Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
France, Switzerland
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TWH
Activity Rating - Challenging
Challenging

You have a good level of fitness and are looking for a physically challenging holiday.  Previous experience is essential for activity based trips.

15 Days Flight Inclusive
15 Days Land only
Min age: 18

Trip Overview

The Haute Route is one of Europe's best known long distance ski-touring routes; running roughly parallel is a spectacular summer trek from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. Covering approximately 100 miles, it links the valleys of the Haute Savoie in France to the Swiss Valais. Following our guide (IML), our tour passes beneath ten of the twelve highest mountains in the Alps. Walking through a landscape scattered with glistening glacial lakes and lush, undulating valleys by day whilst sleeping in remote alpine huts and under canvas by night.

At a Glance

  • 11 nights camping, mostly in good campsites with hot showers; occasional wild camps; 2 mountain huts; 1 village inn (dormitory style)
  • 10 days point-to-point walking; 3 days light backpacking
  • Vehicle support and dedicated camp support leader throughout
  • Altitude maximum 2965m, average 1525m

Trip Highlights

Enjoy spectacular mountain scenery and some of the best walking in the Alps Challenging walking amongst the highest concentration of 4000m peaks in the Alps Visit the exciting high alpine towns of Chamonix and Zermatt

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 5 - Challenging and some of the days are indeed challenging with up to 1600m 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 holiday you need to be confident that 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. We will be walking on mountain paths throughout and this trip is not advised for severe vertigo sufferers.

There is one qualified International Mountain Leader (IML) that accompanies the group throughout and it is their decision if you will be able to 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.

Whilst camping the support leader will erect your tent but in the morning you will be expected to pack away your own tent (these are modern pop up style 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 you should 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 take note that this can sometimes be a little tricky dependent on where on the route you are. To reach the next point you will need to take a public bus or train (which run at limited times) or taxi (which can be expensive when in a more remote location). 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 walking distances listed below are approximates. We have decided the most accurate method is to map the routes carefully using google earth. That said it is impossible to obtain a completely true figure of the distances walked. Regarding GPS - due to the inherent inaccuracies of defining an exact waypoint with a GPS and the cumulative overall inaccuracy this causes, you may find that our distances and GPS distances you obtain on trek with your personal GPS/phone, may differ by quite a margin. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Download our Fitness Training Guide for more information on our Activity Levels.

If you have any concerns about your suitability for this trip or questions regarding the grading, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please note: On this trip it is essential to have helicopter evacuation cover within your travel insurance.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

We provide a qualified International Mountain Leader to escort the group on each walking day. Our walking leaders are true mountain professionals as well as being skilled group leaders. This not only helps to assure safety on the mountain but also the benefit that your leader has experience and knowledge of wider mountain environment such as flora and fauna, geology, weather and local customs. Our support leaders are also vital members of the team and insure that 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:
14

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start at Les Bossons, near Chamonix

    Start at the campsite in Les Bossons. Wonderful views from the campsite of Mont Blanc and the Bossons glacier, especially at sunset. In theafternoon 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 the 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 stunning Grand Balcon Sud from Chamonix to les Frasserands

    From Les Bossons (1012m – 3320ft) we have a short bus journey to Chamonix from where we take a gondola to Plan Praz (2000m – 6560ft). The trail today is named the 'Grand Balcon Sud' and is a must do trek for anyone visiting the area. The trail contours on the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc and has excellent views of the whole massif lying to the south. We walk from Plan Praz to Flegere (1,900m – 6230ft) and onwards to Les Frasserands (1371m - 4500ft) where we finish our day. If timings allow we will climb to the picturesque lac Blanc (2252m 7390ft).

    8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 565m – 1850ft up, 1015m –3350ft down

    Campsite: Pierre Semard, Les Frasserands

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
  • Day 4

    Cross Col de Balme to Switzerland.

    We begin by climbing steeply to the Aiguillette de Posettes (2201m/7200ft), descend a little and then ascend towards the Col de Balme (2,191m/7190ft) where we walk across the border from France to Switzerland. 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 (1,296m/4250ft). Good views of the Trient Glacier. 

