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Self-guided Haute Route 2018
Walkers Haute Route trek, Chamonix-Zermatt
Matterhorn and Swartzee
FREE GPX FILE FOR THE WHOLE ROUTE
Clients booking this trip are provided a GPX file, to download this to a GPS unit, to assist with navigation

This is a belated thank you to you and Kingsley for our walk! We all had a fantastic time—incredible scenery and very good luck with the weather right until the end. We found the Pas de Chevres ladders and parts of the Europaweg quite exposed, but wouldn’t have missed either, and your notes do draw attention to this aspect of the route!Overall, however, the walk was great and we’d strongly recommend it.

Andrew & Phillipa , Self-guided WHR 2017

Thank you for organising a fantastic Haute Route hike. We enjoyed every minute.


Nick C , Self-guided WHR 2017


A short note to thank Icicle for the excellent Haute Route trek. It is an exellent mixture of walking at high level, from easy paths to rocky tracks over boulder fields and steep cols. I must admit it was often in wilder country than I expected (& better for it too!).

Ian M , Self-guided WHR 2017
Self-guided Walkers Haute Route trekking holiday How to book a trip
Self-guiding is a rapily growing market, but for those who have not come across the concept before, it couldn't be simpler. You guide yourself and all the logistics are arranged for you. We organise all the boring bits so you don't have to; route information, maps, hut bookings etc. You walk with your friends, at your pace, rather than as part of a group.
We have a logistics team in Chamonix, where you are given a full briefing by one of our guides. This is an essential resource in case you need to change hut bookings or any part of your itinerary. It is there, with a 24 hour emergency number, to support you throughout your trek. This level of support is not possible from others without a team in the Alps.
During your briefing in Chamonix, you are given a map (for you to keep) of the whole of the trek. We provide you two original Swisstopo maps (sheets 5003 and 5006) worth over £40 in total, of similar detail to OS maps in the UK. You are also provided route cards for each stage of the trek, and these are key navigational aids, as well as providing lots of details of the area.
We consider that the detail and accuracy of our routecards are a key selling point for our self-guided treks as they have been meticulously researched and produced by our guiding team. The routecards also detail emergency escape routes, local numbers, and key information about the route. One set of routecards, maps, etc is provided per group.
Price inclusions
Booking of the mountain hut and valley accommodation in your name.
New map(s) of the route, for you to keep even after your trek is finished.
The detailed Icicle route information cards, so you know where to go.
Language cards with key phrases, so you can communicate confidently.
Emergency procedure and mountain rescue card, in case of an incident.
Local information sheets, with details about the region and key sights.
Briefing on arrival about the route and kit to take, from a UIMLA guide.
24 hour in-resort emergency contact support through Chamonix team.
Exclusions. Travel to Chamonix, all accommodation / food / lodging costs, activities & travel insurance, equipment hire, all other costs as required such as valley transport via bus or train.
Our itinerary can start on any day that you choose, so decide what day you would like to start your trek, and get in touch with us by e-mail. We will then upload a private self-guided trip onto our online booking system, that is in your name, and then you can book and pay securely online. You receive an immediate e-confirmation and equipment list to help you start packing, as well as an Alpine Courses Booklet. You receive your trip detailed itinerary and walking notes etc in Chamonix.
Need any guiding?
It is a popular feature for self guided groups to opt to be guided for a couple of days near the start of their trek, so that the leader can advise them on the route, and ensure that their navigation skills and equipment selection is correct for the rest of the tour. The cost of guiding is from £200 per day.
2018 Europaweg update...
After years of closure, we are delighted to report that the full Europaweg finally reopened at the end of last summer, after the building of the huge pedestrian suspension bridge
