The Haute Route


British Mountaineer Paul Swail is a IFMGA Mountain Guide - the highest recognised mountaineering qualification in the world. With this, Paul is able to offer off-piste skiing, touring, heli-skiing, ice climbing, and all sorts of wonderful ways to enjoy the Alpine environment. Paul is offering a fantastic opportunity to join him on a 6-day touring trip, starting on 24th March between Chamonix and Zermatt - the legendary Haute Route. One of the TG Ski Directors has done this route and described it as “epic” and one for the bucket list! Paul is no stranger to Meribel, and if touring is your thing, we’re happy to make enquiries as to his availability for other trips during your stay with us.

Paul has supplied the itinerary and details for the Haute Route trip below. If you are interested, contact Paul via his website -


The Classic Ski Haute Route. Chamonix – Zermatt

You would need to be able to skin up 1200m of ascent per day and ski red/ black runs with confidence.

Sunday 24th March 2019

Training/Refresher day.

Before setting off on the Haute Route, we do a warm up and training day. The

aim is for you to get in a day’s acclimatisation, enjoy some good skiing and

refresh on your touring skills. During the day we will recap on skinning and kick

turns, do some transceiver training and either some crampon and ropework, or

glacier skiing.

Typically ~400m ascent, 2000m descent ~5-6hrs


Grand Montets to the Trient Hut or Albert Premier Hut

Due to the recent fire at Grand Montets the access to the Argentiere glacier will

be from the mid station. From the glacier a choice of routes now presents itself –

either the Col du Chardonnet or Col du Passon. We will follow which ever route

is in best condition, as both lead on to either the Swiss border and the Trient Hut,

or the Le Tour Glacier and the Albert Premier Hut. This first day is quite long,

with 1050m of climb and a couple of sections of roped climbing on foot –

however the views and high mountain ambiance are amazing.

1050m ascent, 1200m descent ~7-8hrs


Val D’Arpette – Verbier – Prafleuri Hut

The day begins with a few hundred metres of descent down the right bank of the

Trient Glacier, followed by a short boot track to reach the Col des Ecandies at the

top of the Val D’Arpette.

This deep, north facing valley gives a wonderful long ski run right down to

Champex, where we meet a pre arranged minibus to take us the few kilometers

down the valley to the Verbier lift system. After lunch on the slopes in Verbier, if

heading to the Prafleuri Hut we set off in the afternoon to traverse 3 cols with

short descents in between, which leads to the glacier below the Rosablanche and

a good north facing decent down to the Prafleuri Hut – this is a long day and we

usually arrive at the hut around 5pm.

700m ascent, 2400m descent ~8-9hrs.


Prafleuri to Dix Hut

From the Prafleuri Hut, an hours skinning leads to the Col des Roux, where the

long descending traverse above the Lac de Dix begins. This section of the route is

south facing, so in warm weather, must be completed early in the day. On paper

this is quite a short day from the Prafleuri Hut, but the uphill finish in the

afternoon heat makes it feel much harder. Luckily the Dix Hut is in a superb

position, with a great sunny terrace where you can enjoy the view and a well

earned beer before dinner.

900m ascent, 600m descent ~5-7hrs


Pigne D’Arolla to Vignettes Hut

At 3790m, the Pigne D’Arolla marks the highest point reached on the trip and is a

wonderful viewpoint across the whole of the Western Alps.

The ascent from the Dix Hut involves 900m of climb and takes about 3 hours,

passing through some steep glacier terrain, including the passage of the

Serpentine, which often has to be climbed on foot.

From the summit, it’s a 600m descent down to the Vignettes Hut, which lies

perched in a spectacular position on a rocky ridge crest. Here again, in the right

conditions it’s sometimes possible to take a different line in order to find fresh


950m ascent, 700m descent ~4hrs


Final Day to Zermatt

The final day of the Haute Route is always one of the most memorable days out

in any ski mountaineers career – crossing three cols and six glaciers, with a final

huge descent down to Zermatt under the North Face of the Matterhorn.

An early start is required to make the first climb up the Col de L’Eveque, before a

nice descent and second climb up to the Col du Mont Brule. The final section of

this is steep and frequently climbed on foot.

From the Col Brule, the Col Valpelline doesn’t look that far away, but it always

takes a good two hours to reach. Cresting the final col, the Matterhorn rears up

ahead, opening the way to the final 1900m descent down the Stockji and Zmutt

Glaciers to Zermatt.

750m ascent, 2400m descent ~8-10hrs from the Vignettes


Spare Day – to allow for weather delays.

If we reach Zermatt on Friday, then Saturday will be a spare day to ski off

piste/tour either in Zermatt or Chamonix. PM Overnight in Chamonix valley.

Sunday 31st March

Return travel should be arranged on Sunday morning, after your final nights


Price and what is included?

£1150/ €1300

• All IFMGA guiding fees

• Guides hut fees and uplift

• 4 hut nights on the Haute Route

What is not included?

• Flights/ Transfers

• Accommodation in the valley outside of 4 hut nights

• Verbier Transfer

• Ski Hire

• Insurance

• Uplift

For more information about Paul’s experience, training and exciting tours, check out his website