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Hiking the Haute Route—Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

From $4,995

  • Trek the challenging, renowned and less-travelled Haute Route with the Alps specialists (since 1970!)
  • Traverse ten high passes in ten days for incomparable eye-popping views, including the famous Matterhorn—a trekker’s paradise
  • Superb leaders, local hospitality, and shared accomplishment make this an MTS classic

No one knows the Alps like MTS. With over four decades of experience leading trips here, we have cultivated a regular following of clients who come back to try a different trip in the Alps with us each year. The Haute Route or “High Road” is one of our more challenging itineraries, designed for serious trekkers who love the  thrill of summiting ten passes in ten days and the comfort of warm, alpine hospitality at night.  The Haute Route connects Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn on one of the most spectacular hikes in all the Alps. Our professional guides are the best in the Alps, all qualified by the prestigious Companie des Guides. Their knowledge and skillsets make them indispensable companions on your adventure.

Day 1: Geneva – Chamonix

Arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland (GVA). You will be picked up promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a group transfer by private van to the famous mountain-ringed resort town of Chamonix, France. We suggest you arrive early enough (by 1:00 p.m.) to allow time to get through customs and immigration before the scheduled pickup. The transfer takes approximately 1½ hours. Once at the hotel, you'll have time to rest a bit, take a swim, or explore this charming town before meeting your guides and the rest of the group for a welcome dinner and orientation at 6:30 p.m.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Les Aiglons

Day 2: Chamonix – Local "Warm Up" Hike

From the hotel, we’ll take a funicular to Planpraz (6,600'). From this panoramic viewpoint we get our first complete vantage point of the Mont Blanc massif. Our hike will lead us to the Col Cornu (7,919') and then to the Black Lakes (8,530’). We’ll have a number of options for our descent and the guides will select the one that best suits our group. Dinner tonight is on your own to explore the many fine dining options of Chamonix. (Approx. 6 hours hiking, 2,150' ascent/2,500' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Les Aiglons

Day 3: Col de Balme

We’ll begin the day with a 15-minute vehicle transfer to the village of Tour, at the head of the Chamonix Valley. We’ll hike up through the alpine pastures to the Col de Balme (6,999'), and hike  into Switzerland. After traversing above the tree line over dramatic views of the valley below, we’ll descend along the great Trient Glacier to our rest stop for the night, the Hotel de la Forclaz (5,035'). (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 3300' ascent/2,900' descent, mild exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel du Col de La Forclaz

Day 4: Fenêtre d’Arpette

Today’s hike is up to the challenging Fenêtre d’Arpette, or “Arpette’s window” (8,760'), and is among the most classic alpine mountain passes. Today’s views of the Trient Glacier are spectacular (as well as the views at the top of the pass!). We’ll begin with an easy walk to a hiker’s hut, then begin our challenging ascent up a steep trail of stone steps and boulders, requiring some scrambling along the way. After a picturesque lunch at the pass, we’ll descend through forests to the village of Champex (4,890') where we transfer to the celebrated ski town of Verbier, and rest for the night. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 3,727' ascent/4,970' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel de Verbier

Day 5: Verbier – Cabane de Louvie

Today’s hike begins with a short, 10 minute transfer to our trailhead just above Verbier (4,950'), and then continues on foot up above the town to the Val de Bagne. We’ll then traverse along trails with outstanding views in every direction, then hike up to the Col Termin (8,740'); there is a possibility of seeing some ibex today. The trail has a fair amount of exposure, and chains are mounted on the rocks in some places to help ease our way. We’ll then descend steeply to the lovely environs of the Lac de Louvie (7,300') where we’ll spend the night in the hut of Cabane de Louvie. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 3,310' ascent/1,440' descent, significant exposure.)

NOTE—You will not have access to your luggage tonight and will need to carry your overnight belongings.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Cabane de Louvie

Day 6: Cabane de Louvie – Grande Dixence

Today is a long and beautiful day of hiking, with two passes, the Louvie (9,640') and Prafleuri (9,785'). From the hut, we’ll climb 2,500 feet on steep trails that bring us to lunar landscapes. There are very good odds of seeing ibex today. From the first pass, we’ll descend (possibly on snow) 400 feet, crossing Le Grand Desert (“big desert”), a glacial area that’s rich in minerals. You may have to cross the glacier itself or ford one of its streams, and even hike on snow. We will scramble over large boulder fields and steep cliffs with scree slopes to our second pass, then descend from the Prafleuri to our hotel, Le Ritz, located at the foot of Europe’s highest dam at 7,065 feet. (Approx. 9 hours hiking, 3,100' ascent/3,400' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Le Ritz