over the Dorfbach river above Randa, soon after the Europa hut. However do note the Europaweg two day section of the route, is sometimes affected by temporary closures and rockfall issues, but our route notes always detail alternative routes in event of any closure.
Classic Walkers Haute Route
16 days holiday, with 14 days trekking
Price: £299 1-3 pers. £399 4-6 pers. Note these are the total prices, NOT per person.
Day 1 Arrival day Travel to Chamonix. Arrive for full route briefings on kit and accommodation. Night spent in Chamonix. n/a
Day 2 Trekking
Stage 1
Chamonix to Argentiere. This day is a prelude for the main trek, and we offer it as an option, as some groups wish to roll it in with the next day. Let us know. Argentiere area for the night. 9km
+250m
-50m
Day 3 Trekking
Stage 2
Argentiere to Trient. Trek from Argentiere via Tre-le-Champ, Aiguillettes des Posettes, and you leave France and cross into Switzerland at the Col du Balme, then trek to Trient village area for the night. 14km
+1100m
-1000m
Day 4 Trekking
Stage 3
Trient to Champex. Set off up the valley from Trient, towards the glacier, and ascend over the Fenetre d'Arpette and down into the Arpette valley, which brings you down to Champex. Night in Champex. 14km
+1400m
-1200m
Day 5 Trekking
Stage 4
Champex Lac to Le Chable. Today is an easier day, after the previous days, to rest the legs for the key section ahead. Trek down to Sembrancher, and along the valley floor to the village of Le Chable. 13km
+100m
-700m
Day 6 Trekking
Stage 5
Le Chable to Montfort. Today is all uphill, but is a rewarding day, as you trek steadily up through the forests, then alpages, and finally open mountain side. Views of Mont Blanc. Night in the Cabanne Montfort. 9km
+1600m
-0m
Day 7 Trekking
Stage 6
Montfort to Prafleuri. The toughest day of the WHR, trekking over three high cols between the mountain hut; Termin, Louvie and Prafleuri. It's more rocky underfoot, and harder to navigate. Night in Prafleuri. 14km
+900m
-700m
Day 8 Trekking
Stage 7
Prafleuri to Arolla area. A tough stage, as you trek over Col des Roux, then along Lac de Dix, and up to the Cabanne de Dix. Here you cross a small dry glacier, and the ladders of Pas de Chevre. Night in Arolla. 17km
+900m
-1400m
Day 9 Trekking
Stage 8
Arolla to La Sage. After the past three big days, today is shorter and far easier, trekking past the delightful Lac Bleu, and Les Haudieres. Most of the trekking is in the valley. Night in La Sage village. 10km
+200m
-600m
Day 10 Trekking
Stage 9
La Sage to Cabanne Moiry. Back into another mountain stage, you cross Col du Tsate, and descend past Lac Moiry, before the second ascent to reach the Cabanne Moiry 2825m for the night. 10km
+1600m
-500m
Day 11 Trekking
Stage 10
Cabanne Moiry to Zinal. Traverse above the Lac Moiry, then over Col de Sorebois. There follows a long descent to reach Zinal village. This col is far easier underfoot than those of the previous days. Night in Zinal. 14km
+500m
-1600m
Day 12 Trekking
Stage 11
Zinal to Gruben. Trek upwards from Zinal, to cross the Forcletta pass, to leave French speaking Switzerland behind, as you enter the Germanic speaking area. Night spent in hotel in the village of Gruben. 14km
+1200m
-1100m
Day 13 Trekking
Stage 12
Gruben to St Niklaus. Trek upwards and across the Augstbordpass to finally reach the Mattertal. Hike down to the Jungen alpage, then the route descents steeply down to St Niklaus, for the night. 16km
+1100m
-1800m
Day 14 Trekking
Stage 13
St Niklaus to Europa hut. The next two days are to follow the infamous Europaweg to Zermatt. Trek to Gasenried, and then start the technical section across the mountainside to reach the Europahutte. 18km
+1600m
-600m
Day 15 Trekking
Stage 14
Europa hut to Zermatt. The next stage of the Europaweg starts with the longest pedestrian suspension bridge over the Dorfbach, then gradually it becomes easier as you approach Zermatt, for your last night. 18km
+300m
-1000m
Day 16 Departure Breakfast & depart n/a
Options Before you book, you can research and consider if you want one or more of the following options, to either shorten this trek, or to make it easier for you to contemplate. Note that these decisions need to be made before the trek, as accommodation bookings are not flexible during the route.

1) Stage 1 of the trek from Chamonix to Argentier can be combined into the next day of trekking, or if you have a morning briefing, could be completed in the afternoon that same day. Some people opt to miss the day completely, especially if they have trekked the TMB, and start in Montroc.

