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Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

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Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby sm176811 » Sun May 26, 2013 3:43 pm

Greeting!

I will be traveling with my wife to Chamonix in end August. We were thing of hiking the Haute Route (without guides). I had a few questions to plan this trip, and your help would be appreciated.

1. Can we do this in around 5 - 6 days? (We are okay will taking the train or bus in the middle)
2. What should our plans be if we were to hike over 5 -6 days?
3. For the hut reservations, can we call a few days in advance to book the hut, or do we have to make advance reservations?
4. How is the weather like in end Aug / early Sept?


Thanks a ton, in advance!
John
Last edited by sm176811 on Sun May 26, 2013 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby sm176811 » Sun May 26, 2013 3:46 pm

Another quick note - would like to cover the most photographic/scenic parts in those 5 - 6 days,
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby rovsingo » Sun May 26, 2013 4:21 pm

Hi,

I've done Haute Route twice, and it's a stunning hike. However, the entire route takes close to two weeks - 12 stages plus two days in reserve for the inevitable bad weather.

The good news are that even five or six days can give you an unforgettable experience if you hike the most dramatic and scenic section of the route.

What you'll want to do is to start from the ski resort Verbier. Simply take the train from Zurich or Geneva to Martigny, and then a short hop on a local train to Le Chable, and finally by gondola to Verbier, from where it's a one hour beautiful hike to your first night - and starting starting point of your Haute Route, the Cabane du Mont Fort hut.

The next five days will take you through the wildest, most demanding and adventuresome part of the Haute Route: Crossing a glacier, scaling vertical ladders up a rock face, and staying in huts with a view to a huge ice fall or stunning north face.

Assuming the weather plays nice five stages should take you as far as the small ski resort of Zinal, from where it's easy to catch a bus to a train station in the Rhone Valley. The first stage is from Cabane du Mont Fort to Cabane Prafleuri (a long and tiring walk, but stunningly beautiful), your next to Cabane Dix (you could quite easily walk straight on, but don't - the hut and the location is great). Third stage takes you across a glacier (short and marked route), up those ladders for a brief view of the Matterhorn from the pass, and then down to the village of Arolla. The official fourth stage is a mare transport stage that you'll want to skip. Take a local bus instead down to Les Hauderes. Your fourth stage is from here to Cabane Moury, dramatically situated on top of a huge icefall. Fifth stage takes you to Zinal.

The weather is late August/early September is the best and most stable of the entire season. Nevertheless, you should add in an extra day for bad weather. We once snowed in.

For the same reason, it makes no sense to book the huts several weeks in advance. Generally you should just do it early the same morning. On Fridays and Saturdays, when many Swiss head for the most popular huts, it may make sense to book the day before if the weather forecast is good.

For a great description of the hike you should get Kev Reynolds' guide, published by Cicerone in the UK.

Have a great hike!
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby sm176811 » Mon May 27, 2013 9:19 am

Thanks so much! That was really helpful.

Let me plan the day to day details and will post it here for comments and inputs.

Regards,
John
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby sm176811 » Fri May 31, 2013 7:22 am

Quick question... Do they have power outlets in the cabins to charge phone/GPS/cameras?

Thanks.
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby stridebird » Wed Sep 04, 2013 4:59 pm

sm176811 wrote:Quick question... Do they have power outlets in the cabins to charge phone/GPS/cameras?

Thanks.


I have never seen this in a European mountain hut. They are generally remote and self-sustained, often solar-powered. Some have generators running at times, and I wouldn't be surprised if recharging facilities - along with wifi - start to appear in the bigger huts in the near future. But I wouldn't bank on being able to recharge a device anywhere much above the valley.
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby sm176811 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:02 am

sm176811 wrote:Quick question... Do they have power outlets in the cabins to charge phone/GPS/cameras?

Thanks.


Quick update from the trip!

The huts did have power to charge phone/gps. In one of the huts (PRaflueri) we had to pay for power usage. However, we didn't find WiFi in any of the huts. I ended up using a prepaid Swisscom SIM card/phone to surf the web
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Re: Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt

Postby sm176811 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:34 am

Hi All,

Thanks for all the help! We finally did the Haute Route (Section of it this year, had covered the remaining section 3 years back) - Chamonix to Zinal and the bus/train to Zermatt. At Zermatt did a day hike to the Hornlihutte.

I will try to write a trip report later, but for the time being selected photos are posted here - https://plus.google.com/photos/10116947 ... 9132383009

Thanks again for all the help, which was invaluable for the planning of the trip.
Regards,
John
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