Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Hiking in the mountains... When I was little, I couldn’t expect that I would appreciate it the way I do the last couple of years. I have to say, it took me some years and cool experiences to really see the beauty of it. In this blog I open the door to my favorite hiking and ski touring experience to date, the Haute Route.
The Haute Route is a spectacular high-level traverse connecting the two imposing mountains, the Mont Blanc in France and the elegant Matterhorn in Switzerland. In 2015, I completed the haute route with a group of eight friends and two guides. We were very lucky with the snow conditions, since we had a whole week of fresh powder snow and clear blue skies. However, due to these favorable conditions the guides needed to be more careful in case of any avalanches.
Ten of the twelve highest peaks in the Alps rise along this magnificent route where you traverse from hut to hut. Although people have been walking the Haute Route since it was created in 1861, it is now most popular as a winter ski touring route. It takes about seven days to complete on skis. The ski touring season stretches from March until the beginning of May, as the snow conditions are paramount to safety and this is when the snow is most stable.
Before setting off, Fitness levels are incredibly important to complete the Haute Route. Some days you might be walking for 6 to 8 hours, so take it seriously and prepare for the challenge by training for 8 to 12 weeks before as you would for other endurance events. People tend to have mild altitude sickness when on the Haute Route, due to the lack of oxygen available to your lungs at higher altitudes. Having a good metabolic condition is more important than being a good skier. If you have experience and can ski comfortably off-piste than you will be able to complete the Haute Route on skis.
The area surrounding the Haute Route is arguably the most beautiful I have seen, which adds to the overall experience. During the route you will create memories and friendships that will last for life. The addition of having limited phone signal results in a sense of camaraderie and teamwork in these busy and connected times. After the long walks in the morning before snow conditions deteriorate, there is time in the afternoon to play cards and build bonds with the rest of the group. And I am sure that you will have the best feeling after reaching Tête Blanche with its stunning view of the Matterhorn (horn that matters). From there you are only one beautiful downhill ski session away from a cold beer in Zermatt.
One of the reasons for me to start BEAT Expeditions is to facilitate these special experiences. To be able to provide other ski and sports enthusiasts with such a distinctive and unique experience they won’t forget. Therefore, we offer tailor-made Haute Route experiences in both summer and winter. We take care of everything so that the participants can just enjoy and experience.
We facilitate an English speaking fully qualified guide, with a maximum of four skiers per guide. We organize all the bookings along the way, as well as transfers. We recommend booking at least six months in advance to ensure your place in the refuges. Do not hesitate to ask us for more information! In our next blog about ski touring we will elaborate on another special ski tour: the Patrouille des Glaciers...