Author Topic: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017  (Read 14435 times)


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Day 1 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Mon 26th June: Lacs de Chéserys to Refuge les Grands
Ascent 774m / Descent 874m
(3rd day walking, 3rd day of four on Tour du Mont Blanc)
"I had a weird dream last night about waking up camping near a white mountain or fountain – oh, never mind . . I was probably in the car park of the White Lion.
Or maybe not . . "

Understandably Ian was not in any hurry to move, so I could enjoy the views of Mont Blanc. . whilst he had a dip in the lake . .

Views back over Lacs de Chéserys towards Refuge Lac Blanc above

It was a glorious morning walk . .  :)

Great writing Zen and very small world - me and two friends stopped and chatted with you and Ian the next day - we were on our way up to Lac Blanc from the col de Montets and you were pretending not to notice an ibex in the hope it would come a bit closer.

Yes, I remember. Ian was a spoil sport & never did let me off the lead here to try and catch an Ibex. Ibex burger would've been tasty. How about you?
Hope you had a great trek.

I got lots of lovely attention from squeezing passed the hundred or so school kids :smitten:
– Well done kids! That was some climb in the morning heat. O0

Views down to Le Tour

Another lovely lunch stop at Tre-le-Champ.

Followed by a climb through forest to Aig des Posettes.
'I love the forest – now known as ‘freedom forests’ as I’m always free, off the lead to dart around the trees. Sorry, I was too fast for photos." ;D 

Views back from near Col de Balme - Chamonix

Hi to Switzerland! My seventh country, after Mexico, Holland, England, Scotland, France & Spain – not bad for an 8yr old dog.

Whilst Ian rested out of the wind at the closed Refuge du Col de Balme practising his Spanish with some Belgians (?) I saw the most disturbing sight, too disturbing to publish a photo – a fellow four-legged friend carrying all their stuff in their own back pack ¡Qué horror! ¡Pobre perro! :'(
I prayed Ian hadn’t seen it. Gulp, he had!  :-[
I'd better watch myself – I’ll never complain about Ian not carrying enough food & water for me again…

Views down to Triente (usual destination for TMB).

This was my kind of path - one narrow path with no deviations, just contouring & undulating around spurs giving tantalising views of marmots below. I was keen to impress Ian by sticking to the path & not indulging in a fruitless marmot chase. ‘Every dog has its day’ & mine will come!  ;)

Views of Glacier du Trient

Refuge les Grands
A self-catering hut – Closed, so we had to camp, with fresh water & decent loo with fab views of glacier (above) –
"You got to love a loo with a view."  O0
“Ian, I haven’t forgotten - You promised me a hut stay!"  ::)

Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #16 on: 21:51:00, 24/07/17 »
Enjoying your trip report Zen    :)


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Day 2 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Tues 27th June: Refuge les Grands to Champex via Fenêtre d'Arpette
Ascent 1080m / Descent 1730m
(4th day walking, 4th/last of four on Tour du Mont Blanc)

It rained last night – Ian was worried/excited today’s pass would be white with snow . . no such luck  :(

“How about some challenges today, Ian?”
“How about these wet slippery rocks, first thing Zen?”  O0

I flew down this . . Ian was not so swift!  ;)

Freedom forest path  :)  – “Come on Ian!”

Chalet du Glacier 1583m - not open yet

Chalet warden crossing the bridge carrying boxes of flowers – the Swiss love to decorate their places with flowers
Nice place, but a bit early for my breakie – Anyway, we had a serious climb – 1082m to Fenêtre d'Arpette 2665m – (one of ?) highest points on TMB

Chilling  :)

Shady breakie stop with cool views – Ace choice again Ian  O0

Close - Feel the crisp cool Glacier air. Hear the crack of ice  :smitten:

Almost there – Ian’s lagging behind – time for a view check – Amazing!

Fenêtre d'Arpette 2665m

“Can we hang here for a while?”  “Sure”

“Zen! One of the challenges was NOT to eat the most Swiss cheese” ;)
English & French trekking together

“Ready for another challenge, Zen?”  “Por supuesto! Vamos”

First boulder challenge on descent – This rocked! Passed O0

Spotted - Leader of the pack !

