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From Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

The Haute Route from the Chamonix valley to Zermatt is one of the world’s great long distance paths. For many years the preserve of mountain hutters, now you can undertake our Haute Route staying most nights in hotels with your main luggage transported for you. Enjoy the same mountain vistas, crisp air and challenging terrain, but in considerably more comfort.

Whilst you need no rock climbing or technical skills, this is at the toughest end of the spectrum as far as Alpine treks go. You cross a series of challenging mountain passes at nearly 3,000m, involving much climbing and rugged wild terrain.

The three-day crossing from Le Chable to Arolla (where you do spend two nights in mountain huts) is perhaps the toughest but the most rewarding section of the whole route. During this section you will need to carry your own bags so remember to pack light! The more remote sections are a true challenge even in clear weather, whilst the pastoral sections of other parts of the trek have their own charm, giving a glimpse of everyday life in rural Switzerland.

Your journey starts with a breathtaking mountain panorama to Mont Blanc and other peaks in the massif. En route you should see many of the highest mountains in Europe including the Weisshorn and the Dom. To provide you with a spectacular final day, weather permitting, take the Görnergrat cog-wheel train to Rotenboden. From here walk down to Zermatt with views of Monte Rosa, the Breithorn and of course the Matterhorn.

This tough but rewarding trek will truly satisfy your desire for adventurous walking and offer magnificent views of some of the best mountain scenery the Alps has to offer. It also allows for some creature comforts, a great combination!


Hard mountain walking in the Alps every day with long ascents and descents, and scrambling. A good head for heights is essential. Distances will probably not exceed 12 miles, but ascents and descents will normally be between 1000 and 1500m. Expect long… and exhilarating days!


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  • Dates, Prices & Holiday Information Sheet (PDF)
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    Haute Route Hotel Trek (Grade 8)
    30 Aug 2017
    GRADE 8
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    London (Heathrow)
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  • Itinerary
    30 Aug 2017 - 13 Sep 2017

    Day 1 - Hotel la Couronne, Argentière 1251m
    Depart London Heathrow on British Airways to Geneva. Transfer by road 1½ hours to Argentière NE of Chamonix. Depending on the arrival time it may be possible to walk the 9km between Chamonix and Argentière, the official start of the Haute Route. However this is not a particularly interesting walk,and is not a standard part of our itinerary.

    Day 2 - Col de la Forclaz, 1526m
    A relatively easy day, although there is considerable ascent and descent. We climb north-east to Col de Balme (2191m)via the Aiguillette des Posettes. On the way up there are wonderful views back down the Chamonix valley, and from the col itself of Mont Blanc. Once over the col we are in Switzerland all the way to Zermatt. The descent to the Col de la Forclaz is greener and gentler than what we have left behind in France.
    950 ascent / 1050m descent; 14.7km (9.1 miles); 6 to 7 hours.

    Day 3 - Pension en Plein Air, Champex Lac, 1466m
    If conditions allow we will take the classic walk over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2665m) before descending to Champex. This is a challenging route, but one which is rewarded with views of the frozen cascades of the Trient Glacier for much of the way. Otherwise we can take the low level Bovine route.
    1415m ascent / 1185m descent; 14km (9 miles); 6 to 8 hours

    Day 4 - Hotel du Giétroz, Le Chable, 821m
    Before leaving Champex we have the option to visit the Alpine Gardens, considered to be the finest in Switzerland. The walk down the Val d’Entrement to Sembrancher is a delightful one as we pass by many alpine farms, and the afternoon walk to le Châble is easy. 200m ascent / 850m descent; 14km (9 miles); 4½ to 5½ hours

    Day 5 - Cabane du Montfort, 2457m
    We leave le Châble with a sense of adventure. Our main bags will be transferred to Arolla, whilst we take with us enough kit for 2 nights in mountain huts. We climb up to Verbier through a variety of typical villages, then have a long ascent eastwards to the Cabane du Montfort, the first mountain hut of the tour. The peaks and glaciers of Grand Combin (4134m) starts to dominate the scenery. 1665m ascent / 0m descent; 12km (7.5 miles); 6 to 8 hours

    Day 6 - Cabane de Prafleuri, 2624m
    Quite a hard day, crossing three high passes and negotiating boulders and scree, as we walk generally eastwards to the Cabane de Prafleuri. We normally take the longer route via the Col Termin but a shorter route via the Col de la Chaux is also possible, though not an easier option. One of the advantages of the longer route is the strong possibility of seeing chamois, ibex and marmots, as well as extensive views. 850m ascent / 740m descent; 16km (10 miles); 6 to 8 hours

    Day 7 - Hotel du Glacier, Arolla, 2006m
    A quick ascent to Col des Roux (2804m) is followed by a pleasant walk beside the Lac des Dix. We then ascend, probably stopping for lunch at the Cabane des Dix (2928m). The afternoon sees us climb the famous 25m vertical ladders over the Pas de Chevres. The leader will have a rope available to assist anyone who is unsure of the ascent. Once over the top there is a good descent all the way down to Arolla. On arrival at the hotel we will be reunited with our luggage. 17.9km (11.1 miles), 1000m ascent / 1643m descent, 7 hours

