+ Trek the Eastern stages of the Haute Route into Zermatt
+ Successive days of mountain passes
+ Cabane de Moiry and a series of good hotels
Latest news October 2019
Our 2020 dates and prices are up! Availability is great at this early point. Please ask us about a trip - thank you.
Our East groups complete the second half of the Walker's Haute Route. This goes from Arolla to Zermatt. We cross col after col, into German-speaking Switzerland and finally into the Mattertal... the valley at the end of which is Zermatt.
Our full Walker's Haute Route is the well-known trekking route, not the original, Classic Haute Route that is a glacier trek involving mountaineering. On this Eastern section we spend first and last days in the valley, either side of a main stretch of 4 stages each with a new pass to cross. This guided trip spends one day between St Niklaus and Zermatt, our groups normally taking the valley path into Zermatt. There might be the option of a daywalk on part of the higher Europaweg, if the group wishes it and if conditions allow it.
Our wonderful leaders show the way, on our Haute Route program as on all of our routes. We keep our groups small, for friendliness and flexibility.
There is just one hut on this East week, Cabane de Moiry, in its fantastic setting above the glacier of the same name. The hut involves dormitories; other nights are in hotels or auberges in each Swiss village.
HREg Walker's Haute Route East (Guided)
19 July to 18 September 2020
Prices in GBP
|Scheduled guided trips|
|Private trips only||
|Private trips only|
|Private guided trips|
All stops except huts
Here is our normal schedule of 6 stages:
Arrival day: Arrive in Arolla
Your trip starts on arriving at your hotel in Arolla. This small village is at the end of the road in Val d'Herens, among high peaks like the Pigne d'Arolla. The group eats dinner together in the hotel.
Hotel in Arolla
Stage 1: Arolla to La Sage
Red2 grade, 10.5km with 260m ascent, 590m descent
This is a relatively easy valley walk to start the week. Take in the lush countryside between Arolla and Les Hauderes, typical Valaisian villages. There is an option to see Lac Bleu as a detour. Still in Val d'Herens, finish with a short uphill walk to the hamlet of La Sage.
Hotel in La Sage
Stage 2: La Sage to Cabane de Moiry
Red4 grade, 12km with 1680m ascent, 520m descent
This is a stage of three sections: up, down and up again to Cabane de Moiry. The pass is the Col du Tsate, followed by a long drop to the foot of Glacier de Moiry. At that point we are in the basin near the Lac du Moiry, often a turquise blue in the sun. Our final climb is beside the glacier to Cabane de Moiry, perhaps the best-sited of all our Haute Route huts. Its modern extension offers tall windows over the glacier.
Stage 3: Cabane de Moiry to Zinal
Red3 grade, 12.5km with 530m ascent, 1680m descent
A traverse and a relatively short climb lead to Col de Sorebois. This is a grassy col overlooking the two upper sections of the Val d'Anniviers. Then we descend, steeply at the end but with a cable car option, to Zinal. Zinal is a village at the head of the valley and has good options for dinner.
Hotel in Zinal
Stage 4: Zinal to Gruben
Red3 grade, 15km with 1250m ascent, 1110m descent
A traversing path gains height from Zinal with long views back to the head of the valley. Higher up, reach the Forcletta pass. We now enter the German-speaking part of the Valais. Gruben is a small village in the quiet Turtmanntal valley.
Auberge in Gruben
Stage 5: Gruben to Grachen
Red3 grade, 13km with 1080m ascent, 1790m descent
The Augstbordpass at 2,893m is the last pass before the valley of Zermatt is reached: the Mattertal. The ascent should feel very manageable, being well-angled and full of interest. Drop to Jungen above the Mattertal valley and with views into its upper reaches but not yet to Zermatt or the Matterhorn themselves. A last descent in woods brings us to St Niklaus, where we catch the local bus up the hill to Grachen, a resort on a sunny shelf.
Hotel in Grachen
Stage 6: Grachen to Zermatt
Black4 grade, 21km with 1440m ascent, 1270m descent
We set off for the last stage by taking a picturesque wooded mid-height route to Mattsand, and thereafter following the valley to Randa and Zermatt. Depending on the current state of the Europaweg and the group's wishes, we might be able to offer some sections of this high-level trail, for example from Randa up to the Europahutte and along, and the stats above assume this hardest option. Arriving in Zermatt is a special experience with the Matterhorn high above. (Time is available to complete the link from St Niklaus to Grachen if you wish.)
Hotel in Zermatt
Departure day: Depart from Zermatt
Breakfast in Zermatt is a treat. Afterwards, take the train out of the valley and connect to the Swiss network for Zurich or Geneva airports. Please ask us to advise on onward Swiss travel.
Our usual schedule of accommodation might not be available, especially if there is not much time between booking and your trip. We book accommodation as closely as possible to this itinerary and present a schedule for you to check before we proceed.
There is not too much to carry on the Walker's Haute Route. As per normal our trips do not include baggage transfer; we carry our own kit throughout. Whether joining a scheduled trip or a private trip, please ask us about our baggage transfer option. We also advise on sending kit ahead to Zermatt.