White water!

Champex built around it's lake

Camped at Camping Les Rocailles, Champex – busiest camp site we stayed at, with Exodus group & several other TMB trekkers

"Yeah"  :)  - Picked up new food package for me.  Ian, the sly dog, slipped some treats in for himself  :D     
Ian said tomorrow will be a half day - "What; your treats weighing too much?"  :2funny:   

Tomorrow we leave Tour du Mont Blanc - "We could be trekking alone, Zen?"
"I'm never alone with you" :smitten:

« Last Edit: 00:00:58, 25/07/17 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 #18 on: 08:50:22, 25/07/17 »
Another great write up Zen - and yes we had a great few days.  In fact we must have just missed seeing you again the morning you walked down to Chalet de Glacier near Trient as we walked up that way that morning (glad I didn't have to share that man made balcony bit with you though!).  Those kids you passed were all at the Lac Blanc when we got there - not very tranquil!

I also bought one of your harnesses and stretchy leads when I got back to England, for my friend Daisy the labradoodle, so that she can stop me chasing the sheep in Snowdonia and the Lakes!

Great pictures - camping spot near Lac de Chesery looks wonderful. 


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Tomorrow we leave Tour du Mont Blanc - "We could be trekking alone, Zen?"
"I'm never alone with you" :smitten:

 :) You're one lucky dog, Zen and one lucky human to have him, Ian :)
So many paths, so little time


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Day 3 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Wed 28th June: Champex to Le Chable
Ascent 104m / Descent 749m  (5th day walking)
A gentle rise in the morning with a gentler walk through Champex & a pleasant valley stroll through sleepy Switzerland villages –
No challenges for me then (apart from dodging the sprinklers) – How about a navigation one for Ian?

Lake at Champex

Valley views to Sembrancher

Lunch stop in Sembrancher village square (we were sitting behind the fire hydrant on next photo)
"What did I say about pulling you finger out . . of the way!"

It took us ages to find the way out of Sembrancher - photo from the guide book (below) actually shows a trekker walking the wrong way  >:(

White water, now grey ?? The strong current was great at massaging the muscles.
Whizz bang! Whizz, bang! Disturbed the tranquillity.
“What’s the noise Ian?”  “Sounds like a . . a gun .  . but can’t be. This is Switzerland, you know, peaceful with no army”
Suddenly, above, on zip lines a metal target shoots back towards where the shots came from.
Seriously someone was shooting live ammo over our heads! :knuppel2:
We didn’t hang around for photos.

Soon arrived in Le Chable where Ian had a pleasant surprise for me – a hotel bed.  O0
Stayed at Hotel du Gietroz over the river in Villette.
Even better, Ian washed his stinky socks   :D  whilst I had a long afternoon siesta.  :)
Not so good later, was Ian getting as sick as a dog   :-[  (not my favourite expression) & throwing up – I suspect the underground stream on yesterday’s descent from Fenêtre d'Arpette
Stinky socks were bad . . His uncontrollable farts & number twos were knock out material !  :tickedoff:
If this continues tomorrow, were tossing a coin for the tent.
With stomach cramps (they looked painful) he said it’s probably ‘Giardia’
“Ian, does this mean that you’ll bring me back all the ham & cheese from breakfast? Oh, and don’t forget the Nutella”  ;D

« Last Edit: 18:57:40, 25/07/17 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 #21 on: 22:29:26, 25/07/17 »
Enjoyed the latest instalments Zen  :)
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)


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Day 4 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Thurs 29th June: Le Châbleto Cabane du Mont-Fort
Ascent 1636m / Descent 0m  (6th day walking)
Up, up & away – heading back into the mountains  :)  - This is day for those who hate going down.
“Continental breakfasts are a bit light though Ian did share his ham & cheese & didn’t forget the Nutella”  O0

"Sorry, I got too much cheese on my paws & couldn't rotate the photos"

Well, then. Both well rested, both not so well fed, one well & one getting well, we set off.

