Author Topic: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017  (Read 11151 times)


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #60 on: 09:15:00, 09/08/17 »
Another great day by the looks of it - becoming very tempted by this route, though not sure my body would be up to it!  Good to see you getting a bit of love time, Zen.  Holiday romance?


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Day 9 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Tues 4th July: Cabane de Moiry to Zinal via Col de Sorebois
Ascent 462m / Descent 1612m (11th day walking)

What was making this trek extra special was its relaxing pace.  :)
Ian was in no rush any day to set off or arrive.
Actually, come to think of, Ian doesn’t hurry anything . . which I bet can be infuriating for some, but for me,
well it's a dog's life.  :smitten: 

Why change a habit of a lifetime – today was no different, and why would it be with this view from the tent –

Time for a bit of yoga, while watching the climbing groups eagerly trek up to the glacier edge.


We thanked the managers of the hut. They gave Ian some tea for the journey and welcomed us back when it’s not so busy to stay inside – Ooooh so hut stays are possible.   8)

Final photo before we leave, what was our highest & best camp at 2825m   O0

We followed a superb belvedere trail alongside the hillside roughly level at 300m above the Lac de Moiry

“Muy feliz”  :)


Corne de Sorebois 2896m – one of a few 360 panoramas on the trek.

“Muy muy feliz”   :)   :) 

Fab long lunch stop with views of Bishorn (4135m), Weisshorn (4505m) & Zinalrothorn (4221m)

Weisshorn, a real mountaineer’s mountain kept a watchful eye over us until Zermatt, with its eye-catching ridges seen from the different angles.

Now for the descent to Zinal at 1675m . . let’s make this fun . . .  :D 
« Last Edit: 12:55:41, 11/08/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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We sauntered down to the Sorebois Gondola (2475m) & shared an ice-cream.   :-* 

Views of Zinal

Soon after this, we plummet 700m into the Valley, on a breathtaking, bone-jarring dirt path.

The starting gate –

“Zen, the next challenge”
“I’m all ears”
“I’ll race you, Zen – First one over the second bridge at the bottom wins a stay in a B&B”
My kind of challenge, but hey, this seems too easy – not much of a dog fight.   ;D

I raced off, pelting done the path, but wasted energy missing sharp turns & having to turn back, ending up behind Ian.
Quick – What would Lewis Hamilton do ? . . think strategy . . be patient . .  8) 
The path zig-zagged tightly through field strewn with fresh cow pancakes. I hung on Ian heels, as he knew the path, avoiding getting the cow muck clogged up in between the paws. We all know how treacherous that can be for your grip and the unwelcome extra weight.
Soon the path descended dramatically into a scrubby forest, clinging precariously to the rock walls –
Arr – freedom forest – in my world . .   :D

I darted ahead . . there was no stopping me . . until . .
Ian, the cheeky  >:D   gave me a 5 second grassing eating penalty for cutting a corner and I had to suffer whilst he whizzed past sniggering & recording it on a photo.   :tickedoff:

I had underestimated lazy, layabout Ian. He was up for this - This was dog eat dog. :knuppel2: 

I dug in and sneaked pass on a twisty section & then daylight on to the bridges . .  . errr . . bridges . .

Noooooo   . .  a pesky wooden swinging old rickety one clinging to the rock face . .   :'(

IMG_1805 by

Heart in my mouth, unable to breathe, momentum throw me onto the bridge & I scrambled over . . .  :P

Hasta luego . . . 
The second bridge was a dog walk in the park . . I glorified in my triumph.  O0 

“Where are you sleeping Ian?”  :coolsmiley: :2funny: 
« Last Edit: 08:39:26, 12/08/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #63 on: 08:53:15, 12/08/17 »
Loads of these tortuous paths in the next valley too. :)
Nice wee place Zinal it was our starting village to get the onto the track up to Tracuit hutte to reach Bishorn. :)
A grand adventure that you are having with the he one from two different brands of dog.


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“Muy muy feliz”   :)   :) 

What a great shot - he certainly looks very, very happy and who wouldn't be with that view!  :)

I'm pretty sure my fitness levels wouldn't be up to such a mammoth trek but I'm enjoying following your progress and seeing these stunning vistas. That wooden bridge does look a little rickety though...


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A grand adventure that you are having with the he one from two different brands of dog.

I didn't spend a lot of time with my folks, but I seem to have a bit of (Siberian) husky & (Swiss) shepherd in me and something smaller, maybe chihuahua, as I'm from Mexico.    :D
Yes, I love spicy food.  :smitten:

I leave the chihuahua bit at home & just bring the husky with me.  ;D
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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We wandered through Zinal’s old town.

