Private Haute Route glacier trek • July 10 - 17, 2015

David Zhang and Yibing Mao came over from Hong Kong to join Kathy on a Chamonix to Zermatt glacier trek this July.

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David and Yibing near the end of the trek.


But to start at the beginning... Very nice weather for our first day, from Le Tour, to the Orny hut. Here approaching the Tour Glacier.

Crossing the Col Supérieur du Tour, and into Switzerland!

The iconic iron ibex of the Orny hut, in the early morning light of day 2.

Leaving the hut behind on day 2.

The scenic trail follows airy ledges high above the valley.

Beautiful wildflowers along the trail.

We often see Martagon lilies on this stretch.

The second half of our day begins at the Mauvoisin dam, and winds among still more flower-packed meadows, to end at the Chanrion hut.

Day three, we are already high above the Chanrion and heading toward the Dix hut.

We found this stretch of meadows to be full of the often elusive Edelweiss.

Eventually we left the meadows behind, traversing a high, isolated hanging valley between the cols of Lire Rose and Mont Rouge.

Our destination: the Dix hut.

Hut living: the entryway of the Dix hut.

And the lovely alpine poppies outside.

On the morning of day 4, we head up the Glacier de Tsena Refien under cloudy skies.

Topping out on the steep slopes of the Serpentine, with the Lac des Dix in teh distance.

Unfortunately, the clouds were clinging to the top of the Pigne d'Arolla, our high point of the trip, so views were only of fog, but we still enjoyed the accomplishment.

We broke out into the sunshine again as we descended toward the Vignettes hut.

The view out the picture windows of the entry hall and drying room of the hut.

The following morning, day 5, was our "rest and recovery" day. We descended to the village of Arolla to check into a hotel and enjoy a shower and a night in a proper bed. The sun rose brilliantly as we descended.

We got to see some wildlife along the way! A young ibex ignores us as we pass by.

And still more wildflowers!

A scenic, if knee-challenging, descent down steep moraine.

At our hotel, we have a view back up to the Pigne d'Arolla, where we were just 24 hours before. Too bad we didn't have this weather when we were up there!

A nice place for a bit of lunch on the lawn.

Day 6, after a restorative few hours in the lower elevations, we head back up toward the Bertol hut.

The famous ladders to reach the hut.

Kind of steep!

Our reward awaits: tea and pie in the pleasant shipboard style dining room.

The view over to the Matterhorn and Dent d'Hérens from the airy terrace of the hut.

The following morning our long "crux" day begins before dawn, with the descent of the ladders onto the glacier. The lights of the hut look especially cozy as we set off.

Near the high point of this day, the Tête Blanche.

On top of the Tête Blanche, with the Matterhorn over Yibing's right shoulder.

We face a long descent down the Stockji Glacier, in sloppy snow.

Once down off the glacier, there is still plenty of challenge ahead.

The last of the steep descent off the "Stockji".

There was still plenty of work getting through the boulders, and up the steep cliffs to the Schönbiel hut, but here at least we landed, safe and sound.

A spectacular sunset over the Matterhorn, then a long well deserved sleep.

Our last morning of the trip, we hit the trail for Zermatt, and the end of our adventure. Thank you to David and Yibing! It was a challenging and beautiful week in the mountains.

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