Even though this was our 4th day in Switzerland we hadn’t been through any little Swiss mountain villages . . from today this was joy & everlasting cultural experience until the end.  :) 

The Swiss seem to have a tradition of hanging trade equipment on the outside of their houses – much more on these later

Yeah – Cuckoo clocks (on the house wall) . . now we really are in Switzerland!  :)
“Ian, check these out - Swiss doggy poo bags, with instructions – You’ve got to love the Swiss”   :D
“Ian, can we keep a few for souvenirs? Empty ones, preferably”   “Bravo”

“What about priority for dogs?”
We meandered steeply & gradually up, sharing paths with mountain bikes –
Passed a few tournament standard MTB trails near Verbier – seriously scary steep stuff with lots of safety nets.

Views down the valley from yesterday’s walk towards Sembrancher

Swiss drinking fountain with a difference – Cold beer   :)
(Near Clambin restaurant, above Verbier – both in the photo – if anyone fancies popping over for a free beer – Ian left a few)

Another cracking lunch stop at a picnic area, Le Hattey, above Chamblin – Wow, Ian you’ve done your homework. You even splashed out on quality Swiss cheese. :smitten:

I was pushing my luck about ending up in the dog house with chasing a wild goat & . .

“You roll in anymore [censored], we won’t need to toss a coin to decide who sleeps outside!”
Sounds like Ian’s feeling better with his wise cracks. Then again . .

Les Ruinettes Cable Car station

“What? Have you gone barking mad? You’ve got a free cable car ticket from Le Châble to here!”

His stomach may be fine . . what about his head? It took us 6 hours to climb here.

“Zen, what’s the rush? We only take gondolas or cable cars in an emergency”

“Boy, he can be stubborn!  ::)
In hindsight, he was wrong, it’s not half, it’s all the fun in getting there!  :smitten: 

And we soon arrived at Cabane du Mont-Fort 2457m (photo tomorrow) as snow was falling.

Ian was a little nervous how they would be about wild camping nearby.
– Daniel, who has been running this Cabane for years assured him there was no problem. Top bloke.   O0 

I was a little wet, cold & nervous about the snow falling.  :-[ 

After pitching the tent, Ian did something super surprising – he separated the waterproof bivvy bag protecting his down sleeping bag from a wet dog like me & laid it on the freezing tent floor for me  ;) 

Fab, for later … Now, I snuggled up on the sleeping bag whilst Ian ate the famously delicious food served up by Daniel Bruchez
– again Ian had done his homework as Cabane du Mont-Fort has always been one of the best huts on the Haute Route
(Cabane de Moiry is possibly the best)

“Hey, Zen, remember Day C to Lacs de Cherseys?”

“How could I forget!”

“We have another awesome day planned tomorrow  O0   

“What about the snow?”

“All taken care of to make it more special!”

 “I felt special . . and lucky. Ian forgot about the coin toss!”  :)
« Last Edit: 00:40:59, 26/07/17 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 #23 on: 07:29:17, 27/07/17 »
Great write up again - and Ian must love you Zen - you must have ponged after rolling in whatever it was you rolled in!


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Great write up again - and Ian must love you Zen - you must have ponged after rolling in whatever it was you rolled in!

"Revenge for his farts!"
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Day 5 (Chamonix – Zermatt) Fri 30th June: Cabane du Mont-Fort to Refuge des Escoulais
Via 4 passes - Col Termin, Col de Louvie, Col de Prafleuri & Col des Roux
Ascent 1027m / Descent 969m + a little more from getting lost in the Grand Desert

Lucky 7th Day walking

“Phew, I can breathe easily now - amazingly some codamol relieved Ian’s stomach cramps yesterday & the rest of his symptoms had disappeared by this morning, but what about those snow clouds?”

“What I love about wild camping in the mountains is the morning anticipation:
The hopes & dreams, the nervous tension, even anxiety, when you go first to open the tent door, to spy on the view!”

"Let’s have a peak outside . . "

Our igloo – It was all snug inside.  :)

Ian had to break all the ice entirely covering inside & outside of the outer tent.

Tomas, (the Hungarian) had already past us really early.
Tomas, who we bumped into regularly, was one of only three trekkers we met walking the whole Chamonix – Zermatt trek.

