Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Chamonix. I had my perfect gear set. And far more quality food than I needed to start a week long hike. (Note the British Old Cheddar. Buying that imported merde is not chic in France.)
Effortlessly, I found myself atop the first high pass of many.
Effortlessly because I took a bus and cable car to get up to altitude.
My guidebook author Kev Reynolds would not approve. The best way to do the Haute Route is walking every step from Chamonix to Zermatt, 180kms or so.
Another guidebook editor, Hilary Sharp, advises not to walk underneath any working cable car.
Everyone I met doing the Haute Route cheated at one point or another.
My plan was to cheat on the lower valley sections, and opt to take every higher, longer, more scenic option. There are many trail alternatives on the Haute Route.
The main goal for the day was Fenetre d’Arpette, 2665m. It didn’t look so tough.
There is a lower trail alternative … but it was called the Alp Bovine route. (I translated that as COW PATH. Wanted nothing to do with it.)
Instead of sticking to the BORING regular trail, I over enthusiastically decided to climb the edge of the Trient glacier moraine.
That turned out to be a HUGE mistake. I ended up scrambling a cliff – for HOURS – to regain the trail. By the time I finally reached the pass it was close to sunset.
A gorgeous night, I pitched the tent right on the pass.