The Europaweg in 2019
We were thrilled in 2017 that the Europaweg's suspension bridge re-opened. This allowed our guided trips, which cover the St Niklaus to Zermatt stages in one day instead of two, to choose from the whole range of paths in this area. However, since our first Haute Route season in 2009, the solidity of the Europaweg trail has reduced and the risk from rocks overhead has increased.
For 2019, a rockfall on the first day of the Europaweg has forced a big diversion on this stage that is likely to affect trekkers all Summer. We will have full details, as every year, after our June and July recces. This does not affect our accommodation plan, and in practice does not affect our choice of routes on this day.
Swiss path gradings in 2020
Paths in Switzerland are undergoing classification as part of a country-wide scheme. Each part of the Haute Route within Switzerland is subject to such changes in nominal grade. Instances have occured of walking paths being given a grade that is beyond the remit of a walk leader (as per our IMLs); if it happens again then we will re-route the trek to cause as little disruption as possible such that your IML can legally lead your group.
Cabane de Moiry
Due to a re-grading of the ascent path to Cabane de Moiry in 2015, soon corrected, there is a small chance that if there is a recurrence we will have to swap from Cabane de Moiry to the our hotel in the village of Grimentz. We assume the Cabane but if the situation changes we will let you know.
Why Alpine Exploratory for your guided Haute Route?
We trek the full route, missing nothing
On completing this trek you'll have walked every step from Arolla to Zermatt, a fine accomplishment for a trekker. Cable cars, buses and trains are available in places, and the group can use them if needed, but the plan is to trek continuously. Nothing is worth cutting out!
Expert knowledge of the route
The same careful research that goes into our self-guided Haute Routes informs our guided treks too. We keep on top of changes to the route and we place a lot of emphasis on good relations with our hotels and huts.
Flexible, personal planning
As per our general ethos, even on our scheduled guided trips we like to be flexible. Single rooms are no problem, except at huts and some auberges where they're unavailable. (The single supplement takes this into account.) If you'd like extra nights in Arolla or Zermatt, please just ask us.
Small groups expertly led
Alpine Exploratory follows best practice in the mountains. Our leaders are all International Mountain Leaders and we keep to a maximum group size of 8 clients. The aim is a small, tightly knit group with an engaging leader, completing the Haute Route East with safety, proficiency and fun.
About us - more about what makes us tick
Route choices for Summer 2020
Paths in Switzerland are currently undergoing classification, section by section. Each part of the Haute Route within Switzerland is subject to such changes in nominal grade; we don't expect any, but if they occur then we will re-route the trek to cause as little disruption as possible such that your IML can legally lead your group.
The Europaweg is the 2-stage finish into Zermatt that traverses high above the Mattertal. Since our first season on the Haute Route in 2009, the route has steadily become less easy to walk; more prone to objective danger of rocks falling from above, and more compromised by detours necessitated by landslip. For 2020 we make the tricky decision to take our guided trips along the middle route to Mattsand and then the valley route via Randa to Zermatt, in one day. The finish is a fine one and brings you to Zermatt with many options for an extra day should you wish to spend it walking above Zermatt by yourselves.
Options (for private trips)
If you join us as a private group instead of joining our scheduled treks, then we can adjust your Haute Route East in various ways.
+ Add Hotel Weisshorn as a high alternative to Zinal
+ Stay in Grachen as an extra day (also 7 stages)
+ Favour auberges or huts or up the comfort with our best hotels
Of course, on a private trip you can come on the dates that suit you. Except for the composition of the group and the dates, everything else is the same as on our scheduled Haute Routes.
Walker's Haute Route East (Self-guided) - all the options
Our approach to the Haute Route East
This guided trek gives a complete journey on foot from Arolla to Zermatt. We take one day over the last section into Zermatt, not taking the whole Europaweg though depending on path conditions we might sample some of it. No transport is needed. (On some days there is a choice of routes and the possibility of a cable car, so by sticking to the group you might skip some sections.) Standardly our trip has 6 stages. Where the trail splits we try to follow the higher and more scenic alternatives, subject to trail conditions. These change year-to-year on the Haute Route, more than any other of our routes.
Haute Route terrain comprises wide tracks through forests, the odd country lane, zig-zagging hillside paths and steep, rocky mountain paths. In some places the paths are particularly steep and loose, for example on the final approaches to cols.
The Haute Route has no via ferrata or climbing sections and is a trek throughout, albeit a tough one. On the optional Europaweg into Zermatt, some loose and rocky corries need extra care.
How to get there
Your holiday starts in the small Swiss village of Arolla at the head of the Val d'Herens and ends in the Swiss resort of Zermatt in the Mattertal. Most Swiss airports work well but perhaps Zurich is the easiest for both, with Geneva a close second. Take trains to Sion for the bus up to Arolla, then from Zermatt take trains all the way.
Travel to and from the trip is not included in the holiday price. We take care to give the most useful notes possible about all the travel options. We supply these both on booking and in your info pack, and we offer personalised tips at any point. The aim is that our trekkers arrange their travel by the simplest and most scenic means as suits their plan.
Key information Summer 2020
Trip name: Walker's Haute Route East
Dates Summer 2020
Scheduled trips 2020
Private trips 2020
Please join us any time in our season from
19 July to 18 September 2020
Research Summer 2020
The Mattertal below (Photo gallery)
Alpine Exploratory's service
The Haute Route in the Alps
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