Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 1 - 8, 2012

Our Verbier Haute Route trip this year was ultimately very successful despite plenty of mixed weather.

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The Cast of Characters, from left to right, are Thomas Kral, Lisa Beaudreau, Peter Stock, Mark Houston, Jeffrey Sall, Matt Hyde, Bill Fischelis, and Ralph Bovard. Not shown in the photo but on the trip, was Ed Reczek.


Descending the ridge from the Aiguille du Midi for our Vallée Blanche "shake-down" day. It had not snowed in several weeks, so we had very firm conditions.


Getting up close to some "features" on the Petit Envers descent.


Readying ourselves for a mogul run below the Géant Icefall.


The artists at work.


On day 2 we headed over to the Argentière hut. Mouse over image to see the route to the hut.


Skinning below the north face of Les Courtes en route to the hut.


The final approach on foot.


The following morning we left the hut early in a light snowfall.


Poor visibility and the threat of snow and wind led us to opt for the Col du Passon instead of the Col de Chardonnet. We approach the beginning of the steep climbing section here.


Topping out on the gully leading to the Col du Passon.


From there it was onward through the fog to the Col Supérieure du Tour.


The last steps up to the "Col Sup. du Tour", and thence to the Trient hut.


The next day we had a little bit of new snow as we left the Trient hut in the early morning.


A dusting of new snow and early morning light.


Climbing the very "bony" step up to the Col des Ecandies.


Ready to ski the Val d'Arpette.


A small amount of light new snow quieted, but did not really buffer, the frozen tracks beneath! But every little bit helps.


After a brief stop in Verbier, we continued on to the Prafleuri hut in continuing squally afternoon weather.


Peter holds the company in thrall, as always. Looks like we've worked our way through quite a lot of beer!


Yet more overcast weather and yet more new snow as we leave the Prafleuri hut the next morning.


The "hurly-burly" of getting ready in a small foyer, along with a couple dozen new friends...


Superb skinning conditions up the steep passage known as the "pas du chat", but foggy weather continues....


Arriving at the Dix hut in time for lunch.


We skinned and climbed up La Luette in the afternoon, but it wasn't until the next morning (shown here) that we actually saw the thing we had climbed, as we skinned up the Refien Glacier.


A helicopter drop-off near the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla.


Savoring our high point on the Pigne.


Last steps to the Vignettes hut. Roll mouse over to see the hut.


After lunch at the hut we took a lap down the Glacier de Piece; Jeff likes it!


About a dozen turns in nice snow before we hit more.... challenging conditions lower down.


Thomas cuts it up.


On our last day we headed out in poor visibility, hoping for improving conditions that were expected to develop over the course of the day. A couple of hours out, the fog lifted as we approached the Col du Mont Brulé.


Looking back down the Haut Glacier d'Arolla toward the Col de l'Evêque.


Topping out the Col du Mont Brulé.


On our final descent of the Stockji Glacier from the Col de Valpelline, we once again had the opportunity to get up close and personal with some glacier "features". Very pretty backdrop as Matt cuts up the fresh snow.


Bill getting in some great turns. The Dent d'Hérens in the background here.


In Zermatt on our last day, high winds closed the Klein Matterhorn lift, so we explored the lift-served slopes. We did find some very fun pockets of light fresh snow here and there on north-facing shots. This is the view of the Matterhorn from the Hohtälli ridge. A great end to a challenging and rewarding week!