One Week Haute Route - Mont Blanc to Matterhorn

The ultimate one week high Alpine trekking holiday





From $2,100 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview


  • From Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland
  • The classic mountain walk from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn
  • Atmospheric high Alpine mountain huts
  • A single short transfer from Champex to Mauvoism

Classic alpine walking holiday along the Haute Route from Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland in just one week. The Classic Haute Route takes a dramatic and uncompromising line through the heart of the European Alps from Chamonix at the foot of Mont Blanc to Zermatt below the Matterhorn. By including a single short vehicle transfer from Champex to Mauvoisin we can complete this challenging high altitude trek in just 6 days without missing any of the high level stages. Expert guidance is essential, on a trekking route that crosses several high and testing passes and numerous glaciers. During the course of our trek along the Haute Route, there is time to practice the fundamentals of mountaineering and the skills required for safe walking on glaciated terrain (ice-axe and crampons required). From our comfortable French Alps chalet base in the Chamonix Valley, to our arrival at the famously picturesque ski-town of Zermatt in the Swiss Alps, we accumulate more than 8000 metres of ascent and descent. Offering a blend of amazing scenery and overnight stops at some of the very best Alpine refuges, this one week Haute Route trekking holiday through the Alps of France and Switzerland ranks amongst the world's great mountain walks.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group's chalet in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley.
  • Cable car from Le Tour. Short walk to the Albert Premier Hut (2702m). Skills practice.
  • Trek Col Superior du Tour (3289m) to Cabane d'Orny (2831m) and cable car to Champex (1470m).
  • Taxi transfer to Mauvoisin. Trek across the Col Tsofeiret (2642m). Descend to Chanrion Hut (2462m).
  • Trek along the Otemma Glacier to the Vignettes Hut (3160m).
  • Trek across the Col de L'Eveque (3386m) and Col de Bertol (3268m) to the Cabane de Bertol (3311m).
  • Optional ascent of the Tete Blanche (3724m). Descend Stockji Glacier to Zermatt (1608m).
  • Departure day
Sat 23 Jul - Sat 30 Jul Code SHR /01/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
Sat 20 Aug - Sat 27 Aug Code SHR /02/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
Sat 03 Sep - Sat 10 Sep Code SHR /03/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis joining in Chamonix and departing from Zermatt. The nearest convenient airport for both these towns is Geneva, approximately an hour's drive away from Chamonix and three hours by train from Zermatt. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' section in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool & Glasgow and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds Bradford & Belfast. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group's chalet in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley.

    Rendezvous at the group chalet in Argentiere (1240m), just outside Chamonix. Here, you will be welcomed and made to feel at home. At 7.00pm we will be joined by our guide and have an informal chat about the week ahead. There will also be a chance for the guide to check out your clothing and gear and to decide if you will need to pick up any further items of equipment before setting out in the morning. KE Land Only services begin with the evening meal, an excellent 3-course dinner.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals d

  • Cable car from Le Tour. Short walk to the Albert Premier Hut (2702m). Skills practice.

    The first stage of our trek takes us from Argentiere to the Albert Premier Hut (2702m). We start out by way of a short cable car ride from Le Tour to the Col du Balme. From here, it's a comfortable 2-hour walk to the Albert Premier Hut, which we aim to reach by mid afternoon. The nearby Glacier du Tour is a great place to practice snow and ice skills. There are great views of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Chardonnay on the walk to the hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 600m

    • Distance 4km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 80m

  • Trek Col Superior du Tour (3289m) to Cabane d'Orny (2831m) and cable car to Champex (1470m).

    An early start from the hut allows us to make use of the best snow conditions underfoot, whilst the snow is still frozen. Today we cross over into Switzerland, by way of the Col Superior du Tour (3289m). At the col there are great views of the Mont Blanc range on one side and of the peaks of Switzerland (Valais Alps) to the other. We then cross the flat, glaciated, Trient Plateau and descend to the Cabane d’Orny (2831m) for lunch. After lunch we follow a pleasant footpath, traversing the hillside to the small chairlift station of La Breya, from where we take a ride down to the idyllic village of Champex. Dormitory accommodation, showers available and small village shop.

    • Accommodation Gite / Hostel

    • Ascent 760m

    • Distance 9km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 640m

  • Taxi transfer to Mauvoisin. Trek across the Col Tsofeiret (2642m). Descend to Chanrion Hut (2462m).

    After breakfast, we make use of a local taxi to transfer to Mauvoisin at around 1850m. We then walk across the dam of the Lac de Mauvoisin, and ascend pastures on it’s eastern side – initially on a very good track. Switzerland most famous flower is locally common here - edelweiss - and often Ibex can be spotted on the scree slopes above. We pass close to the Lac Tsofeiret and on to the Col Tsofeiret 2642m. From here we start to descend and cross the torrent of the Glacier du Brennay (bridge!) and descend gently to the Chanrion Hut (2462m). This hut is located on summer pastures and occasionally cheese can be purchased from the local Bergers.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Trek along the Otemma Glacier to the Vignettes Hut (3160m).

