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High altitude ski tour: Haute Route from Argentière to Saas Fee

Ski Touring · Rhône-Alpes · closed
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  • Ascent from Arolla towards Col des Vignettes.
    Ascent from Arolla towards Col des Vignettes.
    Photo: Mike Clark, Outdooractive Editors
m 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 km Cab. de Chanrion CAS Monte-Rosa-Hütte SAC Cab. de Valsorey CAS Station Rotenboden
The Haute Route ski tour connects the towns of Chamonix and Zermatt, and in the extension it leads to Saas Fee. It is a tour of superlatives and runs along the highest and most famous peaks as well as over the widest and longest glaciers in the Alps.

This route passes through an inaccessible area and is therefore closed. Current information

closed
difficult
Distance 153.3 km
55:00 h
11,232 m
10,667 m
3,775 m
881 m

A connection over the high passes between the mountaineering towns of Chamonix and Zermatt in order to have to descend into the valleys as rarely as possible - at that time, the Haute Route was called the "High level road". M. Kurz and his companions succeeded for the first time in 1911 on the route that is still the most frequently used today, with the key section below the Grand Combin.

From Zermatt we can extend the Haute Route via the Monte Rosa Hut below the mountain of the same name to Saas Fee. An ascent of Breithorn (4164 m) or Monte Rosa (4554 m) is a good addition here. Over the Stockhorn Pass past Strahlhorn (4190 m) and Allalinhorn (4027 m) we descend to Saas Fee. After the suspension cableways from Gornergrat to Hohtälli and from Hohtälli to Stockhorn were completely dismantled in 2007, the rewarding diversions via the Monte Rosa Hut has become unavoidable.

The division in this description was made in daily stages. However, these are not binding and can be combined or extended depending on the condition and ability of the group, for example to climb peaks along the way.

The slopes on which we move on the classic Haute Route have exposures in all directions, generalised information on this cannot be given. The technical skiing requirements are in the medium range. The slopes can be quite steep in a few places (over 40°). However, ascent and descent technique should be excellent, as even medium steep slopes can be a challenge in hard firn and icy conditions. Safe handling of crampons, ice axes and safety equipment is also a prerequisite. Depending on the conditions, some passages may require the use of the complete alpine touring equipment. Some parts of the Haute Route are very prone to avalanches, such as the slopes below the Grand Combin. Appropriate planning, information and possibly flexible routing are therefore essential. As with all glacier ascents, always pay careful attention to crevasses!

Author’s recommendation

As the Haute Route is a high-alpine undertaking, orientation can be very difficult in poor visibility and emergency exits from the Haute Route are few and far between, it is advisable for those unfamiliar with the area to join a professional guide.

If you plan to climb a four-thousand-metre peak at the same time, bear in mind that the adaptation to the altitude is better towards the end of the tour than at the beginning. If you are travelling from west to east, you can climb the Breithorn (4164 m) from the Monte Rosa Hut on an extra day. For those going from east to west, Mont Blanc (4808 m) may be the crowning glory of the tour.

Whatever way you choose to walk the Haute Route, it is advisable to plan a little more time for it than is given for the actual stages. On the one hand, this allows for summit ascents on the side, which would require many times more time as independent tours, and on the other hand, bad weather days, which cannot be unusual, do not immediately disrupt the entire schedule.

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Author
outdooractive Redaktion
Update: June 23, 2022
Difficulty
difficult
Technique
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Risk potential
Highest point
Eagle Pass, 3,775 m
Lowest point
Orsières, 881 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Cardinal direction
NESW

Track types

Show elevation profile

Safety information

Orientation is usually effortless when visibility is good and tracks are available. In poor visibility, however, it can become a great challenge. It is therefore essential to take suitable maps with you and to practise using a compass and map or GPS (bear in mind battery weaknesses and equipment failure!).

Take avalanche reports into account! Please note: The GPS track given is only a suggestion. Depending on your own risk management, corresponding weather conditions and snow conditions may make changes to the route necessary! Only for very experienced tourers with high-altitude touring experience and sound knowledge of climbing, rope and belaying techniques on rock and ice!

 

Avalanche warning services SwitzerlandFranceItalyAosta Valley

Tips and hints

Alpine clubs Italy/South Tyrol, Switzerland, ItalyFrance 

Huts Cabane du TrientCabane du Trient.