2) Stage 4 from Champex to Le Chable can be avoided by taking a bus between the points.

3) Stage 5 from Le Chable to Montfort can be largely missed by taking the cable car, just leaving the final section of the trek towards the hut. Some groups do this to roll together Stage 4 and 5.

4) Stage 7 from Prafleuri to Arolla, is probably the toughest day of the trek. If you are concerned about it, then a shart alternative option is to descend from Prafleuri past the Dix barrage to the valley, and to get the Swiss Post Bus around to the Arolla valley.

5) Stage 8 from Arolla to La Sage, can be missed completely, if you want to take the Swiss Post Bus between the villages, which could save you an extra day, to shorten your holiday.

6) Stages 13 and 14 can be avoided, andif you wish not to do the Europaweg two day section, you can opt to walk the length of the Mattertal into Zermatt in a dat from St Nicklaus
.
Why so many people choose Icicle for self-guided WHR trips...
Other itineraries have far more nights in the valley as they often include the price of the huts / hotels in the quote, so are limited to accommodation that they can pay for from a distance. Higher mountain huts have no card machines, which is why we do not include the cost of the accommodation, just the logistics of booking you in to the best places, so as to enjoy the best trekking and spectacular locations!
We are the only operator with a logistics and guiding team in Chamonix, whom will brief you in person the evening before your trek starts. This is a highly personalised service, which is unique to Icicle, as you are briefed by a professional guide, who will typically have trekked the WHR route over 50 times. You have the security of knowing you are backed up by a local resort team of qualified professionals.
On each night of the trek you are booked into mountain accommodation, which we also use for our guided groups. These vary from chalet style, to gites, mountain huts, and lodges. Each day you should easily be able to complete the trek by mid afternoon, to minimise the risk of being caught in any afternoon convention storms. If you ever are likely to arrive after 5pm, call ahead to ensure your reservation is kept.
At each end of the trek you spend a night in Chamonix in accommodation of your choice. There are options to suit all budgets, from bunkhouses to appartments, chalets to 5* hotels.
Col du Balme & Mont Blanc
Accommodation bookings on the WHR...
We vary the exact choice of accommodation that week book for different groups, to cater for the likely weather and mountain conditions, as well as for any preferences that were made at the time of booking such as accommodation where smaller rooms may be available.
For these reasons, we do not provide any details of the accommodation that we have booked for you, until your full briefing on the evening before you depart. This enables us to adapt any bookings in reaction to things such as unexpected snowfalls on the high passes, or other objective risks.
Another logistical reason for not providing accommodation details up front, is that in each area, there are generally several accommodation (mountain hut / gite / lodge / hotel) options, from which we can select, depending on their suitability and availability. Our great local contacts, and highly detailed knowledge of the WHR route and all its variations, enable us to select for each booking, the best options for you.
Note that once you have started on your trek, any accommodation that has been booked cannot be altered or cancelled, and if any changes are made / you do not arrive, you will be billed for the stay anyway. By booking, you accept this, and will sign authorisation at the briefing for your card to be charged for any no-show or cancellation. This is to protect your bookings without paying up-front deposits.
Your luxury chalet in Chamonix for a night at each end of the trek
When is best to travel?
The huts on the Haute Route are open from late June until early September. In the first few weeks of the season, there is a greater chance of extensive snow patches on the high passes, and this risk also exists for the last couple of weeks of season too.
For these reasons the July and August period is generally the best for conditions, but you have to counter that by pointing out that it is also the busiest due to holidays. Also in the key two months it can be hot, and afternoon convection thunder storms are more frequent.
If your snow skills are good then consider dates in early or late season. If you are worried about the conditions, we really cannot stress enough that you should opt for a guided trek, as we have never had a guided group to date that has failed to complete the route due to weather or conditions.
Top reading and kit
Full suggested kit list, click here.
Nights & bag transfers?
  Where do you stay each night of the trek?