    7.5 hours walking, 1120m/3670ft up, 710m/2330ft down

    Campsite: Camping Triet, Trient

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 15 km / 9 miles
  • Day 5

    Over Fenetre d'Arpette to Champex

    In good weather we take the trail adjacent to the Trient Glacier to cross a high, rocky pass known as Fenetre d'Arpette (2,665m/8740ft) before descending steeply into the Arpette Valley (1,627m/5340ft) and down to our campsite in Champex (1,486m/4880ft). In poor weather we would take the lower trail, which climbs first to the Col de Forclaz (1527m/5010ft) from 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. 

    9 hours walking, 1350m/4430ft up, 1200m/3950ft down

    Campsite: Camping Les Rocailles, Champex Lac

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
  • Day 6

    From Champex the trail leads to Verbier and on to Cabane de Louvie

    From Champex we walk down to Sembrancher (717m/2350ft) then travel by train and cable car to the ski resort of Verbier (1,490m/4880ft) and then onwards to Ruinettes. (2200m/7260ft). Our afternoon walk starts on a broad easy trail with views of the Grand Combin and of 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 (2652m 8750ft) before descending to Lac du Louvie and our overnight stay at the Cabane de Louvie (2214m/7300ft)

    The path today is quite committing and if the weather is poor, or there are problems with the cables cars, or snow on the path we may need to take an alternative route from Sembrancher. We travel by train and bus up valley to Fionnay (1,495m/4880ft). From the here we ascend steeply through dramatic open hillside to reach our first mountain hut, the Cabane de Louvie (2,242m /7400ft) on the shores of the Lac de Louvie (a very scenic spot!) from 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 re-join it in two days’ time. 

    8 hours walking, 550m/1800ft up, 1180m/3900ft down

    Mountain hut: Cabane de Louvie

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 19 km / 12 miles
  • Day 7

    Cross the highest pass of the route, Col Prafleuri (2965m). Views of Rhone Valley, Mont Blanc, the Grand Combin and the Matterhorn

    A dramatic day with two passes to cross. We start with scenic traverse around the shores of lac de Louvie before a reasonably steep accent to our first col, Col de Louvie (2921m/9580ft) and onwards towards the Grand Désert, a rocky section of glacial moraine. If we're lucky we may spot herds of Ibex. We pass by small tarns fed by the outflows of the glacier and ascend for our second pass the Col Prafleuri (2987m – 9800ft) - 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 (2624m – 8600ft). Again the support vehicle will be unable to reach us so we will be doing light backpacking to this remote mountain hut.

    8 hours walking, 1000m/3300ft up, 550m/1800ft down

    Mountain hut: Cabane Prafleuri, nr Lac Dix

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 10 km / 6 miles
  • Day 8

    Long walking day with two passes to cross; overnight at Les Hauderes.

    Our route today starts with a short climb to cross the Col de Roux (2,804m/9200ft). We descend across large boulders to Lac Dix (2,364m/7750ft) and walk around its shoreline before climbing again above the glacier Dix, through meadows, which during the summer are quite often filled with edelweiss, to make a steep ascent on loose scree to the Col du Reidmatten (2,919m/9570ft), or more likely the ladders of Pas des Chèvre (2855m/2920ft). The ladders have been recently renovated and now provide an easier route over the ridge and consist of four sturdy near vertical ladders divided by solid metal gantry’s. Technically it is not hard but it is certainly airy and not suitable for vertigo suffers. 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 and charming village of Arolla (1,998m/6550ft), from where we catch a bus to Les Haudères (1,436m/4710ft). Here we are met by the support vehicle. 

    9 hours walking, 675m/2215ft up, 1330m/4360ft down

    Campsite: Camping Molignon, Les Haudres

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
  • Day 9

    Rest day

    A free day to relax. The twin villages of Les Haudères and Evolene lie in the most picturesque part of the Val de Hérens and there are many day 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 Hauders

    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’ll be rewarded with stunning views. We climb first to Villa (1,730m/5675ft) then on to cross the Col Torrent (2,919m/9575ft) and enjoy vast mountain views; the Pigne d'Arolla, the Grand Combin, the Weisshorn, and make a long descent past Lac de Moiry (2,249m/7380ft) to the woods above the picture postcard village of Grimentz (1,572m/5150ft). 