Day 7: Grande Dixence – Arolla

From the hotel, we’ll hike to the top of the dam and then continue around the lake (4 miles), before our start up toward the Pas du Chat (7,800'). The terrain is rocky and we’ll cross a glacier before scrambling over boulders and large flat rocks to the next pass. We have two alternates for crossing the Pas de la Chevre (9,785'—“pass of the goat”), either a steep 250-foot ascent, or up two sets of vertical ladders, before descending to Arolla (6,660'). This stage is considered very alpine, with rich mineral rock and a backdrop of the legendary summits of Pigne d’Arolla, Mont-Blanc de Cheilon, and Mont-Collomb. Our day ends with a short walk through the beautiful Arolla pine forest into this typical charming Swiss hamlet with its wooden houses and flower-filled window boxes. (Approx. 8 hours hiking, 2,720' ascent/2,800' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel du Glacier

Day 8: Arolla – Grimentz

We’ll start with a 30-minute transfer to Cotter (5,790') where we begin what some consider the easiest day of the route as we ascend the Col de Torrent (9,630'). We’ll encounter picture postcard scenery with fabulous views of Mont Blanc as well as many other spectacular peaks of a range of mountains called the Dent Blanche (14,380'). From the pass, weather permitting, we will have fabulous 360-degree views of snowcapped mountains and turquoise glacial lakes. We might see marmots and eagles as we continue down through cow-filled meadows to the picturesque old Swiss village of Grimentz (5,300'). Part of the town is like a living museum representing the old, vanishing way of life, and is well worth an evening stroll. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 4,180' ascent/3,468' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Alpina

Day 9: Grimentz – Zinal – Gruben

We are now is the bilingual canton of Valais, where we’ll move from the French-speaking to the German-speaking Switzerland. After a short transfer to Zinal (5,500'), our hiking begins with a steep climb through a beautiful forest of thick larch trees, heather, and blueberries. We’ll then make a long « balcony » traverse with views of the Matterhorn, before beginning another steep ascent toward the Col de Forcletta (9,480'). We’ll descend through beautiful green hills with large mossy rocks and babbling brooks to the summer hamlet of Gruben (6,012') where we’ll spend the night. (Approx. 8 hours hiking, 4,180' ascent/3,468' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Schwarzhorn

Day 10: Gruben – St. Niklaus

Our first challenge of the day is the Augstbordpass (9,550'), the last major pass on our trek, which leads into the valley of the Mattervispa. From the top, we’ll make a long, 5,900-feet descent with fairly steep exposure. On the way down, the views are superb: we can see the Weishorn, Breithorn, and Mischabel, as well as others, all topping 14,000 feet, at Jungu, we’ll enjoye fabulous views of green hills dotted with slate-roofed wooden houses. Down to St. Niklaus (3,630') we board our bus for the drive to Zermatt at the foot of the famed Matterhorn. Later, meet with the group and trip leaders for an evening farewell dinner, as the guides will leave Zermatt after tomorrow's half-day hike. (Approx. 7½ hours hiking, 3,538' ascent/5,900' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Butterfly

Day 11: Zermatt – Zmutt

We have an half-day of light hiking in store today with a walk up above the town for great views of the Matterhorn. Lunch in a charming village at the foot of the Matterhorn, then returning to Zermatt. We'll say good-bye to our guides at the end of today's hike. The remainder of the afternoon is free to take advantage of the charms of the alpine village and perhaps do a little shopping. (Approx. 4 hours hiking, 1,000' ascent/1,000' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Butterfly

Day 12: Depart

After breakfast, we’ll transfer 3½ hours to the Geneva Airport (GVA), or you can take the train from Zermatt to other destinations in Europe on your own. (Please do not schedule your outgoing flight to depart until after 2:00 p.m.)

  • Breakfast

Jul 11 - 22, 2016

Aug 08 - 19, 2016

pricing


2015 Prices
$4,995 (6-14 members)

2016 Prices
$4,995 (6-14 members)
 

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Cabane de Louvie — Lac de Louvie

Hotel Alpina — Grimentz

Hotel Butterfly — Zermatt

Hotel Le Ritz — Grande Dixence

Hotel Les Aiglons — Chamonix

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 Schwarzhorn — Gruben, Switzerland

Hotel de Verbier — Verbier, Switzerland

Hotel de Verbier

Hotel du Col de La Forclaz — Trient, Switzerland


Hotel du Glacier — Arolla

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.

