Chamonix -Zermatt - Haute Route

Chamonix-Zermatt (called Chamzer by those who knows it well) is considered as the most beautiful trekking in the Alpes glaciers, connecting two « sacred beast », Chamonix and Zermatt.


The Haute Route from Chamonix, in France, to Zermatt, in Switzerland, is one of Europe’s most challenging and iconic long-distance trails. You will experience this “high-mountain” trip discovering traditional villages and admiring the most beautiful 4000m-high most renowned mountains such as Mont Blanc and Matterhorn. 

We start our trekking in the Mont blanc massif with the Tour and the Trient glaciers. We pursue our ascent in Switzerland, staying in authentic and comfortable Swiss cottages. Our sumptuous high-altitude itinerary is surrounded by magnificent landscapes and breath-taking views on huge glaciers of the Valais. We will overreach 3000m several times as we get closer to the most beautiful Alpes’ peaks.  

Good physical fitness is a must for this experience.

Itinerary

  • Day 1 From the Tour village (1453m) to the Col de Balme

    From the Tour village (1453m) to the Col de Balme You will meet your guide for an equipment checkup and a briefing of the following days.
    You leave from the Tour village (1453m) by cable-car. You then take a chairlift to the Col de Balme, where you start hiking through the forest towards the Albert Premier refuge (2702m), with great views of Mont Blanc and Switzerland. You’ll spend a nice and warm night at the refuge.

    Ascent : 550m / Max. Alt : 2702m / Accomodation : Albert 1e refuge

  • Day 2 The high Tour pass, Trient glacier and Champex village

    The high Tour pass, Trient glacier and Champex village Wake up bright and early, tuck into breakfast and head towards the authentic village of Champex, crossing the Swiss border through the High Tour pass and walking on the Trient glacier to join the Orny pass. A path leads you then to the Breya chairlift, at the edge of the Aiguilles d’Arpette, getting you down to Champex. You’ll spend the night in this Swiss mountain resort with some shopping facilities.

    Ascent : about 750m / Drop : about 1000m / Max. Alt : 3289m / Accomodation : Diner and night in Champex lodge (shower)

  • Day 3 Champex, hiking to the Chanrion cottage (2462m)

    Champex, hiking to the Chanrion cottage (2462m) Transfer by car from Champex to the Mauvoisin dam. Today is a beautiful and varied step from where you can enjoy panoramic views of superb peaks: The Great Combin and the Frozen Mont. Pass old farms, quiet villages and quaint houses, as you make your way to the Chanrion cottage (2462m).

    Ascent : 600m / Max. Alt : 2462m / Accomodation : diner and night in Chanrion cottage

  • Day 4 The Otemma glacier, and climb to the Vignettes hut (3158m)

    The Otemma glacier, and climb to the Vignettes hut (3158m) Today you’ll pass the Otemma glacier, which is even bigger than our famous Mer de glace: it has a 22km² surface and is 10km long. Your walk on the glacier gets you to discover the Pigne d’Arolla path, that mountain climbers love. You make your way to the 3158m-high Vignettes cottage, hooked on the top of a cliff, where you’ll rest up and recover.

    Ascent : about 850m / Drop : about 150m / Max. Alt : 3158m / Accomodation : Vignettes cottage

  • Day 5 Arolla glacier, Bertol cottage (3311m) and the Matterhorn viewpoint

    Arolla glacier, Bertol cottage (3311m) and the Matterhorn viewpoint One of the toughest days so far. You leave the glacier valley to access a path getting you to Bertol cottage (3311m) in two hours. Up there, you’ll have a jaw-dropping viewpoint on the Matterhorn. Arrive at the Bertol cottage (3311m), hooked on a rocky outcrop.

    Ascent : about 1150m / Drop : about 1000m / Max. Alt : 3392m / Accomodation : Bertol cottage

  • Day 6 Hiking to Tête Blanche and descent of the Stockji towards Schönbiel

    Hiking to Tête Blanche and descent of the Stockji towards Schönbiel For the penultimate day, you start hiking to Tête Blanche (3724m). You’ll see delightful mountain villages on your route and admire magnificent views of the Dent d'Hérens, the Dent Blanche, the Matterhorn and the Zermatt Valley. You’ll make your way through meadows and farmland heading down on the Stockji glacier before settling in for the night at the Schönbiel cottage (2694m).

    Ascent : 650m / Drop : 100m / Max. Alt : 3724m / Accomodation : Schönbiel cottage

  • Day 7 Zermatt descent (1616 m)

    Zermatt descent (1616 m) On your final day, you walk along a path that hugs the Matterhorn before finishing up in the tiny, lovely mountain village of Zermatt around noon. You can spend the afternoon visiting the village. For those wishing to go back to Chamonix, you will take a bus or a taxi to get there (70 euros per person according to the number of people, to be paid on the spot).

    Ascent : about 1100m / Max. Alt : 2694m

ITINERARY CHANGE

Please note that although the itinerary presented here is the one we intend to follow, there is a high chance that changes may be necessary. Many factors can affect climbing in high mountains. Mountain adventures depend on weather conditions, individual member's abilities vary, as does their ability to assimilate the skills needed. The guide's main aim will be to ensure your safety and the success of the trip. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of roads / activities that you will attempt. For security reasons and to ensure a consistent level corresponding to the one announced, the organization board gets the right to discontinue your participation if your technical and / or physical conditions do not match those required. In no case the interruption shall give right to a refund or compensation payments.

Period & budget

When to travel?

