Guidebook

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.

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.

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/30/chamonix-to-zermatt-haute-route

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/9516/the-haute-route's-epic-%22plateau-du-couloir%22-variant

Les Grands Montets to Trient Hut
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Les Grands Montets to Trient Hut

Chamonix
5 - 6 hrs
11.0 km
1,170 m
1,273 m
43 °
The first day of the Alps' most famous ski tour
Difficult
Private
Trient Hut to Champex
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trient Hut to Champex

2 - 3 hrs
8.2 km
41 m
1,712 m
52 °
A big descent down the Val d'Arpette and out to Champex
Moderate
Private
La Fouly to St Bernard Hospice
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

La Fouly to St Bernard Hospice

5 - 6 hrs
10.9 km
1,264 m
391 m
33 °
The purists approach to linking La Fouly with the Valsorey Hut
Difficult
Private
St Bernard Hospice to Valsorey Hut
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

St Bernard Hospice to Valsorey Hut

1 day +
14.8 km
1,889 m
1,327 m
38 °
The purists approach to linking La Fouly with the Valsorey Hut
Difficult
Private
Valsorey Hut to Chanrion Hut (via Plateau du Couloir)
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Valsorey Hut to Chanrion Hut (via Plateau du Couloir)

5 - 6 hrs
12.1 km
1,046 m
1,614 m
41 °
A committing day crossing the 'Plateau du Couloir'
Severe
Private
Chanrion Hut to Vignettes Hut (via Pigne d’Arolla)
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Chanrion Hut to Vignettes Hut (via Pigne d’Arolla)

6 - 7 hrs
11.4 km
1,597 m
929 m
37 °
A modern variation via Les Portons and Pigne d'Arolla
Difficult
Private
Vignettes Hut - Zermatt
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Vignettes Hut - Zermatt

1 day +
28.3 km
1,289 m
2,817 m
22 °
THE big day on the classic Haute Route all the way to Zermatt
Difficult
Private