Haute Route - ski touring

Chamonix-Zermatt is considered as one of the most beautiful ski touring itinerary of the Alps mountains, connecting two "superstar towns" : Chamonix and Zermatt.

From Mont Blanc to Matterhorn, we will admire the most beautiful "4000m" whilst ascending passes higher than 3000m during this unforgettable trip. Each pass reveals a new striking and impressive view on mountains. We will be a part of high mountains special atmosphere and discover their amazing sceneries and the wildlife that remains. Who knows, we might have the chance to meet a few chamois, ibexes or foxes!  

This exciting week begins with a great start: the splendid Argentière basin North part. Then we’ll reach our first big glaciers, remote from ski slopes. The peak of the trip will be the Pigne d’Arolla (3796m) before getting back down to Zermatt on a last incredible descent.  

We’ll spend our nights in comfortable and authentic Swiss mountain huts (Prafleuri, Les Dix, Les Vignettes) and eat local homemade food prepared by the house keepers. There are no better ways to be fully immersed in the mountain life.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 Meet at the group's hotel in the Chamonix Valley

    Meet at the group's hotel  in the Chamonix Valley We will meet at the group's hotel in the Chamonix Valley, discuss about our amazing week coming up ahead and get to know each other. This is your first opportunity to try out some of the best alpine specialties such as raclette, fondue or tartiflette (let’s hope you like cheese!), accompanied by some famous Savoie wine. (Dinner at your own charge)

  • Day 2 Chamonix-Argentière refuge

    Chamonix-Argentière refuge We meet with our guide early in the morning in Chamonix. He will quickly brief us on the ski touring itinerary and check our technical equipment (rental is possible). We will drive to the village of Argentiere (15 minutes) to then take a cable car to the top of the Grands Montets (3233m). Once up there we’ll breath in the fresh air and, without further ado, descend with our skis on the Argentiere glacier. Small final climb and mountain exercises using avalanche transceivers (don’t worry, it’s not rocket science) before getting to our refuge for the night.

    Ascent : 250m / Descent : 850m / Max Alt : 3233m / Accommodation : evening meal and night in the Argentière refuge / Physical activity time: 4 to 5 hours

  • Day 3 Argentière refuge - Champex

    Argentière refuge - Champex After a good night sleep and a large breakfast, we’re ready to start our day! Regarding weather conditions, we will go up to the Chardonnet pass (3323m) or to the Passion pass. This step is magnificent, occurring in a very "high mountain" environment with blank canvas surrounding us and the only sound of our skis on the glistening fresh snow. It will get us to the Fenêtre de Saleina (3267m). To cross the Ecandies pass, we remove our skis and climb a short but stiff corridor of snow. Then, through the valley of Arpette, long and beautiful hilly descent to the small Swiss village of Champex, heaps of fun!

    Ascent : 1150m / Descent : 2235m / Max Alt : 3323m / Accommodation : evening meal and night in a lodge in Champex / Physical activity time: 9 to10 hours

  • Day 4 Champex - Prafleuri refuge

    Champex - Prafleuri refuge Our morning starts gently with a bus transfer from Champex to Châble (25 minutes), to take a cable car to the Gentianes pass. We discover the Chaux pass (2940m), the Momin pass (3003m) and may get the opportunity to ascend the Rosablanche (3336m) if you want to. We call it a day once we reach the Prafleuri refuge (2624m).

    Ascent : 990m / Descent : 1150m / Max Alt : 3336m / Accommodation : evening meal and night in the Prafleuri refuge / Physical activity time: 7 hours

  • Day 5 Prafleuri refuge - Les Dix refuge

    Prafleuri refuge - Les Dix refuge The early bird gets the worm. We cross the Roux pass and the Barma pass (2458m) above the lake « des dix ». We’ll make a stop to inhale this breathtaking view! Once we get back on tracks, head up to the Dix refuge (2928m) through Le Pas du Chat. The Dix refuge was built right under the impressive North face of Cheillon Mont Blanc (3870m). It’s the perfect spot to spend a relaxed evening.