View towards Col de Chaux – alternative route to Col de Louvie, apparently easier than via Col Termin, though a few days later we met an Israeli couple who disagreed as it was covered in snow.
The blue sign refers to another route to Col Termin for mountaineers – best avoided.

Cabane du Mont-Fort and views towards the Grand Combin with a fresh dusting of snow

"You can make out our path round the spur."

"My kind of path, narrow with spectacular views, though I think Ian would’ve preferred it to be without the sheer drops"

Col Termin ahead – you can make out the two female French trekkers (we only saw 7 trekkers all day until Refuge des Escoulais)

Fab breakie stop.  :)

It had taken 3 hours to do a suggested 1hr 40min walk – the views of Grand Combin & Val de Bagnes 1500m below were just spectacular – you’d be crazy or dead to walk & look at the views at the same time. Nice dilemmas.  :)

Views down to the sparkling Lac Louvie & refuge

Beautiful grassy slopes was in sharp contrast to what followed over next Col - Col de Louvie

« Last Edit: 10:19:53, 27/07/17 by IanyZen »
Good luck on your next adventure
Ian & Zen


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Col de Louvie & views behind
We made better time getting here from Col Termin

“Note the times to Col de Prafleuri & Refuge, plus the Lac de Grand Désert, where we don’t want to go, Ian”   “or maybe we do?”

A family of four descending into the Grand Désert towards Col de Prafleuri. (The father was lagging behind)
“Should have followed them, Ian”   “Hold on, what about lunch?”   “Okay, twisted my paw”  :)

The wilderness of scree, moraine and a dying glacier spilling from Rosablanche – The Grand Désert is well named.

“If you able to zoom in you may be able to see the rock with a white dot (between one & two o’clock).
We are heading in this direction – I hope.”

You cannot miss it now –

Well, Ian did ! :D

Our ‘desert’ journey took us across blue glacier lakes & scree to Lac de Grand Désert . .

Ian. ¡Rápido! ¡Apurate! A la vuelta de la esquina. ¡Mira!”  :)

From edge of Lac de Grand Désert

From above the Lake.

Ian was impressed I ran back!
Fear!   :-[  … Have you seen those horns & when it lifted its self on to its hind legs it was equally magnificent & terrifying!

At the end of the lake Ian realised we had gone wrong, about 30min downhill wrong, 45mins back up the scree wrong . .

but two wrongs can be right, when you get soo close to such a magnificent beast.  O0

“Ian, that was cool, getting lost in the Grand Désert . .

 . . there are worst places in the world to get lost, namely Mexico City & we did that a few times.”

With those thoughts we were quickly back on track . . albeit a rocky, snow one.

"I had a nightmare here"  . .  :-[

Ian had gone ahead across the deep soft snow and down the steep slope . .

“Ian, ayudame!”  :(

I sank a lot in the snow with razor sharp rocks beneath & the steep slope  . .  Ian urged me on . .

I ran here & there to find a better way . . I couldn’t find one . . .  :-[ 

 . . but found the courage.  :)

"Sometimes you have to face your own challenges Zen"

We soon got to the Col de Prafleuri – for cheese & Nutella.  ;)

Fascinating photo - now knowing the route forward today & tomorrow

"Sorry, I haven't perfected holding a pen to draw you the route -
The lower scree slope at 9 o'clock is Col des Roux.  Glacier de Chelion at 12 o'clock, we cross tomorrow & up over the treacherous Col de Reidmattten to it's left. "

"I needed this" 

Hmm, might take a siesta now as well – Col des Roux can wait. Hope you can too.  O0
« Last Edit: 11:17:31, 27/07/17 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 #27 on: 16:24:15, 28/07/17 »
Loving these write ups Zen - got me thinking about next year's walk already!


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #28 on: 12:22:58, 30/07/17 »
Loving it.  More, more, more  O0
No expense spared in pursuit of a bargain ;)


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Re: Walker's Haute Route - Chamonix to Zermatt June/July 2017
« Reply #29 on: 13:46:54, 30/07/17 »
Better than 'Travels with a donkey'.
I do think that the strong animal, just coasting along, should have a couple of pannier bags strapped across his back....his food in one side and feeding dish in the other. :)
A fine tale of travel. O0