Haute Route-The Original Tour that started it all

  • Dates: 2020 – April 4-13
  • Duration: 7 Days
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Client Ratio: 5:1
  • Cost:
    • – $2850
  • Included: group climbing equipment, and guide services.
  • Not Included: All meals while on the mountain, airfare, transportation within Seattle, ground transportation hotel accommodations, restaurant meals, gratuities for guides, and all personal items.

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The Haute Route is a classic tour through the heart of the Western Alps and some of its most stunning scenery. First completed in 1860, this high-level mountain traverse covers over 75 miles of alpine terrain, crosses over 12 different glacier systems, and connects the two major mountain centers − Chamonix, France and Zermatt, Switzerland.
This route is perhaps the most famous ski tour in the world. There are few places in the world where skiers can travel unencumbered, in the heart of the mountains, over high cols, hidden valleys, and immense glaciers. The huts in the Alps allow us to enjoy the skiing as only traveling light can. You’ll witness an amazing mixture of cultures while staying in these huts as you socialize with ski mountaineers from around world who are also taking on the challenge of the Haute Route.

The Haute Route is a tour for skiers with advanced skills who are able to ski in variable snow conditions. Skiers should be able to ski “off piste” in all types of ungroomed snow. Also, for our climbs skiers should be able to execute uphill kick-turns without difficulty. This is a challenging tour which requires skiers to be in excellent shape not just for the downhill skiing but also for the uphill sections. A basic knowledge of general mountaineering techniques is helpful. We will meet in Chamonix on the afternoon or evening before the tour begins to answer questions, begin packing and finalize other logistics.

Day 1
Depart from home.

Day 2
Hotel Gustavia, Chamonix – Check in to your hotel and get organized for tomorrow’s departure. Chamonix is a beautiful quaint French town with many great shops and restaurants.

Day 3
Vallée Blanche ski descent.– Meet in Chamonix. Discuss route plan and review equipment. Ride Aiguille du Midi and ski the Vallee Blanche where we have the opportunity for practicing skills on glacier. Night in Chamonix B, D

Day 4
Trient Hut – Today we ride the tram at the Grand Montet and cross the Argentiere Glacier to reach the Col du Chardonnet.. We cross the Fenetre de Saleina then continue to the Trient Hut (10,370ft.,3170m). B, D

Day 5
Champex – Cross Col des Ecandies (9,145 ft., 2796m), descend to the Val d’Arpette to the quaint village of Champex situated by a pristine alpine lake. We will take a short break from the alpine environment and bus to Bourg St. Pierre. We spend the night in Bourg St. Pierre and enjoy the comforts of the Swiss village. B

Day 6
Valsorey Hut – Today we will hike under the Grand Combin (14,115ft., 4314m) and climb over 4,000 feet to reach the Valsorey Hut (8,050ft.,2462m) B, D

Day 7
Chanrion Hut – Today we will climb over the Plateau du Couloir, the Col du Sonadon and ski down the Durrand glacier to reach the Chanrion Hut (8,050ft.,2462m) B, D

Day 8
Vignettes Hut – Traverse high above the village of Arolla to the Vignettes Hut (10,340ft.,3160m). From the hut there is beautiful view back down the glacier with snow covered mountains in the distance. B, D

Day 9
Zermatt– Today we will descend slightly before climbing over the Col de‘Eveque (11,095ft.,3392m).We descend and cross the Glacier to cross Col du Mt. Brulé (10,510ft.,3213m) to the Col du Valpaline then enjoy the 2400 meter descent down the Stockji glacier under the Matterhorn and into Zermatt B, D

Our recommended clothing system has four layers.
  • Base layer: manages moisture and wicks perspiration away from your skin. (Polypro, capilene, driclime)
  • Softshell: should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water resistant layer that breathes well.
  • Hard shell: windproof, waterproof and breathable.  (e.g. Gore-Tex, or similar)
  • Insulating layer: should be down-fill or synthetic-fill and fit over all layers. (e.g. down, primaloft or polarguard)

These four layers are usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder bring one extra medium-layer that would be ideal for extra warmth around camp, such as a vest. When deciding what to pack, remember to bring enough clothes and accessories to ensure your safety and comfort, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably won’t use.