    Our route today ascends the Otemma Glacier, which runs through the heart of the Valais Alps. To reach the glacier we first descend a short way to cross above a gorge (winter passage) to access the Otemma Glacier – stone covered initially. Now we can enjoy a long and easy-angled ascent, amongst spectacular mountain scenery, to reach the broad Col de Chermotane 3053m. - at the head of the valley. From here it is a steeper ascent to the Vignettes Hut.(3160m) below the Pigne d'Arolla. The hut is in a very dramatic location surrounded by glaciers. From here we can see the next day’s route over the Col de L'Eveque and the Bertol hut on the skyline across the valley.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

  • Trek across the Col de L'Eveque (3386m) and Col de Bertol (3268m) to the Cabane de Bertol (3311m).

    Crossing the Col de L'Eveque (3392m) we enter briefly into Italy. From the pass, we make a descent across the Haute Glacier Arolla, traversing snow slopes and then bare glacier. At the snout of the glacier, we pick up a trail leading towards a bergerie on the eastern slopes of the valley. Beyond this, we are faced with a 600 metre ascent to the Col de Bertol (3268m). Our overnight halt is at the Cabane de Bertol, which is spectacularly located at the col. Access to the hut is via an exciting series of ladders. There are good views eastwards from the hut towards the Matterhorn and the Dent Blanche.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1230m

    • Distance 14km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 1070m

  • Optional ascent of the Tete Blanche (3724m). Descend Stockji Glacier to Zermatt (1608m).

    This is our crux day and involves an early start. (Note: we do need good weather to climb the Tete Blanche and then make the descent down the heavily crevassed Stockji Glacier). We descend the open staircase from the hut, rope up and start the long, gentle ascent of the Mont Mine Glacier, heading for the easy snow peak of the Tete Blanche (3724m). This takes 3 to 4 hours and our reward for the ascent is an even more impressive view of the Matterhorn. We descend by way of the complex and heavily crevassed Stockji Glacier to our exit point at the Stockji itself (a rocky island in the middle of this glaciated terrain). Here, we pick up a narrow trail which traverses steep slopes, leading to an improving alpine path on a moraine on the north side of the valley. Finally, we cross the huge rock-covered glacier below the Smutt Ridge of the Matterhorn. If time allows we can pick our way up to the Schonbiel Hut, a welcome sight set in green meadows and have celebratory lunch with fantastic views all around. After lunch we make the long, but easy 3 hour walk down to Zermatt. From the rugged high mountain scenery, we soon find ourselves amongst pleasant woodland and pretty hamlets. This is a splendid walk, with the towering north face of the Matterhorn in full view and gives us time to reflect on the journey just undertaken. Arriving in Zermatt, we check into our hotel with time to look around or relax before going out to choose a restaurant for a clebratory dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals b

  • Departure day

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast at the hotel.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional guide or guides at a 1:6 ratio
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • All transfers (except airport transfers) and cable car fees

  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The group will rendezvous at the Yeti Lodge in Argentiere on the evening of day 1 of the trip itinerary. For clients arriving by air, the easiest way to get to Argentiere is to fly to Geneva Airport and make use of an airport transfer service. We recommend KE clients can get transfers from €27 each way by entering the promo code YETI. Please note that transfers are subject to availability and your flight details are required a minimum of 72 hours before your arrival in Geneva. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

Returning from Zermatt
This trek ends in Zermatt. KE services end after breakfast on Day 8 of the trip. The most convenient way of returning from Zermatt to Geneva is by train. To make a booking with Swiss Federal Railways, go to their website at, or telephone on 00 41 900 300 300. There is a station in Geneva Airport and there are several connections throughout the day. The journey takes approximately 3.5 hours from Zermatt and costs approximately CHF 95. If you are returning to Chamonix at the end of the trip please contact the KE office.

After breakfast at our overnight accommodation, we try to get a reasonably early start. Where we are faced with a long day, when climbing the Tete Blanche for example, or when snow conditions dictate we will have a very early start - the classic 'Alpine start'. For food during the day, we carry snacks and/or packed lunches which we tend to eat on the move, as we are normally under pressure to complete the day’s walk whilst the snow conditions are good. On most days we usually arrive at the next hut in time for a late lunch and this is an alternative to carrying a packed lunch. The afternoons are often free for relaxing in the sun on the terrace of our overnight refuge or exploring the immediate vicinity. A set, 3-course evening meal is provided at each of the mountain huts and by 9.00pm most people have settled down for the night.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

During this trip the group will spend 1 night in a chalet in Argentiere and 1 night in a hotel in Zermatt. Whilst in the mountains, there are 5 nights spent in mountain huts or similar accommodation (gites). Accommodation throughout the trip is on a non-segregated, dormitory-style basis. In the high mountain huts washing facilities are limited. Single rooms are not available.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Food provided in the huts is usually very good considering the locations. There will normally be a menu choice of soup, main and desert which will include a vegetarian option. Beer, wine, soft drinks and bottled water can be purchased at all the huts.

All breakfasts and 6 dinners are included in the trip price. Packed lunches and snacks can be bought in the huts. On most days there will also be the possibility of having a hot lunch either at a hut encountered on route or a late lunch taken at our overnight halt. You should allow around CHF15 per lunch. Most groups prefer to hoose a restaurant for the final evening meal in Zermatt and we have therefore not included this meal in the price of your holiday. We suggest 25 - 30 Swiss Francs should be sufficient to cover this.

