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Haute Route 28 March 2017 - 02 April 2017

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  • Haute Route 28 March 2017 - 02 April 2017

    September 2016, crisp fall night, we stand around talking BIG staying warm next to a blazing fire, then some says "Haute Route this spring". The talk is always a little BIGGER when you have a fire.

    Originally posted by I think...
    Would we really try this again? We were there 2 years ago and everything had conspired against us. The weather was a mess from Day 0 when the clouds and winds shutdown the Aguille du Midi, Day 1 we woke to 2 meters of fresh up high and 6 inches in Argentière. No parts of the Grands Montets opened that day as a AVO went across the slopes and they were having trouble keeping up with the Avo control. After that stellar start each morning we woke to 4-6 inches of new snow and of the 12 days we were there only 3 had any sun. For ski touring it sucked from every aspect. We left exhausted having been totally unsuccessful. Really you want to try that again? Ya, with out a doubt.
    The plan this time was a little less ambitious. We would do the guide's version of the tour aka the Verbier version. Last time we had envisioned the Purist's route with 8 days or so of skiing, no cars etc. But really in retro spec 5 consecutive days of good weather in the Alps is a gift. What were we thinking that we could string together 9 good days when picking a date 6 months in advanced? SO lesson learned.

    Also this time to increase likelihood of success we also opted for a guided. After our last adventure we wanted someone who does this 5 times a year and knows every part of the route.

    The plan was:
    • Vallee Blanche - why not? It sounds cool and starts acclimatization for us sea level folks
    • Grands Montets to Cabane Trient through Col du Chardonnet and Fenetre de Salenia
    • Cabane Trient to Cabane Prafleuri
    • Cabane Prafleuri to Cabane des Dix
    • Cabane des Dix to Cabane des Vignettes
    • Cabane des Vignettes to Cabane de Bertol
    • Cabane de Bertol to Zermatt
    In October we called the Guides de Chamonix and after that all we needed to do was to be fit.

    Things were looking good as the trip approached.... Off we went. We arrive in Geneva and the airline managed to loose 3 pairs of skis, humm not so good.

    Eventually we made it to Argentière, pretty late and it was raining, over cast and just not nice, strike two?

    The next day we watched the clouds clear while dreaming of hot new setups from Snell’s courtesy of the Airways but our skis were finally delivered at the end of the day. Just in time as we were set to Ski the Vallee Blanche the next day... Sweet everything starts to come together oh and look SUN!

    The plan changed a little here is each day. The plan changed because 1) weather and 2) our guide wasn't keen on Col du Chardonnet conditions:I will update this post with links to each day as I post up some pictures and a TR. A 7 day TR is seems too long of a thread to assemble all at once.
    Last edited by bucksaw; 05-01-2017, 06:45 PM. Reason: update links

  • #2
    Sweet! Bucket list item for sure.
    Go for adventure, take pix, but make certain to bring'em back alive!


    • #3
      Thanks for posting! Looking forward to the report!


      • #4
        Originally posted by concordia2 View Post
        Thanks for posting! Looking forward to the report!

        All days are posted.

        I would be excited to hear when you pull a trip together.

        The things that may not be visible from the trip reports is the amount of preparation, effort and luck that went it to it.

        On the luck front, the weather was mostly good and worked out to let us complete the traverse. 2 years ago the weather was epic-ly bad across much of the Alps for close to two weeks. We also did not have any injuries, broken equipment or other issues. We saw people with blistered/bloody feet and that makes every step of a 10,000 step day painful, we watched one heli-evac and helped one guy glue his delaminated skis back together. One likes to think that's because we were <insert superlative> but lack of bad luck was on our side for sure.

        As for preparation, both times we did a lot of preparation be it training or planning (less planning this time with a guide). We spent a lot of time training (running, hiking, skin/ski... "really another 3 lap day up to HO-JOs?"). Not only did this make the days much more enjoyable but we saw some people who were not physically prepared and they were struggling. I was happy no one with us was in that position. Physical condition became more important when the weather started to change. There were several groups who bailed on day 5 when the weather started to not be perfect and when weighing changing conditions their physical condition was a deciding factor ("Weather is questionable and we are physically exhausted"). So that really paid off.

        Last edited by bucksaw; 05-14-2017, 10:14 AM.


        • #5
          Yes, luck is important! Will definitely reach out to you when I start planning this for real. In fact, I'm sure you'll be sick of me!!!