Haute Route to Zermatt 2019
Updated itinerary - 6 days guiding - spare day for weather / contingency
Skiing over the Tete
                                              Blanche in front of the
                                              Matterhorn
Course overview
The Haute Route route ski tour between the two historic mountain centres of Chamonix and Zermatt stretches for 114 miles and there is between 13,000m to 14,000m of ascent and descent taking you through some of the most famous landscapes in the Alps.
Throughout the week you are surrounded by stunning 4000m peaks, and the ski tour provides a challenge that many people repeat several times during their lives. It will appeal to those wishing to escape the hustle and business of the Alpine valley towns and ski slopes.
This course is ideal for those seeking a challenging ski tour, with the opportunity to use some mountaineering techniques, such as an ascent on crampons or an abseil. All roped techniques will be taught during the week, so don't worry if you are a ropework virgin!

Skiing ability should be fairly good as although there is only a little steep skiing, the slopes can be icy or rutted in places, with breakable crusts. There is also often more than a little powder on the descents! You will encounter most types of snow conditions.

We have updated our itinerary to build in some more flexibility for weather and conditions, to really make every effort to make it happen for you. There's a spare / easy first skiing day built into the itinerary, to provide some contingency for the weather and conditions.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.

Summary of course
As this tour is continuous, it is quite physically demanding and requires a good level of fitness. Good stamina will make the route easier and more enjoyable as it involves six days of skiing at altitude with a pack, though note the pack should be 35 litres maximum.
The accommodation in the mountain huts is half-board throughout, with plentiful three course cooked evening meals and breakfasts each morning. This level of comfort is important, as you will need a good cooked meal after the efforts of each day, and by staying half-board you avoid having to carry stoves or pans.
Support and assistance from the Icicle Chamonix hosts is included throughout the week for logistics, equipment fitting, and briefings. They will store any luggage that you do not want to take on the route, and meet you after the tour to return it for your travel home.
A key feature of this course is that you have a contingency day built into the itinerary, that is on the first day of guiding. The intentionally short first day allows a very early start for the Col du Chardonnet / Col du Passon the next morning, far ahead of groups queuing for the Grands Montets lift in the morning.
Skiing over the Tete
                                              Blanche in front of the
                                              Matterhorn


Brief Course Itinerary
Starting in Chamonix, France, you traverse by ski the spectacular high mountain route to Zermatt, Switzerland. By staying each night in comfortable mountain refuges, set high in the mountains, this course will appeal to those who want to spend a week in amazing mountain scenery. Note that the Haute Route has many variations, and that it is often essential to alter itineraries often to cater for weather, conditions, fitness, hut spaces and ski ability.



Sunday - Arrival day in Chamonix
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in followed by and course safety and itinerary briefings. There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment, including the hire of any ski touring equipment, and the guide who is leading you normally comes to say hello and to talk you through the route on the map. Briefings are over by 19:00 and the Chamonix hosts accompany the group to pre-dinner drinks. Some clients opt to travel out a day or two early to get their ski legs back and to test out their skis, whilst many others opt to do a one day avalanche awareness safety course. Night in Chamonix.


Monday - Day 1 of ski tour, Grands Montets and ski to Argentiere hut
You meet your guide in the morning, and have a final equipment check, before skiing at the Grands Montets ski area. You normally test all the touring kit, and the morning is a shake down session. In the afternoon you take the Grands Montets top lift and ski down onto the Argentiere glacier, and across to the hut. The back up plan in event of strong wind closing the cable car, is to skin up to the hut Argentiere hut from Lognan. By staying in the hut you ensure that you get a very early start the next morning to cross the Col du Chardonnet, hours ahead of skiers starting from Grands Montets.


Tuesday - Day 2 of ski tour, Col du Chardonnet / Passon & Champex-Lac
The first of many Alpine starts, to take advantage of the overnight refreeze, for the long skin up to the Col du Chardonnet. Near the col it might be necessary to make the transition to crampons. Once at the top, the descent involves an abseil or lower off. An alternative route from the hut is by the Col du Passon, in case of icy conditions. Both routes converge on the flat expanse of the Trient glacier, which you traverse past the Trient hut to the short steep ascent over the Col des Ecandies, before the exhilarating ski down the remote Arpette valley. The night is spent in a hut / gite close to Champex-Lac.


Wednesday - Day 3 of ski tour, Le Chable & ski to Prafleuri hut
After an early breakfast, you take a short transfer by road to Le Chable. This is the base station for the Verbier ski area, and you ride the lifts through the town and upwards to Montfort. Here you ski past the Montfort hut and cross the Cols de la Chaux and Prafleuri, and possibly ascend the summit of the Rosablanche on the way. The night is spent in the Prafleuri Hut. If there was bad weather on the first day, an alternative is to ski to the Trient hut on the first day, then to reach the Prafleuri on the second day. Flexibility has been built into this itinerary, to make every attempt to help make it happen.
 

Flexibility - We select from two options of route for the following days
The itinerary for the next three days of the Haute Route is more flexible to allow for variations caused by the prevailing conditions. Our preferred route is Plan A, and our contingency option is Plan B. Our focus is making the ski tour happen for you, not sticking avidly to a pre-prescribed itinerary. We believe that our highly flexible approach is essential to improve your chances of success, and it really differentiates us...

  Plan A... Plan B...


Thursday - Day 4 of tour, to Dix hut
Set of very early today, to make the East facing traverse across above the Lac de Dix from the Praflueri Hut, before the heat of the sun increases the avalanche risk too high. At the far end of the lake you skin upwards to reach the stunningly situated Dix hut, high above the lake.

