A Mini Haute Route – Day One

Eric invited us to join him on a Mini Haute Route (or High Route) in Switzerland. The full route takes you from Chamonix to Zermatt. Eric planned a three-day route from Lake Mauvoison to Cabin de Chanrion on day one, day two we hike to d’Otemma Glacier and up to Cabin de Vignettes, and on day three we summit Pigne d’Arolla and then descend to the village of Arolla. Brent and I had never been mountaineering before and this trip required crampons, icepicks, and harnesses.

We were excited to depart Verbier for the trip…Eric is more confident than Brent and I. We set out on foot to the cable car to descend into the village below Verbier where we would meet our guide Paul and begin the drive to the lake.

Brent and I had been to this lake before when we visited Laura and Eric for their wedding six years ago. It’s the same place Laura twisted her ankle and had to be carried out by a friends. We hoped for a safer journey today.

And from above…

The photos are all courtesy of Eric who’s a fantastic photographer. We wondered through meadows like this on our hike. The first day was warm and sunny – it’s incredibly beautiful.

We met some friendly cows on our way and stopped for a picnic lunch along the way.

You can see the waterfalls that surrounded us as we traveled. They’re all from the melting glaciers high above.

We passed several small lakes along the way and crossed through several scree fields.

The first day was essentially all uphill as we ascended in altitude.

The scale isn’t clear in the photos. The landscape is vast and the scenery is breathtaking.

The first day’s hike was about 5 hours. Below is a photo of the hut we stayed in called Cabin de Chanrion. There are 100’s of huts throughout the Alps. The huts we stayed in are all owned by the Swiss Alpine Club and are staffed but the hut guardian’s who’s job is to maintain, clean, and cook for alpinists.

After arriving at the hut, above, we decided to head off to explore the surrounding lakes and vistas.

Brent found a quiet spot for a good think…

As the clouds rolled in we headed back to the hut for games, dinner, and sleep. Tomorrow were heading up a glacier.

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