  • Trek the challenging, renowned and less-travelled Haute Route with the Alps specialists (since 1970!)
  • Traverse ten high passes in ten days for incomparable eye-popping views, including the famous Matterhorn—a trekker’s paradise
  • Superb leaders, local hospitality, and shared accomplishment make this an MTS classic

No one knows the Alps like MTS. With over four decades of experience leading trips here, we have cultivated a regular following of clients who come back to try a different trip in the Alps with us each year. The Haute Route or “High Road” is one of our more challenging itineraries, designed for serious trekkers who love the  thrill of summiting ten passes in ten days and the comfort of warm, alpine hospitality at night.  The Haute Route connects Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn on one of the most spectacular hikes in all the Alps. Our professional guides are the best in the Alps, all qualified by the prestigious Companie des Guides. Their knowledge and skillsets make them indispensable companions on your adventure.

DAILY itinerary

Day 1: Geneva – Chamonix

Arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland (GVA). You will be picked up promptly at 2:00 p.m. for a group transfer by private van to the famous mountain-ringed resort town of Chamonix, France. We suggest you arrive early enough (by 1:00 p.m.) to allow time to get through customs and immigration before the scheduled pickup. The transfer takes approximately 1½ hours. Once at the hotel, you'll have time to rest a bit, take a swim, or explore this charming town before meeting your guides and the rest of the group for a welcome dinner and orientation at 6:30 p.m.

  • Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Les Aiglons

Day 2: Chamonix – Local "Warm Up" Hike

From the hotel, we’ll take a funicular to Planpraz (6,600'). From this panoramic viewpoint we get our first complete vantage point of the Mont Blanc massif. Our hike will lead us to the Col Cornu (7,919') and then to the Black Lakes (8,530’). We’ll have a number of options for our descent and the guides will select the one that best suits our group. Dinner tonight is on your own to explore the many fine dining options of Chamonix. (Approx. 6 hours hiking, 2,150' ascent/2,500' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Les Aiglons

Day 3: Col de Balme

We’ll begin the day with a 15-minute vehicle transfer to the village of Tour, at the head of the Chamonix Valley. We’ll hike up through the alpine pastures to the Col de Balme (6,999'), and hike  into Switzerland. After traversing above the tree line over dramatic views of the valley below, we’ll descend along the great Trient Glacier to our rest stop for the night, the Hotel de la Forclaz (5,035'). (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 3300' ascent/2,900' descent, mild exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel du Col de La Forclaz

Day 4: Fenêtre d’Arpette

Today’s hike is up to the challenging Fenêtre d’Arpette, or “Arpette’s window” (8,760'), and is among the most classic alpine mountain passes. Today’s views of the Trient Glacier are spectacular (as well as the views at the top of the pass!). We’ll begin with an easy walk to a hiker’s hut, then begin our challenging ascent up a steep trail of stone steps and boulders, requiring some scrambling along the way. After a picturesque lunch at the pass, we’ll descend through forests to the village of Champex (4,890') where we transfer to the celebrated ski town of Verbier, and rest for the night. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 3,727' ascent/4,970' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel de Verbier

Day 5: Verbier – Cabane de Louvie

Today’s hike begins with a short, 10 minute transfer to our trailhead just above Verbier (4,950'), and then continues on foot up above the town to the Val de Bagne. We’ll then traverse along trails with outstanding views in every direction, then hike up to the Col Termin (8,740'); there is a possibility of seeing some ibex today. The trail has a fair amount of exposure, and chains are mounted on the rocks in some places to help ease our way. We’ll then descend steeply to the lovely environs of the Lac de Louvie (7,300') where we’ll spend the night in the hut of Cabane de Louvie. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 3,310' ascent/1,440' descent, significant exposure.)

NOTE—You will not have access to your luggage tonight and will need to carry your overnight belongings.

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Cabane de Louvie

Day 6: Cabane de Louvie – Grande Dixence

Today is a long and beautiful day of hiking, with two passes, the Louvie (9,640') and Prafleuri (9,785'). From the hut, we’ll climb 2,500 feet on steep trails that bring us to lunar landscapes. There are very good odds of seeing ibex today. From the first pass, we’ll descend (possibly on snow) 400 feet, crossing Le Grand Desert (“big desert”), a glacial area that’s rich in minerals. You may have to cross the glacier itself or ford one of its streams, and even hike on snow. We will scramble over large boulder fields and steep cliffs with scree slopes to our second pass, then descend from the Prafleuri to our hotel, Le Ritz, located at the foot of Europe’s highest dam at 7,065 feet. (Approx. 9 hours hiking, 3,100' ascent/3,400' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Le Ritz