Thursday - Day 4 of tour, to Arolla
Follow the same route to the head of Lac de Dix, before traversing left then ascending to the newly installed ladders to cross the Pas de Chevre to descend to Arolla, Switzerland. Night in a hotel in Arolla, a much welcomed element of luxury mid-week to ensure you are well fed and rested.



Friday - Day 5 of tour, Dix to Vignettes
Ski from the Dix hut to the Vignettes, via the Pigne d'Arolla 3790m, the highest summit on the Haute Route. The ski down to the hut is generally one of the best descents on the ski tour. The summit is obviously weather / conditions dependent. This day is one of the visual highlights! Night in hut.
Friday - Day 5 of tour, Arolla to Bertol
Ascend from the Arolla valley up to Bertol Hut on skins. This is a big height gain, but the day is not especially long. Upon arriving beneath the hut, you are faced with a series of ladders and cables to ascend to reach the hut that is perched on the top of the ridge, in an amazing location. Night in hut.

Saturday - Day 6 ski, Hut - Zermatt
Your final Alpine start of the week, to set off from the Vignettes. This is a 30km day with 3 cols to cross; Eveque, Mont Brule and Valpelline. It takes most groups between 8 to 10 hours to reach Zermatt, and you ski on 7 different glaciers in the day. Quite a fitting finale to the Haute Route!
Saturday - Day 6 ski, Bertol - Zermatt
An early start for the last section of skiing on the ascent of Tete Blanche from the Bertol Hut, then descend to Zermatt past the Matterhorn. This is a big day of skiing, but most of it is downhill, which will be a welcome relief, before you finally pick up the pistes to descend to Zermatt.
  Saturday afternoon - The ski routes converge as you approach Zermatt
As you ski down the glacier below the immense North Face of the Matterhorn, you finally reach the pistes, and ski into Zermatt. Then it's time for a celebratory beer with your guide, to toast the weeks achievements. Catch the train to Tasch, then minibus transfer to Chamonix, which takes c.2 hours. There's time to return any hired ski equipment back to the shope, then in the evening you can go out in town to celebrate more and perhaps have a good meal of hearty savoyard food to replace some of the calories you've burnt off, and enjoy your last evening in the Alps. Night in Chamonix.

Sunday - Check out and departure
Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. Depending on your flight time, there may be some time to purchase some last minute souvenirs for friends and family, then take a return airport transfer direct to Geneva airport, which takes approximately 90 minutes from Chamonix. Depart for home.

ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionaly we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.
Arriving at the amazingly positioned
                                              Bertol hut after the
                                              ascent from Arolla
Course Prices
Standard course
6 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
8 days holiday in total, Sunday - Sunday
£1199
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guides for six days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for UK shops, 5) Two nights B&B accommodation in Chamonix (inc. bedding & towels), 6) Five nights half  board accommodation in mountain huts including three course cooked evening meals, 7) Preferential rates on ski and equipment hire, 8) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 9) Road transport in Chamonix valley.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable cars for you and guide (c.60€pp), 3) Ski hire, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Return transport from Zermatt to Chamonix (c.50€pp based on six), and road transport outside Chamonix valley (Champex-Verbier c.15€pp based on six), 6) Saturday pre-dinner drinks & last night celebratory meal & drinks, 7) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Group sizes: 3 - 6 people per IFMGA mountain guide. For group sizes of over 6 people, there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently of each other.
Upgrade options
Avalanche Skills Training
£75 (throughout the season)
To learn avalanche prediction, reutschblocks and use of avalanche tranceivers. Course is available on any dates, either scheduled or private, details.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Haute Route Tour
  • [ 1 ] 24 - 31 Mar 2019
  • [ 4 ] 31 Mar - 7 Apr 2019
  • [ 4 ] 7 - 14 Apr 2019
  • [ 4 ] 14 - 21 Apr 2019
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are four who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

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Price: £1199 Book online

Preparatory trips
Intro Ski Touring

Silvretta Ski Tour

Alternatives
Monte Rosa ski tour
Kebnekaise ski tour

Gran Paradiso Ski

Next trips
Ski Mount Elbrus
Ski Mont Blanc
Client feedback


A well matched group of people, with an inspirational Guide. We learnt loads and had a great time on our way to Zermatt. Your logistical support was great, as was the attention to detail

Suzanne T , Haute Route Tour

Thanks to everyone involved in making this happen for us; the guides, Chamonix team, and the UK office for putting up with my endless queries before the course. You were all great, and I can't thank you enough

Josephine T , Haute Route Tour

Great trip thanks... fantastic weather, excellent Guide and good company...

Russ C , Haute Route Tour
Testimonials
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Location data for this trip
The trips all start in Chamonix valley in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Trip photo gallery
Free resources
Haute Route ski routes map
There are many route options and variations. Icicle offers the most popular route, but each year we organise bespoke trips for groups set on other variations. We have produced a clear and simple map which you can access by clicking on the image above, or by click here. If you would like to receive a quote for a private group booking for guiding on any of the other variations shown on the map, such as the Grand Lui, then please get in touch.
Skis and equipment advice
We know it is so important to you to have the most suitable equipment and clothing for off piste skiing and touring, we have devoted a page especially to it, which you can access by clicking on the image, or click here.
Prefer a private group?
There's no difference to the scheduled dates course price whether you are booking on your own, or as a small group. However, if you have a group and would like to form a private group, we can run a Haute Route for you on any week of the winter season. Get in contact with us to discuss bespoke trip options.
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.
 


 
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