Mt Blanc to Matterhorn – day 1

Trip report by BestHike editor Rick McCharles. 

day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | info

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.)

Cheddar and Diet Coke
Cheddar and Diet Coke

Effortlessly, I found myself atop the first high pass of many.

Rick at Col de Balme, France
Rick at Col de Balme, France

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.)

that small lower notch is the "Window"
align=”aligncenter” that small lower notch is the \”Window\”

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.

sunset from the Window
sunset from the Window

A gorgeous night, I pitched the tent right on the pass.


See the rest of my photos from day 1.

on to day 2

day 0 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | info

6 Replies to “Mt Blanc to Matterhorn – day 1”

  1. in the begining of june it s possible to have snow.The question is, at what altitude is the snow( it changes evry year). To know that, i check on the webcam of Chamonix and Zermatt. There is also the weather information on
    Most of the refuge open mid june. In june and october there is not a lot of people on the trek… (the mountain is brown and the trees are yellow in october)… i prefer june and july all is green!!

  2. Great blog! Just curious- if you are tenting, how many days of food do you need to carry on you at one time? Can you restock each day or every few days or ???

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