09 July – 19 July 2017

Status FULL
Cost  $1750

A single supplement schedule may be available for 6 out of 8 of the hotel stays (additional cost of a single room, no roommate) for an added cost of 150 CHF. We will not guarantee you a single supplement as it will be based on availability at time of reservation and on order in which your complete trip reservation form is received. A single supplement is not available for all nights of accommodation.

Travel Dates  09 July – 19 July 2017
Description To quote Kev Reynolds, author of the definitive guide to this route, ‘Chamonix to Zermatt, Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn – recipe for a visual feast! To walk from one to the other is to sample that feast in full measure…’ This is the great walk through the Western Alps starting in the world capital of alpinism, Chamonix, and ending in the famous village of Zermatt at the foot of the Matterhorn. Our route will take ten days passing by the greatest concentration of high summits in the Alps and visiting some of its most beautiful high valleys. The standard time to do this hike of a life time is 15 days. We will shorten that time by taking local trains, post buses, taxis and cable cars across some valley sections, picking and choosing the best of the views and treks. The trip has a few relatively easy days but overall it is a tough hike even for strong hikers who will enjoy the challenge. We will cross 12 passes, many over 9000 feet and hike about 90 miles. Because we are going at the beginning of the Swiss Alps summer season, and our routes will be below the glacial fields of the higher terrain, we will not need ice axes or crampons. Accommodation most nights is in hotels or hostels except for two nights in mountain refuges. Breakfasts are included every day but one; dinner is included eight nights. We will normally be able to shop for trail lunches along the way at wonderful village stops.

Level of Fitness: The trails are generally good; there are some big ascents and descents on some of the days. To judge whether you can do this trip, are you able to do Mt. Algonquin, up and down, about 3000 feet in a round trip of 8 miles or can you do Marcy and Haystack in a reasonable day? Can you do this for consecutive days of hiking? Then this tour may be just what you are looking for.

Our packs will be light though (a requirement), since there will be accommodations at the end of each day. The longest day will involve a distance of 16 km, 3600 feet of elevation gain and 5600 feet of descent, largely on well-maintained trails. Our shortest days will be 8 km with several thousand feet of both ascent and descent.

Weather: It can snow or rain or be sunny, sometimes all at once, requiring the standard clothing layers of the experienced mountaineer. The valleys will likely be green, and can often be damp or rainy. When it rains in the valley, it may well be snow in the mountain passes. Temperatures in the valleys may be anywhere between 45 and 90 while the high passes may by in the 20 to 50 range.

Included Accommodations, ten nights, eight in hotels with double rooms and either ensuite or à l’étage (on the floor) bathrooms, two in refuges with dormitories. Includes all breakfasts and 8 dinners during the trip.
Not Included Airfare and airport transfers. Local transport to Chamonix (5 to 30 Euros depending on selected transport). Local bus to Le Tour (~3 Eu). Local bus at Arolla (10 CHF). Cable car to Zinal. Lift to St. Niklaus (12 CHF). Train to Zermatt (25 CHF). Transport from Zermatt to Geneva at conclusion of adventure. Half-fare Swiss pass should you elect to purchase one.
Two dinners during the hike (at Chamonix and Zermatt), lunches and trail food, beverages. Luggage transfer: anything you will not be carrying with you will need to be transferred to accommodations at either Zermatt or Geneva, depending on your plans at the end of the adventure. Trip insurance is not included in the trip price and is very strongly recommended.
Payment Policy A Deposit of $550 is due with the Application forms to register for the trip. Must have at least 6 registered by December 1, 2017 for the trip to go. The Balance of $1200 is due no later than February 1, 2017.
Cancellation Policy If you need to cancel the trip at any time a $100 ADK registration is non-refundable. The balance of the deposit is fully refundable up to January 1, 2017. After January 1, 2017 no refunds are possible unless your space can be filled from a waiting list. If the leader decides that this trip is not for you, or the trip is canceled by ADK, all payments received by ADK will be refunded.
Accommodations and Meals
Trip Insurance It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list, if any, you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip. In addition to trip insurance, you are strongly encouraged to join the British chapter of the Austrian Alpine Club. Membership in the Austrian Alpine Club (UK Chapter) entitles you to rescue insurance (an alpine rescue without this insurance requires upfront payment of $5000 minimum), discounts in refuges, and other benefits.
Daily Itinerary We may change routes according to trail conditions. For detailed trail descriptions, see Kev Reynolds, “Chamonix-Zermatt, The Classic Walker’s High Route”, Cicerone Press.

