Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route • April 21 - 28, 2012

For our second Haute Route trip this year we were joined by husband and wife Zach Poindexter and Sophie Karadanis from Reno, NV.

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Yipee! A short movie.


The forecast was pretty awful, calling for heavy snows and high winds off and on throughout the week, but at least our first day was fine for our descent of the Vallee Blanche.


There had been heavy snow already the night before, and the first teams down the ridge of the Aiguille du Midi had deep trail-blazing to do. Our timing was perfect, right after the re-establishment of the track. Needless to say it was a powder day, though a bit heavy by the time we reached the bottom.


The following day we headed up to the Argentière hut, again in mixed weather. Sophie and Zack enjoy the sunset from the terrace.


Clearing in the late evening from the Argentière hut.


The morning of our day 3, we headed up toward the Col du Passon in another clearing spell.


Breaking trail in deep snow as we approach the boot-up gully below the col.


From the Col du Passon, we head up toward the "Col Sup. du Tour", still breaking trail.


The forecast called for very heavy snow this night, so we cruised right on past the Trient hut, to cover the steep terrain below while snow conditions were relatively settled. A skier makes the hard right at glacier's edge, to traverse over to the Col des Ecandies.


Booting up to the Col des Ecandies, a side-slip track made by descending skiers makes the trail breaking easier. From here we enjoyed a lovely ski down the Val d'Arpette in fresh snow, to a hiker's pension in Champex where we spent the night.


On day 4 we headed over to Verbier, enjoying the sight of a new snowfall. We continued on to the Cabane de Prafleuri, taking in the summit of Rosa Blanche in the fog, along the way.


From the Prafleuri hut, a late start due to avalanche control work by the Swiss military in preparation for the Patrouille des Glaciers, taking place a few days later. It was nice to have this section made safer for us! Zack crosses the rubble...


Heading up to the Dix hut before the next storm pulse.


Sophie gets a few turns in as we arrive at the Dix hut.


The weather worsened dramatically in the afternoon and evening. Sunrise the next morning shows the winds have not abated, even if the snow and fog have.


Because of the high winds, we crossed the "Pas du Chêvre" to reach the Cabane des Vignettes without having to cross the exposed Pigne d'Arolla.


Negotiating the moraines above Arolla.


Our final day into Zermatt dawned clear and not as windy.


Leaving the Vignettes hut behind, the Dent Blanche looming in the background.


Crossing the Col de l'Evêque in the early morning.


And approaching the Col du Mont Brulé.


Arriving on the Col de Vallpeline after a long skin, the wind keeping us cool, we are rewarded by our first close-up view of the Matterhorn.


Our descent into Zermatt was again blessed with fresh snow, getting heavy by the end but nice up here! We felt lucky to have managed to complete the route, despite a few route changes here and there due to weather. It was a great week in the end, and a pleasure to share it with Zack and Sophie!