    Day 8 - Hotel des Alpes, les Haudères, 1452m
    Today is a relatively easy one. We head north out of les Arolla and follow the west side of the valley, often through woodland, to the idyllic location of Lac Bleu, a popular local beauty spot. We then descend to pass through the pretty village of La Gouille, crossing to the east side of the valley. It is not a day without challenges, however – there are steep sections, some with fixed ropes. 375m ascent / 935m descent; 8.2km (5.1 miles); 6 to 8 hours

    Day 9 - Hotel Cristal, Grimentz, 1572m
    We have a big climb of 1400m up to the Col du Tsaté (2868m) or the Col Torrent (2919m) before descending to the Lac de Moiry. On reaching the dam wall at the southern end of the lake we catch the post bus down to Grimentz for our overnight. 1500m ascent / 850m descent; 16.5km (10.2 miles); 7hours

    Day 10 - Hotel les Bouquetins, Zinal, 1675m
    The post bus brings us back up to the Lac de Moiry. From here we climb to the Col de Sorebois (2896m) from here there are magnificent views to be enjoyed. The path then zig-zags down steeply to Zinal. 630m ascent / 1200m descent; 8.9km (5.5 miles); 5 hours

    Day 11 - Hotel les Bouquetins, Zinal, 1675m
    Today is a free day. You may choose to take it easy in Zinal. Alternatively head south towards the Zinal Glacier.

    Day 12 - Hotel Schwarzhorn, Gruben, 1822m
    We start with a pleasant 500m ascent through woods to a belvedere and from here traverse the valley south, with superb vistas. We cross into the German speaking area via one of two possible passes: the Meidpass (2801m) or the Forcletta Pass (2874m). An easy initial descent is followed by a steep descent to Gruben-Meiden. 1480m ascent / 1335m descent; 20km (12.4 miles); 7 hours

    Day 13 - Hotel La Réserve St Niklaus, 1127m
    A sustained but not steep ascent eastwards brings us to the Augstbordpass (2894m) from where it might be possible to ascend the Schwarzhorn (3201m). From the pass we descend southeast to emerge high above the Mattertal with stunning views of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. The descent to St Niklaus (1127m) is fairly steep. 1100m ascent / 1800m descent; 14.7km (9.1 miles); 6½ hours

    Day 14 - Hotel La Réserve, St Niklaus, 1127m
    We do not include the cost of any transport today as what we do is very much weather dependent. In fine weather we take a short train journey south to Zermatt (1606m). This is followed by the cog wheel train up to Rotenboden (2815m), then walk down to Zermatt. This will cost approximately 70 SFr per person. Alternatively, or in bad weather, you can walk along the valley into Zermatt, but this is a less dramatic end to a high level walk. 200m ascent / 1200m descent; 9km (5.5 miles); 4 to 5 hours

    Day 15 - -
    Return by rail to Geneva for the return flight to London.

  • Accommodation

    For the Haute Route trek baggage is transferred separately between centres, so you will only require a day sack for the walks apart from the two nights in huts between Le Chable and Arolla.

    Hotel de la Couronne

    This hotel is perfectly set at the foot of Mont Blanc in the alpine village of Argentière just 5 minutes from departure tracks for walkers and not far from Chamonix.

    The restaurant has a magnificent setting in an outdoor space with views on to the mountains. It serves traditional Savoyard cuisine, using fresh and carefully selected produce.

    Rooms come with en-suite bathrooms, a TV and free WiFi access and some have great views of the mountains.

    Hotel Les Bouquetins

    The Hotel Les Bouquetins is in the charming village of Zinal and has great views of the surrounding Alps in a quiet setting. The design is traditionally Alpine, and so is the hearty cuisine, with classics such as fondue and raclette.

    Rooms come with ensuite bathrooms or shower and TVs. Free WiFi is available throughout the hotel and there is a new wellness area on offer to guests.

    Hotel Schwarzhorn

    This hotel is well situated on the route and has bright, clean and simple rooms with shared bathrooms and free WiFi.

    The rustic restaurant serves excellent food and there is a bar with a terrace for those sunny summer evenings, plus a pizzeria and a garden to relax in in the mountain setting.

  • What's Included


    • Return flights and airport transfers.
    • Baggage transportation between hotels.
    • Half board accommodation.

  • Holiday Highlights


    • Conquering one of the world’s most challenging long distance paths.
    • The first thrilling view of the Matterhorn.
    • Two nights high in the mountains at the Cabane de Montfort and the Cabane Prafleuri.

  • Travel Information & Regional Departures
    • Arrival transfer by road (c1hr 30mins).
    • Flights Heathrow-Geneva (c1hr 45mins), British Airways.
    • UK add-on flights from £95 return, British Airways.
    • Upgrades available, please contact us for a competitive quote.

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  • Private Group Enquiry

    Planning a holiday for a group? For a quote or to simply enquire about the possibility of booking this holiday for your Walking Group please fill out the enquiry form below and our dedicated Private Group Department will get in touch with you shortly to discuss your options.

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