The Haute Route - Part 1 (Chamonix to Arolla)

The walker's Haute Route travels from Chamonix (France) to Zermatt (Switzerland) up and over 11 passes, traversing from valley to valley just below a number of large glaciers and beautiful panoramas. It tracks along the traditional Haute Route (typically done in the winter of many of the same glaciers and peaks we saw), both of which avoid traveling down in the Rhone river valley miles to the north. These are photos from the first 5 stages of the hike. Each day, we hiked close to 10 miles and about 3500 feet of elevation change. We hiked through cow and sheep pastures (with clanging cowbells) and up and down steep terrain into tiny little towns nestled amongst the alps or mountain huts (cabanes) that were off the grid (yet still could hold 60-100 people). For this first part, we took the bus from Chamonix to Le Tour (to cut out the valley walk), hiked from La Tour to Col de La Forclaz, then hiked from Col de La Forclaz up and over Fenetre D'Arpette down into Champex. From Champex, we used the bus and the train to get over to Verbier, where we hiked up to Cabane du Mont Fort. From the Cabane, we crossed three passes to reach Cabane de Prafleuri. The following day crossed two passes to reach Arolla where we took a much needed rest day. See Part 2 of the Haute Route Photos