I love the drinking troughs – no cows in sight.  ;)

As I mentioned before the Swiss seem to pride themselves on decorating the outside of their homes with stuff showing off their trade or profession. Can you guess them?

Ian was looking for the taxman's house . . .  :D

Found the taxman . . .  :D 

If you don't have any trees . . design one  :P

IMG_1827 by

We stayed at Auberge Alpina.  Real friendly place  O0
Luckily for Ian the room had two beds, so I let him have one. Well, I reckon he had just about earned it.   :angel:

We were the only guests apart from a group of French trekkers who we would bump into over the next
couple of days.
Ian said the French cuisine was amazing and plentiful. So nice that he didn’t share any.   :o
Not to worry as I got a new food package with treats – Yeah!   ;D
I know you’ve been keeping check, so how many packages has it been? . . .
Well done . .  Three, the last one    :'(
This means our glorious trek is coming to an end, maybe only 3 or 4 days.   ???
« Last Edit: 09:29:59, 13/08/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #67 on: 09:56:06, 14/08/17 »
Ah! that's how it is parcels  that have winged their way across the continent to keep Zen in good shape. :)


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #68 on: 21:01:23, 14/08/17 »
I'm assuming you have done the TMB as well so how does the Haute Route compare with that in your opinion? Easier? Harder?
LDWs done - 28 in total including 13 National Trails and 3 C2C

Wainwrights 173


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Day 10 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Wed 5th July: Zinal to Gruben via Forcletta (2874m)
Ascent 1199m / Descent 1052m  (12th day walking)

It dawned on me, at about dawn that I had had so much fun coming down from Corne de Sorebois 2896m to Zinal (1675m) yesterday, that the only way was up.  ;) 

Probably why Ian skipped loading up at the local shop & relying on the food given to him by the guest house fab manager, or was it to do with the extra 2kg of my food.

“What surprises do you have for me today Ian?”  :)
“Plenty”   :)
“Cool”   8)
“Exactly, Zen”
Hmm, sounds like a clue . . .   :P

Apartments, Swiss style.

Avalanche defence tunnel.

I kept joining the French group . . . French trekkers = French food = French cheese  O0
Who would turn down an opportunity for a bite to eat with this round table. No surprise, I joined them   ;)

Views back down to Zinal & Val de Zinal, plus our fun steep forest descent yesterday

Ian, stop taking photos of the cows . . . they’re coming for me . . . :'(

“Hey, Zen, what that above my head, and below the cloud?”

Here’s a close up . .

First views of The Matterhorn   O0

Probably the best flowery meadow on the trek.

The coolest of surprises . .

Not . .  Ian gave me a bath in the river –  :o
“Zen, how about a smile to show off how clean you are?”
“Not talking to you!”   :tickedoff:
Keep it to yourself, but afterwards I felt ace, totally refreshed on the hot climb.  :P

The German guys said my yoga on ice was the best show of the day – saying something considering the views at Forcletta (2874m)

Coolest spot   :)

Then a nap, whilst waiting for the French group.

and another . .

French fuss   :smitten:

Bit of bouldering

This was one col where views got better as you descended -
Majestic views of Bishorn & Weisshorn astride the Turtmann & Brunegg glaciers as the end of The Turtmanntal valley

From 'The Playground of Europe' Leslie Stephens, wrote of these views -

"Above us rose the Weisshorn in one of the mot sublime aspects of that almost faultless mountain, The Turtmann glacier, broad and white with deep regular crevasses, formed a noble approach, like the staircase of some superb palace. Above this rose the huge mass of the mountain, firm and solid as though its architect wished to eclipse the Pyramids. And, higher still, its lofty crest, jagged and apparently swaying from side to side, seemed to be tossed into the blue atmosphere far above the reach of mortal man. Nowhere have I seen a more delicate combination of mountain massiveness, with soaring and delicately carved pinnacles pushed to the verge of extravagance. Yet few people know of this side of a peak, which every one has admired from the Riffel (above Zermatt)."

It was not just the German mountain names – an instant culture change from Swiss French to Swiss German & it felt so German, with language, faces & signs.

Gruben below, and at 12 o’clock, if you look really closely you can see the white Teepees where Ian wanted to stay, but it was just too far from Gruben.

This stopped Ian in a flash . .  :o

These stopped me in a flash . .  :o

More cows . . .  Phew, passed   [/font] O0 . . that felt like a challenge, Ian.

Gruben ahead.

