Swiss High Level Route

From Arolla to Saas Fee - A high-level traverse of the Swiss Alps





From $2,100 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Stunning views of the Matterhorn
  • Overnight at the amazing Cabane de Bertol
  • Two easy Swiss summits, the Tete Blanche and the Pigne d`Arolla
  • The famous resort of Zermatt

Unique to KE, the Swiss High Level Route traverses the heart of the Valais Alps, taking a classic line from Arolla to Saas Fee with tremendous views of the Matterhorn and the opportunity to ascend the Pigne d'Arolla and the Tete Blanche.  Beginning in the quiet village of Arolla, we trek through the stunning heart of the high glaciers of the Valais Alps from the superb Vignettes Hut where we make an ascent of the Pigne d'Arolla (3790m), to the spectacularly located Bertol hut, from where we make an ascent of the Tete Blanche (3724m). Passing below the north face of the Matterhorn, we then descend to the famous Swiss mountain resort of Zermatt and have some time to enjoy the town before continuing our high mountain journey via the Tasch hut and a crossing of the Alphubeljoch (3771m), to the Langflue Hotel perched high above the enourmous Fee glacier. Descending to the picturesque village of Saas Fee, our traverse ends with an easy walk to the group's hotel in Saaas Grund.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Arolla.
  • Meet the Guides and trek to the Pièce Glacier for snow skills practice. Trek to Vignettes Hut (3160m).
  • Climb the Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) and return to the Vignettes Hut (3160m).
  • Trek across the Col de L'Eveque (3392m) to the Bertol Hut (3311m).
  • Climb the Tete Blanche (3724m) for views of the Matterhorn and descend to the Schonbiel Hut (2694m).
  • Trek to Zermatt (1608m), transfer to Taschalp (2203m) and trek to the Tachhutte (2701m).
  • Climb the Alphubeljoch (3772m). Trek to Langflue (2869m). Descend to Saas Grund (1559m).
  • Departure day
Sat 02 Jul - Sat 09 Jul Code SHL /01/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Swiss High Level Route
  • The departure reference for this tour is SHL /01/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 02 Jul and departs on Sat 09 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
Sat 13 Aug - Sat 20 Aug Code SHL /02/16/ Adult$2,100 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Swiss High Level Route
  • The departure reference for this tour is SHL /02/16/
  • This tour begins on Sat 13 Aug and departs on Sat 20 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis joining in Arolla and the trip ends in Saas Grund. The nearest airport is Geneva, approximately a 2 hour train ride away to Lausanne & 1 hour by bus to Arolla. 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

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • peaks
  • trip direction
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Arolla.

    We rendezvous at the group hotel in the Swiss resort town of Arolla at the foot of Mount Collon in the canton of Valais. KE Land Only package services begin with dinner which you will take in the hotel restaurant.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Meet the Guides and trek to the Pièce Glacier for snow skills practice. Trek to Vignettes Hut (3160m).

    During breakfast at the hotel we meet our guide(s). After a brief introduction to the week ahead and an equipment check, we make the final preparations and pack our rucksacks for the traverse. We aim to depart by mid-morning and we climb through alpine meadows to reach the Pièce Glacier. This is a relatively easy angled glacier where we can practice our glacier skills before climbing up to the sensationally located Vignettes Hut (3160m) at the foot of the Pigne d'Arolla. A popular stop on the Haute Route, this is a busy refuge with a warm welcome and good food, which has been recently refurbished with inside ‘facilities’ and hot showers.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 4 hours walking

  • Climb the Pigne d’Arolla (3790m) and return to the Vignettes Hut (3160m).

    Our objective today is to ascend the Pigne d’Arolla, a classic viewpoint. After breakfast, which is one of the best on offer in alpine huts, we gear up for glacial travel ascend, mainly on snow, with a short section on rock to the summit at 3790 metres. The ascent will take around 4 hours and afterwards we return to the hut via the same route. We spend a second night at the Vignettes Hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 7 - 8 hours walking

  • Trek across the Col de L'Eveque (3392m) to the Bertol Hut (3311m).