Cabanes Cabane du TrientCabane d'OrsyCabane de ValsoreyCabane de ChanrionCabane des VignettesSchönbielhütteMonte Rosa HütteBritannia Hut

Mountain lifts Argentières, Zermatt

Start

Argentière at the valley station of the cable car to the Grands Montets (1,235 m)
Coordinates:
DD
45.978683, 6.926258
DMS
45°58'43.3"N 6°55'34.5"E
UTM
32T 339364 5093769
w3w 
///conceivable.official.hearths
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Destination

Saas Fee, Place

Turn-by-turn directions

Day 1: Argentière - Refuge d'Argentière

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We start the Haute Route with a cable car ascent from Argentière to the Grandes Montets summit station. The views into the Chamonix valley and to Mont Blanc are stunning, as are the views down to the Argentière glacier during the stage.

It is quite sufficient to start in Argentière at midday, so you can also use the day as an arrival day. You can buy tickets the day before or via the Internet, which may save you long waits at the valley station.

To the Refuge d'Argentière we expect about 660 metres of descent and then about 130 metres of ascent. We estimate a time of about 120 minutes for the first stage. 

From the top station (3295 m) we descend the long staircase to the Col des Montets. From the end of the stairs we descend fairly straight down the steep Glacier des Rognons to the Glacier d'Argentière. At about 2560 m we cross it diagonally upwards to the opposite bank until just below the Refuge d'Argentière. We reach the Refuge d'Argentière after a short ascent at 2771 m.

 

Day 2: Refuge d'Argentière - Cabane du Trient

The second stage brings with it some difficult sections: the slopes below the passes to be crossed are quite steep. Depending on the snow conditions, a rope can already be of good service for the descent to flatter terrain at the Col du Chardonnet crossing. Our route leads through an impressive, high alpine winter landscape. The skins have to be put on the skis twice: for the ascent to the Fenêtre de Saleina and from the Plateau du Trient to the Cabane du Trient.

There is still one decision to be made at the hut: the crossing at Col des Ecandies, which would follow an overnight stay the next day, is the second key section of the Haute Route. In the late afternoon, the steep slopes below the Pointe d'Orny are often frozen and therefore prone to avalanches. In the early morning, on the other hand, this section can be problematic to ski. Depending on the conditions, we decide to spend the night in the Cabane du Trient or continue to Champex (see Day 3).

To Cabane du Trient we expect a total of about 1040 metres of ascent and about 640 metres of descent. We estimate that this stage will take about 420 minutes.

From the Refuge d'Trento, we will reach the Champex.

From the Refuge d'Argentière we descend over the moraine to the flat Glacier d'Argentière. We follow this on the right for about 1.5 km until the valley of the Glacier du Chardonnet joins from the right. At 2560 m, we turn right into this valley and climb the initially steep moraines on the right half of the valley in the direction of travel. Between 2850 and 2950 m the ascent becomes really steep again. We follow the left arm of the Glacier du Chardonnet up to the Col du Chardonnet at 3321m. Provided they are not covered by snow or ice, two fixed ropes hang here to make the descent easier. If they are covered, we abseil down or descend secured over the north-east side of the pass. As soon as we reach the glacier, we descend the 100 metres or so in altitude parallel to the rocky ridge on our right to P. 3341 m (LKS, Toposuisse). Now we keep straight on diagonally towards the base of the rocks of the Grande Fourche (P. 3084 m). As soon as we have passed the rocks, we turn towards the northwest and climb the approximately 300 metres in altitude to the Fenêtre de Saleina. The uppermost metres are again quite steep. Here we may have to carry the skis. From the Fenêtre des Saleina we descend to the flat Plateau du Trient. After the rocky ridge on the right, we turn right and continue below the Aiguilles Dorées towards the wide Col d'Orny. From this, staying on the right in the same direction, we descend briefly and set off on the counter-ascension to the Cabane du Trient (3170 m)

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Day 3: Cabane du Trient - Col des Ecandies - Val d'Arpette - Champex - Bourg St. Pierre

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On the third day, a new key section awaits us: the slope to the Col des Escandies is extremely steep and below it is a large crevasse zone. The steep slopes above it harbour the danger of snow slab avalanches after fresh snowfalls, and in the afternoon there is the threat of wet snow slides during high temperatures. Once we have conquered the Col des Ecandies, a fantastic downhill run awaits us in the Val d'Arpette. We can shorten our Haute Route by one day if we start out on the second day via the Col des Ecandies to Champex. However, we then have to keep an eye on the bus timetable, the buses only go from Champex to Bourg St. Pierre at certain times and in terms of fitness we have to take into account the climb to the next hut.

