We recommend you fly arrive in Chamonix on the 14th April. We plan to meet and ski with the group for the day in Chamonix on April 15th, in order to brush off the jet-lag and test out your equipment (lift ticket included). We will set off on the Haute Route Traverse on April 16th and arrive in Zermatt on April 21st, spending 5 days in 5 different alpine huts. We recommend you stay a night in Zermatt at the tail end of the trip and depart on the 22nd. Guests are welcome to arrive in Chamonix earlier and depart Zermatt later.
Included in your price, we will ship a bag of your belongings from Chamonix to Zermatt. It’s an extra $75/ bag if you have any excess luggage.
The classic Haute Route is a premiere ski touring journey and a must-do for all backcountry skiers. Travel through the high alpine in the scenic European Alps for 6 days and spend each night at a classic European hut situated high in the mountains. Not only is this one of the most memorable ski experiences you will ever have, but a cultural experience that cannot be matched by anywhere else in the world.
There are two main routes to choose from, the Verbier Route and the Classic, both are around 180km long, some of this is covered by ski lift, some by descending, some by ascending and some by shuttle. We take the Verbier route for less technical, but still challenging, touring and for the fact that there is more descending than climbing. Most of the travel days also allow for plenty of time to enjoy the skiing and snowboarding around the hut. The skinning is fun, but the riding is what we really go for.
For this Haute Route traverse, we will have the ability to carry day packs as the huts we will be staying at are fully serviced. No need for a sleeping bag, sleeping pad or backpacking pillow. That being said though, as with any multi-day trek or tour a goal to keep in mind is to pack as light as possible! A 30-45 litre pack should be sufficient for carrying all your gear for the traverse. Also, make sure to bring a pack that can carry your skis or snowboard (we recommend that you test the best way to carry your skis or splitboard on your backpack at home with all your gear packed). Your clothing needs to be suitable for skinning uphill on a hot and sunny glacier and skiing downhill on a cold and windy face. A layering system will be the best way to pack and make sure to include several options for each accessory ie, glove liners & shells, a snapback & a beanie, goggles & sunglasses, and so on. Before we depart Chamonix, we will do a group gear pack where we can help distribute some of the gear throughout the team, such as emergency supplies, repair kits, and first aid.
It is also important that you carry cash for any alcohol or additional purchases while on the traverse. Try to pull some cash out during out stop in Verbier as the Swiss Franc will give you a much better exchange rate than using Euros in Switzerland.
Epic peaks, remote huts, and refined Swiss/French mountain culture – the ultimate backcountry bucket lister.
Our fingers are crossed that we can run our Haute Route trip in Spring 2021. However, this will depend upon how international border restrictions progress, the risk of travel and the overall international climate surrounding COVID-19. We are staying optimistic and have a waitlist for our international trips, but will not be taking bookings until we are sure that international travel is safe. The health and safety of our guides and clients is our utmost priority.
Skiing/splitboarding skills – You should feel confident skiing/riding a variety of conditions, including deep powder, ice, breakable crust and deep and sometimes sticky slush. You should be able to sideslip both forward and backward on up to 45º terrain as well as skate on flat ground. Touring skills- You should have some level of touring on a variety of terrain and snow conditions under your belt before beginning this traverse. You should be fairly versed in transitioning from uphill to downhill and walking with skis on your back. Mountaineering skills – it is ok if you are new to crampons, ice axe and glacier travel, your guides will be able to instruct you through some of these aspects if they are new to you. If you have the above skiing and touring skills you should be able to learn how to use these additional tools. Of course, if you have mountaineering experience that is ideal!
We will generally travel at a moderate pace, we won’t be going too fast on our traverse but keep in mind that we do have time restrictions (such as daylight hours) and a plan to keep for the group. We will cover about 3-4k of vertical gain each day and will be moving for about 4-6 hours. We recommend going on multiple long ski tours over the course of the winter before going on the Haute Route.
Trip Package Includes
A certified UIAGM/ACMG Mountain Guide to lead your traverse
All lodging while on the traverse
All food while on the traverse
Lift Tickets in Chamonix
Transportation while on the traverse
Round trip airfare to from Geneva International Airport
Accommodation in Chamonix and Zermatt, while not on traverse. Please let us know your travel plans and we can help you with booking
Food while not on the traverse (any meals in Chamonix, Zermatt or extra food if we stop in Champex or Verbier)
Alcohol (will be available for purchase at the huts)
Alpine touring/ mountaineering gear (Please inquire for rental availability and cost)
Spare transceiver batteries (purchase new ones & check for correct size)
Insulated water bottle (Camelback or other hydration system)
Small thermos (optional)
All-weather ski pants (Schoeller type fabric)
Long underwear, shirt and bottoms (poly-pro/wool blends)
Fleece tops and bottoms (wind-stopper)
Warm socks (3 Pair)
Ski gloves / Mitts / Waterproof Outers (2 pair)
Gore-tex outer jacket / parka (with hood)
Gore-tex over pants
Down/Synthetic jacket (warm, “puffy” type jacket)
Toque (ski hat)
Sun hat (baseball cap or sombrero) & bandana
Other Important Stuff
Personal first-Aid & blister Kit (second skin, compeed, athletic tape, personal medications, Ibuprofen, etc…)
Sun block (high SPF rated or zinc-type ointment)
Camera & film (spare camera batteries and/or charger for digital cameras, plus USB connector)
Repairs & spares kit (for own model of A/T, telemark, or snowboard binding Systems)
Personal liquor supply, wine preferably in boxes (due to weight restrictions, beer is available at Lodge)
Headlamp or flashlight
Reading materials, notebook, pencil, map of Area (small one provided for use)
The Group will meet at Hotel Gustavia in Chamonix on April 10. Lodging for this night is not included. If you have other travel plans or time restrictions please let us know upon booking.
We will be staying in epic mountain refuges (cabins) with 4 or more guests per room. The refuges are very comfortable with hot showers, extensive wine lists, etc. They are fully serviced so there is no need to carry any extra gear. Beds with warm sheets and pillows will be standard.
In short, no. Because of the hut accommodations most/all accommodations on the tour will be bunk rooms. If you book as a group of 4 or more you may be able to get your own 4 person room. Please let us know if this is the case.
Whitecap and Whitecap International cannot make exceptions to the cancellation policy for any reason, including personal emergencies and weather.
All cancellations must be received in writing. If we receive your cancellation more than 10 weeks prior to the start of your trip, you have two options:
a) We are happy to rebook your reservation if you find an alternative date of the same season at Whitecap and McGillivray Pass Lodge, or Whitecap International.
b) We provide a full refund, less a $400 administration fee
If notice is received less than 10 weeks prior to the starting date, no money will be refunded.
For more information about our cancellation policy, please contact us by calling toll-free at 1.604.862.9757 or by email at info(at)whitecapalpine.ca
We strongly recommend that all guests purchase trip cancellation insurance and most importantly trip medical and evacuation insurance.
The specific is evacuation and repatriation insurance coverage, most travel policies do not cover this, please check with your provider to see if you are covered.
The food prepared at the huts is typical of the region and generally guests are blown away by the delicious meals. If you have dietary restrictions, please let us know and we will plan accordingly. Typically there are vegetarian options available.
Rental gear, both ski equipment, avy gear and some mountaineering gear, is available. Please inquire for availability and pricing.
There is a maximum of 6 guests per trip. Due to the flexible nature of the groups please check with us to see what dates are available.
No, there is a minimum number of guests required to run this trip. Please double check us to confirm your departure before you book airfare.