    Today we cross beneath the north face of the Petit Mont Collon on glaciated terrain to reach the Col de L’Eveque (3392m). This takes 3 to 4 hours. From here, we descend onto the Haute Glacier d’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). From here we can see journey's end at the Cabane de Bertol (3311m), which is spectacularly located, looking like a castle atop a rock tower. Access to the hut is via an exciting series of ladders - a sting in the tail of the day! There are fantastic views eastwards from the hut - of the Matterhorn and the Dent Blanche.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 8 - 9 hours walking

  • Climb the Tete Blanche (3724m) for views of the Matterhorn and descend to the Schonbiel Hut (2694m).

    We need an early (3.00am.) start to get the best snow conditions on our ascent of the Tete Blanche. (Note: we do need good weather to climb the Tete Blanche and then make the descent down the heavily crevassed Stockji Glacier). We begin the day by reversing the ladders from the hut, then roping up, we 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 as a reward for the ascent we are treated to even more impressive views of the Matterhorn. We descend by way of the complex and heavily crevassed Stockji Glacier to our exit point at the Stockji (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 Zmutt Ridge of the Matterhorn and pick our way up to the Schonbiel Hut, a welcoming hut in green meadows, with a mountain shower at your disposal. We should arrive at the hut in time for lunch and can look forward to an afternoon of rest and relaxation on the sunny terrace, spotting climbers on the Matterhorn.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 6 - 7 hours walking

  • Trek to Zermatt (1608m), transfer to Taschalp (2203m) and trek to the Tachhutte (2701m).

    In the morning we 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. Arriving in Zermatt we can enjoy some lunch and time to look around this famous mountain town. From Zermatt we have a short road transfer to Taschalp and walk up to the up to the Taschhutte (2701m) where we have great view of the Weisshorn. Approximately 4 hours walking to Zermatt, 2 hours up to Taschhutte, This refurbished hut is very comfortable and has shower facilities.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 6 hours walking

  • Climb the Alphubeljoch (3772m). Trek to Langflue (2869m). Descend to Saas Grund (1559m).

    We need another very early start for our ascent to the Alphubeljoch and as with our earlier ascent of the Tete Blanche, we also require favourable conditions. From the Taschhutte, we walk on a path by the light of our headtorches, to reach the snout of the glacier. Gearing up for glacier travel, we climb gently up the Alphubel glacier to the Alphubeljoch, where we can take a short break and enjoy the superb view. We then cross the huge glacial plateau of the Feeglacier before a steep and heavily crevassed section leads us down to the the Langflue Hotel (2869m) at the top of the cable car system for Saas Fee. We can take lunch and have a welcome drink here whilst admiring what we have just descended, before heading down to Saas Fee and our final night's stay in Saas Grund,

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

    • Time 7 - 8 hours walking

  • Departure day

    KE Land Only package services end with breakfast at the hotel

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional guiding at a ratio of 1:6
  • All accommodation as described in the trip dossier
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc..
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. Packed lunches can be purchased at the huts. These normally consist of a sandwich, biscuit or cake and usually a piece of fruit. On some days we will reach the next hut in time to buy a hot lunch - Swiss Rosti is the speciality! Beer, wine, soft drinks and bottled water can be purchased at all the huts.
All meals except lunches and snacks are included in the trip price. Packed lunches and/or snacks can be bought in the huts. On some 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. Allow approximately CHF15 per lunch for packed lunches and more if you intend to buy a hot lunch.
You must join group at the hotel in Arolla in the evening of Day 1 of the trip itinerary. The most convenient international airport is Geneva and the easiest way to get to Arolla from Geneva Airport is by a combination of train and bus. There is a railway station in the airport and the total journey time is approximately 3.5 hours. The holiday ends in Saas Grund and a combination of bus and train back to Geneva Airport from here takes around 3.5 hours. Combination rail and bus tickets can be booked online at
During this trip, the group will spend 2 nights at a comfortable hotel in Arolla in twin share rooms. Whilst in the mountains, there are 5 nights spent in mountain huts where the accommodation is in non-segregated dormitories. In the high mountain huts washing facilities are limited. Single rooms are not available. Single rooms are not available.

