The Summer Haute Route trail linking Chamonix in France with Zermatt in Switzerland, two of the principal alpine mountaineering centres, is one of the world's great multi-day treks and is featured in National Geographic's top ten worldwide treks. The Haute Route trail provides some of the finest views in the Alps, stretching from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn.
The Classic Haute Route trail takes to the higher elevations crossing glaciers and lofty cols, where the walker's summer Haute Route which stays at lower levels in the lush valleys below. The route features the greatest concentration of 4,000m peaks in the Alps, creating the unique vistas and breath-taking alpine scenery which makes the summer Haute Route trail so famous worldwide. Completing the Classic Summer Haute Route trail simply means stunning mountain panoramas every step of the way! Mont Blanc, Grand Combin, Weisshorn and the Matterhorn are just a few of the 4000m+ peaks that you will encounter on this classic alpine journey.
The route follows a well-defined hiking trail, ascending up into glacial terrain where you’ll be walking above the snowline. There is no technical climbing but you need to be physically well prepared for long days of high-level trail walking. Most days on the Haute Route trail start early when staying in huts on the route this means breakfast is usually taken between 5.30-6am and we are on the trail by 7 am. The pace is relaxed and there is plenty of time to take photos and enjoy the fantastic scenery. Depending on ground conditions, at least 3-4 days will be above the snowline when you can expect to be wearing crampons. On the steeper sections and when crossing glaciers you will be roped up for safety. We usually walk for 6-8 hours and so often arrive at the next hut for a late lunch. The afternoon is spent relaxing around the hut - playing cards, reading, chatting to other hikers. The evening meal is usually served between 6 and 7 and lights out are at 10, although most people are fast asleep by then!
Day 1 Guests make their way to Chamonix and meet up with the rest of the group and Mountain Tracks’ friendly guide at the hotel, usually around 6 pm. The guide will then brief the group on the week ahead, before checking equipment and final preparations for tomorrow’s start. The group will fuel up at dinner before resting overnight in the hotel.
Day 2 As with all good adventures, the trek commences after breakfast. We take the local bus or train to the village of Le Tour and then we make use of the gondola and chair lift to assist with the first part of the walk. From here the trail traverses towards the Le Tour glacier and finally up the glacial moraine to the Albert Premier hut (2702m). The path is slightly exposed in places and we may have some snow patches to cross early in the season. In the afternoon we'll do some mountain skills instruction - typically we will work on using an ice axe and crampons, ascending and descending on snow and ropework – in preparation for the days ahead. Dinner and overnight in the first hut of the trek, The Albert Premier. Total walking time is 4-5 hours. 1,400m of ascent.
Day 3 Breakfast is usually taken between 5 and 6 am before we set out up the side of the Le Tour glacier and head over the border into Switzerland. We will rope up on the higher section as we head up for the Col Superior du Tour (3288m). The views from the summit are spectacular, stretching all the way to the Matterhorn. On the descent down towards Champex, we'll often be walking on snow almost all the way to the Cabane d'Orny where we stop for lunch. From the hut, it is a pleasant stroll down to the picturesque lakeside village of Champex - Lac (1466m) where we will spend the night. Our dinner destination and overnight stay is our hotel, overlooking the lake. Lift option: We can take the Breya chairlift from shortly below the Cabane d’Orny down to Champex. This takes out about 700m of descent. Total walking time: 7-8 hours, 750m of ascent, 1,400m of descent.
Day 4 Today is an easier day, starting with a taxi ride from Champex across the Rhone valley and up a mountain road to drop us close to the Lac de Mauvoisin. From here we trek to the Cabane de Chanrion. For the first hour, we walk on a good path just above the lake before heading up to cross the Col de Tsofeiret at 2643m where we make the short descent to the hut for our overnight stay. Total walking time: 3-4 hours, 980m of ascent, 200m of descent.
Day 5 From the Chanrion hut, we head up the impressive Glacier d’Otemma which leads us towards the Vignettes hut, our stop for the night. The vast expense of ice is surrounded by immense mountains and is in the heart of the Valais Alps. The Vignettes hut is located at 3157m altitude and offers breath-taking views of the surrounding mountains. Total walking time: 7-8 hours, 700m of ascent.
