Trek the very challenging and less-traveled Haute Route with the Alps specialists
There are trips to the Alps, and then there are trips to the Alps—the kind that keep some coming back year after year! This classic hikers’ hike of the Haute Route (or “High Road”) from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland is one of our most challenging itineraries, making this trip seem like a true adventure. Traversing ten mountain passes over ten days offers stunning views of western Europe’s highest peaks—many of which top 13,000 feet in altitude, including the legendary Mont Blanc, the Dent Blanche, and the Matterhorn, just to name a few. Our seasoned guides each boast over 15 years of experience, leading us over incredible terrain on this unforgettable voyage. (We may even have the chance to hike across one of the glaciers!)
A million photo opportunities abound, so have your cameras poised and ready for surprise viewings of whistling marmots, mountain chamois, and the regal ibex. Trailside picnics and hearty, regional fare at charming chalets and family-run inns fuel long days of hiking. Spectacular Alpine vistas, superb leaders, local hospitality, new friends, and the shared feeling of accomplishment after a day of exploring one of the Earth’s most beautiful places make this MTS journey feel like the ultimate vacation!
10 days very strenuous hiking (max. elev. 9,785')
- Trek along the very challenging and less-traveled Haute Route, traversing from the foot of Mont Blanc to the foot of the Matterhorn—the heart of the Alps!
- Travel in an area where we’ve been specialists since 1970 and where our diverse itineraries and expert guides have garnered a repeat clientele—some of whom return every year!
- Eye-popping views of spectacular mountains, sweeping vistas of glaciers, lakes, idyllic meadows, and colorful wildflowers
- Superb leaders, local hospitality, new friends, and the shared feeling of accomplishment make this MTS journey feel like the ultimate vacation
Duration: 12 days Start Location: Geneva End Location: GenevaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Geneva – Chamonix
Meet in Geneva, Switzerland, and transfer to the ski resort town of Chamonix in the shadow of Mont Blanc.
Day 2 : Chamonix – local hike
Take a funicular to Planpraz (6,600'), and hike to the Col du Brévent (7,814') with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc massif.
Day 3 : Col de Balme
From the village of Tour, hike through alpine forests to Col de Balme (6,999') and Switzerland, and past Trient Glacier.
Day 4 : Fenêtre d’Arpette
Hike a classic, challenging alpine mountain pass: Fenêtre d'Arpette (Arpette's window) (8,760') with spectacular glacier views, and descend to the village of Champex (4,890') where we transfer to Verbier for the night.
Day 5 : Verbier – Cabane de Louvie
Starting from the village of Verbier (4,950'), head up a mountain valley to Col Termin (8,740'), keeping an eye out for chamois antelope and ibex. Descend to Lac Louvie (7,300') for overnight in a refuge.
Day 6 : Cabane de Louvie – Grande Dixence
This big hiking day covers two passes: the Louvie (9,640') and Prafleuri (9,785'). We'll cross a large glacial area by fording streams, hiking in snow, and walking the glacier, with some scrambling.
Day 7 : Grande Dixence – Arolla
Hike across rocky, glacial terrain and scree and boulder fields to Arolla (6,600'), crossing several passes en route (the highest is at 9,785').
Day 8 : Arolla – Grimentz
From Cotter (5,790'), cross the Col de Torrent (9,577'), enjoying the spectacular backdrop of a range of mountains called the Dent Blanche and many turquoise lakes. Descend to the picturesque village of (5,300') in the Valais canton.
Day 9 : Grimentz – Zinal – Gruben
From Zinal (5,494'), hike steeply through forests of thick larch trees, heather, and blueberries to the Forcletta Pass (9,480') with views of the famed Matterhorn (14,782'). Continue to the summer hamlet of Gruben (5,976').
Day 10 : Gruben – St. Niklaus
Cross the Augstbordpass (9,550'), last major pass of the trek, with its panorama of 14,000-foot peaks. Steep 3,000-foot descent to the cable car station, where you'll catch a ride to St. Niklaus (3,696'). Transfer to Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn.
Day 11 : Zermatt - Zmutt
Hike above Zermatt for views of the Matterhorn, storied icon for mountaineering aficionados.
Day 12 : Depart
Transfer to Geneva and depart.
