Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 18:05

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: France, Switzerland
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    5 out of 7 - Challenging

  • 15 Days: Flight Inclusive
  • 15 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 18+
  • Trip Code: TWH
  • Carbon Footprint: 12kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Hike a spectacular Alpine trail from Chamonix to Zermatt

The Haute Route is one of the best-known long-distance ski-touring routes in Europe; running roughly parallel is a spectacular summer trek from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. Covering approximately 100mi (160km), it links the valleys of the Haute-Savoie in France to the Swiss Valais. Following our guide, a qualified International Mountain Leader, we pass beneath 10 of the 12 highest mountains in the Alps. Walk through a landscape scattered with glistening glacial lakes and lush, undulating valleys by day and sleep in remote Alpine huts and under canvas by night.

At a Glance

  • 11 nights of comfortable camping, mostly in campsites with hot showers, occasional wild camps; two mountain huts; one village inn (dormitory style)
  • 10 days point-to-point walking; three days of light backpacking
  • Vehicle support and dedicated camp support leader throughout
  • Altitude maximum: 9,730ft (2,965m); average: 5,000ft (1,525m)
  • Option to travel by train to your adventure

Highlights

  • Enjoy spectacular mountain scenery and some of the best walking in the Alps
  • Challenge yourself among the highest concentration of 4,000m peaks in the Alps
  • Visit the exciting Alpine towns of Chamonix and Zermatt

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 5 (Challenging). For more information on our trip gradings please visit the Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.

Some of the days are indeed challenging with up to 5,250ft (1,600m) of ascent and, on other days, similar descents. On some days, when we cross glacial moraine, the terrain is rough and loose underfoot. There are also some steep sections with chains and ladders that are technically simple but not suitable for anyone who suffers from vertigo. The cumulated fatigue of hard trekking for two weeks should not be underestimated. As this is a group trip, you need to be confident your fitness will allow you to enjoyably walk at a consistent and steady pace that matches the group average, therefore allowing the group to finish the day at a reasonable time. You will also enjoy the trek a great deal more if your fitness allows you to walk the route in relative ease.

There is one qualified International Mountain Leader (IML) that accompanies the group throughout and it is their decision if you accompany the group on any particular day. For safety reasons, the group leader may also change their walking style from one where everyone walks at their own pace to one where the group walks together at the speed of the slowest, depending on the conditions, weather and visibility. This scenery on this trip is stunning and may well be the best walking you have ever done, but it is important to be prepared and have a high level of walking fitness and stamina.

While camping, the support leader will put up your tent; in the morning, you will be expected to pack away your own tent (these are modern pop-up tents that are very easy and quick to fold away and pack) and the whole group generally helps to load the support vehicle on the days when we move camp. After breakfast and on the nights when we eat in camp, expect to help with the washing up.

If you are unable to walk during the itinerary and want to opt out of a day, please note: this can sometimes be a little tricky. To reach the next point, you need to take a public bus or train (which run at limited times) or taxi (which can be expensive in more remote locations). Our support vehicle is not suitable for taking passengers, so please be aware of this when deciding to book this trip.

All ascents, descents and distances listed have been measured by our local partner using satellite-based mapping software. Please note, GPS measuring devices can give differing results, especially in mountainous terrain and on winding paths. Measurements stated throughout these Trip Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Please note: It is essential you have helicopter evacuation cover for this trip.

Please note: It is essential you have helicopter evacuation cover for this trip.

Group

We provide a qualified International Mountain Leader to escort the group on each walking day. Our walking leaders are true mountain professionals and skilled group leaders. This not only helps to assure mountain safety but also means you can learn from them about the wider mountain environment, such as flora and fauna, geology, weather and local customs. Our support leaders are also vital members of the team and ensure the camp is set up and ready when you walk off the hill (wherever practically possible) and hot, tasty and nutritious food is served.

Adult min age: 18

Min group size: 6

Max group size: 12

Itinerary

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn map

Land Only

  • Start City: Les Bossons
  • End City: Randa

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start at Les Bossons, near Chamonix

We begin our adventure at the campsite in Les Bossons, which has wonderful views of Mont Blanc and the Bossons Glacier, especially at sunset. In the afternoon, there is an introductory briefing by the trek crew.

Campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, Les Bossons

Meals included: Dinner

Day 2
Free day in the Chamonix Valley

This is a limbering up day and there are several good walks nearby. Alternatively, take the cable car (optional) to Aiguille du Midi for outstanding close-up views of Mont Blanc, the Chamonix Valley and the surrounding peaks.

Campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, Les Bossons

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3
Walk the Grand Balcon Sud from Chamonix to Les Frasserands

From Les Bossons (3,320ft/1,012m), we have a short bus journey to Chamonix where we walk to Les Praz and take the cable car to La Flégère (6,100ft/1,860m). The trail today is named the Grand Balcon and is on the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc, affording excellent views of the whole massif lying to our south. Initially, we contour and then climb to reach the high point of the day, Lac Blanc (7,715ft/2,352m). The trail descends and then contours high above the valley before dropping steeply to the hamlet of Les Frasserands (4,500ft/1,371m), where we take a scenic valley train back to our campsite. In the afternoon, there is a very short section of ladders/steep steps with handrails to descend.

Campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, Les Bossons

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Ascent: 1,640ft (500m); Descent: 3,215ft (980m); Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4
Cross Col de Balme to Switzerland

After a scenic train ride up the valley to Les Frasserands, we begin by climbing steeply to the Aiguillette de Posettes (7,200ft/2,201m), descend a little and then ascend towards the Col de Balme (7,190ft/2,191m) where we follow one of the paths across the border from France to Switzerland. Enjoy excellent views all morning of Aiguille d’Argentière and Aiguille du Tour and its glacier. After lunch, we descend to the small hamlet of Trient (4,250ft/1,296m) and enjoy views of the Trient Glacier.

Campsite: Basic camping, near Trient

Distance covered: 9mi (15km)

Ascent: 3,182ft (970m); Descent: 3,478ft (1,060m); Activity hours: 7hr 30min

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5
Over Fenêtre d'Arpette to Champex

In good weather, we take the trail adjacent to the Trient Glacier to cross a high, rocky pass known as Fenêtre d’Arpette (8,740ft/2,665m) before descending steeply into the Arpette Valley (5,340ft/1,627m) and down to our campsite in Champex (4,880ft/1,486m). In poor weather, we take the lower trail, which climbs first to the Col de Forclaz (5,010ft/1,527m) where we can look down into the Rhone valley. The Swiss town of Martigny is in sight far below as we follow the Bovine Route to Champex Lac.

Campsite: Camping Les Rocailles, Champex Lac

Distance covered: 8mi (13km)

Ascent: 4,429ft (1,350m); Descent: 3,937ft (1,200m); Activity hours: 9

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6
From Champex, the trail leads to Verbier and to Cabane de Louvie

From Champex, we walk down to Sembrancher (2,350ft/717m) then travel by train and cable car to the ski resort of Verbier (4,880ft/1,490m) and then to Ruinettes (7,260ft/2,200m). Our afternoon walk starts on a broad easy trail with views of the Grand Combin and the Mont Blanc Massif in the distance. The trail than narrows and steepens and we traverse around the southern flank of the Bec des Rosses to Col Termin (8,750ft/2,652m) before descending to Lac de Louvie and our overnight stay at the Cabane de Louvie (7,300ft/2,214m).

The path today is quite committing; if the weather is poor, there are problems with the cable cars, or snow on the path, we may need to take an alternative route from Sembrancher. We travel by train and bus up the valley to Fionnay (4,880ft/1,495m). From here, we ascend steeply through dramatic open hillside to reach our first mountain hut, the Cabane de Louvie (7,400ft/2,242m) on the shores of the Lac de Louvie (a very scenic spot) where we have great views of the Grand Combin.

Mountain huts have shared dormitory-style accommodation with basic toilet and washing facilities only. The support vehicle is unable to reach this hut, so we need to do some light backpacking until we rejoin it in two days’ time.