Day 6 Weather permitting, we can start the day with an early ascent of the Pigne d’Arolla (3,792m), the highest point on the Haute Route from where we can enjoy wonderful panoramic views. We’ll then return to the Vignettes hut to pick up our packs and spend the rest of the day descending to the small village of Arolla. We travel through a variety of different landscapes today from the high mountain ice and snow to the sub-mountain flora and fauna and down into the beautiful larch and pine forests above Arolla. In Arolla we stay in a comfortable hotel for the night. Total walking time: 7-8 hours, 650m of ascent, 1,750m of descent.
Day 7 We leave Arolla village and start our climb to the Bertol hut (3311m), this hut is perched high on the rock above the glaciers below, one of the best-located huts in the Alps. The full day of ascent takes us back through the forest until we reach the moraine and glaciers below the hut. Total walking time: 5-6 hours, 1300m of ascent.
Day 8 We have an earlier start from the Bertol hut in the morning and climb to the summit of the Tete Blanche (3710m). From here our descent is over the Stockli glacier, which is spectacular and from where we have a final short climb to the Schönbielhütte. This day is long with some technical ground to cover over rock, ice and large moraine walls. Getting to the end of this long and arduous day of is not the only reward, this the most beautiful stage of the Classic Haute Route, a real jaw-dropper! Total walking time: 9-10 hours, 890m of ascent, 1,400m of descent.
Day 9 The final day is short and gentler by comparison to those prior. A mellow walk to Zermatt through the mountain village called Zmutt. The descent takes approximately 3.5 hours, including a coffee stop! On reaching Zermatt we check in to our comfortable hotel and you have an afternoon to enjoy the shops or perhaps the Matterhorn museum or just relaxing enjoying a celebratory beer and the atmosphere in this tranquil mountain town. Total walking time: 3-4 hour, 150m of ascent, 800m of descent.
Day 10 Depart after breakfast. If you are taking the Mont Blanc extension you will travel to Chamonix on this day and overnight in a hotel.
Day 11 The guide client ratio for the climb will be 1:2. We take the Bellevue Cable Car and Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Nid d'Aigle and walk to the Gouter hut. This will take between 5-6hrs with a few stops on route. Dinner and overnight in the hut.
Day 12 Breakfast in the hut. We leave the hut between 2-3am and head towards the summit of Mont Blanc (4810m), the climb from the Gouter hut will take between 4-6hrs. We descend via the same route all the way back to the valley. Overnight in the hotel in Chamonix.
Day 13 Depart after breakfast.
- All guide fees & expenses
- 9 nights accommodation
- 9 breakfasts
- 7 evening meals
- Transport of your bags from Chamonix to Zermatt for the end of the trip.
- 2 evening meals
- Personal insurance
- Equipment hire
- Travel to and from Chamonix
- Local transfers
- Uplift costs.
Went for a trek with Moutain tracks to the alps via the Haute Route with guide Matt Dickinson. Have told the guide and company that we had no alpine experience and climbing , and our experience were mainly trekking. We were told that it was okay to join the trek and it was suitable for beginners with no alpine experience. We were joined with two others who were more experienced. During the trek on the second day, the guide discouraged one of us to head down to the hut to take public transport down to the next hut with reasons citing that one of us were too slow. As we had no climbing nor scrambling experience, we would have been expected to be slow as more care should have been taken. However, the guide disregarded the fact and in fact was walking at faster pace, together with the two other clients, which made us felt that he has no regards to our safety. On the last two day of the trek, he once again discouraged us from going to the climb to Bertol hut, citing that we would not enjoy it etc, which made us felt unwelcome for the trip. We made the decision to end the trip at the moment as we felt that the guide had no interest in guiding us to the end point, but rather wants to end the trek as quickly, and we felt that our safety might be compromised. Very disappointed in this trip. Beisdes that, during the trip, the guide was more interested in sharing his accomplishments rather than giving briefing on the trek and next day itinerary.