Hiking the Haute Route – the Selfmade Way

The Corbassiere Glacier

The Haute Route has been on my bucket list for quite a while since it’s simply a “must do” for hiking people living in Switzerland. Summer 2021was quite rainy but we caught one of the rare sunny weeks to do at least some part of the famous Haute Route.

The planning approach was relatively straight forward: I reviewed various web resources beforehand in order to get a general understanding of the situation. In the end we did only parts of the official Haute Route trail and went offtrack with our selfmade version which turned out to be a great idea. I used my favourite GPS apps (Gaia or Swisstopo) quite a lot which did a great job, even in offline mode.

Recommended links (some of them are in German):

Day 1: Trient – Relais d’Arpette

We started our trail on the pass close to Trient which we reached with the public bus. From Trient, we followed the family-compliant trail towards the Glacier du Trient. The Fenetre d’Arpette pass was covered in clouds but the trail was climbing softly with great views on the glacier. While the lower sections are pretty crowded with people, we met only a few folks on the pass and beyond.

The restaurant of the hut Relais d’Arpette is a nice place to stay with great views and very friendly staff. The local Rösti was world-class and is strongly recommended.

Day 2: Relais d’Arpette – Cabane Brunet

We took the bus to Liddes since we didn’t want to spend too much time in the more crowded valley areas. From Liddes, you climb up (quite steeply) to the Col de Mile and then continue on more flat trails to Cabane Brunet.

Day 3: Cabane Brunet – Camp

From the hut it took us easy 3 hours to reach the Cabane FXP Panossiere hut where we made a short break and enjoyed the amazing views on the Glacier de Corbassiere. On the way to the hut you also cross the steel bridge at the lower end of the glacier which is quite an experience. Then we climbed over the Col des Otanes pass which was still covered with a bit of snow and decided afterwards to leave the official route and do an extra tour around the Lac de Mauvoisin in the next 2 days. It is covered partially by the Route de Val de Bagnes.

Day 4: Camp – Mauvoisin

This day again was super sunny with hardly any clouds in the sky which made the climb up at the end of the lake quite exhaustive. We decided to skip the visit of the Cabane de Chanrion and directly headed back on the other side of the lake towards Mauvoisin. The trail was completely empty until late afternoon when we met people that climbed up to the hut. We thought about crossing the pass into Italy, but decided against it due to timing constraints.

Day 5: Mauvoisin – Lourtier

This day was probably the roughest with over 2000 meters downhill. From Mauvoisin, the trail softly climbs up towards the Col Du Sarshlau and you walk mostly in the shadows in the morning. Once you reach Lac de Louvie, it’s nice to view it from above but we didn’t feel to climb down. Additionally, on the other side of the valley you can follow the route you took the days beforehand, which was quite interesting to see. We continued via the Col du Termin and climbed down to Lourtier where our hiking part of this trip ended – the rest was more about relaxing.

Conclusion:

This trip was a great view into the first part of the Haute Route and we already agreed to come back and discover the second part of it one day. It was definitively worth it – also not following the main route was a great experience and provided us amazing views on glaciers, mountains and lakes.

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