    Ascent : 850m / Descent - : 500m / Max Alt : 2928m / Accommodation : night in the « Les Dix » refuge / Physical activity time: 6 hours

  • Day 6 Les Dix refuge - Pigne d'Arolla - Vignettes refuge

    Les Dix refuge - Pigne d'Arolla - Vignettes refuge We start off today on a lovely path on a very icy ground, especially when crossing La Serpentine. We then ascend the magical Pigne d'Arolla (3790m): slow and steady wins the race. This moment is very special, make sure to enjoy every second of it!
    We then finish our amazing day on a beautiful descent to Les Vignettes hut (3157m), lovely stone house perched on a rock and facing a splendid mountain panorama.

    Ascent : 1030m / Descent : 750m / Max Alt : 3790m / Accommodation : evening meal and night in the Les Vignettes refuge / Physical activity time: 6 hours

  • Day 7 Vignettes refuge -Zermatt

    Vignettes refuge -Zermatt Today is the last day of our trip... Time flies when you're having fun!
    We start this step by crossing the Evêque pass (3392m), the Mont Brûlé pass (3213m) and the Valpelline pass (3568m). If weather allows it, we will ascend Tête Blanche (3724m) and admire the jaw-dropping view of Matterhorn. It’s not something you see every day!
    We will then ski back down to Zermatt, have a cup of hot chocolate, and say goodbye to each other. A transfer to Chamonix is possible (optional).

    Ascent : 1290m / Descent: 2270m / Max Alt : 3724m / Physical activity time: 7 hours

  • Day 8 Departure day

    Departure day after a chilled morning and a good breakfast at your accommodation.

ITINERARY CHANGE

The program can be modified by your guide due to weather conditions or participants physical conditions. For safety reasons and to ensure a uniform level corresponding to the one announced, the supervision and organisation boards have the right to interrupt your participation if your technical or physical level are lower than the one required. The interruption will not give you any right of refund or payment of compensation.

Dates & prices

Departures for English-speaking groups:

From To Price per person Guaranteed Booking
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!

Departures for French-speaking groups:

From To Price per person Guaranteed Booking
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!
€1,575 No Book now!

Trip code: SRCZ

Included

A deposit of 30% of the trip’s price will be needed during the booking, the whole price must be paid at least 30 days before departure.

  • The technical organization of the stay
  • Mountaineering with high-mountain guides
  • Collective equipment provided (ropes, ice anchors)
  • Half-board accommodation in refuges
  • Lunch picnics
  • Safety equipment : avalanche transceivers (battery not provided, 4 LR03 AAA batteries needed), shovel, probe

Not included

  • Individual ski material : shoes, skis, skins and knifes, sticks
  • Transfers to meeting and separation points (return to Chamonix by bus to pay in Swiss franc, around 450 Swiss francs to divide between the number of passengers)
  • Snacks: dried fruits, cereal bars, chocolate bars, etc ...
  • All the drinks and personal expenses in refuges
  • Insurance and assistance
  • Application fees (18€ per person)
  • Technical individual equipment : crampons, harness, ice axe
  • Anything that is not mentioned in the "price includes"

International flights

If you wish, we can take care of booking your international flights to the closest airport of your destination. 

Terms and conditions

Subscription


Subscribe to one of our activities or travels means accepting general sales conditions. Each client must fill a subscription form, which will be accepted only after the payment of a deposit accounting for 30% of the travel’s price and according to the availability. If you subscribe less than 30 days before the trip, you must pay the whole price during the subscription. You can pay by bank transfer (SWIFT/IBAN) or with your credit card directly through our website (available soon). A booking confirmation will be sent to you be e-mail very soon.

Invoice procedure


Once your booking is registered, we will send you an email containing the invoice. Full payment is required at least 30 days before your arrival. If the customer does not settle the payment of the travel price within the period agreed upon, Altaï Alpes has the right to cancel the booking free of charge. 