Mountain hut: Cabane de Louvie

Distance covered: 12mi (19km)

Ascent: 1,804ft (550m); Descent: 3,871ft (1,180m); Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7
Cross the highest pass of the route, Col Prafleuri. Views of Rhone valley, Mont Blanc, the Grand Combin and the Matterhorn

A dramatic day with two passes to cross. We start with a scenic traverse around the shores of Lac de Louvie before a reasonably steep accent to our first col, Col de Louvie (9,580ft/2,921m), and onwards towards the Grand Désert, a rocky section of glacial moraine. If we’re lucky, we may spot ibex herds. We pass small tarns fed by the outflows of the glacier and ascend for our second pass, the Col Prafleuri (9,800ft/2,987m) – the highest col on the route – with views of the Rosablanche and Mont Blanc de Cheilon. It is then only a short descent to the Cabane Prafleuri (8,600ft/2,624m). Again, the support vehicle is unable to reach us, so we will be doing light backpacking to this remote mountain hut.

Mountain hut: Cabane Prafleuri, near Lac Dix

Distance covered: 6mi (10km)

Ascent: 3,281ft (1,000m); Descent: 1,804ft (550m); Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8
Long walking day with two passes to cross; overnight at Les Haudères

Our route today starts with a short climb to cross the Col de Roux (9,200ft/2,804m). We descend across large boulders to Lac Dix (7,750ft/2,364m) and walk around its shoreline before climbing again above the glacier Dix, through meadows often filled with edelweiss during summer, to make a steep ascent on loose scree to the Col du Reidmatten (9,570ft/2,919m). Enjoy excellent views of the Pigne d’Arolla, Mont Collon and possibly the Matterhorn in the distance. Finally, a long descent brings us to the small, charming village of Arolla (6,550ft/1,998m), where we catch a bus to Les Haudères (4,710ft/1,436m). Here we are met by the support vehicle.

Campsite: Camping Molignon, Les Haudères

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Ascent: 2,215ft (675m); Descent: 4,364ft (1,330m); Activity hours: 9

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9
Rest day

Enjoy a free day to relax. The twin villages of Les Haudères and Evolène lie in the most picturesque part of the Val de Hérens and there are many walks in the area if you feel the need for a little more exercise. Alternatively, the scenic town of Sion, with its medieval quarter and many cafes and restaurants, is an easy bus ride away.

Campsite: Camping Molignon, Les Haudères

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 10
Past Lac Moiry to the picture-postcard village of Grimentz

Today, we have a big climb to reach our col where we are rewarded with stunning views. We climb first to Villa (5,675ft/1,730m) then on to cross the Col Torrent (9,575ft/2,919m) and enjoy vast mountain views (Pigne d’Arolla, Grand Combin and the Weisshorn) and make a long descent past Lac de Moiry (7,380ft/2,249m) to the woods above the picture-postcard village of Grimentz (5,150ft/1,572m).

Campsite: Wild camping, Grimentz

Distance covered: 12mi (19km)

Ascent: 4,954ft (1,510m); Descent: 4,232ft (1,290m); Activity hours: 9

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11
Longest walking day with excellent views of the Weisshorn

A long day that starts with a gentle walk through woodlands to reach the valley bottom at Mottec (5,100ft/1,556m). From here, there is a short but steep climb to join the main trail with fine views of the Matterhorn and Ober Gabelhorn. The climb continues to today’s col, the Forcletta (9,426ft/2,874m), where we enter German-speaking Switzerland. We have views back to Grand Combin and possibly Mont Blanc. Descend, with views of the Weisshorn to the southeast, to the Turtman Valley and Gruben (5,975ft/1,822m). This is the longest walking day. As there is no campsite in the Gruben valley, we stay in dormitories in a local auberge and our bags are brought up by the support vehicle.

