Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route Glacier Trek • July 24 - 30, 2014

This year, Kathy's Chamonix to Zermatt Glacier Trek was with a strong and diverse crew of hardy adventurers. The weather provided plenty of challenge, as if the terrain difficulty weren't enough. But toughness, cameraderie and good spirits made it a great trip from start to finish.

Other Trips with Nancy, and with Don

Nancy: Albula - March, 2014
Nancy: Haute Route - April, 2003
Don: Chamonix climbing - July, 2012

Return to all recent trips


From left to right: Don Coddington, Doron Kalir, Nancy Ray, Mary White, and Rob Elliott.


It didn't look so promising as we started out on our first morning. At least our packs were smaller and lighter than these folks headed up for a mini-expedition on the edge of the Tour glacier.


Between rain squalls and sun breaks, we crossed the border into Switzerland in the early afternoon.


Our first hut, the Orny, was much more cheerful looking the following morning.


Our second day was as sunny as the first was not. A little stop for silliness en route to the Chanrion hut from the Mauvoisin lake.


The Chanrion hut appears at last (Mary White photo).


Cozy, not spacious, quarters (Mary White photo).


The next morning we were back in the rain, typical of this "ping pong" summer weather. We abandoned our plan A of heading over three high cols to the Dix hut. Instead, we headed straight for the Vignettes hut via the Otemma glacier, putting ourselves a day ahead of schedule.


A bit of fun with crampons and ice axes setting foot on the ice of the Otemma glacier toe.


Then it's a long highway of ice to the Col de Charmotane.


By the time we drew near the hut, we were back in a blizzard.


We barely saw the hut until it loomed out of the fog, quite close at hand.


Once inside, we were dry and warm (Mary White photo).


And here was another reason to smile (Mary White photo).


Some nice things to be seen near the hut (Mary White photo).


The following day was forecast to be fine (continuing with the every-other-day weather alternation), so we climbed the Pigne d'Arolla from the Vignettes hut. Breaking out above the fog shortly above the hut, was pure joy.


Progress slowed almost to a halt, as we had so many photos to take!


But it being not too long a climb from this side, we were soon within shouting distance of the top.


The crew on the Pigne!


The view over toward the Matterhorn from the summit of the Pigne (Mary White photo).


And the descent was just as nice.


Pausing for a sunny picnic above the fog bank, it's time to make snow angels!!!! (Rob Elliott photo).


Back in the fog zone, we have steeper terrain to descend.


After lunch, we had time for some crevasse extrication hijinx.


We had some hard choices to make at this point, as the weather was forecast to get truly grim again for several days. We decided to cut and run for Zermatt via Swiss public transportation, and see what we could accomplish in the way of fun and games from our base there. So we set out down the glacier toward Arolla.


A beautiful morning so far!


Back in the flower zone. They like the rain!


Welcome to Zermatt! (Mary White photo).


The next day was truly wet, so we did what any sane person would do in Zermatt in the rain.... The Gorge Adventure! Yipeee! But I have too many photos from this day alone, so if you're interested in them, click here (do it, it's fun).


On our last day, we tried to outrun the next pulse of bad weather and climb the Breithorn. Heading up the gondola with ... some hope.


The "hurly burly" of the Klein Matterhorn cable car (Mary Whlte photo).


But the fog and wind were too strong, so we did a little ascent of the Matterhorn instead. Looks like I'm the only one with the good sense to be nervous on the summit (Mary White photo).


With the rest of our day, we hiked up to the "tent city" the Zermatt guides have put in place while the Hornil hut is being renovated. Not too many hopeful climbers here today! (Mary White photo).


So it's Sayonara for now, Zermatt, hope to see you when winter passes once more. Thanks to this crew for all the laughs and good fellowship.

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