Classic Haute Route Day 2 – Valsorey Hut to Chanrion Hut

The morning started with a half 4 alarm such that we were ready to get away at first light. The hut guardian had left out breakfast the night before as there was no need for her to wake so early too, she was very keen to point out of there were any problems at all to wake her bit fortunately all was fine.

Route up to Plateau du Couloir
Not much snow on route up from Valsorey Hut

Having studied the route the previous day we had a good idea where we we heading, there was quite a clear path up the rocks from the hut up and curving slightly to our left. There were some small patches of snow and the end of the Meitin Galcier which we had to cross to bring us back around and straight up the central rocky moraine. Once we reached the bottom of the snow patches heading towards the col we turned towards the Plateau du Couloir and worked out way up and traversing across. The snow varied a lot, some of it being solid ice and needing to cut steps or front point the crampons, and other parts being quite slushy with lose rocks.

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Classic Haute Route Day 1 – Bourg St. Pierre to Valsorey Hut


To start with a bit of a background, a group of us have been heading to the mountains for around 8 years now, whether or be for alpine trekking or via Ferrata. We started in the Pyrenees with Aneto and have done a trip most years including, Chamonix, Saas Fee, Jungfrau and the Dolomites. Around a year ago one of the group suggested the Classic Alpine Haute Route, this is a multi day hut to hut trip rather than the hut to summit trips we have mainly done up till now. I decided that this sounded like a good experience and challenge, 3 of us out of the group were able to make it.

The idea of this blog is to put together some more recent information on our trip for anyone else who might be considering doing it. I found it quite hard to find up-to-date information on the web, unlike most other trips we have done. We were armed with Peter Cliff’s ‘The Haute Route’ [Amazon] book but this was last revised in 2006 and a lot has changed since then, this was a useful guide although it did seem to dedicate a lot more time to the winter ski route. There was also a lot of info on the web about the winter route and the low level walking route; however we did find these to blogs by David Mercer and this fairly detailed alpine guide’s site by Cosley & Houston.

The Classic Haute Route traditionally goes from Chamonix to Champex then with a short bus/transfer through a lower valley to continue the route to Zermatt. Due to work holiday time constraints we decided it was best to miss out the Chamonix to Champex part and opted to start on day 3 in the guide book from Bourg St. Pierre and follow the route to Zermatt. The rest of this post and the following entries describe the route and how we went, including route profiles and a smoothed GPX of the route we took should it come in useful to anyone else.

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