Hiking the Haute Route

High Alps Traverse from Chamonix to ZermatT

Trip Level

This trip is rated a Level 5 (Strenuous) according to our trip grading system. You will need to be able to keep up with the moderate but steady hiking pace of the group. There are no alternative hiking options available. All trip members should have good hiking experience, but no technical climbing experience is necessary.

Average Hiking Day
• 5-8 hours
• 2,000-2,500 feet gain/loss
• Altitudes range from 6,000 to 9,000 feet

Challenge Days
• Day 4: approximately 10 miles, 2,675 feet gain/3,000 feet loss, some short exposed sections, loose scree, ladders needed to get over a pass

How Tough is This Trip?
You need to be able to hike on uneven surfaces, occasionally over loose scree, and with long daily descents that can be hard on the knees. You must feel comfortable and confident on your feet for 8 hours a day, several days in a row, with recent experience hiking 10 miles in a day.

Altitude is usually not a problem on this trip. However, some people may be affected when they first reach high altitude. Slight headaches and sleeplessness are the most common problems. Our accommodations are between 3,500-7,000 feet and the passes we hike over every day are between approximately 7,000-9,600 feet.

Terrain

At lower elevations, the trails are usually packed dirt, but at higher elevations they are often much rockier, with occasional sections of glacial snow, loose scree, and large boulders. On some days, you will encounter sections of narrow exposed trails. You will also occasionally need to use your hands to scramble over and between a jumble of boulders. Your experienced mountain guides are very safety conscious and are there to assist you if needed on the few tricky parts of the trail.

Weather

The months we visit the Alps are the optimal ones, but mountain weather can be fickle. Temperatures are likely to reach the 60s°F and 70s°F during the day, with cooling breezes and occasional rain. At night, the temperature will drop quite a bit, depending on the altitude. The early-season departures could encounter snow on the trails, and mountain storms can blow in at any time. The right gear is essential for being prepared.

Accommodations

Accommodations are in small, comfortable hotels and inns, well located for hikers. The rooms are clean and comfortable, but are not always of uniform size or amenities. Our Trip Leaders do their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. In two of the hotels, there are shared bathrooms (no private baths). Single rooms are offered when possible, but those who pay the Single Supplement may have to share a room for up to two nights during the trip.

Cuisine

Lunch will usually be either in a mountain lodge or picnic spot amidst the beauty of the surrounding mountains. Most evening meals will be taken at our hotels and will be hearty, nourishing mountain fare, often with the cuisine the region is noted for.

Please note that in Europe, the dinner hour is considerably later than what it is in the US. We do our best to secure early reservations for our groups, but most often the evening meal will be at 7:30 pm.

Transporation

Trip members are always free to skip a day’s hike and travel to the next destination in the support vehicle. Our support vehicle will transport the group’s luggage, so you only need to carry a daypack.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

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