Day 7: Grande Dixence – Arolla

From the hotel, we’ll hike to the top of the dam and then continue around the lake (4 miles), before our start up toward the Pas du Chat (7,800'). The terrain is rocky and we’ll cross a glacier before scrambling over boulders and large flat rocks to the next pass. We have two alternates for crossing the Pas de la Chevre (9,785'—“pass of the goat”), either a steep 250-foot ascent, or up two sets of vertical ladders, before descending to Arolla (6,660'). This stage is considered very alpine, with rich mineral rock and a backdrop of the legendary summits of Pigne d’Arolla, Mont-Blanc de Cheilon, and Mont-Collomb. Our day ends with a short walk through the beautiful Arolla pine forest into this typical charming Swiss hamlet with its wooden houses and flower-filled window boxes. (Approx. 8 hours hiking, 2,720' ascent/2,800' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel du Glacier

Day 8: Arolla – Grimentz

We’ll start with a 30-minute transfer to Cotter (5,790') where we begin what some consider the easiest day of the route as we ascend the Col de Torrent (9,630'). We’ll encounter picture postcard scenery with fabulous views of Mont Blanc as well as many other spectacular peaks of a range of mountains called the Dent Blanche (14,380'). From the pass, weather permitting, we will have fabulous 360-degree views of snowcapped mountains and turquoise glacial lakes. We might see marmots and eagles as we continue down through cow-filled meadows to the picturesque old Swiss village of Grimentz (5,300'). Part of the town is like a living museum representing the old, vanishing way of life, and is well worth an evening stroll. (Approx. 7 hours hiking, 4,180' ascent/3,468' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Alpina

Day 9: Grimentz – Zinal – Gruben

We are now is the bilingual canton of Valais, where we’ll move from the French-speaking to the German-speaking Switzerland. After a short transfer to Zinal (5,500'), our hiking begins with a steep climb through a beautiful forest of thick larch trees, heather, and blueberries. We’ll then make a long « balcony » traverse with views of the Matterhorn, before beginning another steep ascent toward the Col de Forcletta (9,480'). We’ll descend through beautiful green hills with large mossy rocks and babbling brooks to the summer hamlet of Gruben (6,012') where we’ll spend the night. (Approx. 8 hours hiking, 4,180' ascent/3,468' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Schwarzhorn

Day 10: Gruben – St. Niklaus

Our first challenge of the day is the Augstbordpass (9,550'), the last major pass on our trek, which leads into the valley of the Mattervispa. From the top, we’ll make a long, 5,900-feet descent with fairly steep exposure. On the way down, the views are superb: we can see the Weishorn, Breithorn, and Mischabel, as well as others, all topping 14,000 feet, at Jungu, we’ll enjoye fabulous views of green hills dotted with slate-roofed wooden houses. Down to St. Niklaus (3,630') we board our bus for the drive to Zermatt at the foot of the famed Matterhorn. Later, meet with the group and trip leaders for an evening farewell dinner, as the guides will leave Zermatt after tomorrow's half-day hike. (Approx. 7½ hours hiking, 3,538' ascent/5,900' descent, significant exposure.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accomodation:Hotel Butterfly

Day 11: Zermatt – Zmutt

We have an half-day of light hiking in store today with a walk up above the town for great views of the Matterhorn. Lunch in a charming village at the foot of the Matterhorn, then returning to Zermatt. We'll say good-bye to our guides at the end of today's hike. The remainder of the afternoon is free to take advantage of the charms of the alpine village and perhaps do a little shopping. (Approx. 4 hours hiking, 1,000' ascent/1,000' descent.)

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Accomodation:Hotel Butterfly

Day 12: Depart

After breakfast, we’ll transfer 3½ hours to the Geneva Airport (GVA), or you can take the train from Zermatt to other destinations in Europe on your own. (Please do not schedule your outgoing flight to depart until after 2:00 p.m.)

  • Breakfast

Cabane de Louvie — Lac de Louvie

Hotel Alpina — Grimentz

Hotel Butterfly — Zermatt

Hotel Le Ritz — Grande Dixence

Hotel Les Aiglons — Chamonix

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 Schwarzhorn — Gruben, Switzerland

Hotel de Verbier — Verbier, Switzerland

Hotel de Verbier

Hotel du Col de La Forclaz — Trient, Switzerland


Hotel du Glacier — Arolla

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.

Dates and Pricing

Jul 11 - 22, 2016

Aug 08 - 19, 2016

pricing


2015 Prices
$4,995 (6-14 members)

2016 Prices
$4,995 (6-14 members)
 

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