The Imperial Crown Haute Route derives its grand name from the spectacular range of 4,000m peaks that encircle the Val d’Anniviers, including the Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn and Dent Blanche. This is the heart of the Peninne Alps, stunning ski touring terrain and richely served by welcoming huts. Travelling with a guide will give you the opportunity to truely explore the mountains and glaciers of this quintessential Swiss region.
Travel to Zinal aiming to arrive by late afternoon. Evening welcome meeting and briefing with the guides. Stay overnight in Zinal.
We start with a warm-up day on the slopes above Zinal. There are several easy day touring options to get us ready for the week ahead. We return to our hotel for a second night.
We depart Zinal for Zermatt usually by private minibus or we can take the train. We take the lifts up to Schwarzsee and ski from there along the Zmuttgletscher to the Schonbiel Hutte, where we spend the night.
We leave the hut early and descend a short way below the hut and then skin up the Howanggletscher for approximately 1000m to the Col Durand. The first part of the skin can be quiet technical and it is sometimes necessary to boot up the last 100m with crampons. Summit options around the Col Durand exist before we make a long and impressive descent of the Glacier Durand. We have a final short skin to the Cabane du Grand Mountet.
Plan A would be to leave the Cabane and skin up the Glacier du Mountet for about 900m to roughly 3700m, where we join the Arete du Blanc and from there we traverse the ridge westwards on crampons with skis on our packs. The ridge is about 800m long and takes us towards the summit of the Blanc de Moming. This is one of the finest ski mountaineering ridges in the Alps. From the summit we ski down the Glacier de Moming, often in powder snow, under the steep flank of the East face of the Besso before exiting the glacier. We then have a final skin for about an hour to the Cabane d'Arpitettaz.
Plan B - in case the ridge is in poor condition we would descend the Zinal glacier to 1900m altitude and then skin the 900m up to the Cabane d'Arpitettaz.
From the cabane we head northwards and cross the winter Col de Milon where on the north facing side we often have a fantastic 300m descent. This is followed by a 500m skin to the Cabane de Tracuit; famed for its spectacular picture windows overlooking the Zinal Valley. In the afternoon we often ascend the Tete de Milon or rest up for the Bishorn, our objective for the next day.
Ascent of the Bishorn (4153m), one of the few 4000m peaks in the Alps that can be ascended on skis. Up and back from the cabane takes about 3-4 hours. After a quick pit-stop for tea and cake we descend back to Zinal and return to our hotel for the night.
Depart after breakfast.
The price includes all guiding fees and expenses, 3 nights B&B hotel accommodation, 4 nights half-board accommodation in mountain huts.
The price does not include travel to / from Zinal, local transfers and uplift costs, 3 evening meals, lunches and beverages.
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Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming to one of our Ski Tours.
During the tour you will be staying most nights in catered high mountain huts and will need to carry all the equipment and clothing you require for the duration of the tour. The huts are comfortable but basic with limited facilities.
Any clothing or other items not required on the tour can be left in a travel bag at your first hotel ready for your return on the final night.
We recommend keeping the weight of your pack as light as possible. If you are new to alpine multi-day ski touring, try taking your pack out on the slopes before the tour to see how it feels. You quickly realise the benefit of ‘skiing light’.
If you are uncertain or need further information, don't hesitate to contact us.
For all touring trips it is essential you ski with an all-mountain/freeride type skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings then you will need to rent skis. The same applies if you have downhill ski boots, you will need to rent ski touring boots.
For alpine ski touring we recommend an all-mountain/freeride touring ski that isn’t too heavy, a really lightweight ski comes at a cost to performance on the descents so are only recommended for really good off-piste skiers with a strong interest in ski touring.
There are plenty of great skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from the following manufactures:
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
If you are planning on buying skis for ski touring and general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us to discuss the options available to you.
It is essential that you have ski touring boots for all touring trips as walking up hill is much more comfortable in these types of boots with a walk mode and great flex. A dedicated touring boot or a hybrid freeride boot is best.
Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used for touring but they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack plus canister. So unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
Over a long multiday tour every gram of weight is important as you have to carry and move it yourself. Carrying a heavy pack will hinder and tire all but the most experienced and fit ski tourer.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
Food and Water
We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favorite hill snacks. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food with you that you can supplement your dinners with. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs.
You have to buy bottled water in the huts as usually any running water is non-potable. Bottled water is expensive in French and Swiss huts; you can be paying upto 12-16CHF per 1.5L bottle of water. So please ensure you budget for this cost.
Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country consisting of 26 Cantons, with Bern as its main federal city.
It is boarded by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Its a landlocked country with the mountainous regions occupying a greater part of its territory.
Home to around 8 million people (2013) the country has many pretty villages, lakes and mountains. The highest mountain in Switzerland is the Monterosa (specifically the Dufourspitze) at 4,634m. The country has the highest concentration of 4000m peaks at 48.
Its 2 largest cities of Zurich and Geneva are global economic centres and gateways to the Alps from countries across the world.
Its main languages are French, German, Italian and Romansh.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
All our ski tours are led by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
We spend the first, second and last night in the Hotel Besso in Zinal. This is a comfortable 3* hotel in the village centre with a cosy atmosphere.
The other 4 nights are spent in traditional alpine mountain huts. The Swiss huts are renowned for good food.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.