La Haute route trek is more than 180 km long and takes between 9 and 15 days to complete, but also takes the intrepid traveller through some of the most beautiful sights in the Alps.
If you want to take home some photographs of stunning scenery, then the valleys, lakes and glaciers visible through the duration of this particular walk more than deliver. The best months for this highly complex hike are between June and September.
The Haute Route is extremely challenging but accommodations are available throughout the trek to ensure you have access to creature comforts and the ability to buy supplies.
Rain is always a possibility so always be prepared for that eventuality; remember there is always a chance of snow on the high passes any day of the year. The pass can be extremely treacherous off-season. Crampons and an ice axe may be useful, but not essential. The area is occasionally beset by thunderstorms and these can be highly dangerous.
The signage on the trek is good, but a map is still a necessity, and to save money you can carry a tent and camp once in Switzerland. The mountain huts can get crowded and noisy, but can be a welcome break from the worst of the weather. For wildlife lovers, you are almost guaranteed to see chamois and ibex whilst on the mountains as the trek is less populated than the Tour du Mont Blanc.
The Haute Route can also be used for altitude acclimatisation, before progressing onto other pursuits, like climbing the Matterhorn, or Mont Blanc.
If you are serious about traversing the Haute Route, a crash course in German is great idea. While French is useful, if you are unable to speak one of the local languages, you may struggle on the trek. Whilst not impossible to complete the trek without basic knowledge of the local languages they do come in very useful.
There are cable cars and chair lifts available if you want to shorten the trip slightly, although hardened trekkers will accuse you of cheating somewhat. In the worst of the wintry weather that can sometimes befall travellers, I doubt that anyone will really blame you too much.
Make sure you take a good quality camera with a telescopic lens with you to ensure you get memorable photos of your trip, as well as any spare batteries although you can pick these up while on your trek.
Once you reach the Matterhorn, you can always take the train back to Chamonix, or you may prefer to stay in Switzerland for a few nights and pick up some of the world-renowned chocolate… After all that exertion, you will certainly have earned it!
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