The Chamonix - Zermatt Haute Route's "St Bernard" Variant

For the purists out there, this variant is the best way to do the Haute Route and combines some quiet days with the epic Plateau du Couloir route.

Ski Touring Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Also in Haute-Savoie, FranceValais, Switzerland

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Mont Vélan as seen from Valsoray hut
Mont Vélan as seen from Valsoray hut Photo: Grindel1

Description

Of the 3 main ways of doing the Chamonix - Zermatt Haute Route, this is considered the toughest and most ethically pure option. It involves 7 days of touring and takes you from the Chamonix valley to Zermatt via some charming huts, a truly unique mountain monastery and the awe-inspiring Plateau du Couloir crossing.

The only parts of the trip that require any motorised transport are the initial ascent up the Grands Montets lift system and the short road journey from Champex to La Fouly. This is best done by taxi, and can be easily arranged in Champex village.

Other than those 2 brief leg-ups, the whole route is human powered. It takes the ideal combination of conditions and weather to complete this route but if you get it right, the rewards are huge.

If you're trying to figure out which of the 3 main Haute Route line to take, check out our guidebooks to the Verbier and Plateau du Couloir Haute Routes.

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Routes included

Related guidebooks