To Champex we can shorten our Haute Route.

To Champex we can expect 30 metres of ascent and a massive 1730 metres of descent.

For the stage up to Champex we estimate about 180 minutes.

From the Cabane du Trient we descend to the Plateau du Trient. Below the Pointe d'Orny, our route describes a right turn. We keep north along the edge of the glacier and head towards the rocks of the Petite Pointe d'Orny. With the glacier well covered with snow, we go around the rocks at the edge of the glacier in very steep terrain. After a short ascent, we turn sharply right to Col des Ecandies (2793 m).

Alternatives to this would be the Fenêtre des Chamois not marked in the LKS (at about 2980 m) and following to the Col des Ecandies or the route via the Fenêtre des Chamois itself. Here, however, we have to reckon with mastering the rock-strewn, extremely steep and often icy north side on the rope until we reach terrain suitable for skiing again after about 100 metres in altitude. Skiing ability must be assumed here - a fall could have devastating consequences in this terrain.

We are rewarded for our efforts by the ideal slopes of the upper Combe des Ecandies and a long downhill run to Champex. It can often happen that the skis have to be carried the last few metres along the road section to Champex (1468 m)

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Day 4: Bourg St. Pierre - Cabane de Valsorey

Due to the long hut climb during this stage, it is certainly sensible to find a place to stay in Bourg St. Pierre. That way we don't miss the last bus. The hut ascent to Cabane de Valsorey can be dangerous under certain circumstances in the afternoon due to the day's warming and soaking of the snow cover. Large parts of the hut ascent lead through steep flanks, so the ascent should only be made in safe conditions. An alternative in unsafe conditions would be to take the Verbier route to Cabane des Dix. In addition, in bad conditions, the following stage over the Plateau du Couloir below the Grand Combin can be critical.

To Cabane de Valsorey we expect an ascent of 1400 metres in altitude, for which we calculate about 420 minutes.

From Bourg St. Pierre (1632 m) we follow the road under the highway. Signposts lead us into the Valsorey valley to the Alpe Cordonne at 1834 m. We stay orographically on the right. We stay on the orographic right (northern) side of the valley and roughly follow the summer path that leads us slightly above the valley floor over short steep steps to below the Chalet d'Amont (2197 m). We follow the valley in a southerly direction until, after about a kilometre, we turn almost at right angles into a small gorge to the left. We follow this gorge to the east and thus reach a wide plain. Here the outlets of the Glacier de Tseudet and the Glacier de Valsorey flow together. We stay on the plain for a bit and then turn left when the plain bends to the south. We now follow our route uphill to the Grands Plans alpine pastures at about 2529m. We then turn north-east to reach the Cabane de Valsorey at 3030 m via the increasingly steep slope. The hut itself is on a rocky spur, which we bypass on the left to reach the hut via the last few metres in a north-westerly direction. The last part of the climb carries the risk of avalanches shooting down from the slopes of Les Botseresses (3260 m) above, in the right conditions.

 

Day 5: Cabane de Valsorey - Plateau du couloir - Col du Sonadon - Glacier du Mont Durand - Cabane de Chanrion

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The fifth stage has another key section to offer: From the Cabane de Valsorey, the slopes become steeper and steeper up to the Plateau du Couloir. This ascent is not justifiable in case of increased avalanche danger. Normally, in the upper section, the skis are attached to the rucksack in order to continue the ascent with crampons and ice axe. It can even happen under certain circumstances that strong weirs make the exit difficult, in which case trackers have to work hard to dig through the snow. Fast and very good rope teams can make a detour to the Grand Combin from the plateau. However, this is only recommended in good conditions on the southern flank to the Combin de Valsorey. In pure walking time it would take about 3 hours to reach the main summit and 2 hours back to the plateau. The Musso bivouac is an inexpensive accommodation option.