Cancellation policy


If for any reason, you decide to withdraw from a journey, the amount already paid will be refunded subject to the following exceptions:
  • More than 30 days before departure, you will be charged for the amount of 50€
  • From 30 to 21 days before departure, you will be charged for the amount of the deposit (30% of the trip’s price)
  • From 20 to 14 days before departure,  you will be charged for 50% of the trip’s price
  • From 13 to 7 days before departure,  you will be charged for 75% of the trip’s price
  • Less than 7 days before departure,  you will be charged for the whole trip’s price 

Particular case :

Whatever the date of the cancellation or contract change, the following fees will be added to the charges above :
  • Airline fixed costs : plane tickets are bought in advance to avoid too high airline prices, however they are non refundable in case of cancellation or plane changes. In that case, the charges above apply to the price of your trip without the plane ticket’s price
  • Ground fixed costs : you will be charged for the fees that were paid early
  • Insurance fees : Insurance fees will not be refunded if you subscribed to a multi-risk or cancellation insurance. The specific conditions will be written on your subscription confirmation

If you have no choice but to cancel your trip before departure, you must inform Altaï Alpes and your insurance provider with a written statement as soon as possible, you will get a receipt.

The receipt date will be taken as the cancellation date to charge cancellation fees.  

If Altaï Alpes has no choice but to cancel a group travel due to an insufficient number of participants, the decision will be taken and the clients informed at least 31 days before departure. Altaï Alpes can also cancel a departure due to exceptional events threatening participants safety (social events, strikes, weather conditions). In that case, the trip’s price will be fully refunded but the participants will not get any compensation.

Changes to travel contract


If any change in travel contract is made at the customer’s request, any fee that might arise from this change shall be paid by the customer. In any case, every request for changes shall be notified in writing. In case of external events that could not be foreseen, Altaï Alpes might change some aspects of the travel contract. We will inform you of any changes as quickly as possible.

Pricing


All group travel prices on our website have been calculated for the indicated number of participants for each trip. The price list is confirmed after the booking. If the number of participants is lower than expected, an additional payment charge might be applied. For each travel and program, we mention the price per person – valid for the minimum number of participants – and we provide you with detailed explanations about the services included or not. Any change in the exchange rates or in the price of travel services in particular regarding the cost of the fuel, might entail price revision.

Contract transfer


In case of transfer of the contract by the customer to an assignee, modification and cancellation conditions apply.

Insurance

We recommend you to get your personal insurance before departure to cover the activities undertaken by Altaï Alpes. If you have not purchased any of our insurances, we ask you to email us your insurance contract information (company, contract name, contract number, phone number) and bring those information with you on your trip. 

Practical info

Staff

Your trip will be supervised by a high-mountain expert guide who will teach you the technical elements needed for the good progress of your stay. He may need to modify the program in order to ensure safety regarding weather conditions and participants physical conditions.

Food

Meals

  • Lunch : home made picnics
  • Diners in refuges
  • Bring some snacks that you like for quick bites during the day (cereal bars, chocolate, dried fruits...)

Drinks

  • Personal drinks are not included in the trip’s price : water, tea, coffee, beer, coke...
  • Water is not free in the refuges, and it is quite expensive (around 5 to 8 euros for one bottle) so think about bringing water-purification tablets (Micropur-type) in case you don’t want to buy water there. Warning! Water is frozen sometimes during winter so you may have no choice but to buy some bottles.

Accommodation

In refuges, people will sleep in 8 to 10 persons dormitories and will be given some blankets (please bring your own sleeping bag). You can use the refuges’ slippers if you want to, no need to bring shoes for refuges. Bring some earplugs to avoid being bothered by noises. No shower possible except in Champex valley for the classic Chamonix-Zermatt : no tap water in the refuges, only water dripping from the glaciers. Some electrical plugs are available in the refuges, but plan to bring a battery replacement for cameras and turn your phone off during the day.