We vary the exact choice of accommodation that week book for different groups, to cater for the likely weather and mountain conditions, as well as for any preferences that were made at the time of booking such as accommodation where smaller rooms may be available. Our great local contacts, and highly detailed knowledge of the route and its variations, enable us to select the best options for you.
Can we arrange bag transfers each day?

We do not provide or offer any baggage transfers for the Haute Route for 3 key reasons...

1) It limits you to staying in valley accommodation, next to a road, not in beautiful remote huts.

2) You need a 25 litre rucksack, if carrying the correct kit. If you need more you've packed wrong.

3) From an ecological viewpoint, you are trekking in unspoilt scenery. Don't ruin it with minibuses!
Chamonix accommodation & bag storage
If you require accommodation in Chamonix at either end of your trek, we work with a few partner chalets and lodges, to offer very reasonably priced rooms on a B&B basis. The accommodation we frequently use is a 15 minute walk from the centre of town, situated in a traditional and quiet area of the town. It is a 'posh hostel', where typically we put people in private double / twin rooms. There are also triple and quad rooms available. There is an on site baggage storage room, where you can leave any luggage that you are not taking on the WHR trek. Photos below give an impression of what this accommodation is like. Note that if you book your own accommodation in Chamonix, you must ensure that it will store your bags during the trek, which many hotels are reluctant to do, and certainly Air BnB rents cannot offer. All items left in baggage storage are at your own risk. Take valuables on the trek with you, and ensure that all bags left in storage are securely locked, to safeguard your belongings.
Alternative self-guided trips

Preparatory trips
Chamonix self-guided


Alternatives
Tour Mont Blanc trek


Next trips
Bob Graham self-guided
Why a self-guided trek?
For those who have not come across the concept of self-guiding before, it couldn't be simpler. You guide yourself and all the logistics are arranged for you.
We organise all the boring bits so you don't have to; route information, maps, hut bookings etc. You get to walk with your friends, at your pace, rather than as part of a group.
We have a seasonal team in Chamonix, and you are given a briefing (c. 45 - 60 mins) by one of our guides, at a meeting point in central Chamonix.
Our UK office has a full time logistics team, so support our guides. This is an essential resource for you, in case we need to change hut bookings or any part of your itinerary.
Briefings are usually on the day of arrival at either 16:00 or 18:00, unless otherwise arranged at the time of booking. Before travel, we will contact you to book in a time for your briefing, at a meeting point in central Chamonix.

Bag storage is provided for FREE for all those who book their Chamonix accommodation through us, for either end of the trek. It is left in key code accessed storage. You can store up to one 60 litre bag / small suitcase per person.