Hotel: Schwarzhorn (basic hotel), Gruben

Distance covered: 13mi (21km)

Ascent: 4,413ft (1,345m); Descent: 3,396ft (1,035m); Activity hours: 9

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12
Join Zermatt Valley; descend to Jungu and St Niklaus, short transfer to Randa

We climb again to cross the Augstbord pass (9,490ft/2,894m) with good views of the Weisshorn and the ‘Dom’ and join the main Zermatt Valley high on its western side. We descend to cross the Emdbach and, soon after, get our first views of the Zermatt Valley plus the Weisshorn, Kleine Matterhorn and Taschorn. Descend to Jungu (6,410ft/1,955m) and onto St Niklaus (3,700ft/1,127m), either by walking or by an optional cable car, where we travel by train or taxi to our last camp at Randa (4,720ft/1,439m).

Ascent: 3,500ft (1,070m); Descent: 5,870ft (1,790m) – (less 2,710ft/830m descent if taking optional Jungu cable car)

Campsite: Camping Attermenzen, Randa

Distance covered: 10mi (16km)

Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13
Follow a high-level balcony path that contours along the valley towards Zermatt

For our final day of trekking, we walk directly from the campsite to the village of Täsch before ascending up to the Europaweg, a wonderful contouring path with spectacular views of the Matterhorn. Rising above the treeline and into a wild, rocky landscape, we pass by Stellisee (a mountain lake and perfect spot to snap reflected views of the Matterhorn) and onwards to the mountain hut Fluhalp at 8,550ft (2,606m). From here, we have a long decent to Zermatt passing through old mountain hamlets with more stunning photo opportunities of the Matterhorn.

Campsite: Camping Attermenzen, Randa

Distance covered: 12mi (20km)

Ascent: 4,265ft (1,300m); Descent: 3,314ft (1,010m); Activity hours: 8

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14
Optional trip to Zermatt

From our camp near Randa, it is a short train or minibus trip to Zermatt, an ideal place for a free day with lots of opportunities for short or long walks or to relax in town. There are also many excursions, such as the mountain cog railway to Gornergrat for spectacular views of the Gorner Glacier and Monte Rosa or perhaps the spectacular cable car ascent to Kleine Matterhorn.

Campsite: Camping Attermenzen, Randa

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 15
End Randa

Our adventure ends at the campsite near Randa. Your tour leader will help you book a train ticket (or other transport) for your return to Geneva Airport – please see the Joining Instructions section of the Trip Notes for further information.

Please note, the earliest a train could arrive at the airport is approximately 10am (although timings can change) and this would mean a very early start plus a short taxi ride to the railway station. Taxis directly to Geneva Airport are very expensive. Please ensure your return flight is late enough in the day to allow yourself time to reach the airport and check-in – we recommend a departure no earlier than 1pm.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation

Camping, mountain huts and village inn

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

The accommodation on this walking trip in the Alps includes 11 nights of camping, two nights in mountain huts and one night in a village inn.

Camp nights

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

Stunning mountain settings, communal living and a chance to switch off. For many, our camp nights are a highlight of the trip − sharing an after-trek drink with newly made friends as the sun sets over a glaciated mountain is the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors, after all.

Most of the campsites we use are modern with hot showers and electricity. Many have a bar and wifi, plus a lounge or sitting area. We provide a large communal tent (if we do not use the campsite communal area), where we eat at tables with benches and have an unlimited tea and coffee station, plus a camp bar.

Accompanying you throughout the trek is a dedicated camp support leader who takes care of the logistics and catering. Your tent is put up for you each night; in the morning, you should take it down, put your bag in the back of the van and wash your own breakfast dish. On four nights out of 14, you will also be asked to join a washing team and help with the dishes that night. A 20-minute job. Otherwise, you are free to relax and take in the beauty of the Alps.

Camping equipment

All our equipment is bought with comfort and practicality in mind, and we hope it represents a higher quality than most individuals would buy for themselves.

  • Tents: Spend 11 nights camping in roomy three-person tents, but with a maximum of two people per tent. We use waterproof dome tents incorporating an 82in x 82in (210cm x 210cm) inner tent with a sewn-in ground sheet and a supplementary 90in x 27in (230cm x 70cm) covered porch that is an ideal place to leave your walking boots and poles etc. Packing them away should take no more than five minutes. Single tents are available for a small additional cost as are camping mats and sleeping bags with liner and pillow.
  • Camp mats: Our air-and-foam camping mats are full-length, comfortable to sleep on and provide excellent insulation from the ground.
  • Sleeping bags: These have a synthetic filling, as opposed to feathers, with a three-quarter-length zip and are rated for good warmth.

