Bob and Giovanna Haute Route Glacier Trek • July 27 - August 3, 2017

Bob and Giovanna joined Kathy for a private Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route Glacier trek this end-of-July. As you can see from the following photos, conditions were very dry for this time of year! It made for particularly challenging and technical going at times, adding spice to the proceedings.

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Starting out on day 1, with Mont Blanc in the background.

 

Our first day was mostly sunny, approaching the Albert Premier hut.

 

Below the hut, we worked on refining crampon skills and glacier travel modes, in anticipation of unusually open and not well frozen glacier conditions.

 

Lovely views of the lower Tour glacier after dinner from the hut terrace.

 

The next morning, mixed weather conditions continued as we made our way up the Tour glacier at daybreak.

 

A bit cloudier on the Swiss side of the "Col Supérieure du Tour" (the low point to the left of the peak in this photo).

 

Things were looking much sunnier as we passed by the Orny hut and continued our descent toward Champex.

 

Nearly to the chairlift at La Breya now, from which we are whisked off to a hotel at the Mauvoisin dam.

 

No photos of the lovely little hotel, but the following morning we hiked up to the dam to begin our next day's walk.

 

On the way to the dam, the "trail" avoids the road by means of a series of tunnels, embellished by these fanciful reminders of the dam construction workers heroic toil.

 

Back out above ground, the trail makes its way through meadows bright with flowers of all kinds.

 

This night's resting place: the Chanrion hut.

 

Day three, we head over to the Dix hut via three cols. Day breaks as we approach the first of the three, the Col de Lire Rose.

 

Leaving the Col du Mont Rouge (second of three) in company with fellow travelers; the snow is almost gone from the Glacier du Giétro, and it's not even (quite) August yet!

 

Our fourth home-away-from-home, the Dix hut.

 

Leaving said hut early the following morning, we head up toward the Pigne d'Arolla before dawn.

 

Alas, earlier than expected showers and thunderstorms chased us back down, and we took the long, low, safe way around to the Vignettes hut via the Pas du Chèvre.

 

By the time we got onto the glacier below the Vignettes hut, the day had turned sunny again.

 

The view from the Vignettes hut, as we began our climb of the Pigne d'Arolla from that side the following morning.

 

A gorgeous morning on the Pigne.

 

And a fabulous moment at the summit with views of the Matterhorn behind.

 

Once more the dry glacier conditions were a factor however, making the usually tame lower slopes highly technical! Two lowers off ice screws were needed to get safely back down to the hut.

 

Back to the hut for a second night.

 

And it's the Swiss National Holiday today! The hut keeper Jean-Michel offers his guests an apéritif in celebration.

 

Dramatic views from the hut near sunset.

 

Having used an extra day to climb the Pigne, and Kathy mistrusting the forecast for the following day, we headed down to get to Zermatt by bus/train, to take advantage of a better forecast on our last day to climb a peak from there.

 

We enjoy a coffee break in view of the Pigne, before our bus arrives.

 

In Zermatt, a moment of hedonistic pleasure on a hot evening.

 

Exploring the back alleyways of central Zermatt.

 

Our last day dawned mostly clear, but very windy for our climb of the Breithorn! We are not alone in our mission however.

 

Nearing the summit, the skies are in and out of cloud.

 

Our constant companion, the wind, picks up as we cling to the summit!

 

And we make our way homeward. Thanks to Bob and Giovanna for your efforts, skill and flexibility in the face of a challenging trip!


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