We have a 24 hour emergency and local contact number, for urgent queries during the trek. This level of support is unique to us.
During your briefing in your Chamonix accommodation, you are given a new Swisstopo maps (sheets 5003 and 5006) worth over £40 in total, of the whole WHR. We get the latest edition of the maps direct from our supplier for our Windermere shop.
At this time you are also provided with printed route trip notes for the trek. These help you plan your route each day.
The route notes have been meticulously researched and produced by our WHR guiding team. They are informative and also detail emergency escape routes, local numbers, and key information about the route.
We provide the route notes at the in resort briefing, as the questions are best answered by a guide in reaction to current conditions.
Note that the route notes used on self-guided treks are suggestions, and that should you opt to alter any section of the route, you would be operating outside the remit of the trip. Our treks are designed for you to walk the whole route, and we don't include minute detail on how to complete the tour by public transport, just escape routes.
You are totally responsible for your own safety on self-guided treks, as there is no guiding element to the package. One set of route notes, maps, etc is provided per group, in paper format (not as PDF).
It is a popular feature for self guided groups to opt to be guided for a day or two at the start of their trek (from £200 per day), so that the leader can advise them on the route, and ensure that their navigation skills and equipment selection is correct for the rest of the tour. This option is for those who need training beyond the scope of the briefing.
Our route notes follow the WHR, and in some cases a popular 'official' variation that we consider merits the extra distance or diversion.
Our itinerary can start on any day of the week that you choose, so decide when you would like to start your trek, and get in touch with us by e-mail. We upload a private self-guided trip onto our booking system, and then you can book and pay securely online. Please note that we only accept bookings up to two months before departure, to guarantee availability in mountain huts & accommodation.
You receive an immediate e-confirmation and equipment, as well as an Self-Guided WHR dossier. You receive your trip detailed itinerary and walking notes etc in Chamonix, at the trek briefing. Once the trip balance is paid, you can request to be sent the GPX files and notes, if you intend to use a GPS.
Inclusions
Booking of the mountain huts and valley accommodation during the trek, made in your name.
New maps of the WHR, for you to keep even after your trek is finished.
The detailed Icicle route information notes, so you know where to go.
Language notes with key phrases, so you can communicate confidently during the trek.
Emergency procedure and mountain rescue notes, in case of an incident.
Local information sheets, with details about the region and key sights to take in on the route.
Briefing on arrival about the route and kit to take, from a UIMLA guide.
Baggage storage in Chamonix, if in accommodation booked through us, for the days you are trekking.
24 hour in-resort emergency contact and queries support throughout.
Discount voucher for use in our Windermere store / online purchases.
Exclusions
Travel to Chamonix, all accommodation / food / lodging costs (i.e. price of the half board stay in mountain hut or accommodation), activities & travel insurance, equipment hire, all other costs as required.
Cost notes
The accommodation in Chamonix at either end of the trek can be in accommodation of any style to suit your budget, from youth hostel / gite to a four star hotel. The cheapest accommodation is c.£40-60 pppn for B&B, and the more expensive hotels are c.£100 pppn. On the nights in mountain huts you should budget for c.£40-60 pppn for half board (evening meal and breakfast). The range of prices in huts is a factor or room size. Packed lunches can be ordered in huts for c.£5 per day. Cable cars, buses and taxis are not required for these itineraries, but if you choose to use them, then you need to budget accordingly.
Post-booking changes
Changes to the group size after booking will incur a price change if it alters the group size price bracket, and a £50 administration fee. If the group size change is made within 8 weeks of the trip, it will be treated as a new booking, and priced accordingly. All the huts will need to be contacted to alter the reservations. Transfers of dates on a self-guided TMB are treated as cancellations.
Self-guided upgrades
1) Select your mountain huts
Tailor make your trip, select specific huts, and have a tailor made trip dossier written for you. Bespoke trips must be booked at least 4 months in advance. We offer them on a 10 day trek timescale, and the price is £1000 in total (this is the total price for our logistics service, with the inclusions and exclusions as above, for up to 6 people in group).

2) Bespoke briefing times
These may be possible if booked at least 1 month in advance, where you cannot make either the 16:00 or 18:00 briefing slot. Bespoke briefings at times after 19:00 or before 09:00 cost £50, which can be added to your invoice.
Will the WHR suit you?
Many people contact us about whether the self-guided option would suit them in terms of experience. All we ask is that you feel confident in the following...
Navigation in poor visibility, such as dense cloud even in snow.
Security on steep / loose ground in terms or personal ability.
Language skills in case of an emergency, & to communicate.
First aid training and medical awareness, e.g. altitude sickness.
If unsure at all about any of these points, consider a guided trek.
If you aren't sure about any of these skills listed above, as a guided option can often work out a very similar budget anyway, and then you have the peace of mind that you are led by a fully qualified and highly experienced UIMLA International Mountain Leader. As well as showing you the route, they make all the mountain safety decisions, and offer added value in that they can tell you a lot about the local region. Opting for a guided trek doesn't mean that you couldn't do have done the trek it self-guided, but that you want to share the experience with others, make friends, and learn a lot more about the mountains, routes, customs, guided by an expert.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District. Arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, to ensure that you are prepared as possible.



As well as talking though your course, most clients have queries about the kit they will require, to avoid expensive mistakes, and we can show you some examples of that to consider. Others have training queries, about how to best prepare for your trip, and we will be able to steer you in the right direction. No question is too silly, and we'll have heard them all before! An integral part of booking is the ability to get good knowledgable advice, and a highly personal service. Unlike companies that only exist virtually in cyberspace, we are staffed by real people, in a real office, who offer real honest advice. Because we are tangible, we are accountable, and we take great pride in that and the service that we offer you. Get in touch to come in for a chat soon.
 
 

 
 
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