/ NEW ARTICLE: The Haute Route by Nickinscottishmountains

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Michael Ryan - on 02 Feb 2006
Nickinscottishmountains admits that "On skis I resemble a newly-born giraffe at the best of times," but that doesn't stop him completing the most famous high-mountain ski tour in the world. If you have ambitions to do the Haute Route his story will give you valuable insight into what it takes.

http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=176
Pete W on 02 Feb 2006 - c83-250-223-22.bredband.comhem.se
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:

Brilliant! I did the Classic Haute route about 15 years ago along with other classics in the Silvretta & Stubai areas. The article really brings it all flooding back, especially as since that time I haven´t done any touring. Great photos too. Am dettermined to do the Haute Route on Telemark skis before I´m too old.

Paul Parkers classic Telemark bible "Free-Heel Skiing" finishes off with a short tale of a one-legged man finishing The Haute Route on the tenth anniversary of loosing his leg.

Nice work Nick & thanks. Pete
Doug on 02 Feb 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com:
Nice article Nick, and brings back memories. My first ever ski tour in the Alps was the 3 cols (which is effectively day 1 of the Haute Route, plus a ski down to Le Tour) & also the first time I'd skied with a CAF group all of whom were dubious of my telemark gear. First turn after leaving the pistes at Gt Montet I took a tumble confirming their worst fears I suspect. Fortunately things got better as I got used to skiing with a rucksac & my skis (had spent most of the winter up to that point xc skiing in the Vosges).

I don't know what you used for info, but to any one thinking of trying, Peter Cliff's 'The Haute Route' is the best guidebook (so good it was translated into French) although François Perraudin's 'La Haute Route - Chamonix Zermatt' (also in german) is much prettier to look at but more of a cofee table souvenir book
Guy - on 02 Feb 2006
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com: Nice one Nick, it very much reminded me of our trip. Three of us with this being my first ski tour and the others having done a couple of day tours each. We actually bailed on our fourth day down to Arolla from the Bouquetin hut due to too much snow on the Col du Brule. We had moutaineering experience including some Himalayan stuff but had never toured.

I think we all learned a lot from that trip like you, lightweight axe is a great idea! In fact make everything as light as possible as it not only helps on the climbs but also when you have to ski. We were lucky in that we managed to skin the whole way from Bourg St Pierre to the top of the Plateau du Couloir so didn't have to carry our converted downhill skis which weighed a ton. Kick turning on my second day at the top of that slope is something I will never forget!!
In reply to various: Hi Doug, Yeah, Cliff's book is the way ahead, much fuller description than the one in O'Connor's book. We photocopied the relevant pages from Cliff then laminated them ont the back of A4 colour copies of the map, so that instead of dealing with whole maps we had the whole thing on A4 sections that could simply be stuffed down the jacket - far more manageable.3 cols looks like a nice tour.

Hi Guy - the situation of ther Bouquetins hut is amazing, isn't it? Looks like a hut htat's well worth taking hte extra kit to stay in. Does anyone know how well equipped it is? Obviously food and a stove would need to be taken there, but are there blankets inside?
In reply to Guy: "We were lucky in that we managed to skin the whole way from Bourg St Pierre to the top of the Plateau du Couloir" that must have been awesome! When we were there there were folk doing huge off piste descents from Mont Velan on the other side of the valley. I like the Velan hut too - wicked architecture.
Doug on 02 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: I stayed in the Bouquetins once, there was fire wood , a wood burning stove & blankets plus enough left behind pasta to make for a pleasant stay despite the very little food we had with us - we weren't planning to stay but we judged the snow to dangerous to continue to the Vignettes as planned (we had come from the Shoenbielhutte) - we spent an afternoon watching the slope we had just skied down (the Col du Brulé) avalanching. Next morning we woke up in a storm so bailed out to Arolla
McGus on 02 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:

great article Nick! I think you meant to say that you "copied word for word the relevant pages by hand writing them and then laminating them..." didn't you ;)

Angus
Dave - on 02 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
>Does anyone know how well equipped it is? Obviously food and a stove would need to be taken there, but are there blankets inside?

