Walkers High Route: Chamonix to Zermatt

The Walkers High Route
Chamonix to Zermatt
2006

The Matterhorn from near the Gornergrat

The Matterhorn from near the Gornergrat

 

 

The Walkers High Route: Chamonix to Zermatt leads from the base of Mont Blanc to the Swiss border at the Col de Balme, and from there down to Trient. Then a long steep climb leads to the Fenetre d’Arpette before the trail descends to the village of Champex. From there the route leads down to the junction of Val d’Entremont and Val de Bagnes, then curves around the foot of the mountains to Le Chable. From Le Chable the route climbs past Verbier and around Mont Fort to the Cabane du Mont Fort, and then continues high above the valley heading south east before crossing three cols in order to pass around Rosablanche. From the last of these cols the trail descends to the Cabane de Prafleuri and then over Col des Roux and along the shores of Lac des Dix before ascending to the Cabane des Dix literally at the foot of the north face of Mont Blanc de Cheilon. After a pleasant lunch on the veranda at the Cabane des Dix the trail markers lead across the Glacier de Cheilon to a series of vertical ladders ascending to the Pas de Chevres. After a brief rest at the Pas a gentle alpine trail leads down to the village of Arolla. The trail then follows the valley down to Les Hauderes and up to the small village of La Sage set high on the hillside above the Val d’Herens. The route then continues to Villa before ascending to the Col de Torrent. From this airy col the trail quickly descends down into the Val de Moiry before climbing once again to the Col de Sorbois and the Val de Zinal. After passing through the ski village of Zinal and route climbs steeply yet again to the Forcletta the switch backs down to Gruben-Meiden in the Turtmanntal. From Gruben-Meiden a final climb leads to a crossing point at the Augstbordpass before the trail make one last plunge down into the Mattertal at St. Niklaus. From here it is pleasant hike up the Mattertal, past Tasch and on to Zermatt and a well deserved rest after having completed 110 miles of strenuous hiking on one of the truly classic alpine traverses.

 

July 7 2006 Side Trip to Lac Blanc

After having finished the Alpine Pass Route, from Sargans to Montreux in July 3rd, I spent several days in Montreux resting and attending the Jazz Festival before heading to Chamonix on the 6th where I would laze around and hike for a few days before meeting my brother Dwight and his son Byron on the 9th prior to starting our undertaking of the Haute Route to Zermatt. While waiting in Chamonix I went on a spectacular hike to Lac Blanc, along the so-called Grand Balcon.

 

I left Chamonix just after breakfast and walked north, up the valley to Les Praz de Chamonix where I caught the Flegere-Index cable car and rode to Index la Gliere. It was foggy at the top but I was able to follow the path through scree rubble at the upper station and do a gradual descending traverse around a rocky rib and into a high col de sac with several little tarns. From here the trail led around another rocky ridge and ascended slightly through a boulder field before coming to Lac Blanc.

 

The views from the lake were spectacular as the clouds parted and revealed the Aiguille Verte, the Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc. I sat in the Azalea filled alp surrounding the lake, watched an Ibex scamper along a rocky ridge nearby and enjoyed a nice snack and a fine cigar that I had stashed in my pack.

 

Life was good at Lac Blanc.

 

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