Swiss Rock Guides

The Classic Haute Route

April/May, I will work out your preferred date of the


Photo by Matt Dewaard, Mount Blanc du Cheillon


This traverse from Chamonix to Zermatt is the most classic traverse in the world. It is the ultimate adventure for every strong skier or telemark ski tourer. We will start by skiing the world famous Valles Blanches in Chamonix to get acclimatized and adjust our equipment. Once prepared, we travel through beautiful scenery to Zermatt, where we ski along wild glaciers, seracs, enjoying spectacular views of the Swiss and French Alps, using modern ski transportation systems to gain elevation. This tour is unique in that it combines physical challenges with the creature comforts of cozy alpine huts, where we enjoy local food and experience the diversity of European culture.

For the experienced skier, we offer the same package but on the less traveled more southern Haute Route. This traverse is more physically challenging and technical with committing terrain but is very rewarding. We will move from Bourg St. Pierre to the Chanrion Hut behind the Grande Combin to Zermatt.

Photo by Freddy, Grande Jorasse/Valles Blanches

Chamonix - Zermatt

Day 1: Arrive in Chamonix, welcomed at 15:00 by your guide in the Hotel L’Arve, Chamonix.

Day 2:Acclimatize for the Haute Route by skiing the famous Vallee Blanche. (14 km. ski run!) (equipment preparation and tour review).

Ski lifts and a tram access the run. Chamonix 1087 m. to Aig du Midi 3842 m. It is on rugged glacier terrain surrounded with the most spectacular mountains in Europe which allows you to get ready for the type of skiing found on the Haute Route.

Day 3: Leave Chamonix 1087 m. to a little village called Argentiere, where we will take a tram to the Grand Montent 3233 m. From the top we will ski down and skin up for 3 hr. up to the Col du Chardonnet 3323 m. via Fenetre du Tour 3225 m. to the Refuge Albert 1er. hut 2702 m.

This is apprx. a 5 to 7 hr. day.

Day 4: We skin up via Co de Tour 3281 m. ski down a great, via the Glacier du Trient to the long run in the Valles d'Arpettes, a 9 km. ski descent to Champex, 1466 m., where we take the train and bus to Verbier, 1490 m. We end the day by skiing to the Mont For Hut 2457 m.

This day is 1.5-2 hrs. of skiing to Champex and 3-4 hrs. to the Mont For Hut.

Day 5: We ski and climb up the Rosablanche, 3336 m. and ski down to the Prafleuri Hut, 2624 m.

This is about 4-5 hrs. to the Rosablanche peak and 1 hr. ski descent.

Day 6: Travel along the highest dam in Europe, Lac of the Dix, up to the Dix Hut, 2928 m.

This is about a 4- to 5-hr. climb.

Day 7: Skin up the Pigne d’Arolla, 3790 m. where we will have a great view over the Alps. After a pleasant descent, skin up to the Col de l'Eveque, 3386 m.we ski down to the Refuge Gpllon, 2818 m.

This is about 4-5 hrs. to the peak and a 1-hr. descent.

Day 8: Skin back up to the Col. Collon 2386 m. ski down to the glacier Arolla to skin/climb up the Col de M. Brule, 3213 m. and Col du Valpelline, 3562, we ski down to Zermatt 1616 m. at the bottom of the famous Matterhorn North Face. This is a very committing and long day that requires good weather.

This is a 6- to 8-hr. day and covers the longest distance during the tour.

All time estimates are for reasonably fit skiers under normal touring conditions. However, changing conditions such as navigation in fog, skiing in heavy crud or breakable crust or trail breaking can add significant time to the tour.

Reading for route description and guide book: Alpine Ski Mountaineering: Volume 1 Western Alps by         Cicerone Guide.


Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt

April/May, I will work out your preferred date of the



CHF 7,040.00 private rate

CHF 4,135.00 (per person with 2 person)

CHF 3,280.00 (per person with 3 person)

CHF 2,800.00 (per person with 4 person)

Includes 2 nights in Chamonix, hut fees, 7 breakfasts and 6 dinners, 1 liter of tea from Chamonix to Zermatt, travel expenses like tram/train/taxi costs during the tour (except we have to re-route the original route), luggage transfer to Zermatt one peace per person.
8 days guiding

Not included: Travel expenses to and from the meeting place, lunches, drinks, dinners in Chamonix, rental equipment and souvenirs.

Skills Required

The Haute Route is a must for all pinnacle ski mountaineers.

Travel from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland across massive glaciers surrounded by spectacular mountains carrying only the lightest pack. Eat homemade food and sleep in a real bed in one of the many huts along the route. Maximum comfort in the huts, maximum safety, maximum view, minimum packs, the recipe for an unforgettable experience in the European Alps.

I highly recommend doing a level I avalanche class with AIARE (American institute for Avalanche Research and Education) to have some basic Avalanche knowledge, transceiver skills as well as touring experiences.

This is a moderate ski tour and requires a good level of physical fitness. A normal day will be 6-8 hrs. of uphill and downhill skiing in high altitude with a light backpack.

Participants must be strong skiers, PSIA level 9 skier able to perform dynamic parallel turns with ski randonne equipment while carrying a pack in all snow conditions: powder, hard packed and crud snow.

I strongly recommend Alpine randonne equipment for a trip in Europe. My past experience tells me that even an expert telemark skier will struggle and have a hard time skiing with a backpack due to the always-changing snow conditions. The telemark skier is usually slower in downhill skiing, takes more falls and gets tired more quickly.

You must already have mastered uphill skiing techniques, have experience with ski crampons as well as be able to execute  Euro-uphill kick turn in all conditions.

Basic mountaineering skills are helpful; we may use a rope, ice axe and crampons.

Bring only gear you are used to: broken in ski randonne boots, the right full skins, used gear that you know by heart.

If you have any concerns about your level of skiing, mountaineering skills, please feel free to contact Swiss Guides.


Photo Gallery of the Haute Route

Mt. Blanc

Tram to Aig du Midi

Descent to the skiing point

The view towards Switzerland

Skiing down from Grande Montent

Skinning up on glacier Argentiere

Skinning up to Col du Chardonnet

Col du Chardonnet behind us

Aig. du Doret on the Trient plateau

Skiing the Valles d'Arpettes

Mont For hut

Photo Matt Dewaard: Last meters to the Rosablanche

Photo Matt Dewaard: Skiing down from Rosablanche

Photo Matt Dewaard: Prafleurie hut

Photo Matt Dewaard: Skiing of the Pigne d'Arolla

Photo Matt Dewaard: Group pictures in front of the Matterhorn

Photo Matt Dewaard: Skiing in front of the Matterhorn

Photo Matt Dewaard: The final in Zermatt

Click below for information on equipment and training plan for ski mountaineering in the Alps.

Ski Mountaineering Equipment List