Haute Route Imperiale 2019

The "Royal Haute Route“ leads from the sleepy Val’Anniviers in a southerly direction to Zermatt through some of the most spectacular and high alpine terrain of the Swiss Alps. The tour will take us to the Turtmannhut, the Cabane de Tracuit, Cabane de Grand Muntet and the Schonbielhut before heading down to Zermatt.

April 22, 2019 - April 27, 2019

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult

Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience

Fitness Level: Strenuous

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 3:1,6:2
The "Royal Haute Route“ leads from the sleepy Val’Anniviers in a southerly direction to Zermatt through some of the most spectacular and high alpine terrain of the Swiss Alps. The tour will take us to the Turtmannhut, the Cabane de Tracuit, Cabane de Grand Muntet and the Schonbielhut before heading down to Zermatt. Come and and tour with us in the shadow of the Weisshorn, Bishorn and the Pointe de Zinal. This High Route is more demanding and lonelier than its famous neighbor to the west - the Classic Haute Route. Prior ski touring experience and some basic crampon skills are a must for this spectacular traverse. 
All photos are courtesy of Rinaldo Borra.
Day 1: Our objective of the day is the Hotel Weisshorn (2337 meters) high above the little town of St. Luc. We will get there in part via lifts and then a great first day tour around the little summit of Bella Tola. 
Day 2: From the Hotel Weisshorn we will summit the Omen Roso (3031 meters), then descend into the lonely Turtmanntal and finally ascend to the Turtmannhut (2519 meters). The Turtmannhut is located right at the base of the spectacular Turtmann glacier. 
Day 3: Our goal is to get to the Cabane de Tracuit (3219 meters), but the Bishorn (4153 meters) is "on the way and begs to be summited. This is a big day in a fully high alpine atmosphere. The view of the Weisshorn from the summit of the Bishorn will not be forgotten. 
Day 4: From the Cabane de Tracuit, we will keep moving southward. We will start by skiing down towards a pass near Roc de la Vache (2581 meters). From here it is all about getting to the Cabane de Mountet (2886 meters) via the glacier de Zinal. The views will be worth the effort. 
Day 5: The terrain just keeps on getting bigger. From the Cabane de Mountet we have to ascend to the Col Durand (3436 meters). The ascent in the shadow of the Dent Blanche (4357 meters) and the the Mont Durand (3713 meters) can only be surpassed by the view that opens up at the Col Durand. This col is located directly to the north of the Matterhorn (4478 meters) and the Dent d'Herence (4174 meters) and provides an unforgettable panorama. From the col we ski the spectacular descent down to the Schonbielhut (2694 meters) and onward to Zermatt. Your street clothes will be there for you already.
Day 6: This day is intended to be a weather day. 
Included in the cost: Guide fees, lift and hut fees, breakfast and dinner, hotel night in Zinal before the start of the trip and hotel night in Zermatt at the end of day 5.
Not included in the cost: Trip cancellation insurance, rescue insurance, dinner in Zinal, lunches and beverages during the week, hotel night in Zermatt at the end of day 6.
Please take note of this! Depending on conditions and time of year it might be more favorable to start the Tour in Zermatt and do it in the other direction. This tour is also known as the Tour de Ciel, but largely follows the route of the Haute Route Imperiale.
Day 1: We will take the lift to the top of the Schwarzsee ski area sector, ski down under the Matterhorn North Face to the base of the Zmuttglacier and then tour up to the Schoenbielhut at 2694 meters.
Day 2: Right out of the hut we will begin the steep ascent to the Col Durand at 3415 meters, ascent Mont Durand at 3712 meters before skiing down the Glacier Durand under the wild Ober Gabelhorn North Face. A short final ascent will get us to our final destination of the day - the Cabane de Mountet at 2886 meters.  
Day 3: With 4000 feet of elevation gain, this is one of the bigger days of the week. From the Cabane de Mountet, we will ascend to the summmit of Blanc de Moming at 3657 meters, before skiing down the wild Glacier de Moming. It would be tempting to hang out at the Cabane d'Ar Pitetta, but the tour keeps going to the Col de Milon at 2990 meters, and up to the Cabane de Tracuit at 3256 meters. 
Day 4: As soon as we leave the hut we are in Swiss German country again. Via the Turtmanngletscher we get to summit the only 4000 meter peak of the week - the 4153 meter high Bishorn. The views from its summit will not soon be forgotten. From the summit we have a long descent back to and past the Cabane de Tracuit. We keep skiing down the glacier and leave it just before its final icefall, traverse over the shoulder of the Adlerflueh and ski straight to the Turtmannhut at 2519 meters.
Day 5: From the hut we have a solid 1000 meter ascent to the summit of the Barrhorn at 3610 meters. From here we descend to the Schollijoch and ski down to the lonely Topalihut at 2674 meters. 
Day 6: From the hut we climb up to the Wasuhorn (3343 meters) via the Wasujoch. The last descent down to the beautiful alpine village of Jungen leads us through the lonely Jungtal. The final gondola ride down to St. Niklaus alone is worth the visit. 
We will then transfer back to Zermatt via a short train ride. 

Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental. 
Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999. The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.
If you are in need of any of these items, please visit our online retail shop, Pro Ski and Mountain Service
BASE LAYER: Men's, Women's
• 1 Bottom - Midweight or Lightweight
• Non-Cotton Underwear
• 1-2 Tops - Midweight or Lightweight
• 2-3 Pair Sock Liners
• 2 Pair Ski Socks
• Soft Shell, Windshirt, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
• Soft Shell  Pants
OUTERWEAR: Men'sWomen's
• Lightweight, Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
• Waterproof/Breathable Ski Pants
• Warm Hat
• Sun Hat (baseball or visor)
• Ski Gloves
• Lightweight Gloves
• Down or Synthetic Jacket
• Day Pack (25-40L)
• Headlamp (Lightweight LED recommended)
• Water Bottles (1-2 L, wide mouth)
• Sunglasses (adequate for snow travel)
• Goggles
• Sunscreen (SPF>25, Waterproof)
• Lip Balm (SPF 15+)
• Personal Toiletries
• Small Personal 1st Aid Kit: Blister Repair (Compeed™), Aspirin, Ibuprofen, etc.)
• Waterless hand cleaner- there is no running water in the huts
• Earplugs - essential for sleeping
• Skis with touring binding: Alpine Touring or Telemark 
 Ski Boots (Alpine Touring or Telemark - No Downhill Boots)
• Ski Poles (recommend telescopic poles, but not required)
• Climbing Skins
• Ski Crampons - REQUIRED
• Ski Brakes
• Transceiver (single frequency,  457 kHz only, new batteries at start of trip)
• Shovel (compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred) 
• Probe (dedivated probe only, ski poles do not suffice)
 Ice Axe - 55-70 cm length, lightweight
• Boot Crampons - STEEL ONLY; NO ALUMINUM!, check fit prior to departure
• Anti-Balling Plates - fit to crampons
• Climbing Harness - lightweight, BD Alpine Bod style.
•  2 Locking Carabiners- (1) large HMS style and (1) regular locker
•  2 Non-locking Carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
•  1 Single Length Runner
•  1 Double Length Runner
•  1 Cordelette - 6 mm diameter, 6 meter length
 OPTIONAL ITEMS *We highly recommend these items, but do not require them*
• Camera
• Skin Wax
• Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-Rain brand waterproof notebook works
• Altimeter - Suunto watch works well
• Sleep Sack - lightweight silk or cotton
• Warm Socks - to sleep in
• Thermos - vacuum type
• Compass
• Altimeter (Suunto watch works well)
• Foot Powder
• Cash - see note below
• Groups 1st Aid Kit
• Ropes
• Technical Group Gear and VHF radio

  ➢We recommend bringing cash for use in the huts to purchase snacks, lunches, and drinks.  Water must be purchased and costs approximately $7 per liter.   Most Pro Guiding Service customers have found bringing $200 to $250 in the local currency allows for a good hot meal in the afternoon and plenty of drinks (including beer) for a six-day hut trip. 


Should I tip my guide? And how much should I tip them? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.