Worth knowing

  • Two remote campsites are a little more basic than average and do not have showers.
  • Thermal mattress hire: £36 – please request in advance with your sales representative.
  • Sleeping bag hire, pillow and liner: £73 – please request in advance with your sales representative.

Single supplement from £ 145

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches and 12 dinners are included in this trip.

On eight nights, we take our evening meal in camp; on four nights, we take our evening meal in a nearby local restaurant or it is prepared for us by the hut or inn. The restaurant and hut/inn meals, which are prepared for us, are usually arranged as a ‘menu’ for the whole group and, as they are based on special negotiations made by us, represent better value than eating independently. On free days 9 and 14, dinner is not included and needs to be bought locally. Please note, should flight times change to arrive earlier, or depart later, additional meals will not be included. Please also note that no refund will be given for meals not taken or taken other than where designated.

Typical meals

Breakfast: Usually consists of coffee, tea, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bread and conserves.

Lunch: Picnic-style lunches will normally include bread, cold meat, cheese, sometimes boiled eggs or tinned fish, fresh salad and fresh fruit. You may wish to bring (or purchase locally) snack bars for an extra energy boost during the day.

Evening meal: Whether in camp or in a nearby restaurant, we endeavour to make dinner something to look forward to. Each day there will be a freshly prepared menu for the whole group consisting of:

  • A soup, salad or similar
  • A main course of meat, fish or vegetarian option served with a selection of vegetables and carbohydrates
  • A dessert

Beer, wine, bottled water, coffee, tea or other drinks are not included in the price of evening meals taken in restaurants. Coffee and tea are included with the evening meal when we eat in camp, and beer and wine are also available for purchase at a modest cost.

Vegetarians: We happily cater for vegetarians – please inform us at the time of booking.

Vegans: If you adhere to a vegan diet, you may find the variety of food offered to be limited, since veganism is relatively uncommon in this region.

The feedback we receive for the food we serve is great but please be aware that facilities and practicality forces us, and the restaurants we use, to put our efforts into making one excellent group meal with a vegetarian option. Of course, any allergies will be respected.

Transport

All transport mentioned in the itinerary and cable cars (except where these are marked as optional) are included. Transport and excursions on the three free days are not included. We normally use a private coach for the transfers from Geneva airport and trains back.

Weather & Seasonality

Expect fair weather from late June to early October, but all mountain ranges create their own weather patterns and the Alps are no exception. It can and does rain and it can be surprisingly cold at times, especially on the high passes.

Expected daytime temperatures are:

  • 15C-25C (59F-77F) in the valleys, although it can sometimes reach 30C (86F) in July/August
  • 5C-15C (41F-59F) on the passes, though it will feel colder if wet and windy
  • 5C-15C (41F-59F) in the valley at night, possibly a little lower early and late in the season.

There is always the possibility of lying snow, especially in the early season, and snowfall even in August and September when we may find new snow on the passes. Please be aware that on late-season treks (September) the days are shorter and we need to make early starts to make the most of the available daylight.

Joining Instructions

Key information

Start campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, 140 Chem. des Doux, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc
Phone: +336 13 41 12 50
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. There will be a welcome briefing in the afternoon, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately
Airport: Geneva (GVA)

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

Getting to the start campsite

The start campsite is approximately a 1hr 15min drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer
Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way
You can reach the start campsite relatively easily by public transport. You can book a bus transfer with a local company at least a week before your departure date. A shared transfer will cost approximately €50 one way if booked in advance with our partner Mountain Drop-offs. Book on their website (www.mountaindropoffs.com) and quote the promotional code EXOCHX for an approximate €5 discount. Discounted rates apply to transfers between 17 June and 17 September.