A traverse in high alpine surroundings brings us to the Col du Sonadon, from where we can start the descent towards Cabane du Chanrion, which we reach after a counter-ascension of a good 200 metres in altitude.

In total, we cover around 930 metres in altitude on the ascent and 1500 metres on the descent during this stage. We should plan on about 420 minutes.

From Cabane de Valsorey we first ascend via the small Glacier du Meitin towards the northeast and Grand Combin. At about 3600 m altitude (roughly also the altitude of Col du Meitin) we start traversing the very steep flank to the right. On crampons and with ice axe, we look for a passage in the up to 45° steep flank to the Plateau du Couloir (3650 m). Here, cornices often lurk and it is advisable to watch out for avalanches and falling rocks from the summit face. This is certainly one of the trickiest passages of our Haute Route.

On the plateau we keep flat towards the east. We may overcome a steep step in a south-easterly direction on foot to reach the uppermost basin of the Glacier du Sonadon. At about 3450 m we cross this to the east and leave it again towards Col du Sonadon (3520 m).

From the Col du Sonadon, we descend the first 160 metres in altitude straight towards the south-east. At P. 3386 (LKS), we turn right towards Grande Tête de By to slip between the huge fractures on a kind of glacial terrace (3350 m to 3250 m). By the way, we can climb the Grande Tête de By (3587 m) without much difficulty from the Col du Sonadon. The view from the summit is overwhelming. A little before Tête Blanche, we turn east again and descend below the north faces of Tête Blanche and Mont Avril on the Glacier du Mont Durand. From an altitude of about 2800 m we keep to the right and from P. 2736 m we cross over the south-eastern ridge of Mont Avril towards the south-east (the lower part of the Glacier de Mont Durand is impassable). Across the slopes of Grand Charmotane, we cross the lowest slopes of Glacier de Fenêtre and finally reach the valley floor of the outflow of Glacier d'Otemma in a north-easterly direction. Before the gorge-like narrowing, we turn left and reach the Cabane de Chanrion at 2462 m via the slopes of Alpe La Paume in a north-westerly direction. Should we be surprised by a weather storm at this hut, we have no possibility of an emergency descent because the Lac de Mauvoisin reservoir, although frozen in winter, may not be entered under any circumstances. Due to the constant changes in water level, dangerous ice fractures can form. In bad weather, it is generally best to stay at the hut and wait for better weather.

 

Day 6: Cabane de Chanrion - Glacier d'Otemma - Cabane des Vignettes

Today's stage takes us over the long Glacier d'Otemma to the Col de Charmotane and then to the Cabane des Vignettes. The hut is in a breathtaking location on the rocky flank of the Pointe des Vignettes. In fog, orientation can become a challenge during this stage.

After about 200 metres of descent, about 900 metres of ascent await us. For this stage, we calculate about 330 minutes.

From the Cabane de Chanrion we descend southwards and follow our ascent route from the previous day to the valley floor. Through the gorge-like narrowing of the Otemma drainage we reach the soon opening valley of the Glacier d'Otemma. Shortly before, we pass the confluence of the outflow stream of the Glacier de Crête Sèche. After about 2 km, we reach the Otemma glacier itself and follow it uphill in a steady northeasterly direction. We always stay on the left side of the glacier and in this way pass Petit M. Collon on the right until we reach the Col de Charmotane. About half a kilometre before the col, we begin to head towards a ledge below the eastern flank of the Pigne d'Arolla. We climb easily up to the Col des Vignettes at about 3100m. At the col, we turn sharply towards the east and manage the last few metres to the Cabane des Vignettes at 3160 m with ease.

If you are considering abandoning the Haute Route due to bad weather or avalanche danger, you can reach the ski area above Arolla from the Col des Vignettes via the Glacier de Pièce and then over a moraine ridge.

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Day 7: Cabane des Vignettes - Col de l'Evêque - Haut Glacier d'Arolla - Col du Mont Brulé - Col de Valpelline - Stckjiigletscher - Schönbielhütte

Today's stage can be described as the queen stage of the Haute Route. We cross three high glacier passes. The Col de l'Evêque is still relatively easy to reach. The last stretch to the Col du Mont Brulé is very steep and we will probably have to attach our skis to our backpacks to climb the col on foot. A short descent brings us to the Haut Glacier de Tsa de Tsan. The finale of the first part of the Haute Route begins with the ascent to the Col de Valpelline. If we still have time, we climb the nearby Tête de Valpelline (3798 m). The view from the summit is truly breathtaking: the mountains around Valpelline, the Dent d'Hérens as well as the Matterhorn come within reach.

