time, 4 times a week. Also yoga, swimming and Pilates help with core stability and balance, with squats and cycling a good way to strengthen your legs. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury. Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up and preparing for the ski tour. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals. Remember training does not work overnight and the fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
Unfortunately we can’t recommend a specific brand and model for each item on the kit list, as what is available is constantly changing and, of course, different people are different shapes and sizes with different budgets! However, in general, we use and endorse Sherpa for clothing and Black Diamond for kit because in our experience they are excellent… If you go to a good retailers such as Snow & Rock, explain to them you will be back country skiing and they will be able to advise you on what is best for you. Bring this list with you…
Lastly, if necessary it is possible to rent most hardware items in Chamonix. You can hire boots too, but this is a last resort (no one likes uncomfortable boots).
1. Skis for off piste skiing – we recommend skis that you will enjoy skiing on, but are not too heavy/stiff. They should be ‘fat’ but not too fat. Wider skis make it easier to ski off piste, but too wide can be hard to control and hamper your technique progression. We would recommend an underfoot width of 80-90mm.
2. Poles –
3. Skins and ski crampons
4. Boots – these must fit and be comfortable. We feel it is best not to rent boots. Rather buy some and have them fitted professionally – this will make your week much more comfortable, fun and blister free! ‘Fit’ is more important than whether a boot is ‘stiff enough’ or not.
5. Rucksack – 40-50l. with ski straps
6. Water bottle
7. Transceiver, probe, shovel, harness with 1 screw gate karabiner (can be rented in Chamonix)
8. sunglasses, goggles, sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
9. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
10. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
11. Insulating layers. I use a thin ‘100’ weight fleece and a synthetic duvet jacket (thin).
12. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
13. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
Remember kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it! We can help with equipment rental in Chamonix.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing/ skiing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to Chamonix
It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure.
Easyjet have many cheap flights to Geneva from all over the UK. Swiss Air have cheap and convenient flights from London to Geneva.
Booking a place on a minibus airport transfer service is by far the best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix (it takes about an hour or so, is cost effective and is a door to door service). We can book your airport transfers at a competitive rate – just email us with your flight details…
There are several cash points in Chamonix and Maestro/visa/mastercard are all readily accepted.