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Walker's Haute Route (West)

8 Days & 7 Nights 5 Read 5 reviews
  • Wonderful views of the Mont Blanc Massif from the Col de Balme
  • Enjoying a relaxed picnic lunch in a wildflower filled meadow
  • Being part of the camaraderie on the Walker’s Haute Route
  • Wandering through the greatest collection of 4000m peaks in the Alps
  • Relaxing at your hand picked family hotel after a long day on the trail
Walk the western section of the Walker’s Haute Route from Chamonix to Arolla. Wonderful views of the Mont Blanc Massif and classic Alpine Walking. The Walker’s Haute Route is an iconic high-level walk that links the famous towns of Chamonix and Zermatt. This variation covers the first six days of the trail from Chamonix to Arolla. Your adventure begins in Chamonix, one of the great mountaineering centres of the world. Initially, the Haute Route leads you through the Chamonix Valley from the base of Mont Blanc over the Col de Balme and into Switzerland. Walking through alpine pastures filled with the sound of cowbells your journey takes you to the pretty Lakeside town of Champex and then through increasingly remote and beautiful mountain landscapes via Mont Fort and Prafleuri to Arolla.

What To Expect

If you want to enjoy the rewards of taking on one of the world’s great treks than you can’t go wrong with the Walker’s Haute Route. But you do need to be physically fit and as this is a strenuous high mountain trek should be happy navigating in poor conditions and have a head for heights.

Trip Style:

Self Guided | Go at your own pace on an independent active holiday.

Activity:

Inn to Inn Walking | A classic point to point walking trip, staying in a different location each night

This trip is suitable for:

Groups > 10, Avid Adventurers

Ideal if you have an interest in:

  • National Parks & Trails
  • Mountains

Inspiration:

  • Classic

Navigation

The Walker’s Haute Route follows well-marked trails, although generally it is not marked as the WHR but rather to the next destination. The trail marking in Switzerland is particularly good. We supply you with detailed 1:50 000 Swiss Topo maps, a comprehensive guidebook and route suggestions for each day.

You will need to use your own experience to decide which route to choose each day and navigate the route from one overnight stop to the next. The Walker’s Haute Route does cross high mountain passes, snow can lie on the ground late into the summer and the weather can change quickly, with snow possible at any time of year. You should be able to navigate with a map and compass in poor visibility and be experienced in the mountains.

Experience & Fitness

The Walker’s Haute Route is a tough trek with considerable ascent and descent on each day. We have rated this tour strenuous. This is a challenging high mountain trek and the weather can be poor so you should have previous high mountain experience and good navigation and mountain skills. As this is a self-guided trek you will be responsible for navigation, decision making and safety during your trip. The daily height gain is substantial and over the course of 13 days of walking you will gain approximately 12,000m. Therefore, you must have an excellent level of walking fitness and can negotiate challenging terrain. The route can be affected by large snowfields on the highest passes early and late season.

The terrain is mountainous, exposed, rocky and rough underfoot. There are several sections that include the use of fixed ropes and handrails to aid ascent/descent over particularly tricky sections.

Accommodation Information

6 nights* accommodation are included in your trip. 4 Nights in 2 and 3-star hotels, 1 night in auberges (private rooms) 2 nights in mountain refuges (dorms). We carefully select small friendly establishments that offer great value, food and welcomes.

*Please note: we reserve Cabane de Prafleuri in advance for our customers, however due to the hut's strict policy, the stay must be paid for by cash upon arrival by the customer.  

Solo Walkers & Single Rooms

This trip is not available to solo walkers. Single rooms are available on 4 nights if you require single rooms in your party.

Meals

6 breakfasts and 5 dinners are included (In Chamonix dinner is not included and in Prafleuri breakfast and dinner are not included- payable locally). Packed lunches are available from your accommodation (order the night before) or you can stop on the way. Allow about 10 - 15 CHF per day for lunch. Drinks are not included but available at all overnight accommodation.

Included
  • 6 nights accommodation (1 night in Prafleuri payable locally)
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • 5 Dinners (Chamonix and Prafleuri not included)
  • Detailed maps, information pack, route notes and guidebook
  • Organisational assistance and backup
Excluded
  • Travel insurance (required)
  • Overnight, breakfast and dinner at Prafleuri (payable locally)
  • Travel to Chamonix and from Arolla
  • Lunches (allow 10 to 15 CHF per day)
  • Local transfers and ski lifts
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Personal equipment
  • Luggage transfers
  • Mountain rescue/emergency assistance
Extras
  • Additional nights before, during or after the walk

When To Go

You can start your Walker’s Haute Route anytime between mid-July and the beginning of September. This short season is due to the weather and potential snow being on the trail. The is a chance of snow patches remaining into early July across the higher passes, and the chance of the weather deteriorating into late September.

Getting to the Start

By Air: Geneva is the best airport for the Chamonix.  To get from Geneva to Chamonix you can catch a train or bus but the best option is a pre-booked shuttle. Chamexpress  or Mountain Dropoffs are both good and cost around €30 each way.  By Rail: TGV  to Saint-Gervais-Le Fayet and from here catch a regular train to Chamonix. More information on train times and schedules may be found on www.voyages-sncf.com From Zermatt take a train to Zurich which will take 3-4 hours with one change. You can also return to Geneva if you wish and this train journey takes about 3 hours. By Road: To get to Chamonix take highway A40-E25 Mont Blanc-Chamonix. More information at www.viamichelin.fr If you wish to return to Chamonix from Zermatt again you can check the Via Michelin website. Parking: In Chamonix, free parking at the Aiguille du Midi & the parking Planards (Montenvers station).

Getting from the End

From Arolla regular buses via Les Hauderes connect to the railway at Sion. The journey to Geneva Airport takes just over 3h30. If you wish to return to Chamonix from Zermatt at the end of your trip the journey takes between 4h10 and 5h00.

Optional ski-lifts and transfers during the walk

You can use ski-lifts/cable cars to skip several of big ascents/descents during the trip. These sections include the Col de Balme, Le Châble to Les Ruinettes. If you wish to skip a stage completely it may be possible to do so using public transport or taxis. We provide you with a detailed transport guide including alternative transport options and timetables for each section. Ski lifts and optional transfers are not included in the package price.

Baggage Transfer

Due to the remoteness of many of the overnight stops, bag transfer is not available. You will therefore need to carry your kit with you each day. You will need to bring a sleeping bag liner for when staying in dormitory-style accommodation. Bedlinen is provided when staying in private rooms. 

Equipment

Our pre-departure information pack (and the supplied guidebook) have detailed advice and a kit list on what to take on the Walker’s Haute Route. This includes warm and waterproof gear, hats and gloves, a sleeping sheet and lots of other useful bits and bobs. Walking poles are recommended as the WHR is tough on the knees.

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Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive Chamonix Day 2 Argentière to Trient 7.5 miles / 12 km Day 3 Trient to Champex 8.5 miles / 14 km Day 4 Champex to Le Châble 8 miles / 13 km Day 5 Le Châble to Cabane du Mont Fort 5.5 miles / 9 km Day 6 Walk to Cabane du Prafleuri 8.5 miles / 14 km Day 7 Cabane du Prafleuri to Arolla 10 miles / 16 km Day 8 Onward Travel

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