Alternatively, it is possible to take a train from Geneva to Chamonix via Saint-Gervais-les-Bains; you can then take the TER train to Gare de Les Bossons and the campsite is a short walk away. Tickets to Chamonix and onwards to Gare de Les Bossons must be purchased locally at Geneva railway station. Train seats to Geneva can only be booked three months before your departure date. Our sales representative will be happy to book a seat for you in cooperation with Rail Europe.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

Airport transfers on departure day are not included, but we will help you to book the best-value option (most probably the train) when you are on trip. You will need to pay for this departure transfer locally in cash. We can’t guarantee what the price will be, as it varies based on the time of year and availability, but it should be in the region of 55-80 Swiss francs (€57-€83) per person. Alternatively, you can book the train yourself at www.sbb.ch/en/home.html. The departure railway station is Täsch and we use the 6.25am train. A minibus transfer will be organised to take the group to the railway station in time for the train’s departure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Les Bossons
Location end: Randa

What To Take

Essential Equipment

All camping equipment is provided except for your own sleeping bag and mat.

You will need to bring:

  • Four-season sleeping bag – some camps are as high as 1,600m (over 5,000ft) surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers; it can be cold at night. For the nights in mountain huts, thick blankets are provided so you only need to take your sleeping bag liner with you (sheets aren’t provided).
  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Sleeping mat or Therm-a-Rest; these can be bought in Chamonix
  • Sun hat, sunglasses and strong sunscreen
  • Walking boots with good soles and ankle support (trainers/sneakers are not suitable)
  • Good-quality waterproof and windproof jacket (preferably Gore-Tex or similar)
  • Waterproof trousers (pants)
  • Daysack of 30-40 litre capacity
  • Hat and gloves (even in August)
  • Lightweight down jacket or warm two/three-season fleece jacket and warm casual clothes for sitting in mess tent in the evening
  • Headtorch (head lamp)
  • Large water bottle/Camelbak
  • Walking poles

All luggage is transported between the campsites by support vehicle. Please note, we must limit you to one item of luggage (weighing a maximum of 33lb/15kg) per person to be carried in the support vehicle. You should pack your belongings in a sturdy kitbag or holdall; suitcases should not be used, as they cannot be packed easily in our support vehicle. Exodus kitbags are available for purchase at £25, which includes postage, packaging and VAT. Please note that they are only available to residents of the UK.

Optional Equipment

  • Ear plugs
  • Swimwear
  • Umbrella
  • Gaiters
  • Tupperware if you prefer a bit more protection for your packed lunch and to reduce plastic waste

Reading List

Maps

The whole area is well covered by Swiss maps at either 1:50,000 or even 1:25,000. However, many sheets are required and it may be better to wait until arrival to see how many you really want to buy. At 1:50,000, sheets 5003 Mont Blanc-Grand Combin and 5006 Matterhorn-Mischabel cover all but a few corners of the route. Though not as detailed or accurate as the topographic maps, a good overview sheet is the Carte Panoramique Valais published by Hallwag, which gives an excellent feel for the countryside.

Practical Information

Visa

France

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter France. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.
Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.
• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/france
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/france
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/France.html

Switzerland

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Switzerland. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

• Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/europe/switzerland
• Canada: www.travel.gc.ca/destinations/switzerland
• United Kingdom: www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/switzerland/entry-requirements
• USA:  www.travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Switzerland.html

Vaccinations and Health

France

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Switzerland

There are no required vaccinations. However, you may want to consider vaccinations for tetanus, rabies and tick-borne encephalitis. Please confirm with your doctor or travel clinic.

Ticks are known to be present in this region and can carry lyme disease, tick-borne encephalitis and other diseases. Please take care to protect yourself. You can read more about ticks here.

If you’re a UK citizen, please note that your UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) are still valid and offer the same cover as the Global Health Insurance Cards (GHIC) in the EU. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and in some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance. Once your EHIC has expired, replace it with a GHIC.