From the Col de Valpelline we descend via the Stockjig glacier. A small counter-ascent brings us to the Schönbiel hut at 2694m. It might be possible to continue straight on to Zermatt, but another overnight stay does no harm, then there is more time for the next transfer the following day and the stage is long and strenuous enough even to Schönbielhütte.

We have to cope with 1290 metres of ascent during this stage, but can also look forward to 1750 metres of downhill pleasure. We estimate about 480 minutes for this day.

From the Cabane des Vignettes we descend southwards to the wide glacier basin of the Col de Charmotane. Below the northern flank of the Petit M. Collon, we turn almost level in a south-easterly direction and then climb gently up the Glacier du Mont Collon. First we aim for the summit of L'Evêque, but after passing Petit M. Collon we turn south. Now we keep towards the Pointes d'Oren and climb the upper basin of the glacier below the Pointes d'Oren  The Col de l'Evêque only comes into our field of vision relatively far up, we must not confuse it with the saddle below L'Evêque, the north side of which drops extremely steeply. The Col de l'Evêque lies in the north-eastern extension of the Pointes d'Oren. From the Col, we head east towards the Col Collon. We skirt a crevasse-rich zone (3200-3100 m) to the south. From the Col Collon (3074 m) (we stay on the Swiss side of the same) we keep to the northeast and skirt the rocks of La Vierge in a sweeping left turn.

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In the event of bad weather, the Haut Glacier d'Arolla would offer us an "escape route" to Arolla. On our route, however, we feather again and start the climb eastwards to the Col du Mont Brulé. The gradient increases noticeably and we will certainly have to cover the last few metres on foot - possibly even with crampons. At this point, we must NOT confuse the Col du Mont Brulé with the first clear cut in the extension of the north-east ridge of Mont Brulé! The Col du Mont Brulé is about one kilometre further north.

After the Col du Mont Brulé, we descend in a north-easterly direction onto the Haut Glacier de Tsa de Tsan. Our route describes a wide arc until below the Tête Blanche. There we turn east to the Col de Valpelline (3557 m). If we still have enough time, we definitely make a detour to the Tête de Valpelline (3798 m). The view from the summit is wonderful. From the Col de Valpelline, the impressive Matterhorn comes into our field of vision and we have an eventful descent ahead of us. At the beginning we head north-east on rather flat slopes. From about 3500 m the terrain becomes steeper and we can enjoy the descent. In poor visibility, finding the right passage to the Tiefmatten glacier can be a real challenge, because in the lower area of the Stockjig glacier a huge glacier break awaits. We first keep below the rocks of the Col d'Hérens and constantly watch out for possible crevasses. South of the Wandfluejoch at about 3230 m we find ourselves on an almost flat glacier field. On this we turn sharply towards the southeast and cross the Stockjig glacier. A glacier ramp leads us between the rocks of the Stockji (left) and the northeast ridge of the Tête de Valpelline (right) down to the Tiefmatten glacier. Below the Stockji rocks, our route describes an arc in a northerly direction always along the rocks of the Stockji. In this way we can bypass the fracture zone of the Tiefenmatt glacier and reach the moraine terrain at the foot of the Stockji and then head east to the beginning of the Zmutt glacier. We cross this in a northerly direction to the mouth of the Stockji glacier and ascend via a lateral moraine to the Schönbiel hut.

 

8th day: Schönbielhütte - Zermatt

The advantage of spending the night in the Schönbielhütte is that you can hope for better snow conditions in the morning and may not have to push so often when you are heading towards Zermatt. In addition, you can get to the Monte Rosa Hut via Zermatt and the Gornergratbahn in one day if you are planning to extend the Haute Route to Saas Fee.

A total of only 20 metres of ascent and 1090 metres of descent await us. We calculate that it will take about 120 minutes.