Transportation

During the day, you will be carrying all your belongings : please do your best not to carry too much weight (in a 50L bag). Your guide will check your belongings before departure. Keep some space for water and picnic.

Budget & exchange

Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (CHF). It is better to change money before departure, however euros are widely accepted in Switzerland. 

Credit cards and debit cards are very useful for cash advances (but don’t forget to bring your PIN number!).
ATMs are available in most of the towns you will cross during your stay, but there are no guarantees that your credit card will actually work in Switzerland. Also, refuges often don’t have EPT (Electronic Payment Terminal): it is best to bring cash.
Be aware of the fees usually applied when purchasing products or services on a credit card. 

Always take more rather than less, as you don’t want to spend your trip constantly feeling short on funds. 

As currency exchange rates can often fluctuate, we recommend to check the following website for daily exchange rates: https://www.xe.com/

Tips

Clients usually pay for the guides’ drinks : you might find it practical to make a group kitty at the beginning of your stay (no obligation). 

Supplied equipment

  • Collective material (ropes) if needed
  • Slippers and blankets in refuges : bring your own sleeping bag

Material

Technical material


Skis

  • One pair of light touring-skis equipped with breaks or safety straps
  • One pair of ski-touring shoes with VIBRAM-type sole
  • 1 pair of sticky sealskins suitable for skis
  • Knife
  • Sticks with fender washers 

Other

  • Safety equipment : avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe
  • Crampons with « anti-bot » system
  • Ice axe
  • Life blanket
  • Harness and swivel snap hook
  • Clasp knife
  • Thermos or bottle
  • Headlamp with battery replacement
Everything must be in good condition before departure. 


Personal equipment


Head

  • Windproof bonnet
  • Hat or cap
  • Scarf
  • Sunscreen (high protection index), face + lips
  • Glacier sunglasses (category 4 index) + ski goggles
  • A balaclava can be useful in case of wind or great cold

Upper body

  • 2 technic breathable underclothing with long sleeves (Carline type, no cotton, it is drying too slowly)
  • 1 breathable technic undershirt
  • 1 thick polar coat
  • 1 windproof and waterproof coat (Goretex type)
  • 1 pair of windproof mittens (polar or wool)
  • 1 pair of windproof gloves (polar or wool)
  • 1 pair of under gloves 

Lower body

  • 1 pair of technic tights (Carline type)
  • 1 pair of comfortable mountain pants
  • 1 pair of windproof and waterproof pants (Goretex type)
  • 2 pair of socks (one thick, one thin) 

Other

  • Toilet paper (preferably biodegradable)
  • Biafine (sunburn cream)
  • One sleeping bag
  • One toilet bag with one quick-drying towel
  • 1 plastic bag (100L) + one upper bag to protect your belongings and backpack from rain
  • 1 waterproof sleeve to put your ID, phone, money, insurance/ assistance contract with all your emergency numbers
  • Some warm-hands and feet

Luggage

  • You will be carrying your one-day belongings and equipment in a 40L bag (equipped with ski racks, ice axe,…)
  • Your personal belongings will stay in the lodge in another bag (travel bag)

Medicine

Your guide will be carrying a first-aid kit. However, plan to bring your own medicine kit:

  • Personal medicine
  • Anti-pain medications (paracetamol)
  • Double-skin
  • Elastic adhesive tapes
  • Bandages
  • Local  disinfectant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antispasmodic
  • Anti-diarrheal pills
  • Eyewash
  • Light tranquilizers and sleeping pills
  • Earplugs 

Passport

Please make sure your passport and travel documents are valid.

Visa

  • Up to 90 days visit in Switzerland : citizens from most countries do not need a visa to visit Switzerland.
  • Over 90 days visit in Switzerland : non-EU or non-EFTA citizens must have a visa to visit Switzerland over 90 days.

