Over the past few days we have been doing a recce of the essential sections of the Walkers Haute Route. This multi day trek has a very different feel to the Tour du Mont Blanc and as the name suggests takes a much higher & more remote passage from Chamonix to Zermatt. The Haute Route isn’t normally doable before mid July due to the amount of snow on the route especially on the section between Cabane du Mont Fort & Arolla. This section forms part of the classic winter ski touring route, which is skiable into May.
The Fenetre d’Arpette forms part of the Walkers Haute Route from Trient to Champex & this continues to be problematic & although the snow is receding the advise from the regional park is to go via the Bovine route as essential trail maintenance is required on the steep section on either side of the col & way-marking on the boulder section.
Cabane Mont Fort to Cabane du Prafleuri via the Sentier des Chamois
The path from the Cabane du Mont Fort clings to the mountainside & is very exposed in sections especially after the Col du Termin. The section from the Col du Termin to the Col du Louvie after the winter has deteriorated massively & in some sections the path has fallen away from the hillside. There are still snow patches in certain sections & traversing Great care needs to be taken if taking this route as a trip or slip could be fatal on the eroded sections.
Cabane du Prafleuri to Arolla
The assent to the Col du Roux has an amount of snow but in ascent it isn’t too much of a problem. Once at the Col the rest of the day is pretty snow free & is a very different day that that of the day before. The ascent to the Col du Reidmatten & the Pas de Chevre is unstable but that is as it normally is, due to the possibility of stone fall it is safer to take the ladders to the Pas de Chevre. There isn’t any snow here to make the route more complicated. The descent to Arolla is snow free & straightforward.
Avoid Fentre d’Arpette & go via the Bovine Route.
We carried crampons & ice axe for the duration of the traverse between Cabane du Mont Fort & Arolla & on day one we used both on most of the snow sections. Mountaineering equipment is very much recommended.
If you don’t have a great deal of mountaineering experience on difficult, exposed & snowy terrain then we would suggest missing out the section between Mont Fort & the Cabane du Prafleuri & take transport round to the Barrage de Dixance & walk into the Cabane du Prafleuri so you can do the second day to Arolla.