When we were kids our parents took us hiking in the Alps. We loved Switzerland and when we left the flat and tiny country Belgium is and drove to those majestic mountains, each year again our mouths would fall open, we’d rubb our eyes like as if we couldn’t believe something like that really existed.

Now when I write hiking, I mean “real hiking”. Na a not to the nearest swimming pool, but rather we’d hike high up to snowy passes, across glaciers, … We’d get up at 5 in the morning and start hiking at first daylight to make sure we’d be able to cross the glaciers before the midday sun would make the ice all mushy and soft. We weren’t fast but hell we always did it and we were proud as can be when we reached the pass, the hut or the summit. One time we climbed towards Cabane de Bertol and met a belgian climbers team hiking the Haute Route. My brother (who was 9 or 10 back then) joined them towards the hut and reached the hut first. Man he rocked it!!! Anyway that was the first time I heard about the Haute Route. At the age of 11 I actually never thought I’d ever hike the Haute Route myself (even though my dream back then was climbing Mount Everest haha).

Me, my sister, my brother and mom
Yey we made it to Cabane de Bertol…. and we looked like freaks hahaha… Mom, me, my brother, my sister
Hiking across the Glacier de Pièce towards Cabane de Vignettes

So here I am now, 20 years later and 20 years older, yet still the same child at heart… with crazy dreams, stupid thoughts and a huge love for nature.
Daniel (who is waiting to get a decent trailname on the PCT next year -holy shit I’m sooo curious what it’s gonna be… He wants it to be “Yoda” but I told him: No way you’re gonna get what you want just like that… na aaaa)… Till then I’ll call him “Big Badger”) and I actually were thinking of hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc this summer, but it seems like the TMB is totally overcrowded in the summer season, so instead we’re gonna hike the High Route. The high route is probably as known as the TMB, and I guess can be crowded too, but we’re not gonna follow the classic routes.

There are a variety of High Routes to connect Chamonix with Zermatt. There’s the classic Haute Route which is a magnificent glacier trek of 7 days. And then there’s the Walker’s Haute Route, which avoids glaciers but takes a bit longer (about 12 days). We’re gonna do some of both and mostly are gonna search our own route from one valley to the other.

I’ve been studying the maps (I absolutely LOVE maps! and I could spend hours dreaming over maps, studying the routes, searching for the best way to connect two places – I’ve been doing that since I was a child…allright I must admit I was a rather strange kid) and found a route I wanna follow. Though of course in the end it all depends on what the conditions are gonna be. You can find the perfect route on a map, but when the weather ain’t right for that route, it’s just not ment to be. Hiking in the high mountains and mountaineering seems to have become more dangerous the last couple of years (I guess due to the climate change), and though I like a bit of risk, there’s no way I’m gonna endanger my life deliberately. So when the weather ain’t right for glacier trekking, you’ll find me hiking in the valley :cP Safety to me is a combination of several factors and using your common sense is one of them!!! (As are: being able to read maps, to interpret weather signs, having outdoor skills,…)

So here’s the plan: Take the train to Martigny-Switzerland on the 30th of june. Take the Mont Blanc Express to Argentière-France. Hike for 13 days and find our way across the mountains, valleys and glaciers to Zermatt.

Of course Big Badger and I wanna go as “light” as possible. We both wanna have a BPW under 5kg/10lbs. So I’m not taking my ukulele this time (damn a “Sound of Music”-scene actually would’ve been fun!). But the journal and water color kit are definitely coming with me!!!
Our gearlist is gonna be simular to our PCT gearlist. We mainly wanna try out how our mountain set-up is working (I know you can’t compare the Alps with the High Sierra, but still… mountains) and if we should make some changes. We’re bringing lightweight crampons, a light rope (we won’t bring a rope for the High Sierra, but when crossing glaciers in the Alps, you just gotta be prepared), and we’re gonna try to use my Western Mountaineering sleeping bag as a two person quilt (we’d love to take a Zpacks two person quilt on the PCT but I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get the money together). As I’m currently in Belgium (and all of my gear is in Germany) I can’t post an accurate gearlist but I’m gonna try and do that when I come back ;c)

Resupplying along the Haute Route is easy peasy lemon squeezy. We’ll get to a little village at least every second day so to start with we’re just taking a few breakfasts, a few lunches, a few dinners and some snacks. Yey my mom has a dehydrator so I made some yummie dinners, dehydrated hummus for lunches and dried some fruits to add to my oatmeal in the morning. Oatmeal? Fuck I bought instant oatmeal again! Didn’t I hate oatmeal on the JMT? Jep I did. But I thought maybe the european instant oatmeal doesn’t taste as sugary as the american. I just bought some this afternoon, so I better try it tomorrow morning before I start hating myself again for it on trail haha. It’s just that oatmeal is so super light and easy to pack… I have to try it one more time before I completely give up on it ;cP

That’s gonna make two great dinners

Holy fuck I can’t wait to be out there again. It’s been waaay too long since I’ve done some serious hiking. This hike is gonna take me to the places of my childhood so Big Badger is gonna have to put up with my “Oooooo I’ve been heeeeeeeeere!!!” and  my “Aaaaa I remember!!!” haha! It’s gonna be amazing!!!
I won’t be updating my blog while I’m in the mountains (as always I’m just taking my camera, no other electronic devices) but I’ll be writing my journal and I hope to tell you all some good stories when I come back.

Till then: HAPPY TRAILS!!! 
(And for those currently hiking the JMT: YOU LUCKY BASTARDS!!!!!!! ENJOYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!)
Love, 
Cat
Better not fight it and just go right!? :c)

3 thoughts on “Getting ready for the Haute Route / High Route Chamonix – Zermatt

  1. Wonderful how your excitement is contagious through your writing, Cat! Have a great time, love the photos/picture and look forward to reading about it when you get back.

    Like

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