    9 hours walking, 1510m/4950ft up, 1290m/4230ft down

    Campsite: Wild Camping, Grimentz

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 19 km / 12 miles
  • Day 11

    Longest walking day with excellent views of the Weisshorn

    A long day that starts with a gentle walk through woods to reach the valley bottom at Mottec (1,556m/5100ft). From here there is a short but steep climb to join the main trail at a higher level with fine views of the Matterhorn and Ober Gabelhorn. The climb continues to today's col, the Forcletta (2,874m/9426ft) where we enter German-speaking Switzerland. We have views back to Grand Combin and possibly Mont Blanc as well. Descend, with views of the Weisshorn to the southeast, to the Turtman Valley and Gruben (1,822m/5975ft). 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.

    9 hours walking, 1345m/4420ft up, 1035m/3400ft down

    Hotel: Schwarzhorn (basic hotel), Gruben

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 21 km / 13 miles
  • Day 12

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

    We climb again to cross the Augstbord pass (2,894m/9490ft) 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 (1,955m/6410ft) and on to St. Niklaus (1,127m/3700ft) either by walking or by an optional cable car, from where we travel by train or taxi to our last camp at Randa (1,439m/4720ft). 

    8 hours walking, 1070m – 3500ft up, 1790m – 5870ft down (less 830m – 2710ft descent if taking optional Jungu cable car)

    Campsite: Camping Attermenzen, Randa

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 16 km / 10 miles
  • 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 prefect spot to snap reflected views of the Matterhorn) and onwards to the mountain hut Fluhalp 2606m. From here we have a long decent to Zermatt passing through old mountain hamlets with more stunning photo opportunities of the Matterhorn.

    8 hours walking, 1300m/4270ft up, 1010m/3310ft down

    Campsite: Camping Attermenzen, Randa

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
    Distance covered: 20 km / 12 miles
  • Day 14

    Optional trip to Zermatt

    From our camp near Randa it is a short train or minibus trip to Zermatt. Zermatt is an ideal place for a free day with lots of opportunities for short or long walks or one can simply 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 most spectacular the cable car ascent to Kleine Matterhorn.

    Campsite: Camping Attermenzen, Randa

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Randa

    End at the Campsite near Randa. At the end of your holiday the group departure transfer will arrive at Geneva Airport at approx. 11.00. The earliest a train could arrive is approximately 10.00 (although timings can change) and this would also mean very early start and a short taxi ride to the train station. Taxis directly to Geneva airport are very expensive. Please ensure that your return flight is late enough in the day to allow yourself time to arrive at the airport.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Camping, Mountain Huts & Village Inn

There are 11 nights camping, 2 nights in mountain huts and 1 night in a village inn. 

The campsites are mainly comfortable and modern with hot showers and electricity to recharge batteries etc. Many have a bar and WiFi and a lounge or sitting area to relax in. We provide a large communal tent (if we do not use the campsites communal area) where we eat at tables with benches and have an unlimited tea and coffee station, camp bar and some more relaxing seating such as inflatable sofas. The campsite are in stunning settings and sharing an after trek drink with newly made friends as the sun sets over a glaciated mountain vista is the perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors.

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

You will spend 11 nights camping in roomy 3 person tents, but with a maximum of 2 people per tent. We use modern dome tents incorporating a 210 cm x 210 cm inner tent with sewn in ground sheet and a supplementary 230 cm x 70 cm covered porch that is an ideal place to leave your walking boots and poles etc.  The tents are completely waterproof and packing them away should take no more than 3 to 4 minutes each morning. Single tents are available for a small additional cost as are camping mats and sleeping bags with liner and pillow. Our camping mats are a full length air and foam filled variety which are comfortable to sleep on and provide excellent insulation from the ground. Our sleeping bags have a synthetic filling, as opposed to feathers, with a 3/4 length zip and are rated for good warmth. 

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

Two remote campsite are a little more basic than average and do not have showers. 

Thermal matress hire: £32 - please request in advance with your sales agent.

Sleeping bag hire, pillow and liner: £63 -  please request in advance with your sales agent.

