Haute Route Advice

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PhilipPepper
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Haute Route Advice

Apologies if this has been done to death in the past, but I and a couple of friends are looking at doing the Haute Route this winter and I would welcome any advice and recommendations.  We are limited to either late March or early April, but early April is Easter school holidays, does that make a difference?  Are there any thoughts on which of the variations is best?

All input will be very gratefully appreciated.

Thanks,

Phil

AverilShepley
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Hi Phil,

we did the Haute Route many years ago (2003), so things may have changed considerably since then. However in terms of when to go, it's hard to know when the best snow conditions will be, they can vary so much from year to year. We went at the end of March, we'd planned to leave mid march but it was snowing too much. From experience of touring in the Alps, generally huts tend to be busier during the Easter school holidays so it might be hard to get a place unless you book far enough in advance. It's such a popular tour it can be hard to get into huts generally, we couldn't get into the Vignettes on the night we wanted so stayed at the Dix before continuing to the Vignettes (no regrets though, we got to ski the Pigne d'Arolla). We did the 'classic' haute route going up by the Plateau de Couloir - really enjoyed this, but would like to re-do it and go via the Col du Grand St Bernard. There are lots of variants, you can make the days longer or shorter depending on what huts you stay in and you can add in some easy peaks along the way if you are feeling energetic.

Hope this is of some help (and the info isn't too out of date)

 

Averil

PhilipPepper
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Thanks Averil

ArthurRichardson
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I've done the Verbier route twice. First with a guide in 2008 and last with an Eagle tour leader 2016. Both were successful and we got to Zermatt. Be prepared for bad weather and be flexible. i.e. take the lower routes in bad visibility. Book huts in advance. Try and stay in the Bertol hut as a variante. Its impressive and worth the detour. 

StephenGoulden
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Given that there are many minor variants and three major ones, your questions are difficult to answer without some assumptions. The easiest is on timing - try to avoid  weekends and holidays in the busiest huts, Cabane des Dix and Les Vignettes, as they are easily accessible from the valleys for day tours. Sleeping on the floor or the tables is no fun.

All the route options pass through magnificent scenery but have varying levels of difficulty. The Verbier route is the easiest, with many escape options and the Grand Lui- St Bernard the most difficult, with several long technical days; the first can be done in a week with some time for bad weather days, impossible with the latter.

You really need to talk to somebody who know the various options well, face to face. And know the skill level of the members of your group in making your choice.

PhilipPepper
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Thanks Arthur and Stephen, and apologies for the delayed response.

AndyPerkins
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Hi Phil
Talk to me when you come for the course in Feb. Happy to spill the beans there over coffee at the Couronne.
Cheers. ANDY P

TimDavies
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Did the Grand Lui- la Fouly variation a few years ago. Early starts meant we saw no one during the day except for the first and the last days which really added to the experience. 
we used the Plan de Jeu refuge which stretched the day and shortened the next day nicely. 
 

PhilipPepper
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Thanks Andy,

I had been planning to do that anyway!

Phil

PhilipPepper
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Thanks Tim,

That sounds like it was good.  Much appreciated.

Phil

TimDavies
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Message me and I can give a more detailed with a few tips on where we stayed, timings etc. Needs good safe conditions on day 3 to Gd St Bernard