Chamonix to Zermatt
The classic Walker's Haute Route
By Kev Reynolds
Guidebook to the Walker's Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. The 225km route typically takes 2 weeks to walk. Described in 14 stages, the route crosses 11 passes between Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn and involves more than 14,000m of ascent and descent. A complete guide for planning and walking the route, with accommodation information.
SeasonsAlpine summer walking, so mid-June to mid-September; snow could remain on higher passes well into July.
CentresChamonix, Argentière, Trient, Champex, Sembrancher, Le Chable, Verbier, Arolla, Les Haudères, La Sage, Zinal, Gruben, St Niklaus, Zermatt
Difficulty225km 11 passes and 14,000m of ascent make this a fairly tough trek; high alpine mountain walking, some sharp cols; final 2-day section on Europaweg is challenging and exposed, with some parts protected by cables and a 500m suspension bridge to cross
Must SeeMont Blanc and Chamonix's Aiguilles, Grand Combin, the Grand Desért, the fabulous Vals d'Herens and Moiry, the Twära view of the Dom, Weisshorn, the view of the Matterhorn on the approach to Zermatt
A guidebook to the classic Chamonix to Zermatt trek from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. The 225km Walker's Haute Route through the French and Swiss Alps crosses 11 passes, gains more than 14,000m in height and is a strong contender for the title of Most Beautiful Walk in Europe. The high-level route is described in 14 day stages, with optional variants, and is suitable for walkers with a good level of fitness and some previous alpine trekking experience. The final approach to Zermatt adopts the dramatic Europaweg, a high-level traverse of the east wall of the Mattertal, crossing the 500-metre suspension bridge at Randa. An alternative valley route to Zermatt can be taken if this does not appeal.
Alongside clear route descriptions and mapping for each stage of the trek, there is essential practical information on travel to Chamonix and return from Zermatt, as well as advice on accommodation in alpine villages and mountain refuges, trekking safety, equipment, itinerary planning and preparation.
Taking 2 weeks to complete, this challenging but rewarding trek encompasses the greatest collection of 4000 metre peaks in the Alps – Mont Blanc, the Grand Combin, Dent Blanche, Weisshorn and the Matterhorn – and visits some of the most spectacular valleys, including the Val d’Hérens, Val d’Annivers and the Mattertal.
The Walker’s Haute Route
Getting there and back again
When to go
Notes for walkers
Not enough time?
Paths and waymarks
Safety in the mountains
Wildlife and plants
Using this guide
Chamonix to Zermatt
Stage 1 Chamonix – Argentière
Stage 2 Argentière – Col de Balme – Trient
Stage 3 Trient – Fenêtre d’Arpette – Champex
Stage 3A Trient – Col de la Forclaz – Alp Bovine – Champex
Stage 4 Champex – Sembrancher – Le Châble
Stage 5 Le Châble – Clambin – Cabane du Mont Fort
Stage 5A Le Châble (Les Ruinettes) – Col Termin – Cabane de Louvie
Stage 6 Cabane du Mont Fort – Col Termin – Col de Louvie – Col de Prafleuri – Cabane de Prafleuri
Stage 7 Cabane de Prafleuri – Col des Roux – Pas de Chèvres – Arolla
Stage 8 Arolla – Lac Bleu – Les Haudères – La Sage
Stage 9 La Sage – Col du Tsaté – Cabane de Moiry
Stage 9A La Sage – Col de Torrent – Barrage de Moiry/Grimentz
Stage 10 Cabane de Moiry – Col de Sorebois – Zinal
Stage 10A Barrage de Moiry – Col de Sorebois – Zinal
Stage 11 Zinal – Forcletta – Gruben
Stage 11A Zinal – Hôtel Weisshorn/Cabane Bella Tola
Stage 11B Hôtel Weisshorn/Cabane Bella Tola – Meidpass – Gruben
Stage 12 Gruben – Augstbordpass – St Niklaus
Stage 12A St Niklaus – Gasenried
Stage 13 Gasenried – Europa Hut
Stage 14 Europa Hut – Täschalp – Zermatt
Stage 13A/14A St Niklaus – Täsch – Zermatt
Appendix A Walks from Zermatt
Appendix B Climbing from Zermatt
Appendix C Useful contacts
Appendix D Bibliography
Appendix E Glossary
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A lifelong passion for the countryside in general, and mountains in particular, drives Kev's desire to share his sense of wonder and delight in the natural world through his writing, photography and lecturing.
Claiming to be The Man with the World's Best Job, he has enjoyed a fruitful partnership with Cicerone since the 1970s, producing over 50 books, including guides to five major trekking regions of Nepal, and to numerous routes in the European Alps and Pyrenees, as well as walking guides for Kent, Sussex and the Cotswolds.