Haute Route Glacier Trek • July 15 - 21, 2018

Kathy's annual Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route glacier trek this year brought together a couple of "regulars", Craig and Michele; their nephew Anders; and two new friends, Enrique and Paul.

Other Trips with Michele and Craig

Chamonix area, August 2017
Dolomites Italy, August 2016
Central Switzerland, June 2015
Bernina, Palu, Badile, July 2013
Calanques climbing October 2012
Dolomites climbing July 2011
Mont Blanc area August 2010
Alps July 2005

Return to all recent trips

Day one, all bright and shiny! Awaiting our bus to the trailhead. From left to right: Enrique, Anders, Craig, Michele, and Paul. Various unforeseen circumstances prevented all of us from completing the trip, but all were with us in spirit to the end.


Our first night is spent at this hut, the Albert Premier. We got our hike in, as well as some skills practice, before the threatened afternoon thunder showers arrived. You can see them gathering however!


The next morning we were up dark and early for a long day into Switzerland. Picking our way through the boulders by headlamp.


Still early in the morning, we cross the steep Col Supérieure du Tour into Switzerland.


Over the col, and into the sunshine!


After a brief stop for a drink and a chat at the Orny hut, we continue on to Champex by the airy and beautiful trail above the Darbellay Torrent.


We transfered from Champex to the Hotel Mauvoisin in the afternoon, arriving in time for some rest and refreshment.


The next morning we were out again fairly early, beginning our day by hiking through tunnels to the top of the Mauvoisin dam.


Leaving the dam behind, we enter meadowy terrain, summer home to the famous "fighting cows" of Switzerland. They're in a peaceful and bucolic mood this morning.


Rain showers threatened but never really materialized as we made our way higher.


In fact as we neared our high point of the day at the Col de Lire Rose, a warm sunshine broke out at times.


A couple of cols later, we again escape threatening storms as we approach our last col, the Col de Cheilon, and the Dix hut.


The fortress like location of the Dix hut proves the generalization: "It's always uphill to the hut"!


Orange poppies in full bloom near the hut.


Day 4, we're up again early to get over the Pigne d'Arolla to the Vignettes hut. Lac Dix stretches away into the distance behind.


Some climbers descending the steep snow slopes of the Serpentine, our first real challenge of the day.


That section safely behind us, another 40 minutes or so gets us to the top of the Pigne d'Arolla, and at our highest point of the trip!


We arrived at the Vignettes hut in time for Jean-Michel's famous rösti!


And a bit of a lounge on the sunny terrace.


The next morning, another early start, made worthwhile by a truly epic sunrise post-rainstorm.


The skies cleared quickly as we ascended the Glacier du Mont Collon toward the Col de l'Eveque.


Well down below the col, we traverse to the toe of the upper Arolla glacier, now bare ice in the full summer melt season.


It's already been a long, hot day, but we still have 600 meters or so to climb to the Bertol hut! Michele psyches herself up for the final pull.


A couple of hours later we are at the top of the famous ladders, and our long day is done.


A chance to relax before dinner in the snug dining room.


Hut living: gear storage looks precarious in this high perched hut!


Another pre-dawn start, this one with ladders!


Looking back up at our "spaceship" Bertol hut against the starry sky!


A couple of hours later we are near our high point of this day, the Tête Blanche.


And here we are! A beautiful morning with nice frozen snow conditions and bright sunshine.


Descending the Stockji glacier, we pause to admire the view of the Matterhorn (not in this photo).


Once off the glacier we have steep rock steps to descend off the "Stockji".


Some complicated and technical descents to get off the moraine, then it's boulders, boulders, boulders! to cross the rock-covered vestiges of the lower Schönbiel glacier. A tough stretch, but almost over.


A bit more entertaining are the fixed ropes up steep slabs to access the Schönbiel hut.


And there it is at last! Our final refuge on this epic journey.


A cold "Apfel Schörle" and chips fulfill our hunger-induced fantasies of the past hour or two.


Our last morning dawns wet and clammy. Good timing! As we have just three hours or so of simple trail walking to Zermatt.


A pause for coffee in the charming "mini village" of Zmutt breaks up the walk.


And at last the rain begins in earnest, just in time for our "triumphal" entry into Zermatt! Well done, crew!