Local Time

France's time zone: Europe/Paris (UTC +02:00)

Switzerland's time zone: Europe/Zurich (UTC +02:00)

Electricity

France's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and E (two round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Switzerland's electricity: Plug types C (two round pins, European standard) and J (three round pins) – 230V, 50Hz

Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn

Money

France's currency: Euros (EUR)

Switzerland's currency: Swiss francs (CHF), but euros (EUR) are widely accepted

ATM Availability

There are several cash machines at Geneva airport, Chamonix town centre and at several of the larger resorts en route; however, cash is often easier and we advise you bring some on the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunches on the three free days are likely to cost around €20/35 francs per day in a restaurant. Shops selling picnic food are also available. For dinners, expect to pay around €20/35 francs per meal, not including wine. You will also need money for drinks in cafés or huts during the walks and drinks in restaurants where we take our evening meal. Typically, a large coffee or a soft drink costs €4 and a glass of beer €8. A bottle of wine can be bought for approximately €12-€30 in these restaurants.

There are several extra excursions available in Zermatt and Chamonix, exact prices and details will be confirmed locally, but the following provides an approximate guide to what is normally available:

  • Cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi and return to Chamonix: €70
  • Cable car from Zermatt up to the Kleine Matterhorn and return to Zermatt: 120 francs
  • Minibus from Randa to Zermatt: 15 francs one way
  • Tandem paragliding flight: €135 from Brévent or Aiguille du Midi middle stations
  • Mont Blanc Tramway, Saint Gervais – Nid d’Aigle: €40 return
  • Montenvers cog railways – Mer de Glace: €35 return

Airport transfers on departure day are not included but we will help you to book the best-value option, most probably the train, when you are on trip. You will need to pay for this departure transfer locally in cash. We can’t say what the price will be, as it varies based on time of year/availability, but it should be in the region of 55-80 Swiss francs (€57-€83) per person. Alternatively, you can book a train yourself at www.sbb.ch/en/home.html. The departure railway station is Täsch.

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the walking and support crew at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. The sum you choose to give is entirely personal, but as a reasonable starting point, we suggest a contribution from €40 per client per leader. Smaller groups may wish to give a little more per person. It is customary and appreciated to leave a small tip when settling your drinks bill at group meals in restaurants.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People: How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • Income and opportunity are provided to locally owned campsites, transfer companies and restaurants in the destination communities. An emphasis is placed on eating locally produced food bought in nearby shops and supermarkets, and supporting local enterprises.
  • Several stops on our route are quite rural and the local people there depend heavily on tourism as a means of income; therefore, our visit greatly benefits them. In turn, the local population works hard to keep the area in good condition.

Places: How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • Read about our commitment to nature protection and restoration here, including our rewilding commitment for every customer who travels.
  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • Guides ensure that visitors always stick to official paths. The paths themselves are constructed to be robust and resilient to the traffic they support and are therefore less susceptible to erosion.
  • We recommend and encourage everyone to use rubber stoppers on their walking poles to minimise erosion.
  • Generally, camping uses much less energy than a hotel. By their very nature, campsites are green, open spaces and the surrounding areas are usually kept wild. On this trip, we camp on 11 out of 14 nights.
  • Walking trips like this have very little detrimental impact on the environment and the locals, as it is a quiet, low-impact activity requiring comparatively few resources to support.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste. On this trip, we recommend drinking tap water, which is safe to drink, thus eliminating the need for plastic water bottles, and also encourage visitors to reuse sandwich bags (or bring them from home). When buying food for included lunches, we buy in large quantities with a reduced need for packaging.

Planet: How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about our climate action here, including our carbon reduction and compensation commitments.
  • Some campsites on the itinerary have solar panels to help heat All campsites have measures that help to limit water usage; this is usually a push-button timer on the tap.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances. When dinners are not cooked in camp, we use local, family-run restaurants who serve locally produced and freshly prepared meals.
  • Although meat is a dinner option on most days, we have adapted menus to serve more and more vegetarian and low-meat dishes that contain a high proportion of fruit, vegetables and natural non-processed ingredients.
  • All transfers in the local area use public buses or electric trains. Airport transfers are shared between five trips, reducing the need for multiple transfer vehicles.

Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own reusable water bottle on this trip; tap water is safe to drink.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.