DAY ONE: Sunday, July 09, 2017

We meet at the Hotel Richemond, Chamonix at 6PM for a group meeting. Group dinner in a Chamonix restaurant. (Breakfast included, dinner is not included at the Hotel).

DAY TWO: Monday, July 10, 2017

After breakfast at the hotel, we take a local bus to Le Tour at the eastern end of the valley of Chamonix. From there we climb above timberline to the Col de Balme with views back to Chamonix and Mont Blanc and then descend to the Col de La Forclaz hotel above the hamlet of Trient. Col de Balme marks the border between France and Switzerland (dinner and breakfast included).

Time: 6 hours; Ascent: 3116 feet; Descent: 2920 feet; Distance: 15 km

DAY THREE: Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Depending on weather or the inclination of our party, we will do either the demanding Fenetre Arpette route to the village of Champex or the easier Alp Bovine route. The Fenetre d’Arpette is one of the best days of hiking on our trek with great views of the surrounding mountains. It passes close to the cascades of the Glacier du Trient with a high point at 8741 feet. When we reach the village of Champex, we will be met by a van to take us to our evening’s destination the Hotel du Gietroz in Le Chable. (Breakfast and Dinner included)

Time: 6 hours; Ascent: 3444 feet; Descent: 3840 feet; Distance walking: 12.6 km

DAY FOUR: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

We take a van from Le Chable to the trail above Verbier. Starting in meadows, with great views of the Grand Combin which dominates the skyline, we continue on to the Col Termin and the Cabane de Louvie set above a pristine alpine lake. This refuge has one of the finest views in the Alps say the Swiss. (Breakfast and Dinner included)

Time: 5 hours; Ascent: 1800 feet; Descent: 2460; Distance: 8km

DAY FIVE: Thursday, July 13, 2017

This is one of the best and hardest days on high desolate alpine terrain. We cross two cols, Louvie and Prafleuri, and descend to a hotel located at the base of the Grand Dixence dam, named logically if not poetically, the Dam Hotel. (Hotel du Barrage Grande Dixence; Breakfast and dinner included)

Time: 7 hours; Ascent: 3600 feet; Descent: 3280 feet; Distance 12.5km

DAY SIX: Friday, July 14, 2017

This is another great day on the High Route with tremendous views of the Pennine Alps. The day will end with a gentle descent though Arolla pine and larch woods along alpine ski trails to the beautiful village of Arolla where we will stay in the historic Hotel Kurhaus. But before we will traverse desolate glacier swept slopes above the Dix Lake to the Col de Riedmatten at 9574 feet. (Breakfast and dinner included)

Time: 8 hours; Ascent: 3600 feet; Descent: 4525 feet; Distance: 15.5km

DAY SEVEN: Saturday, July 15, 2017

We take a Swiss post bus down the Arolla valley and up into the Val D’Herens to our trailhead in the hamlet of La Forclaz. From there, we cross the next ridge at the Col du Tsate at 9063 feet and descend into the Val Moiry. Then we have a steep rise up a moraine and rocky knoll to the side of the great icefall and arrive for the night at the spectacular Cabane de Moiry. (Dinner and breakfast included).