For further information, please check the following website : https://www.swiss-visa.ch/

Identity card

For EU and EFTA citizens, you can use your identity card to travel to Switzerland. 

Mandatory vaccines

No required vaccination. 

Health information & recommendations

It is important to consult your doctor for medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements.
Please keep in mind that we are often in remote areas, away from medical facilities. Please carefully read the brochure and itinerary when selecting your trip, to make sure our style of travel suits you. 

Please note you will travel to high altitude. Most people can travel to 2 500m with minimal effects. However, everyone reacts differently to altitude and altitude sickness can occur.
For details on how to best prepare your trip please consult your physician.

Weather

The Swiss climate is moderately continental in the plateau, Alpine in the mountains, and more temperate in the Canton of Ticino. In the mountains, the climate varies with altitude and slope exposure, but in winter, they are located above the blanket of fog and low clouds that often covers the plateau, so they are also sunnier in this season. The cold wind, which in Switzerland and in central France is called Bise, blows from the north-east and is more frequent in winter and spring.

Late winter and early spring (February-March) are recommended for a ski holiday, since the days are longer than in December and January. 

For further information on the wether during your trip, please check the following website : https://www.meteoswiss.admin.ch/

Electricity

The electrical current in Switzerland is 230V, 50Hz. Swiss sockets are recessed, three-holed, hexagonally shaped and incompatible with many plugs from abroad. They usually, however, take the standard European two-pronged plug.

Most refuges have electric plugs, but some haven't. If you scared of running low on battery, bring an external battery with you. 

Local time

Switzerland is in the Central European Time Zone (CET). Central European Standard Time is 1 hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+1).

Sustainable tourism

We do our best to offer trips subscribed to the principles of responsible and sustainable tourism. Our aim is to allow visitors to discover the many facets of Switzerland by taking you off the beaten path and getting you in touch with its nature and residents, while ensuring that your visits do not have a negative effect on its natural environment and people.

  • Most of our accommodations are run by locals, thus ensuring that the largest part of the revenue generated through your trip will stay within the region.
  • France is known for its exquisite cuisine. The art of cooking and the joy of eating are part of everyday life. Each region has its particular foods and flavors which we would like you to explore and appreciate.
  • Water is a precious and rare good. Our team and those travelling with us are thus advised to use it with consideration and avoid excessive water use where possible.
  • Please try to recycle your waste whenever possible, even though recycling may not be a well-known concept in all areas.
  • Be cautious and respectful when hiking. Make sure to wear suitable footwear and avoid picking flowers, moving stones or lighting fires.  
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Sandra Carrier

My local agent
Sandra Carrier

  • Technical advisor
  • Mountain and ski touring lover. She will advise you on Mont Blanc tours, trekking, hiking and multi-activities.
Request a quote
Region
Switzerland
Activity
Ski Winter
Duration
8 days
Group
4 to 6 people
Code
SRCZ
Price
From €1,575
Level
4/5
Comfort
3/5
Language(s)
English / French

Strengths

  • The most famous ski touring itinerary of the Alps mountain
  • Close to the most beautiful peaks : Dent Blanche, Matterhorn
  • Comfortable and warm refuges

Guide's advice

This is the dream of every ski tourer. But to enjoy it properly, you need a good training and experience in mountain skiing. Nothing extreme though, we are here to live a great moment of happiness in high-altitude mountain.

Required level

Technical difficulties 


Trek with high difficulty, accessible for experimented ski tourers having a good level of off-piste ski. They must handle all kind of snow. A good experience in ski touring is compulsory, with an expertise in basic technics, especially upstream and downstream conversion. You must also know how to use safety material : avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe. 

Physical difficulties 


You must be in a very good shape to endure 6 days of trekking. You will be carrying all your belongings everyday, so Chamonix-Zermatt cannot be your first raid.  

Commitment 


We will leave for 6 days in high mountain so we will be very isolated. However, refuges are very comfortable and your guide will  adapt your program according to weather conditions.  
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