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

In the morning, we try to get a reasonably early start. On the days where we are climbing the Tete Blanche or Alphubel we may have a wake-up call as early as 3.00am. Breakfast at the hut will be 'continental' with cereal, museli, bread and jam or cheese with tea or coffee and fruit juice. For food during the day, we carry a packed lunch which is often eaten on the move, as we are normally under pressure to complete the day’s walk or climb whilst the snow conditions are good. On some days we will arrive at our accommodation by early afternoon and there will be an opportunity to buy a late lunch from the hut restaurant. The rest of the afternoon is normally spent relaxing, sleeping, playing cards, or generally enjoying the stunning location. Dinner in the huts is a 3-course meal, normally taken at about 7.00 p.m. Most people will be tucked up in bed by 9.30.
The group will be led by English-speaking IFMGA guides and guiding is at a ratio of 1:6.
Please note that this is Switzerland and you should take your money in the form of Swiss Francs. A total of CHF 300 should be sufficient to cover all personal expenses, including hill food snacks or lunches, drinks, including bottled water in the huts and other incidental expenditure. There are cashpoint facilities at Geneva Airport, Arolla and Zermatt. If you are intending to hire or purchase items of equipment, you should budget accordingly.
Group members will need to carry all of their personal equipment from Day 2 to Day 7 and for this reason it is 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 a 40 litre rucksack should be big enough and it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack to under 7kg. You can leave your KE trek bag with your travel clothes at the group hotel in Arolla and this will be transported to Saas Grund.

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.

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.

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 – walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)

  • Trekking Trousers (i.e. not cotton)

  • Waterproof trousers

  • Underwear

  • Thermal Base Layer x 2 (one long sleeved for glacier travel)

  • Fleece jacket or pullover

  • Waterproof jacket (with hood)

  • Extra warm layer – (primaloft or lightweight down)

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses – category 3 or 4.

  • Thin gloves – leather or thermal

  • Warm and waterproof gloves or mittens

  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)

  • Rucksack (30 - 40 litres should be sufficient)

  • Head torch and spare battery

  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)

  • Lip salve – with sunscreen

  • Water bottle - minimum 1 litre

  • Small, lightweight wash kit and pack towel

  • Plastic Bag to keep essentials dry

  • Small hand sanitizer gel

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters, blister treatment (zinc oxide tape and ‘Compeed’), insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

The following items are optional:

  • Change of shirt and trousers

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Shorts (for non-glacial travel)

  • Rain cover for Rucksack

  • Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring!)

  • Repair kit – (eg. Pocket knife, needle, thread, duct tape etc.)

  • Camera

  • 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 >>



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.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

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

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. The best preperation for a trip like this is regular hiking in mountain or back-country 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, you should try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country. This holiday is suitable for those wishing to make the step up from hiking to mountaineering and previous alpine experience is not required. However, it will increase your enjoyment of the holiday if you gain some experience walking with crampons before you embark on this journey.

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.

During this holiday we will encounter a range of temperatures depending on the altitude. During the day it will be reasonably warm, in the range 18 – 20°C although it may feel considerably hotter than this when the mid-day sun is reflecting off the snow. While staying in the refuges, the outside temperatures at night may drop below freezing. The weather in this region is usually stable during the summer months, but mountains do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and even stormy weather cannot be ruled out.
The Great Walks of Europe. Richard Sale Alpine Ski Mountaineering: Volume 1 - Western Alps. Bill O'Connor
Swiss Topo 1:50,000 Special Edition Hiking Maps

These are 'special edition' 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 specifically designed for hikers and are centered on particular tourist regions. They also cover a larger area than the normal sheets. For this holiday you will need the following sheets: 5027T. Grand St-Bernard - Combins - Arolla and 5028T - Monterosa-Matterhorn 1:50 000

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