Ira Garber and Mark Rosen, Glacier Haute Route • August 31 - September 4, 2014

Ira and Mark, long-time friends and adventurers, roped in with Kathy for a Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route glacier trek. Due to scheduling complications, Kathy was unable to complete the route with them, they completed the last day of the trek with a Zermatt colleague. But we all had a great time from start to finish.

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As so often happens, our first day out of Chamonix was mixed: fog, cloud, sun, fortunately no precipitation. Here we are riding the chairlift out of Le Tour, to begin our trek.


After a half hour or so of hiking, we break out above the cloud layer.


The sun really broke out around noon, allowing us a view of the magnificent Aiguille de Chardonnet.


We were back to in-and-out cloud conditions by the time we clambered over the ridge into Switzerland at the Col Supérieur Du Tour.


A descent of the Plateau du Trient, and we arrived at the Cabane d'Orny, in gathering cloud.


The night was stormy, and we had new snow to contend with on our descent from the Orny hut. Fortunately, it did not extend very low in elevation.


The dusting of new snow lent an ephemeral beauty to the mud-delta below the glacier.


Lower down along the trail, the sun broke through and began burning off the low-hanging fog.


A taxi transfer to the Mauvoisin dam and reservoir, and we had a sunny afternoon's hike to the Chanrion hut.


From the warmth of the sheltered terrace of the Chanrion hut, beautiful and ever-changing views through the swiftly moving clouds.


The next morning dawned clear and sunny for our long trip over three cols, to the Dix hut. Here we are approaching the first col, the Col de Lire Rose.


Negotiating some tricky terrain including loose scree and snow above steep drops, we finally gain the lonely plateau of the Glacier du Giétro. Ira Garber photo.


Once off the glacier an easy amble down scree brought us to the Dix hut. Scroll over to see the hut's commanding position on a rocky knoll.


The Dix hut sports a winning combo: an impressive list of international beers, a sun-facing terrace with fantastic views, and ....


... a first class yoga space on the heli pad! Mark provides excellent instruction and modeling.


Sunset photos from the terrace. Mont Blanc de Cheilon with half-moon.


The next day was beautifully clear, great timing for our high-point day: the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla and the descent to the Vignettes hut. After a chilly morning's climb, we break out into the sun high up on the Glacier de Tsena Refien.


From near the top of the steep "Serpentine" section, we have fantastic views over the Lac des Dix (left) and the village of Arolla (right.


With the Serpentine safely behind us, we have a a long "bathtub ring" traverse to the summit of the Pigne d'Arolla, left in this photo.


A very rewarding summit in visibility like this! The Matterhorn is just behind Mark's pack in this photo.


On the other side, we descended to the Vignettes hut, on its outrageous perch (mouse over to find the hut).


We arrived early, so after a stand-out Rösti lunch, we climbed the hill behind the hut for photo opportunities. Here is Ira taking advantage of a particularly scary-looking one.

Our following day's route goes over the glacier directly behind Ira in this photo...


... and after passing behind Mont Collon, it descends the Haut Glacier d'Arolla, only to climb up again steeply to the fantastical Bertol hut. Mouse over to see the last half of this day's route.


... But I anticipate. A cozy afternoon drying gear in the Vignettes hut.


And a gorgeous sunset too!


The following day, our last together, dawned a bit damp and mossy. Leaving the warm lights of the hut behind at dawn.


In and out of cloud, we get a few glimpses as we top out on the Col de l'Evêque.


Descending the bare ice of the Haut Glacier d'Arolla, the Bertol hut is "just around the corner" now!


A confusing jumble of rock-covered ice to get off the glacier.


Back onto a genuine trail, sadly it is time for Kathy to take her leave of Mark and Ira. A last ritual to mark the spot! Fittingly, above our heads is the Vignettes hut just out of sight behind a rock ridge, a short hop as the crow flies but a long day on foot! Au Revoir to Ira and Mark, they went on to reach Zermatt and climb the Breithorn as Kathy jetted back to the U.S. Here's hoping our paths meet again one day.

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