I've spent three or four nights in the Bouquetins. There are blankets, pots and pans, mugs, plates, utensils, a wood store and a great woodburning stove on which you can cook. We spent two days there sheltering from a raging blizzard at the end of our Haute Route attempt. It was so windy one night that a Swiss guide who was there made his clients get fully kitted up, including boots, in case the roof blew off. He then dialled up the rescue services on the emergency phone at 2.00 am to inform them we were there and asked for the weather forecast. After that he calmed down a bit. Great place.

Dave
In reply to McGus: Err...yes...of course...how could I be so foolish?! Hope you are well. could I swing by and grab the dvd tomorrow after work?
In reply to Dave: Jeez, that must have been quite a hairy experience. Looks a great hut, will go there sometime soon.
McGus on 02 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: yup, will be in until about 5.45 - heading off to Chamonix on Saturday! Yay.....

hope the ice is nice! two days based in Servoz then off to wherever the ice is good - Cogne or Kandersteg perhaps..

I'll keep mobile on tomorrow in the office so text me.

A
Guy - on 03 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains: we couldn't believe it, as we were prepared to put the crampons on after the first two hundred metres but the conditions were just perfect to keep skinning. Funny thing is we set off a bit late to let everyone get going as we were inexperienced and didn't want to hold people up, yet we somehow ended up first up to the plateau as all the others stepped aside! I guess the rest were guided groups and were taking it easy, whereas we were pushing on to make the Bouquetins Hut that day.

I really fancy the route from the St Bernard Monastery via the Velan Hut and you have just sold it even more. Ahhh more plans for the future.
In reply to Guy: "really fancy the route from the St Bernard Monastery via the Velan Hut". There is a massive descent on this bit, what a run it must be. There are plenty of other small variations to be had; the Singla hut looks a cool place to hole up for the night, and there's a way from the Otemma to the Col Chermontane that avoids the Vignette hut, so you could go Chanrion to Bouquetins in a day, then Bouquetin at leisure to Z. Also the way in from Verbier past the Dix looks good. All good reasons to go back and vary the route.
gus1226 on 04 Feb 2006 - cache-los-ac04.proxy.aol.com
In reply to Mick - UKClimbing.com: Great article - brought back many memories of more or less the same route. We had a false start and ended up at the Argentiere hut to find it hadnt opened so returned to Argentiere. This allowed us to dump a ton of gear - we were carrying far too much. The next day we went straight to Trient Hut. After Zermatt we took the train up (gornergrat?) and then tranversed to Saas Fee.
Guy - on 07 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
"and there's a way from the Otemma to the Col Chermontane that avoids the Vignette hut, so you could go Chanrion to Bouquetins in a day, then Bouquetin at leisure to Z. Also the way in from Verbier past the Dix looks good. All good reasons to go back and vary the route."

I think you are refering to the route we took when we went from the Valsorey to the Bouquetins in one day. It is a reasonable route, quite steep but not excessive. I would like to do the Portons route via the Pigne d'Arolla if I was going from the Chanrion to the Bouquetins as that looks really nice.
http://www.cosleyhouston.com/alp-ski/hr-d2d/hr-day6.htm
There are so many options and so little time!
In reply to Guy: I reckon C to B is a good option, as it buys time for the last day if conditions/weather look poor.You're right, so much to do..
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Dave - on 07 Feb 2006
In reply to nickinscottishmountains:
> (In reply to Guy) I reckon C to B is a good option, as it buys time for the last day if conditions/weather look poor.You're right, so much to do..

Thats what we did. Chanrion to Bouquetins in the day via the Otemma Glacier and the (checks map..) Glacier and Col du Petit Mt Collon. If the weathers looking dodgy it may give you a bit off extra time, or with a really early start push all the way to Zermatt.

Dave




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