The Walkers' Haute Road: Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn (Trailblazer Guides (Paperback))

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9781905864089: The Walkers' Haute Road: Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn (Trailblazer Guides (Paperback))
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The Alps offer almost unlimited adventure, and the Walkers’ Haute Route is probably the single finest way of getting deep into these mountains. Trekking the Walkers’ Haute Route, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, from Chamonix to Zermatt, you’ll traverse one of the finest stretches of the Pennine Alps the mountain range in the western Alps that stretches between Valais in Switzerland and Piedmont and the Aosta Valley in Italy. A 13-day walk over 11 ridges in 113 miles (180kms), it isn’t technically demanding and the rewards are immense.

 

  • 60 maps 13 town/village plans (Chamonix, Argentière, Le Tour, Trient, Champex, Sembrancher, Le Chable, Arolla, Les Hauderes, La Sage, Zinal, St Niklaus, Zermatt) and 47 large-scale trail maps including 8 day-walk maps (1:25,000) showing times, gradients, where to stay, interesting features
  • Practical information for all budgets Chamonix through to Zermatt: where to stay (campsites, gîtes, hostels, B&Bs, lodges and hotels), where to eat, what to see, plus detailed street plans
  • Detailed background information The Alps, the history of mountaineering, trekking and tourism in the region and profiles of some of the key characters (eg Jacques Balmat, Michel Paccard and Edward Whymper) who first tackled the peaks
  • Comprehensive public transport information for all access points

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About the Author:

Alexander Stewart is the group products manager at Stanfords, the travel map and bookshop in London. A keen walker he has hiked in Africa, Asia, South America and Europe.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

  As the train began its downward rush towards the Swiss lowlands I saw the Alps there swept over me a thrill of pure excitement and amazement such as comes to a human being only once or twice in a lifetime. Fortunate are those who gain the vision of the mountains at an early age, and splendid their adventure.’ Francis Sydney Smythe

 

The Alps offer almost unlimited adventure, and the walkers’ Haute Route is probably the single finest way of accessing these mountains and experiencing the adventure on offer there. Trekking from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, from Chamonix to Zermatt, the walkers’ Haute Route traverses one of the finest stretches of the Pennine Alps the mountain range in the western part of the Alps that stretches between Valais in Switzerland and Piedmont and the Aosta Valley in Italy. Negotiating 11 ridges over 180kms and taking 13 days to complete, the trek is not for the faint-hearted. However, it isn’t technically demanding and for those with the stamina and stomach for it, the rewards are immense.

            More than two centuries ago, when Paccard and Balmat forged their way to the top of Mont Blanc for the first time and Whymper won the race to be first to stand on the summit of the Matterhorn, few could have realized the effect these achievements would have had. In the wake of these bold, audacious pioneers came first a few tourists, and then many, many more. Nowadays the slopes of both Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn are thick with climbers and trekkers. There’s a cable car three quarters of the way up Mont Blanc. Huts support the hundreds of people who struggle to the summit every year. Apparently benign and serene, yet still claiming dozens of lives every year, the mountains have borne witness to the whole spectrum of Alpine history. Once the abode of dragons and the redoubt of monsters, they have become a challenge to mountaineers and walkers alike.

            Upon reaching the summit of the Matterhorn for the first time, Whymper recorded in his book the delightful, unassumingly titled Scrambles Amongst the Alps that, We remained on the summit for one hour, One crowded hour of glorious life”. It passed away too quickly, and we began to prepare for the descent.’ Traditionally the classic Haute Route was done as a high-glacier traverse. The walkers’ Haute Route is different in that it follows paths historically used to move between valleys and uses non-glaciated passes to cross from one to the other. It boasts unlimited moments of wonder and awe, though, that linger and remain with you long after the day has passed. Travelling across the grain of the land means that there are repeated ascents and descents through a wide variety of scenery and terrain. From every high point there are immediate, unparalleled views of the giant peaks clustered together, whilst in every valley there are hidden secrets and evidence of traditional Alpine ways of life.

            Despite all of the attention and interest, the peaks remain unsullied, their wilderness undiminished. In his Ode to Mont Blanc Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote of the giant brood of pines’ swaddling the mountain’s flank before describing how, mesmerized, he watched rainbows stretch across waterfalls and listened to the noise of the River Arve and the eagles soaring above. Two centuries on the landscape has changed little and although there are more people searching for that crowded hour of glorious life’ described by Whymper, it doesn’t take much effort to discover that, as Shelley noted, the Alps remain remote, serene and inaccessible’, a place where silence, seclusion and wilderness are still a very real possibility.

 

With a group or on your own?

Switzerland has an outstanding network of tracks and trails that are in the main well managed and preserved. By trekking, you are able to access some of the finest, most spectacular scenery in an already very beautiful country, and experience some of its finest wilderness. The walkers’ Haute Route is one of the finest multi-day treks in Europe and an excellent way to explore the Alps. In most places the trail is clearly cut, well-graded and intelligently signposted, meaning that it is fairly straightforward to follow and thus open to people of even modest ability. There are, however, a couple of wilder sections and a couple of high passes that inexperienced trekkers might not feel completely comfortable attempting alone. In this case consider signing up with an agency or trekking outfit who will guide you through the mountains.

            Because the trek drops out of the mountains to the towns and hamlets scattered throughout the valleys, there is the option of staying in accommodation other than just mountain huts. For those who like hot showers, home comforts and a bit more privacy, for example, there are hotels and chalets. Equally, if you don’t mind roughing it a bit, hostels and dorm-share options are also widely available all along the route.

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Book Description Trailblazer Publications, United Kingdom, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English. Brand new Book. The Alps offer almost unlimited adventure, and the Walkers' Haute Route is probably the single finest way of getting deep into these mountains. Trekking the Walkers' Haute Route, from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn, from Chamonix to Zermatt, you'll traverse one of the finest stretches of the Pennine Alps - the mountain range in the western Alps that stretches between Valais in Switzerland and Piedmont and the Aosta Valley in Italy. A 13-day walk over 11 ridges in 113 miles (180kms), it isn't technically demanding and the rewards are immense.*60 maps - 13 town/village plans (Chamonix, Argentiere, Le Tour, Trient, Champex, Sembrancher, Le Chable, Arolla, Les Hauderes, La Sage, Zinal, St Niklaus, Zermatt) and 47 large-scale trail maps including 8 day-walk maps (1:25,000) showing times, gradients, where to stay, interesting features *Practical information for all budgets - Chamonix through to Zermatt: where to stay (campsites, gites, hostels, B&Bs, lodges and hotels), where to eat, what to see, plus detailed street plans *Detailed background information - The Alps, the history of mountaineering, trekking and tourism in the region and profiles of some of the key characters (eg Jacques Balmat, Michel Paccard and Edward Whymper) who first tackled the peaks *Comprehensive public transport information - for all access points. Seller Inventory # APE9781905864089

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