Walker's Haute Route • August 25 - September 2, 2019

Joe Haegert and his friend Heather Wiggins, organized a large cohort of friends to hike the Chamonix to Zermatt Walker's Haute Route with me (Kathy) and colleague Rupert Hutchinson this late summer. I suspect that the Emergency Room services of the greater Vancouver, B.C. area were probably all but closed down due to the absence of this group, which contained a dsproportionately high concentration of surgeons, specialists and nurses from that medical community! I trust the city survived their absence.

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And we're off! Mustering at the Chamonix train station on day 1, for a short transfer up valley to our trailhead in Montroc.


Rising high above treeline above the village of Le Tour, we begin to enjoy expansive views.


On the Aiguille des Posettes, Mont Blanc smiles in the distance.


Day two featured an early coffee break on the shady terrace of the hotel at the Col de Forclaz.


Heading out again, we get a look at where their eggs come from!


Passing through beautiful alpine meadows, the ripe wild blueberries continue to mess with our time plan.


Our lunch stop in Bovine, perched high above the upper Rhone valley of Switzerland.


And it's rösti on the menu!


Continuing our walk, we look out over the expanse of the upper Rhone, far below.


This day ends in the lap of luxury, in Champex Lac (whose chilly waters some of us tested out for a swim).


The next day has us traversing the airy balcony trail aptly named the "Sentier des Chamois" (the path of the Chamois).


Not a Chamois, but a different species of climbing ungulate, this Ibex was just one of many sightings during the day's walk.


The trail is steep in places, and always dramatic.


Descending is equally steep. A "flock" of paragliders far above. (A bevy? A crowd? A preponderance? What does one call a collection of paragliders?)


Relaxing at the Cabane de Louvie, after yet another icy but refreshing dip in another mountain lake!


The next day we continued on past old barn buildings and corrals, now gone to wildflowers.


The way gets steep again.


Gaining altitude once more.


Pausing near the end of the vast stony expanse called the "Grand Desert".


After our second (and last of the trip) stay in a mountain hut, we begin with a short climb up over the Col des Roux, and then down to the Lac des Dix.


We are accompanied for a short way by this young "fighting cow". Bred for their competitiveness with each other, these beefy females of the Herens breed, love indulging in shoving competitions. Their owners take pride in breeding champion "queens of the combat". Between tournaments, they wander at will in the high pastures, and look pretty contented.


Our high point of this day is reached by steep, unstable boulders and sand, a bit tedious but rewarding as well.


We have a few ladders to climb over the "Pas de Chèvres".


Passing the ruins of herdsmens' barns on our descent to Arolla.


A long descent, we are getting footsore by now but still enjoying incredible views.


Our reward! Barefeet on the soft grass of the Grand Hotel Kurhaus' garden. A sight for sore feet.


The next morning, we're heading up over the Col de Torrent.


More fighting cows! These ones seem to have sorted our their pecking order, and are more focused on food than on domination.


Pausing at the col, once again the views are amazing.


We descend toward the other-worldly blue of the Lac de Moiry, hte Moiry Glacier and the Grand Cornier in the far distance.


Shadows on the lake.


A storm threatens on the descent from the Meidpass on our day 7.


My only photograph from day 8, the view was spectacular but the lighting not photo friendly!


Day 9, our last day, we have a short walk into Zermatt from the Täschalp. We can't resist shots of this quintessential Swiss vignette as the cows are brought down from their higher pastures.


We were trying to outrun the rain on this last day. The rain did catch us, but only briefly.


More animals being prepared for their autumn descent to the lowlands, these are the very cute Valais blacknose sheep.


Sadly, we had no views of the Matterhorn as we ended our trip, that would have to wait until the next morning. But what a journey it was! So great to be a part of this fun and adventurous group!