We wandered around Gruben looking for what the book described as ‘the best well stocked shop on the Haute’ .. but alas it had closed years ago . .   :( 

After umming and arring, Ian decided to stay at Hotel Schwarzhorn (large white building far left)
– why so indecisive – there was nothing else, apart from a wild camp on the other side of the river.
As Gruben was a one-hotel-town we bumped into all the folk we had bumped into over the last few days and bumped into a few new ones.   :D

Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #70 on: 21:39:54, 14/08/17 »
I'm assuming you have done the TMB as well so how does the Haute Route compare with that in your opinion? Easier? Harder?

We haven't walked the whole TMB. We only walked  four days from Les Contamines to Champex, via Col du Brevent, Lac Blanc and Fenetre D'Arpette.

The Walker's Haute Route is definitely tougher, but how much is difficult to say.
The first few days on the TMB were hard with the extreme heat & a heavier pack full of home purchased goodies.

As the trek went on, the more time I spent higher up, the cooler it was, the lighter my pack and the fitter and more acclimatised I became.

I followed Cicerone's 13 day plan - which was perfect for me. I never rushed any day.

Others we met tried to do more. . and looked stressed and exhausted from rushing it.
There are places you can take buses and gondolas. They will save you energy for sure, but not much time.

Ian & Zen

Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #71 on: 07:39:39, 16/08/17 »
That is a serious looking Viper....not to be played with.
Two days left to get you to Tasch on part of the Tour du Cervin and the finest views of the 'big range' to look forward to. :)
Have rubbed noses with the Zinalrothorn-Trifthorn and the Wellenkuppe but the experience of looking across from the mountains to the East and SE are memorable.


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Day 11 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Thurs 6th July: Gruben to Gasenried via Augstbordpass (2894m)
Ascent 1604m / Descent 1767m  (13th day walking)
I woke dreading the sound of the ‘last day bell’   :-X
Silence   :smitten:
Strange morning as there was quite an entourage leaving the hotel after breakfast . .
The climb through the woodland soon dispersed the crowd. (Well, if eight is a crowd)

Early snow play time   ;)

It was our final pass . . . Nothing would stop me being first over Augstbordpass (2894m)

Thomas (the Hungarian) dropped his bag and scrambled up to the summit of Schwarzhorn (3201m) – whose panorama is ‘one of surpassing magnificence’.

I was surprised Ian didn’t join him & that we only stopped for half an hour.

Maybe Ian had other plans?

Ian found this hilarious article posted on the Walker’s Forum – “10 Types of People You’ll Meet on the Summit”
The author missed one – “The Eternal Chatterbox”

For 20 mins the silence at the pass was ruined with one person in this group constantly rabbiting on, probably about office gossip . . I could still hear the monologue on the wind as they descended, luckily to Gruben. I pitied the others in the group.

« Last Edit: 01:26:47, 17/08/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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“Ian, just off for more snow playing”

Creative signs

Arrrr . . cooling down in a snow oasis from the sun trapped boulders that went on and on . .

Views back towards Augstbordpass


Exuberant teens from California bombing along the path, with views of northern end of Mattertal.

“Ian, I need a break . . it’s super hot & all those rocks are giving me sore paws . . . please”
“Patience Zen . . I know the perfect spot . . “   O0
“Wow  . . . woof . . .  wow”     :smitten:

The teens are leaving . . . I've got it . .  ;)

Troara viewpoint – undoubtedly one of the finest panoramic viewpoints on the entire trek . .  :smitten:
This truly is the heart of the Alps, one visual gem after another.
View South of Mattertal towards Zermatt at its head (hidden) – a narrow deeply cut valley flanked by the highest peaks in Switzerland – Magnificent
“Can we hang here for a while?”   :)
“Sure, but not literally”    O0

“Muy, muy feliz”   :)     :)
Views opposite of Dom (4545m) & Reid glacier on Eastern side of the valley.


View North of- Bernese Alps & closer avalanche defences

“Ian, look, it’s a long way down”
“I trust you, Zen. Take a photo for us”

View of Grachen (1615m), on opposite side of the valley

Western side view of Zinalrothorn, Schalihorn, Wessihorn, Bishorn & Brunegghorn.

A turn up – a flat stone mule-path

Jungu or Jungen (1955m) perched or hanging on a steep slope 900m above the Mattertal, a delightful collection of old timber chalets and haybarns.

