Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 11 to 18, 2006

This was the first of two Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route ski tours we did in spring 2006. We were joined by Anna Siebelink, Arve Johansen, Karen Holbrook, Susie Meade, and Rick and Paul Gaynor. On this tour with skied the "Verbier" variation.

We enjoyed quite a mix of weather. But with the storms came new snow, and we had some very good powdery descents. Fortunately, the days when we needed clear skies, we had them, and we were able to complete the tour all the way to Zermatt without using our "extra" weather day. The weather day was put to excellent use with a descent of the Schwartztor.

Other Recent Trips

This photo was taken in the Mont Fort hut, On the third day of the trip.

From left to right we have Kathy, Arve, Karen, Susie, Paul, Rick, and Anna.


The day before our Vallee Blanche descent, it snowed and snowed and snowed. And even on the day of the ski, we had to wait quite a while for the Aiguille du Midi cable car to open. But once we arrive on top we had miles of untracked snow. Unfortunately, it was very heavy, as the wind had been a bit of a rascal during the storm. Not the best skiing, but the views were spectacular.


Coming down by the Gros Rognon on the Vallee Blanche.


The following day, the first of the Chamonix to Zermatt journey, was quite cold. The descent of the Col du Chardonnet was a chilly affair, and much of the day we skied in the mists. But every once in a while we would get a tantalizing break.

Because of the difficult trail-breaking in all the new snow, everyone on the way to the Trient hut this day bunched up behind the lucky leader.


Skiing below the Aiguille Dorees. This was one of the moments of clearing, as we approach the Trient hut.


Climbing over the Col des Ecandies on our way to Champex, after our night in the Trient hut.


With all the new snow, the descent of the Val d'Arpette was exceptionally good. Anna and Susie smile not just for the camera.


From Champex, we carried on to the Mont Fort hut seen here. Arriving in the snowy afternoon, we had few views and wondered if it would ever clear. As you can see, the following morning, when this photo was taken was anything but cloudy.

Unfortunately, Karen hurt her ankle on the previous day, and decided it was wiser not to continue with the tour. So we aid our sad good-byes, as she descended back to Verbier and flights home.


Working our way up to the Col du Momin, below the Rosablanche. Acres and acres of beautiful snow.


Paul nears the summit of the Rosablanche.


The crew on the summit of the Rosablanche.


Susie and Anna at the Prafleuri hut. This hut is now equipped with showers! The Mont Fort hut also has showers, and, I have to say, this is so refreshing in the middle of a long tour!


Making our way to the Dix hut. Lac Dix lies in the valley below.


The Dix hut. This photo was taken the morning of our departure, as we pack up for the tour to the Vignettes hut.


Skinning up to the Serpentine on our way to the Pigne d'Arolla, and the Vignettes hut.


Heading up to the Serpentine. Eventually we head up the steep slope just above the closest skier.


We had a very fun descent of the Pigne d'Arolla. New snow, and occasional sunny break, and miles of untracked glacier.

Here, Arve arrives at the Vignettes hut.


Our last day into Zermatt. Dawn from the Col Chermontane, just below the Vignettes hut.


Ripping the skins at the Col de l'Eveque.


The entire team at the Col de Valpelline. From left to right are Mark, Paul, Susie, Arve, Anna, Rick, Kathy and the Matterhorn.


Skiing down the Stockji Glacier with the Matterhorn and far below to the left, Zermatt.


Haute Route essentials; beer, beacon and water.

Here, we are at Stafelalp, the edge of the Zermatt ski pistes. In a couple hours of so, we'll be showered, and thinking about dinner in town.


The following day we skied the Schwartztor., a fantastic almost all downhill tour on a wild glacier. The one-day trip begins with a ride up the Klein Matterhorn lift. And, of course, the "best shot of paradise, 12.736'". Rick and Paul pose for the shoot.


Skooching around the back side of the Breithorn, on the way to the Schwartztor. Pollux behind.


Susie spoons turns on the first shot in the Schwartztor.


Lower, the route gets quite interesting, as we traverse a series of big crevasses. Paul smiles for the camera.


Exiting the seracs to more gentle slopes below.


With a slight up-skinning variation, we found ourselves a huge untracked slope of light snow. Paul enjoys the descent.


The Schwartztor ends rather spectacularly at the toe of the Gorner Glacier. Up-close and personal with the ice.

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