From the Schönbielhütte we turn briefly to the west in order to be able to descend diagonally onto the Stockjigletscher. On this we turn south to head towards the Zmutt glacier. We tend to stay on its right side in order to glide past the Matterhorn. At the foothills of the Zmutt glacier, we reach the retention basins and confines of the Zmutt stream. Depending on the snow conditions, we can glide down the road to Zermatt or we have to carry the skis. From Furi we can use the cable car down to the village. It is also possible to take the cable car directly up to the Riffelberg from Furi to get to the next stage, which leads to the Monte Rosa Hut.

 

9th day: Zermatt - Gornergrat/Rotenboden - Monte Rosa Hut

There are a few possible variations for the continuation of the Haute Route to Saas Fee. We opt for the most common one via the Monte Rosa Hut. With its central location on the Monte Rosa massif, it is the starting point for numerous dream tours to the surrounding mountain giants. So if you have enough time, you can add a few more four-thousand-metre peaks to your tour book here - wonderfully acclimatised after the stages so far. Despite the high altitude of the hut, all the ascents are quite long and long stretches over crevasse-rich glaciers have to be negotiated on the approaches. The Monte Rosa Hut was rebuilt in 2008/09 as the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration of specialists. It is a low-energy hut and looks as spectacular as it is situated. The approach to the hut is via the Gornergrat cable car station Rotenboden below the avalanche-prone Gornergrat south flank.

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We can expect a short 270 metres of altitude gain on the ascent and about the same on the descent. We reckon it will take about 120 minutes.

From the Rotenboden station of the Gornergrat cable car, we head south slightly downhill for a few hundred metres until we can easily turn into the steep south flank of the Gornergrat. We cross the entire southern flank of the Gornergrat, slightly sloping down to the Gornergrat glacier. We reach this at an altitude of about 2500 m opposite the confluence of the Grenzgletscher, cross it in a southerly direction and then climb uphill on the Grenzgletscher. First we pass the huts (old and new at 2795 m and 2883 m respectively) below, then we take a left turn to reach them.

 

10th day: Monte Rosa Hut - Stockhorn Pass - Adler Pass - Britannia Hut

The stage to the Britannia Hut has it all over again: Especially the last stretch up to the Adler Pass (3789 m) is very steep and usually we have to strap on crampons and walk up. If you want to take on the Strahlhorn with its 4190 m, you should not underestimate the additional 400 metres in altitude to the summit. The mostly bare snow and ice often prevent us from taking our skis, which are then expediently deposited at the Adler Pass.

Finding the way to the Stockhorn Pass via the Monte Rosa Glacier can prove to be quite difficult. You have to find the crossing to the Gorner glacier, which is secured with wire ropes. If you don't dare to do this at dawn, it is better to descend again via the Grenzgletscher and then ascend via the Gornergletscher. However, those who find the crossing can ascend to the Stockhorn Pass almost without losing altitude, and then descend briefly over the upper part of the Findel Glacier via this pass. A steep step between Strahlchnubel and Adlerhorn provides access to the Adlerpass. The last overnight stay along the Haute Route at the Britannia Hut is a worthy conclusion to the undertaking, unless you want to descend straight to Saas Fee.

All in all, we do the Haute Route.

In total, we cover 1340 metres in altitude on the ascent and 1100 metres in altitude on the descent during this stage. We estimate a time requirement of about 540 minutes.

We leave the Monte Fee.

We leave the Monte Rosa Hut early in an easterly direction. Slightly ascending, we reach the left lateral moraine of the Monte Rosa Glacier via the Unterer Plattje terrain. We cross the lower part of the Monte Rosa Glacier diagonally. Thus we ascend from about 2900 m to 3000 m to the opposite side. We reach the rocky ridge edge by climbing over the lateral moraine. The wire-rope-secured crossing is marked by a pole. On the other side we cross the flank to the Gorner glacier. Up to an altitude of about 3150 m we stay on this side of the Gorner Glacier, then we swing to the northeast and cross it. At an altitude of 3300 m we have passed the crevasse zone on the left and stand south of the Stockhorn Pass. Heading north, we climb the moderately steep slopes to the glacier saddle.