Another fascinating photo showing the Western side of the valley with our camp site for the night and the route tomorrow.[

First, the hot energy sapping decent down to St Niklaus (1127m)

 Ian’s full of shocks today . . upon arriving in St Niklaus, we hopped on a train. .
It can’t be the end . . there was no last day bell. . .   :'(
Worse . .  Ian fell asleep on the train & I had to batter him awake with my paws at the first stop.
Just as well I did as we got off at the second stop, though I immediately regretted it . . .
Arrrr. . . I know that pungent sterile aroma of pain & fear . . the Vets   :'( :'( 

The horrible worming tablets . . now we really were close to going home.
At least Ian disguised it’s revolting taste by smothering them with my tasty treats.

Back on the train to St Niklaus station, where we bumped into Thomas, waiting for the bus to Grachen.

“Ian, just once, let’s take the bus . . please. Promise I won’t tell anyone”

“I’ll think about it, while on the way to the supermarket”

Hope he doesn’t remember last time I took the worming pills – we jumped into a taxi zooming round the hairpin bends over the Pyrenees –
I threw up !  :-[

I was worried - Ian makes horrendous decisions when he’s tired   ???

We walked  . . in the afternoon scorching sun
We walked  . . 500m up to Gasenried
We walked  . . for 2 hours and some

Ian got excited with this sign . . the first one pointing to . . .

Europaweg . . .   
Ian knew I was exhausted when, even though I was off the lead I couldn’t be bothered to chase some sheep we saw.

These were fun to meet & cheered me up . .  :)

Ian said he knew of a perfect camping spot . . yeah, but can we walk there?
I was hoping for a bed. . . and I know the perfect spot . . . but we can’t walk there.
Me, of little faith . . Ian’s camp site was beautiful . . with a new friend to make.  :)

Flat grassy area, tables, chairs, bar-b-ques, toilets & it even came with an outdoor shower/mandi for Ian . .   O0
I wouldn’t have grumbled if he had thrown me in the bath.

“Ian, today was terrific    O0  . . would tomorrow be terrific or terrifying  . . ?     :'( 

“ . . . tomorrow . . . hmmm  . . . The Europaweg . . . sweet dreams, Zen “

“ . . or . . a nightmare, Ian ??” I whispered.    :P

« Last Edit: 02:14:47, 17/08/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Day 12 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Fri 7th July: Gasenried to Europahüttealong Europaweg
Ascent 1131m / Descent 570m  (14th day walking)

Europaweg, created in 1997 is a challenging route stretching 31km between [/font]Grächen[/font][/color] and Zermatt, which climbs as high as 1400m above the Mattertal (valley). It takes between 12-13 hours to walk the two stages of the unstable, everchanging high mountain path. It’s not for the faint hearted.

Ding-aling . . ding-aling . . ding-aling . . . .
“Oh, Ian . . . the last day.”    :'( 
“No . . . last  . . TWO days”   ;) 
“Fab . . . that makes sense . . one day would not do justice to such a magnificent trek.
It deserves a two-day grandstand finale”    O0 
“The Ultimate Challenge, Zen . . . Listo??”
“I was born ready, Ian . . . Vamos”    :coolsmiley:

I double checked the food supply, as I was a little concerned with Ian cooking his last dinner packages last night & polishing off the last bit of his muesli this morning . . .
We are definitely stopping somewhere nice-ish tonight.  :)
Phew . . I had enough doggie food . . and Ian was carrying enough bananas for a family of monkeys & Swiss cheese for,  . . well, for me.   :D

Campsite - Up at 6, off by 7 . .

Leaving Grasenried, climbing steeply . .

Yeah . . a cool dense freedom forest.   :)

Emerging from the forest after 2hrs or so to wonderous views of Grächen, Bietschhorn & the Bernese Alps

This lone mountain goat followed us conspicuously for a while, keeping its distance

Views of Barrhorn & Weisshorn from Grat (2300m) - look closely for the goat


Up to pay our respects & thanks for such a safe and superb trek, to St Bernard, patron saint of mountain travellers (2460m)  :)

Precarious . . this rock has probably fallen since the photo was taken.

“Wow . . . woof woof  . . . wow”    :smitten:
“Ian, you’re amazing . . just stop it, stop it . . . another unbelievable breakfast stop”    :)

Matterhorn  :coolsmiley: :coolsmiley:

Riedglestcher and Ried glacier


“Muy muy felix”   :)    :)
We soaked up the 360 panorama for over an hour . . and why not.   :smitten:

It gave me time to get to grips with my pencil . . line shows route yesterday to ‘wild’ camp (first circle), then today, up through freedom forest to St Bernard (second circle), then roughly the path through the treacherous Grosse Graben combe towards Europahütte.  :P

« Last Edit: 19:57:44, 17/08/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen