Chamonix to Zermatt • April 17 - 24, 2013

Beth (right) and Hannah (left) joined us on our second Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route.

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Our first day together was brilliantly sunny and warm. Lunch break at the Requin hut.


We had great conditions for our Vallée Blanche descent.


One of the rare sunny days of this stormy Spring, and the first real heat of the season.


Checking out the Géant icefall and it's giant features.


The following day was forecast to be good as well, but not the third day, so we sped up our schedule, skipped the Argentière hut and moved right along to the Trient hut. This made for a long day, but we made it! Approaching the Fenêtre de Saleina.


Sunset at the Trient hut.


Day three was indeed murky! Here we are topping out on the Col des Ecandies in a damp fog.


The sudden heat of the previous two days, coming so close on the heels of heavy snowfalls, led to some pretty catastrophic purges in the Val d'Arpette. Although we dealt with very challenging snow conditions, we were just glad to be skiing through the aftermath of these massive slides after things had quieted down, rather than dodging the events themselves as we would have been a few days earlier. Plenty o' debris!


We spent the night in the Mont Fort hut, but turned back from there as well after about 50 centimeters of snow fell overnight!


And in the morning it was still coming.


It's beginning to feel like Narnia under the curse of the White Witch, here! On the other hand we had fresh snow for our retreat through the slopes of Verbier.


So, trains, planes, and automobiles it was as we dodged around to Arolla to continue our journey from there.


We had an afternoon run up the slopes of Arolla.


The next day, it was back in to the Dix hut via the famous ladders of the Pas du Chèvre.


Finally a lucky break, we were able to start out for the Pigne d'Arolla under clear skies.


Fabulous conditions for the Serpentine.


The Dents du Midi peaking up over the valley cloud...


Up and over the Serpentine...


And nearly to our high point.


After a run down through.... mixed snow conditions to be generous about it, the Vignettes hut comes into view. The Dent Blanche is that massive mountain in the background.


Kathy hamming it up as we approach the hut.


Final steps.


The Vignettes hut in the early morning hours as we leave for our last stage.


Beautiful weather and conditions for the climb up to the Col du Mont Brulé.


Climbing up to the Col.


Contemplating our next descent, which featured some really good snow for once!


That's more like it!


Just above the Col de Valpelline, our first up close view of the Matterhorn.


However... we delayed our final descent for another 45 minutes or so, to take in the nearby Tête de Valpelline, whose soft north-facing slopes were too good to resist, even in our weary state! Great views too.


OK, I guess it WAS worth it after all...


On the lower reaches of the Stockji glacier, the heat is really on.


Amazingly good snow cover for this time of year!


Zermatt!!!! We have arrived!


As we usually do when we arrive in Zermatt on schedule with our "extra" day un-spent, we headed up for a final day on the Schwarztor.


Heading up to the "Tor" itself, and out of the mists clinging to the Southern slopes.


As usual we were rewarded with some fine snow, especially in the upper reaches.


Such a pleasure after a week of very tough snow conditions!


The Dent Blanche, Obergabelhorn, and Zinalrothorn in the background, we go hunting for fresh tracks.


Spring is coming to the lower glacier.


Heading down the last moraines and glacier remnants here. The Gorge exit was too thinly covered to ski safely, so we had a rather strenuous climb up over a rocky ridge and a steep ski down a narrow gully on the other side, too busy for pictures on that part I'm afraid! It was a good challenge.


At last on the mellow glide back to town. A good way to end on a high note! Thanks to Hannah and Beth for being with us this week.

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