HAUTE ROUTE – THE CLASSIC ROUTE FROM CHAMONIX TO ZERMATT
March 31. till April 5. I had a group for the Classic Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. After some problems at the start with closed lifts, one meter of fresh snow and considerable avalanche danger we finally started our traverse of the western Alps on April 1. The day before was spent with avalanche rescue training and touring in Les Grands Montets.
When we finally started we did Col du Passon, Col du Superioeur du Tour and had amazing snow in Val d’Arpette down to Champex where we stayed one night. The next day we started from Bourg-Saint-Pierre and skinned up to Cabane de Valsoray in sunny weather. From Valsoray we had very good conditions on the climb up to Plateau du Couloir and good snow on north-facing aspects down the Durant glacier, we spent the night at Cabane du Chanrion. For the next to days the weather forecast was not the best. When starting from Chanrion it was clear sky, but windy. We planed to do the Serpentine glacier and over Pigne d’Arolla to Cabane des Vignettes instead of doing the boring and never-ending Otemma glacier. Soon it was cloudy and by the time we got to Passage de la Serpentine it was windy, snowing and no visibility. We did not summit Pigne and the skiing down to Vignettes was interesting in whiteout – like being inside a bottle of milk. Last day to Zermatt was another day in clouds and bad visibility, but not much wind. Some times we did see something, but we had more or less whiteout on all descents. We never saw Matterhorn and by the time we arrived in Zermatt it was raining.
It’s not always sunny on Haute Route.
Click on images to see larger version