Looking to get from France (Chamonix) to Switzerland (Zermatt) in style? The bold souls who are up for a 125-mile adventure known as the Haute Route can traverse the Alps in all their glory. You have the option to take in the mountain air either by foot or on skis. For hikers, you are looking at approximately a 12-day journey while those who choose to ski should plan a minimum of seven days. For the less altitude-inclined, there is also a lower path suitable for walking which maintains a steady altitude under 3000 feet that follows the same route marked by hotels and other tourist attractions.
Fresh to Death
The same Haute Route was officially taken for the first time all the way back in 1911. With over one hundred years of history, it is one of the most successful and popular ski routes in existence. Although traversed by many, it is still exceedingly challenging and, in many cases, success is directly linked to weather conditions and visibility. To keep things interesting, there are several different variations of the Haute Route you can consider.
Take the High Road
The High Route or Mountaineers' Route is for those familiar with the Haute Route and know what they're getting themselves into. There's no escaping the altitude, and this one of those times when "don't look down" is an actual warning rather than just an off-handed remark. However, if you can stomach it, sneak a peak or two because the Vignette huts speckled in the French and Swiss villages in the distance are completely breathtaking.
There's No Time Like the Present
Understandably due to unpredictable snow conditions, Haute Route season runs from the middle of July through the middle of September when the weather is in it's most prime and cautious state. Throughout your journey, you will find solace in places to bunk up for the night, whether it be a luxurious resort or a basic mountain hut or lodge. If you're not comfortable exploring on your own, there are plenty of alpine guides who can help you get your bearings on the mountain. Lace up those hiking boots or strap on those skis, and cross the Haute Route off your bucket list.