Time: 5:30 hours; Ascent: 5109 feet; Descent: 1450 feet; Distance: 10km

DAY EIGHT: Sunday, July 16, 2017

We redescend the glacial moraine and contour across grassy hillsides above the lake below until we break right and up to the Col de Sorebois. The Weisshorn is directly in front of us and the views of the Pennine Alps are even more imposing. 1292 feet down from the col, we take the cable car to the village of Zinal, where we will stay at the Le Trift. (Breakfast and dinner included).
Time: 3:40 hours; Ascent: 1897 feet; Descent: 2256 feet; Distance: 8km (We may elect to walk down to Zinal on the less steep trail to the south through Teinson. Adds 5.6 km, 2470′ descent for a 6:30 hr total).

DAY NINE: Monday, July 17, 2017

From Zinal, we climb up to the Forclettta pass and then descend into one of the least developed high valleys in Switzerland, the Turtmantall. Its upper reaches including our destination for the night, the village of Gruben are abandoned in the winter. All high Switzerland seems to be at our feet on one of the finest crossings on our trek. This will be a chance to glimpse a unique Swiss mountain way of offering accommodation in alpine farms, the matratzenlager, literally a mattress camp, usually a loft with mattresses on the floor. But we will be in double rooms in the memorable Hotel Schwarzhorn. (Breakfast and dinner included).

Time: 6 hours; Ascent: 3789 feet; Descent: 3324 feet; Distance: 14 km

DAY TEN: Tuesday, July 18, 2017

This, our last day of hiking, equals or surpasses any other. We cross the last pass before Zermatt walking through forests, high pastures and high alpine country with open views to the Dom, the highest peak entirely within Switzerland and down to the Mattertal, the deep valley which leads up to Zermatt and the Matterhorn. When we arrive in St Niklaus, we take the train to Zermatt and the Hotel Alpina. (Breakfast included)

To St Niklaus: Time: 7 hours; Ascent: 3388 feet; Descent: 5584 feet; Distance: 16km

DAY ELEVEN: Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Our trip ends with breakfast in the Hotel Alpina. There are good rail connections for all points including Geneva airport. You may wish to spend an extra day or two in Zermatt or any of the other lovely valleys passed along the way, or at Martigny for a bit of Swiss culture and to shop prior to the return home. Contact me should you wish recommendations.

Planned activities presented in the above itinerary are subject to change due to weather, trail conditions or other unforeseen circumstances, at the sole discretion of the Leader.


WHAT TO BRING: A detailed packing list will be provided to trip participants after they register. One item you must bring that is not on the normal list of hiking gear is a sleeping liner bag. While staying in refuges, you will be required to use a liner in the dormitory-style accommodations. There are no bedding washing facilities in refuges – the liner is needed to keep bedding clean. We will also be travelling lighter than most hikers may be used to – a pack weight limit will be imposed. I will provide you with advice on what to bring and how much it should weigh. Prior to departure, you will have to provide a list of what you are bringing and your total pack weight.

GETTING TO CHAMONIX: Fly to Geneva, Switzerland, take a shuttle bus or van to Chamonix. A passport is required. Shuttle buses run every 75 minutes. The bus trip takes 75 minutes. (see easybus.com as the least expensive option – book before you leave). Do not make your flight arrangements until I tell you that this trip has the minimum participants for the trip to go.

COMMUNICATION DURING THE TRIP: You may consider getting an international subscription for your cell service should you need to remain in service. WiFi is however, ubiquitous, at most hotels and even being available at many high altitude refuges and on buses (you need to be able to receive a text confirmation to use bus WiFi). Special international adapters are needed to use outlets to charge devices.

FUNDS DURING THE TRIP: A currency exchange is available at the Geneva Airport. Funds can be withdrawn via ATM which are available at Chamonix, Le Chable, Zinal and Zermatt. Credit cards are often accepted – use a card with no foreign transaction fees. Europe has been using chip-enabled credit cards for years now – swipe readers may not be available at all locations.

Registration Procedure Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact me if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact me (email, phone or US mail) and I will send you the registration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form. Complete these forms and send them to me by U.S. Postal Service with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the additional signed Credit Card Authorization form) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.


Trip Leader Tom Hart
30 Claremont Drive, Voorheesville, New York, 12186