The Haute Route is the best known ski tour in the Alps for a good reason. It is a high level journey through the heart of the heavily glaciated Western Alps. This height of land formed a natural barrier which became the boundary between Switzerland, Italy and France. Today it is not so much a barrier as an alpine playground. We will travel from country to country, between languages and cultures, all on skis. This version of the Haute Route offers the most comfortable options with extra hotel nights and fine dining. The tour is designed to maximize the mountain experience without compromising on the quality of food and accommodation. This is a first class mountain experience.
We begin the Haute Route from Zermatt in the shadow of the Matterhorn. We traverse across Switzerland, wandering our way through the glaciers and over the passes, making ski ascents of the Pigne d’Arolla 3772m (12370 ft) and Mt Blanc de Chelion 3827m(12552 ft). From Mt Avril, it is a long ski descent to green fields and the tiny Italian village of Glacier. We transfer by vehicle to Courmayeur, which rests 12000 feet below the south face of Mt Blanc (4808m, 15770 ft). In the morning we take the lift up for our long ski descent between the granite spires of the Valle Blanche.
Larry Dolecki will be your guide for this trip. Since he first visited the Alps as a teenager, Larry has returned to the Alps almost every year to ski, climb and continue exploring this great range. After the mountains of Canada, this has become his second home. The Haute Route offers many variations, alternative ski descents or bad weather options. With over 20 complete tours of the Haute Route as well as many seasons in Chamonix and Zermatt, Larry has extensive local knowledge of the mountains and culture. He will provide you with the expertise to make your Haute Route trip the experience of a lifetime.
This tour requires good physical condition and advanced skiing ability. You should have previous experience back country skiing. We can and probably will be skiing in all conditions from powder to corn, wind hammered and frozen crud. There is no day that is particularly hard, but doing it day after day for a week takes its toll. Good skiing ability will help you save energy on the descent. Mountaineering skills are not a prerequisite and will be taught as needed on the tour. You must be able to do a kick turn on steep icy slopes and side slip on 40 degree slopes.
Dates: April 22- 28, 2017
Price: $2350 US
Meeting Place: Zermatt, Switzerland
IFMGA Mountain Guide
Mountain huts and hotels in Arolla and Courmayeur
Breakfasts and dinners included
Ground transportation and ski lifts during the tour
Luggage transfer from Zermatt to Chamonix
The mountain huts on the Haute Route offer clean dorm style rooms, hearty meals, beer and wine. When in the valley, we stay in comfortable family run hotels. On the third night, we drop down into Arolla for another night in a hotel, and ride the lift out of the valley in the morning. This hotel night is missed by most other variations of the Haute Route. Our last night, in Cormayeur, we stay in a beautifully detailed stone building which has been in the family for three generations. The restaurant offers fine dining, with regional dishes of the Aosta Valley. A sommelier, a trained wine professional, will help you to choose from over 400 labels.
Our tour starts in Zermatt with a ride up the ski lifts and a traverse under the north face of the Matterhorn. The next two days take us from the German to French speaking area of Switzerland. A magnificent 1400m (4600 ft) ski run takes us down to the tiny alpine village of Arolla (hotel and hot showers). Again ski lifts to take us out of the valley and up to high mountain huts. Over the next three days we wander our way through the glaciers and over the passes, making ski ascents of the Pigne d’Arolla 3772m (12370 ft) and Mt Blanc de Chelion 3827m(12552 ft). From Mt Avril, it is a long ski descent to green fields and the tiny Italian village of Glacier. We transfer by vehicle to Courmayeur, which rests 12000 feet below the south face of Mt Blanc (4808m, 15770 ft). In the morning we take the lift up for our long ski descent between the granite spires of the Valle Blanche. It will be with a sense of achievement that you walk down the main street in Chamonix a week after leaving Zermatt.
Starting the Haute Route in Zermatt provides us with several advantages. There will be less people while skiing and in the huts. There will be more nights with hotels on the route, so less time without showers. We are also less likely to have cancel or change sections of the tour due to weather or conditions. Doing the ski tour this way means less time walking or climbing with crampons and more time on your skis. There are many options for more challenging ski descents or climbing peaks if weather and conditions permit.
Once you arrive in Chamonix why not sign up for an optional ski accent of Mt Blanc or a day of off piste skiing. You will be acclimatized and fit from your previous week.
Are you ready for adventure?