Single tent hire: From £120  -  please request in advance with your sales agent.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £130.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches and 12 dinners are included in this trip. On eight nights we take our evening meal in camp and 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 that should the times of flights 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: Will usually consist of coffee, tea, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bread, jam when in camp or in mountain huts; and coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, bread and jam when in mountain inns.

Lunch: Will normally include bread, cold meat, cheese, sometimes boiled eggs or tinned fish, fresh salad vegetables and fresh fruit.

Evening meal: Generally consists of a first course of soup or salad or other savoury dish, a main course of meat or fish with one or two vegetables or rice or pasta, a dessert course. Although tasty and nutritious the style of menu in restaurants in this part of Europe often lack in variety or quantity of accompanying fresh vegetables compared to menus we may be used to in the UK. The meals are prepared as a set menu for the whole group. Unfortunately there is limited flexibility to change the menu for individuals. 

Drinks are not included in the price of evening meals.

Vegetarians: We happily cater for vegetarians but please inform us at the time of booking.
If you have a vegan diet we recommend that you bring supplementary food and should expect that the variety of food may be limited whilst on this trip. As this kind of diet is relatively uncommon in this region it is difficult for our camping staff to get suitable produce, as well as being restricted to the number of different dietary requirements they can cater for.

If you take a vegan diet you should expect that variety of food may be limited whilst on this trip. As this kind of diet is relatively uncommon in this region we cannot guarantee that the hotels and restaurants will provide meals that have the necessary variety to be considered satisfying when on a more restricted diet.

Transportation

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 to and from Geneva airport.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

From late June to early October fair weather is to be expected, but all mountain ranges create their own weather patterns and the Alps are no exception. It can and does rain and especially on the high passes it can be surprisingly cold at times. Expected daytime temperatures are in the range of 15 to 25ºC in the valleys (although it can sometimes reach 30ºC in July/August), 5 to 15ºC on the passes (though it will feel colder if wet and windy) and 5 to 15ºC 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 will need to make early starts to make the most of the available daylights hours.

Weather Charts

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 15 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London
We normally use the scheduled services of Swiss International Airlines (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 15 days starting in Les Bossons and ending in Randa

Your trip normally starts at the campsite in Les Bossons on Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided it the Final Joining Instructions - sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Low cost airlines
It is possible to fly direct to Geneva with some budget airlines. It is likely that flights from regional airports will arrive at different times to the group flight from London; where this is the case a wait at the airport for the group transfer, or alternative transfer arrangements at your own cost, may be necessary (see below).

Alternative flight options: Bristol, Manchester, Gatwick, Luton, Liverpool, Edinburgh ‐ Easyjet. East Midlands ‐ BMI baby. Heathrow ‐ BA. City, Heathrow ‐ Swiss Air.

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.

Transfers Details

Transfers Details

A group airport transfer on arrival day is included for those on the group flight. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

Airport transfers on departure day are not included but we will help you to book the best value option, most probably the train but possibly a group bus, when you are on trip. You will need to pay for this departing transfer locally in cash. We can’t say what the price will be, as they vary, but it should be in the region of £50 to £70 per person.

Airport Transfers for land only itinerary

Those arriving on non‐group flights can join the group transfer free of charge (by prior arrangement only) if your flight arrives before the group flight. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if it has been booked for you by Exodus. Please check with the Exodus office if you are unsure whether or not a transfer is included. As mentioned group flights can be rescheduled, so you must check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense. 

For those arriving at different times to the group flight it is very easy to book a bus transfer with a local company and you should do this at least a week before your departure date. A shared transfer (with others who have booked with them also) will cost approximately €30 one way if booked in advance with our partner Mountain Drop Offs. Book on their website ‐ www.mountaindropoffs.com and quote the following promotional code EXOCHX. Unfortunately the discounted rates only run from 10 June to 17 September. Outside this time the full price will be charged.

Take The Train
Both Geneva Airport and Chamonix are easy to reach by train. If you book a train to coincide with the group flight timings there is a station inside Geneva airport itself. You are then welcome to join our free group transfer to Chamonix (by prior arrangement only). We recommend that you allow at least 1 hour for travel across Paris by Metro. Alternatively it is possible to get a train direct to Chamonix, the campsite is a 8 minute walk from the station.  It is only possible to reserve train seats 3 months before your departure date and our sales team will be happy to book this for you in cooperation with Rail Europe.