Climbing/Ski Gear
  • Skis or snowboard. Skis should be equipped with alpine touring bindings or telemark bindings. We prefer split decision Snowboards w/ skins because you do not need snow shoes.
  • Adjustable Ski Poles
  • Alpine touring, telemark, snowboard boots crampon compatible
  • Skins
  • Ski Crampons Required for all ski mountaineering trips
  • Alpine climbing harness  Must have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing and can be put on with ski boots
  • 2 Locking carabiners Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best.
  • 2 Regular carabiners lightweight
  • 1 Single Length Runner/Sling
  • Ice axe  Lightweight
  • Crampons with anti-ball plate  Must be fit to boots prior to trip,
  • Climbing/ski helmet  Adjustable, should fit with hat on
Upper Body
  • 1 synthetic T-shirt
  • 1 long sleeve Sun Hoodie or shirt Lightweight, light colored for sunny days
  • 2 synthetic sports bras*(WOMEN)
  • 1 soft shell jacket
  • 1 Down/synthetic jacket with hood
  • 1 Hard shell jacket with hood Waterproof and breathable. Gore-Tex or equivalent is best, roomy enough to fit over multiple layers.
  • 1 pair lightweight gloves
  • 1 pair warm waterproof gloves
  • Warm hat Wool or synthetic
  • Balaclava/Buff
  • Shade hat or Visor
Lower Body
    • 2 pair med- heavy wool/synthetic socks Check boot fit with liner and wool socks on
    • 1 pair lightweight long underwear
    • 1-2 pairs of underwear boxers/briefs
    • Softshell pants
    • Shell pants Waterproof/breathable with full side zips
Hut & In Town clothing for travel and evening
      • Comfortable clothes for travel, walking around town and hotsprings for huts
      • lightweight booties or slippers, comfortable top and bottom-cotton optional. for huts
Sleeping Gear
      • Sleeping sac for huts
Backpack
        • Internal frame pack 2000-2500 cubic inch capacity able to carry snowboard/skis
Miscellaneous Equipment
      • Goggles and Glacier glasses 100% UV protection with side shields or wrap around.
      • Personal first aid repair kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, spare parts for bindings and batteries etc.
      • Lip balm At least SPF 20
      • Sunscreen At least SPF 40
      • Headlamp lightweight LED
      • 2 water bottles 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene and 1 bottle holster, or
      • Hydration bladder With drinking tube and 1 Nalgene bottle
      • Toiletry kit Be sure to include WAG Bag or toilet paper stored in a plastic bag.
      • Bandana
      • Hand wipes
      • 1 small stainless steel thermos (Optional)
      • Favorite snack foods (no more than 2 pounds)
      • Camera

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WILL MY GUIDE (OR GUIDES) BE?
You will receive an introductory email with the guide for your course. Pablo Puruncajas and Ian Nicholson lead all our Alps trips and will be one of the led guides. We are small company who enjoy working together in the mountains as well as highly skilled professionals who hold current Wilderness First Responder certification and are proficient in technical rescue and evacuation skills. Our guides are dedicated to the world of alpinism, many having first ascents and hold professional certifications with AIARE & AMGA. The AMGA is part of the IFMGA, which is the international body of certified mountain guides.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDES?
Tipping is considered standard practice in the guiding industry. Tipping amounts vary – so $15-20 per day per person/per guide is average that works well for the guides without a serious blow to your wallet. Often 10% of the course cost is a good rule-of-thumb. If you feel that the program was exceptional or substandard the tip can reflect that.

CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT FROM BCAG?
Yes, we rent Beacons, Shovels, Probes and Packs here. If you need these plus touring equipment, Second Ascent rents avalanche safety equipment, alpine touring, tele and split boards click here. Quantities are limited so please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested.

HOW HEAVY WILL MY PACK BE?
You will carry 10-15 pounds, which will include everything on the equipment list.

WHEN DO I NEED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF MY TRIP?
Payable when you make your reservation by check, or credit card.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
If you should decide to cancel your trip, BCAG must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date we receive written notice. You will be assessed a cancellation fee according to the following schedule:
90 to 22 days from trip departure – 50% of trip cost
30 days or less – 100% of trip cost

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WANT TO CHANGE THE DATES OF MY TRIP?
Schedule changes are subject to a $50 fee per person up to 2 weeks out and $100 less then 14 days from the start of the trip and may not be possible. If conditions or circumstances preclude running a scheduled program we reserve the right to make the decision as to whether the program will be canceled, rescheduled, or an alternative provided.

WHAT HAPPENS IF BC ADVENTURE GUIDES HAS TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
In the rare circumstance where we need to cancel a program you can reschedule without a fee or receive a refund on your deposit. If circumstances arise that force us to cancel a program that is already in progress we reserve the right to decide whether a refund or credit, at a prorated rate, will be issued. We are not responsible for cancellation fees or costs arising from your changed or cancelled flights, lodging, or other arrangements. We strongly recommend obtaining trip cancellation insurance from your travel agent.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TRIP INSURANCE?
BCAG highly encourages the purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance on domestic trips and requires it on International trips. Europeans and Canadians use it because travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.
Several options include Travelex or Travel Guard International at (1-877-248-8992) & www.travelguard.com for protecting your investment, however there are many companies to choose from and you may wish to do some individual research regarding which policy is right for you.

WHEN SHOULD I PLAN TO LEAVE A RETURN HOME?
We often get this question because most people need to know how much total time they need to take off work. Our Avi and Ski Tours begin by 8 AM at the trailhead and return to the car by 3. Our return to Seattle on the last day typically allows you to get back between 5-7 with the descent and drive back.