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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Depart after breakfast.
If you are taking the Mont Blanc extension you will travel to Chamonix on this day and overnight in a hotel.
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.
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.
Depart after breakfast.