Summer Haute Route Trek
The summer Haute Route Trek is one of the world’s great multi-day treks. The route links two renowned alpine mountaineering centres, Chamonix in France, home to Mount Blanc and Zermatt in Switzerland, home to the Matterhorn. The path passes through breathtaking alpine scenery and you will enjoy stunning mountain panoramas every step of the journey.
Spectacular views are standard on this trek and it is a great stepping stone for the trekker to experience the High Alps and its glaciers. The summer haute route trek is for hill walkers and trekkers keen to get higher in the mountains
and experience some higher altitude. The hiking route follows a network of well-marked and signposted trails that stays below 3000m and takes advantage of the popular mountain huts and small inns and hotels in the charming villages along the way. In the spring, summer and fall, the route is safe, entirely non-technical and while challenging because of its daily elevation gains and distances, is achievable by any hiker in reasonably good physical condition.
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What's not included
Who is this for?
The summer haute route trek is for hill walkers and trekkers keen to get higher in the mountains and experience some higher altitude and trekking. You should be capable of carrying a rucksack (~10kg) for 6-8 hours a day for 9 days in a row. We will be crossing high cols/saddles and traversing valleys with tricky hiking terrain such boulders and morrain. You do not need any experience of glacier crossing/using crampons as our guides will teach you all the necessary skills at the start of the course.
Accommodation and huts
When in Chamonix we will be staying in our central 3chalets, Chalet Iceman, Chalet Slider and Chalet Viper – see summer holidays for the listings. Rooms are normally on a twin shared basis with shared bathrooms. The chalets have a fun atmosphere, there are often other like minded people staying in the chalets who are on various other courses. Chamonix town is a short 5 minutes walk away with plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes.
What to expect from mountain 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 and/or duvets. Huts provide slippers for wearing inside. You can expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
Day 0 Arrive in Chamonix: Settle into the central Chamonix accommodation and meet your guide and fellow hikers. Kit check and trip brief.
Day 1 Chamonix to Trient: You start by taking a short bus ride to Montroc where you ascend to the Col du Balme via the beautiful Aiguillette des Possettes. Crossing the boarder into Switzerland and descend to the Swiss village of Trient. Distance: 14k Height gain: +1100m Descent: -1000m
Day 2 Trient to Champex-Lac: Depending on weather or how you feel after day one you have a cloice of two routes today.
Making an early ascent to the Col de Forclaz just above Trient you then continue to climb steadily to the Alpage Bovine 1987m and enjoy fabulous views over Martigny and the Swiss Valais. A long yet steady descent is then made to the picturesque village of Champex-Lac. Distance: 18k Height gain: +950m Descent: -750m
Via Fenetre d’Arpette
Leaving Trient you climb steeply to the Fenetre d’Arpette. A tricky descent over boulders leads you to pastureland and to the picture postcard village of Champex-Lac.
Distance: 14k Height gain: +1400m Descent: -1200m
Day 3 Champex-Lac to Cabane du Mont Fort: Descending into to the Orsiére Valley and trough the Swiss villages of Sembrancher and Châble. From Châble you take the cable car to Les Ruinettes within the Verbier ski area an hour walk after that will take you to our destination for the night.
Distance: 17k Height gain: +350m Descent: -700
Day 4 Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane de Prafleuri: Making your way to our destination via 3 mountain cols, Col du Termin, the rocky Co de Louvie and Col de Prafleuri. Traversing below the Grand Desert Glacier you pass a series of small tarns before ascending once more to the Col de Prafleuri and descending steeply to the Cabane de Prafleuri. Distance: 14k Height gain: +900m Descent: -500m
Day 5 Cabane de Prafleuri to Arolla & bus to Les Hauderes: Passing over the Col des Roux you descend to the Lac Dix and contour its shore for several kilometers before rising again to the Col de Riedmatten. From the col you descent to small alpine village of Arolla. One arraival in Arolla you take a bus a short distance to Les Hauderes. Distance: 17k Height gain: +850m Descent: -1400m
Day 6 Les Hauderes to Zinal: You climb steadily to the Col du Torrent, descend to Lac de Moiry before climbing again towards Col de Sorebois. Descend steeply through the ski area where you take the cable car to Zinal and our accommodation for the next two nights. Option to take the bus from the barrage to Zinal to shorten the route and reduce the height gain & descent. Distance: 18k Height gain: +2000m Descent: -900
Day 7 Zinal to Gruben: A steady climb through woodland to the high mountain pastureland passing the remote Barnueza Alpage. You reach the Col du Forcletta and then descend to the small village of Gruben. Distance: 14k Height gain: +1200m Descent: -1000m
Day 8 Gruben to St Niklaus: Another steep climb leaving Gruben to high-level pastures to the Augustbordpass. Descending steadily towards Jungen you take the little cable car to St Niklaus and then take the mountain train to Zermatt with stunning views along the route.
Distance: 16k Height gain: +1100m Descent: -1000m
Day 9 St Niklaus to Zermatt: There are a number of options to get from St Niklaus to Zermatt depending on weather, conditions and the groups desires. The most scenic is via the EuropaHutte, climbing high up one side of the valley and dropping back into Zermatt. Another option would be along the river trail on the valley bed, a nice leisurely last day and arrival into Zermatt for a well deserved lunch.
There are a number of alternatives to this itinerary, we can be flexible according to the groups desires.
To maximise your enjoyment of the Summer Haute Route Trek it is important to get as fit as you possibly can. Good fitness will also make it more fun and less exhausting! 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. So all in all training is good!
Trekking 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 on long days hill walking as this simulates the real
thing 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 good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance and so if in the gym, cycling/running/rowing machines are
much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time, 4 times a week. 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. 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.
Training does not work overnight! 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.
1. Lightweight shorts (made of a quick drying / breathable material)
2. Trekking trousers (made of a quick drying / breathable material)
3. Socks (we recommend Merino wool for warmth and breathability)
5. Wicking t shirts and long sleeved tops (2 of each)
6. Lightweight fleece
7. Heavyweight fleece
8. Waterproof goretex trousers
9. Waterproof goretex jacket
10. Trekking boots
11. 4 season down jacket
14. 2 x water bottles (camelbacks are fine for the trek but can freeze at higher altitudes)
15. good quality sunglasses (category 4 UV block)
16. head torch and spare batteries
18. 2 pairs of warm gloves
19. warm hat
20. sun hat
21. quick dry ‘paclite’ towel
22. Insect repellent & antihistamines
23. Lipsalve with sunblock factor 30+
24. Wetwipes, ear plugs for the huts
25. Ipod / personal stereo & camera, book, Personal medical kit and wash kit – keep this to an absolute minimum!!!
26. Trekking poles
You should carry a small daypack (25-30 litres is ideal, preferably with waterproof outer layer) to carry your waterproofs, camera, water etc…
You can bring a small 40-50L bag that can carry your change of clothes, and anything that is not essential on the day trips. Our vehicle support will bring the bags to the hotels on most evenings other than the night at the Cabane de Mont Fort and the Prafleurie..
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. 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…