The package price includes guides, valley transport, cable cars and mountain railway tickets, all accommodation, and all meals except lunches and the final evening's dinner. You should allow approximately CHF15 per day for your lunches and 25 - 30 for your final meal including wine. Wine, beer and soft drinks can be purchased at the huts. Note: bottled water, if bought in the huts, is very expensive. We recommend you take approximately. 50 Euros plus 200 Swiss Francs to cover typical personal expenses including thiose mentioned above. Please note that almost all of the route is in Switzerland and you should take most of your money in the form of Swiss Francs. You will need some Euros for the time that you spend in France. There are cash point facilities in Argentiere and in Zermatt. If you are intending to hire or purchase items of equipment, you should budget accordingly.

The group will be led by an IFMGA guide. Guiding is at a ratio of 1:6 during the trip.

Group members will carry all of their personal equipment during the trek and it is vitally important to keep the overall weight of your equipment to a minimum. Since you will not be required to carry either a sleeping bag or a camping mattress it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack to around 8 kg / 18 lbs. Whilst in the mountains you will leave your main trek bag and travel clothes in the group’s hotel/chalet in Argentiere and these will be transported to your final hotel in Zermatt.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your pack to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Mountain Boots (see notes below)
  • Crampons – MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates*
  • Crampon bag
  • Ice Axe*
  • Mountaineering harness*
  • Screw gate karabiner x 1*
  • Trekking poles x 2 (with baskets)
  • Gaiters
  • Socks – technical walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)
  • Trekking Trousers (i.e. not cotton)
  • Waterproof Overtrousers
  • Underwear
  • Thermal Base Layer x 2 (one long sleeved for glacier travel)
  • Fleece jacket or pullover
  • Waterproof, breathable jacket (with hood)
  • Extra warm layer – (prima loft or lightweight down)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat
  • Eye wear – sunglasses – category 3 or 4.
  • Thin gloves – leather or thermal
  • Warm gloves/ski gloves or mittens
  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)
  • Rucksack (30 - 40 litres should be sufficient)
  • Rain cover for Rucksack
  • Head torch – with new battery
  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)
  • Lip salve – with sunscreen
  • Water bottle x minimum 1 litre
  • Small, lightweight wash kit and pack towel
  • Plastic Bag to keep essentials dry
  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids), blister treatment (zinc oxide tape and ‘Compeed’), insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Change of shirt and trousers
  • Long johns
  • Shorts (for non-glacial travel)
  • Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring!)
  • Repair kit – (eg. Pocket knife, needle, thread, duct tape etc.)
  • Camera, media, batteries
  • Travel Clothes (can be left at your hotel)
  • Travel Shoes (can be left at your hotel)
  • Small Padlock (for trek bag)


Mountaineering Boots:Recommended boots for this trip are comfortable, warm and sufficiently stiff to take a crampon securely (a sturdy B1 or a ‘worn in’ B2 boot is ideal). Rigid B3 boots are NOT suitable for this trek.

  • .

    Crampons: Modern strap on crampons are perfectly acceptable for this trek and will fit any boot. All crampons MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates. Grivel Crampons - G10 or G12 with a strap system are excellent and they come fitted with anti-balling plates. We do not recommend semi-automatic crampons for use with softer boots since with this system, the pull on the heel can lead to blisters.

  • .

    Equipment hire: Equipment marked *can be hired from KE. This can be reserved either when you book your trip or closer to your departure but we advise booking hire equipment as soon as possible to ensure availability. We do not hire mountaineering boots, but there are several shops in Chamonix renting boots that are suitable for this trip.

  • .
  • Sleeping bags are NOT required as bedding and hut shoes/slippers are provided at mountain refuges. However, you should bring a sheet sleeping bag.
  • Needle Sports (specialist mountaineering equipment shop)

    • Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store.
    • View >>

    We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    Know before you go

    As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

    KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

    It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a trekking or climbing trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Mountaineering and hill-walking on a regular basis is the ideal preparation but if this is not possible, we suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Jogging, squash and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in at least one 'refresher' outing into snow-covered hills wearing crampons.

    The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, ranging from 10°C / 50°F to 25°C/ 77°F. It can be cool in the evenings at our highest overnight stopping places, falling close to freezing point at night. The weather is usually stable during July and August, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and even stormy weather cannot be ruled out. You should be prepared for all eventualities!

    The Haute Route, Chamonix – Zermatt. Peter Cliff.

    Swiss Topo 1:50,000 Special Edition Hiking Maps

    Special edition hikers maps from the Switzerland Topographic Survey at 1:50,000. These maps have the same excellent cartography as the general network which covers the entire country in 78 sheets, but are centered on particular tourist regions and generally cover a larger area than the normal sheets. For the Haute Route you will need two sheets from the Hiking series: 1. 5027T. Gr. St-Bernard, Combins, Aro 2. 5028T. Monte Rosa - Matterhorn

    Recent Reviews & Blog Posts