Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 20-27, 2005

This was the second of our two Haute Route trips this season. For this trip we were joined by Stacy Bebo and Patrick Crow, both from Woodstock, Vermont, Chris Willis and Grant Pool from Washington State, Chris Lockwood from Northport, NY, and Bob Pitiger from Norwich, Vermont.

Fortunately for us west-coasters, we got plenty of new snow and conditions were soft. In fact, recent very heavy snowfall gave this tour a very different feeling from our Haute Route only 2 weeks earlier. And there was quite a bit more snow, especially around Zermatt, which had ben so think earlier in the Spring.

On our first day of the trip, the Vallée Blanche ski, we ended skiing the Grands Montets area instead. Lots of new snow and very poor visibility kept the telepherique up the Aiguille du Midi closed for the day. But we had a good day on the slopes of the Grands Montets, even though visibility was decidedly not good.

Other Recent Trips

On day 2, the start of the tour proper, we started our ride up the lift in the fog, but broke out into clear sunshine and deep blue skies. Here Bob and Patrick pause for a moment on the descent from the Grands Montets to the Argentière Glacier.


Chris, Stacey and Patrick work u the steep ski track on the way up to the Col du Chardonnet.


Descending the steep couloir on the east side of the Col du Chardonnet.


Crossing the Plateau du Trient. Not far to the hut.


Chris, stacey, Patrick, Grant and Kathy enjoy tea in the Trient hut.


The following morning we started our descent with a few fun turns right out of the hut. The Aiguille du Tour is the peak behind.


Arriving at the Col des Ecandies and the first sunshine of the day.


You can't see in this photo, but Kathy is definitely smiling. The descent of the Val d'Arpette.


Despite the blue skies here, the forecast was not good. fearing we would get stuck in the Valsorey hut if we continued on our original plan to traverse the Plateau du Couloir, we elected to alter our route and go via Verbier. So our goal for the day was the Cabane du Mont Fort, seen here.

The Mont Fort hut has recently been remodeled and now includes that wonderful luxury of hot showers!


And the wine selection is not bad either. Just ask at the bar, please.


The Mont Fort hut on the following morning. You can see the poor weather engulfing the Mont Blanc massif in the background.

Unfortunately, Bob decided to tackle a trail-side blob of frozen snow on the descent into Champex, taking the brunt of force on the his shoulder. With it still hurting after a night of "rest" at the hut, he thought it best to ski out while this was still easy to do. So we bid him farewell, as he descended to Verbier and we continued upward in the near-whiteout. Bob caught a flight home early and managed to catch up with his wife in the Bahamas!


Skiing from the Mont Fort hut to the Prafleuri hut. the Rosa Blanche in the background.


Skinning up the wide open glaciers of the Rosa Blanche.


Chris and Grant on the summit of the Rosa Blanche.


The Prafleuri hut. Left to right are Grant, Chris L., Chris W., Stacey and Patrick.


The dining room of the Prafleuri hut.


Grant look skeptical as he crosses a short section of variable skiing.


After a fair bit of whiteout navigation, we arrive at the Dix hut. The next day was pretty nasty, and we elected to wait a day in the Dix before continuing our tour. A few of us mustered up the energy to ski up La Luette, a small peak just west of the hut, but the views were mostly cloud and snow.


But the next day dawned mostly clear and we had a very fine crossing of the Serpentine and the Pigne d'Arolla.


Kathy breaks trail up to the Serpentine.


And a couple hours later, we reach the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla. Left to right are Mark (in front) Kathy, Chris W., Stacey, Patrick, Chris L., and Grant.


Skiing down the Pigne d'Arolla.


The Vignettes hut with the Dent Blanche behind.


Arriving at the hut early we could not help but ski a run or two on the great slopes below . Here, Kathy looks for virgin snow.


Our last day of the tour, over three cols and into Zermatt was fantastic. The moon sets as the sun rises at the Col de Chermotane.


the gentle skin up the Glacier du Mont Collon.


Arriving with the sun at the Col de l'Evêque.


Descending fine snow on Haute Glacier d'Arolla. Behind we can see the Col du Mont Brulé, our next pass.


Crossing the glacier heading to the Col du Mont Brulé.


Arriving at the Co du Mont Brulé. We can see the approaching clouds of the next storm, one that chased us down into Zermatt.


Skiing down below the North Face of the Matterhorn and into Zermatt.

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