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: the equipment we use is of a high standard and includes easy to erect, roomy two person tents, dining tent, stools, lighting, all pots, pans, stoves, crockery and utensils. The support vehicle carries the camping equipment and your luggage from campsite to campsite whilst on the trek for all days. The support driver collects fresh supplies of food each day and will normally have the tents up and the kettle on by the time the walkers arrive in the afternoon.

4 season sleeping bag - some camps are as high as 1600m (over 5000 feet) surrounded by snowy peaks and glaciers; it can be cold at night. For the nights in mountain huts thick blankets are provided so you will only need to take your sleeping bag liner with you (sheets aren't provided).

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping mat or Thermorest; these can be bought locally in Chamonix

Sun hat, sun glasses and strong sun cream

Walking boots with good soles and ankle support (trainers are not suitable)

Good quality waterproof and windproof jacket (preferably Goretex or similar)

Waterproof trousers

Daysack of 30-40 litre capacity

Hat and gloves (even in August)

Light weight down jacket or warm 2/3 season fleece jacket and warm casual clothes for sitting in mess tent in the evening

Head torch

2 litre water bottle/ Camelbak

Walking poles

All luggage is transported between the campsites by support vehicle. Please note that we must limit you to one item of luggage (weighing a maximum of 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

Swimming costume/trunks

Umbrella

Gaiters

 Tupperware if you prefer a bit more protection for your packed lunch and to reduce plastic waste

Reading List

Chamonix to Zermatt, the Walker's Haute Route - published by Cicerone Press, written by K. Reynolds. This gives a good outline of the trek.

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. For further information contact Stanfords at Long Acre, London, WC2E 9LP. Tel: 020 7836 1321. Website: www.stanfords.co.uk

Practical Information

Passport

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Certain European nationalities may be able to travel within Europe on their national identity card. Check carefully with the relevant authorities if you intend to do this.

In anticipation of the UK leaving the EU, the UK government recommends that UK passport holders have at least six months left on their passport on the date of arrival to any EU country.

Visa

France

Switzerland

No visa required for British passport holders.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

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.

Vaccination

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Please note: On this trip it is essential to have helicopter evacuation cover. 

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

France's Timezone:
Europe/Paris CEST (GMT +02:00)
Switzerland's Timezone:
Europe/Zurich CEST (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

France's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC.

Switzerland's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins. 230 Volts AC. Switzerland also has a 3 round pin plug, which includes a grounding pin (type J). 

Money

France's Currency

The national currency of France is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (October 2017) of approximately 1.1 to the GBP,  0.84 to the USD, 0.67 to the CAD, 0.66 to the AUD and 0.59 to the NZD.

Switzerland's Currency

The national currency of Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (June 2017) of approximately 1.2 to the GBP,  0.96 to the USD, 0.74 to the CAD, 1.1 to the EUR, 0.73 to the AUD and 0.69 to the NZD.

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 to bring some on the trip.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunches on the three free days are likely to cost around €10 (approx. US$11) per day depending on whether you choose to eat picnic style or go to a restaurant. For dinners you should expect to pay between €17 and €34 (approx. US$19-38) per meal not including wine. You will also need money for drinks in cafés or huts during the day's walk and drinks in restaurants where we take our evening meal. Typically a large coffee or a soft drink would cost €4 (approx. US$5), a glass of beer €8 (approx. US9). A bottle of wine can be bought for approximately €12-€30 (approx. US$13-33) in these restaurants.

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

    • Cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi and return to Chamonix is approximately €65.
    • Cable car from Zermatt up to the Kleine Matterhorn and return to Zermatt is approximately 110 CHF.
    • Minibus from Randa to Zermatt is about 7 CHF one way.
    • Tandem paragliding flight: €130 from Brevent or Aiguille du Midi middle stations.
    • Mont Blanc Tramway, Saint Gervais - Nid d'Aigle €50 return.
    • Montenvers cog railways - Mer de Glace €33 return.

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 €35 per client (US$38) 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.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake 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.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances 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.

On all trips

In 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 you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 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.

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; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, 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.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

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. Book with confidence: 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 monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.