High, higher, Haute Route - Dream tour for professional ski tourers
Zermatt in the canton of Valais is easy to reach by public transport or by car via Täsch - from there also by train. You will find a wide range of accommodation in this lovely and historical place. Zermatt is a car-free zone and located just in front of the Matterhorn. We decided to first visit the mountaineers' cemetery, a highly recommendable sight for every Alpinist, before we went for our obligatory fondue.
After our first overnight stay we took the train to Schwarzsee early in the morning and then skied downhill to Stafel. Here, we applied the skins to our skis, assembled our equipment and began with the long ascent of the Zmutt glacier along the moraines and later past the Stockji peak. During this ascent you can see the Matterhorn from its rather unknown southern face. It got steeper and we gladly used the heel lifters on our touring binding. The weather meant well. After a cold start, it got noticeable warmer once the sun came out. Shortly before the Col de Valpelline we followed our track towards the east, in the direction of the Col de la Tête Blanche. We instantly understood why this summit is called "Tête Blanche" ("white head"). A wonderful and pleasant ascent lead us to the summit on 3,707m, from where we enjoyed a sublime panorama view over the majestic 4,000-metre mountains.
The ski-run down the glacier was pure enjoyment but we had to pay attention to hidden crevasses. We had kept to the rocks of the Dents de Bertol, as found on the map, until we arrived at a plateau. Our ski skins had to be renewed. During the ascent we could already see the Bertol Hut. It sat enthroned on the frozen surface and looked pretty cool. The last few metres via the glacier towards the hut entrance were not steep but dragged on and we had to mobilise our entire energy. We stored our skis in a deposit below the hut and climbed up the ladder to the entrance. There was not much space and the toilet was built into the rock behind the hut, but we found it rather cosy. You can enjoy amazing views over the fantastic, alpine winter wonderland. The next morning, our descent down the almost upright ladder was icy cold and helped us waking up for the steep and long downhill run towards Arolla.
This ski tour is suitable for advanced ski tourers. Less experienced alpinists should always ask a mountain guide to join them.
It is also possible to plan this tour for three days. If so, you would be spending your first night in the Schönbiel Hut.
Prior booking at the SAC huts should not be forgotten.
- Full ski tour equipment incl. crampons
- For the snowboarders: alpine snow shoes
- Multi-layered weather protection wear, sun screen, sun glasses
- Harness, approx. 30-metre long climbing rope, Barryvox, probe, shovel, ice pick
- Food and at least 1 litre to drink per person (for example Tatonka's Hot&Cold Stuff)
- Cash for the hut
- Sleeping bag for the hut (made of cotton or silk) and anti-snoring ear protection
- First-Aid Kit (e.g. First Aid Compact by Tatonka) mobile phone in case of an emergency
- Ski tour map 283 S Arolla
- approx. 30-litre backpack (the models Vert 35 or Cebus 35 by Tatonka are perfect)
Summit: Tête Blanche, 3,707m a.s.l.
Metres in altitude: 1,150m
Map material: 283 S Arolla, 283 Arolla, poss.: 1347 Zermatt
Estimated time required without breaks:
Day 1 Zermatt – Bertol Hut: approx. 5.0 hrs
Day 2 Bertol Hut – Aroll: approx. 4.0 hrs
Text & Photos : ©Michi Bösiger