The best period for travelling is during the following months:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Price

1275€

The budget is an indication of the price per person, subject to availability. Your local agent will send you a customized quote with the exact price. The price can vary according to availability, level of services, period of travel, number of participants, booking time frame and other items.

Included

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

  • The technical organization of the stay
  • Half-board accommodation from day 1 (evening) until day 7 (morning)
  • Lunch picnics (except for day 7 in Zermatt)
  • All cable cars (needed for the normal program)
  • Transfer from Champex to Mauvoisin
  • Mountaineering with high mountain guides
  • Safety equipment needed

Not included

  • Individual technical equipment (see equipment section)
  • Snacks: dried fruits, cereal bars, chocolate bars, etc ..
  • Lunch meal in Zermatt on day 7
  • All the drinks and personal expenses
  • The way back from Chamonix to Zermatt by bus (about 550 Swiss francs to divide according to the number of person willing to go back)
  • Insurance and assistance
  • Application fees (18€ per person)
  • 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 your 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 is supervised by a high-mountain guide who will bring you the technics needed to progress in the glacier : trekking with crampons and ropes. The guide may need to modify the program due to mountain weather conditions or participants physical complications in order to ensure everyone’s safety.

Food

Meals

  • Lunchs : picnics
  • Diners : meals prepared by shelter keepers
  • Take some snacks according to your own tastes (cereals bars, chocolate bars, dry fruits,…). You can buy some in Champex village if you need.

Drinks

  • Water is not for free in refuges (from 5 to 8 euros one bottle). We advise you to bring some water purification tablets (Aquatabs or Micropur) in order to drink tap water.
  • Bring some Swiss francs for coffees, fruit juices, coke or beers during breaks… Shelters usually don’t accept bank card payments and Euros.

Accommodation

You will spend nights in refuges' dormitories : blankets and sleepers are provided but you need to bring your sleeping bag.

Transportation

You will be carrying all your belongings for the week in one backpack. It is important for you not to carry too much weight, you must plan to bring only needed gears (but enough). Your guide will hep you finalize your bag on the first day. At the end, it must not overreach 10 to 12KG (water and daily food included).  

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 equipment (ropes, compass ...)
  • slippers and blankets while in refuges

Material

Technical equipment

  • Mountaineering boots that you can fit crampons onto (with rigid soles)
  • Ice axe, crampons, helmet, harness with locking carabiner, helmet (you cannot rent locking carabiners, you must buy your own)
  • One pair of collapsible walking poles (depending on what you are used to), it is highly recommended for descents in particular (possible to rent)
  • One pair of gaiters
  • One sleeping bag
  • One toilet bag : toothpaste, toothbrush (ask for samples in pharmacies), baby wipes or one small soap (no shower during the trip)
  • One solar cream (face and lips)
  • One headlamp (LED-type), with battery and replacement bulb
  • One clasp knife
  • Toilet paper + lighter
  • Two or three plastic bags (100L) to cover your backpack in case of rain
  • 1 waterproof pouch where you will place your id papers, your phone, money, and insurance contract with all the emergency numbers

Individual equipment:

  • A warm hat
  • A sun hat and/or a scarf
  • Sun glasses for glacier
  • One pair of shorts
  • A pair of warm gloves or mittens
  • A pair of fleece or wool gloves or mittens
  • Breathable underclothing
  • Breathable technic undershirt (carline, light polar fur,..)
  • Polar coat
  • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Goretex or similar)
  • One pair of breathable technic tights
  • A pair of comfortable mountaineering pants
  • 2 pairs of socks : a warm one and a lighter one

Luggage

One mountain backpack (50 to 60L) with lap belt and comfortable shoulder straps where you can hang ice axe, strikes and helmet.

Medicine

Your Stages Expéditions guide will carry a collective first aid kit. However, it is important for you to bring your individual pharmacy, checked with your general practionner :
  • Analgesic (avoid aspirin)
  • Anti-inflammatory (pills and cream)
  • Antibiotic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Bandages and second skin
  • Elastoplast (excellent to prevent blisters)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50) 
  • Biafine cream (for sunburns)
  • Pills to purify the water (e.g. Aquatabs). Water in bottles is VERY expensive in refuges (5 to 8€ a bottle)
  • Light sleeping pills (if you need some) and/or Quies ear plugs

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.
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Region
Switzerland
Activity
Alpinism Summer
Duration
7 days
Code
HRCZRG-LIB
Price
From €1,275
Level
3/5
Comfort
3/5

Strengths

  • A mythical itinerary between Mont Blanc and the Cervin
  • An immersion in mountain athmosphere
  • Traditional and comfortable Swiss  refuges
  • Famous ski touring connecting Chamonix and Zermatt, the two alpinism capitals

Guide's advice

Chamzer is one of the best glacier trekkings. A great and large itinerary that remains accessible to most people. Elevations and descents are reasonable and we can take our time to enjoy magnificent landscapes !

Required level

Technical difficulties


No path with technical difficulties but you must be careful while taking Moraine and glaciers pathes. You will learn quickly how to walk with crampons. We will teach you rope technics and safety rules to walk in the glaciers. Your guide will ensure your safety permanently.

Physical issues 


This trip needs an excellent physical condition and the capacity to walk 6 days in a row in high-altitude mountain while carrying a 10 to 12kg bag. Ascents and descents are about 800 to 900 meters in average everyday with 1240 meters of hiking on the 4th day and 1420m of descent on the 5th day. Carrying bag must not be hard, you must chose carefully what you will bring in order to avoid more than 10kg. 

Commitment 


We will be living in high-altitude for a week, refuges are far from one another and descending needs several hours if needed.  


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