Chamonix to Zermatt
What is it?
The Haute Route hike is a world-renowned journey starting in Chamonix, France near the Mont Blanc Massif and finishing in Zermatt, Switzerland where the Matterhorn towers above. The 180km (~110mile) route crosses 11 mountain passes with approximately 12,000m (~40,000ft) of elevation change as it winds through some of the most breathtaking scenery the Alps has to offer.
My name is Brendan and I first completed the hike from Chamonix to Zermatt in 2017. Although I bought a guidebook and read many personal accounts of hiking this trail online, I found it difficult to prepare with confidence. Fellow hikers from the USA and UK that I met along the way felt the same. Click here if you want to read about my trip and find out more details on the challenges I faced.
Rather than just sharing my challenges, I've decided to create solutions to address them, so all future hikers of the Haute Route can plan with confidence and feel well supported on the trail.
The 4 ways I'm helping Chamonix to Zermatt Hikers
Haute Route Self Guided Itineraries
Self-guided hiking is the best way to complete the journey from Chamonix to Zermatt because it allows for independence, and freedom to move at your own pace. Unfortunately without detailed knowledge of the trail, hikers are limited to using the 14 day itinerary suggested in most guidebooks. This is not suitable for fit and experienced hikers that could complete this trail starting from 7 days.
Using detailed data I collected on the trail length, elevation changes, suggested hiking times and accommodation locations, I've built a program to generate your own self guided Haute Route itinerary perfect for you and your hiking group.
Haute Route MapS
The Haute Route is not marked on any trail signs along the 180km journey from Chamonix to Zermatt. Most guidebooks only provide high level sketches, and topographical maps don't highlight which trail to take or where you currently are on the trail.
Advances in mapping technology enabled me to record over 5,000 GPS coordinates along the trail, as well as key point of interest such as water refill and bathroom locations. Based on your custom itinerary, I'll provide you with a detailed map that can be used on any Apple and Android smartphone device.
The Haute Route is challenging. There will likely be times during the 180km trail when you want to give the body a break or catch up for time lost due to rain, fatigue, extended lunch breaks or taking too many photos. Most importantly, reaching your booked accommodation at the end of each day will ensure you finish in line with your plan.
We've identified where gondolas, buses and trains are positioned along the route to let you shorten or skip most stages if necessary. Some of these transport options only run a few times each day, so it is important to have these details in English when considering a change of plan during your Haute Route hike.
Haute Route accommodation
Hikers need to book accommodation in line with their itinerary. While some nights will be in Alpine villages with numerous options, many will be in Alpine huts that do not have alternative accommodation nearby. Not all huts have ways to check availability and book online, leading to a frustrating exercise of enquiring and booking dates that align with your hiking itinerary, all while navigating French and German translations.
While we work with Haute Route accommodation providers to bring their availability and booking systems online, we'll provide you with the details on when they are open and booking method.
All of these solutions are FREE until the end of October 2018. In exchange, I'd love some feedback and shout-outs on social media to help 2019 hikers benefit from enhancements.