DATES: Best time to go: July - August Departures: Jul 16 - 27, 2013 Aug 20 - 31, 2013
Hotel Les AiglonsChamonix
Five minutes from the town centre, at the foot of the Midi summit, three star Les Aiglons Resort & Spa has undergone a full renovation.
Resolutely contemporary whilst breaking down the barriers of traditional mountain resort hotels, three star Les Aiglons Resort & Spa has undergone an audacious redesign and decoration, with warm and modern colours, natural materials, glass and light…
Hotel du Col de La ForclazTrient, Switzerland
Hotel de VerbierVerbier, Switzerland
Hotel de Verbier
Hotel SchwarzhornGruben, Switzerland
Hotel du GlacierArolla
Located at the edge of Arolla, a small mountain village situated at an altitude of 6,500 ft, it offers a beautiful mountain panorama. Amenities include private bath or shower, balcony, and TV.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
As a member of the Compagnie des Guides, Jean Marc began guiding for MTS several years ago. He is what the French call polyvalent (“able to do many things”). His talents range from being a licensed pyrotechnic specialist, snowboard manufacturer, journalist, musical group crew, and theater worker. If this weren’t enough, in addition to his passion for hiking, he also teaches children the skills of mountain biking, skiing, and snowshoeing. Jean-Marc has led over 60 trips to the Alps and proudly carried the Olympic torch to the 2008 Ticino winter games.
Laurent Langoisseur hails from Normandy, France, having grown up in Argentan (a small village that became famous in August 1944, “tournai sur dives”). At the age of 12, Laurent read La Grande Crevasse by Roger Frison-Roche, and became fascinated by the guiding and climbing descriptions of the Chamonix-Mont Blanc area. At 16, Laurent visited the area and was hooked. At 19, Laurent joined the French alpine troops, and after a year of service, moved to Chamonix. In 1991, he obtained his European Mountain Leader (certification), and in 1995 he was awarded the coveted patch of the Compagnie des Guides. An avid sports enthusiast and inexhaustible hiker, Laurent has hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc more close to 100 times. He is also an accomplished mountaineer, having summated Mont Blanc 3 times, as well as several other mountains over 13,000’. When he is not hiking and climbing, Laurent can be found running long distances for fun. Laurent recently completed a 48-mile race in 6 hours; and has also finished 48 miles in 9 hours with 10,000’ of ascent/descent. Laurent has been guiding for MTS since 1995, and is a Senior guide on our Tour du Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc Express, Mont Blanc to Matterhorn (Haute Route), GR5, Gran Paradiso, and French Riviera trips, as well as any other trip we can get him on! His knowledge of the culture, history, plants, birds, and the name of every single peak and glacier along the trail is a wonderful complement to his guiding skills. When he isn’t guiding for us, he teaches First Aid and Mountain Rescue to mountain and hiking guides; and during the winter, he’s a ski patrol monitor in the mountains above Chamonix.
Stéphane is a true man of the mountains, with a Savoyard father and Swiss mother. He grew up in Chamonix, then left the valley to follow his first love, architecture. But the call of the wild proved too strong: numerous travels in North Africa, Siberia, and the Himalaya opened a new door to him—the profession of hiking guide. Nowadays Stéphane lives in a chalet in Chamonix from where he escapes frequently to travel the mountain areas of the world. “Steph” has now been a member of the Compagnie des Guides for many years, with over 100 trips to the Alps under his belt.
A native of Chamonix, Florence is a descendant from two of the area’s oldest families. After growing up in the Chamonix Valley, “Flo” spent several years in the south of France, and then traveled abroad to South America and Asia. She returned to her ancestral home, where the mountains now form an integral part of her life. She has led nearly 50 trips to the Alps, not counting how many times she has done this trip for her own fun! In addition to being an accomplished hiking guide, Flo is a skier and climber. As a member of the Compagnie des Guides, she follows in the footsteps of her forefathers.
Beatrice is a native of Chamonix, France, and has been guiding professionally in the Alps since 1989. She comes from a family of mountain climbers. Her Grand father was also a professional mountain guide. Aside from being an expert hiking guide, Beatrice is also an avid climber and accomplished skier, and is a ski instructor during the winter months. She loves the mountains, and will share her enthusiasm and her great experience with you during your trip.