We descend eastwards into a hollow of the Findel Glacier, paying special attention to crevasses! We keep towards the ridge spur descending from the Adlerhorn in a northerly direction and thus traverse the entire Findel Glacier, first at about 3200 m, then a little lower. Between Strahlchnubel and Adlerhorn, 100 steep vertical metres await us, after which we can enter the somewhat flatter Adler Glacier. We cross the Adler glacier in a northerly direction, climbing up to below the rocks of the Rimpfischhorn (4199 m). We now reach the Adlerpass itself in a curve below the rocks. As this steep slope is often bare, we may have to strap the skis to the rucksack and exchange them for crampons. The 3789 m high Adler Pass is the highest point of the entire Haute Route. Good and fast rope teams will not miss the ascent of the Strahlhorn (4190 m)

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You usually deposit your skis at the Adlerpass and climb in about 90 minutes, first via the south-east ridge to a ledge at 3954 m. The ascent is then made by a glacier. A less steep glacier surface is crossed in a direct direction to the summit of the Strahlhorn. After steeper terrain, you reach the summit via a short rocky ridge. The descent is along the ascent route.

From the Adlerpass, we keep to the north-east and descend parallel to the rocky flank of the Rimpfischhorn. We skirt the fracture zone at about 3400 m to the east, then turn north again. We head directly for the bend of the Hohlauben ridge on the Allalinhorn and ski along the left edge of the Allalin glacier below the walls of the Hohlauben ridge. Below the rocky head with the altitude of 3144 m, we gradually turn left to reach the lower part of the Hohlaub glacier. We can cross it almost level to then climb the few metres in altitude to the Britannia Hut at 3030 m.

 

Day 11: Britannia Hut - Egginerjoch - Saas Fee

Those who did not leave immediately for Saas Fee spent another cosy evening at the Britannia Hut and celebrated the successful completion of the Haute Route.

On day 11, another 1260 metres of descent await us, for which we estimate about 60 minutes.

From the Britannia Hut, a wide track leads us almost parallel in altitude along the Chessjen Glacier in a north-westerly direction to the Egginerjoch (3021 m).

From here we reach the piste area of Saas Fee and ski down this to the village of Saas Fee itself.

Note


all notes on protected areas

Public transport

  • By train to Argentière;
  • From Champex/Orsières by bus or taxi to Bourg St. Pierre;
  • From Zermatt with the Gornergratbahn to Rotenboden station;
  • From Saas Fee by post bus to Visp; From Visp onwards by train
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Travelling by public transport can be advantageous. After all, the start and end points of the tour are far apart and the variant of arriving with two cars and parking one at the destination first has already proved impractical a few times. Especially when bad weather sets in and the tour is often interrupted as a result, this can leave you without a car at Arolla, for example.

 

Getting there

A9/Switzerland to Martigny, exit 22 Grand-Saint-Bernard/Chamonix, continue to Martigny Croix, from here direction Fordaz/Finhaut/Ravoire, on this "Route de la Forclaz" to Le Châtelard, entry into France, continue on the D1506 to Argentières/Les Chosalets

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Departure from Saas Fee: To Visp, from there continue on E62 to Sierre, from here on A9 to Martigny

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Parking

Parking at the valley station of the Grands Montets cable car

Coordinates

DD
45.978683, 6.926258
DMS
45°58'43.3"N 6°55'34.5"E
UTM
32T 339364 5093769
w3w 
///conceivable.official.hearths
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Arrival by train, car, foot or bike

Author’s map recommendations

National map of Switzerland "Swisstopo" scale 1:25,000 on paper and DVD

Book recommendations for this region:

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Equipment

Ski touring equipment with avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe; crampons, ice axe, complete high altitude touring equipment including all necessary safety and ascent equipment for combined terrain.

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The huts now offer all the comforts you could wish for. So you don't have to carry food rations for several days in your backpack. However, it is strongly recommended to reserve sleeping places in the huts well in advance of the start of the tour.


Localization

Parts of this content were machine translated using German as the source language


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Photos from others


Status
closed
Difficulty
difficult
Distance
153.3 km
Duration
55:00 h
Ascent
11,232 m
Descent
10,667 m
Highest point
3,775 m
Lowest point
881 m
Scenic Refreshment stops available Geological highlights Cableway ascent/descent
1600 m 1800 m
Morning
1600 m 1800 m
Afternoon

Avalanche conditions

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Statistics

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Maps and trails
  • 37 Waypoints
  • 37 Waypoints
Distance  km
Duration : h
Ascent  m
Descent  m
Highest point  m
Lowest point  m
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