If all has gone as planned, by the time you read this your author shall be settled in to the Trient Hut in the Valais region of Switzerland. The first day of the Haute Route is the most challenging. I am looking forward to getting through this day. In addition to the long climbs and decents, we must be rapel down the steep Col du Chardonnet. Rapelling means we’ll be lowering ourselves from an anchored rope, with our skis on our packs.
So, prior to my hopeful arrival at the Trient Hut, here is the schedule from our guide service:
“After breakfast we will transfer to nearby Argentiere, take the cable car to the Grands Montets (3297 m.) and ski to the Argentiere Glacier.
From here we start to the Col du Charonnet (this is the repel portion) (3324 m.) and on to the Trient Hut (3170 m.)”
Just so you know I am not a complete shrinking violet when it comes to all of this. I have skiied most of my life and last year, with a group of friends (3 of whom have joined me on this trip) I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. But I am a little anxious, no doubt!
Here are the things I am worried about on this trip: glaciers, avalanches, having to wear a harness, and use equipment like crampons, carabiners and cordelettes!
Here are the things I am happy about on this trip (as compared to Mt. Kilimanjaro): I will be staying in a hut instead of a tent, we will not have to sleep at high elevations (no diamox — a drug to help with altitude sickness that makes you feel like a rare African spider is chewing at your feet), and, most importantly, they serve good food and wine at the huts (though I did love our chefs in Africa)!
So, a little bit on gear. Prior to departure, gear research was key. Our family friend, who I shall call “gear-lord” turned us on to the top jacket of the time. The jackets and sweaters by Mont Belle — out of Japan, offer the greatest amount of warmth for the least amount of space and weight.
We visited the flagship store in Boulder, CO and are happy to be travelling across the Alps with these beauties.
Look how small they are in their stuff bags!
Alpine Inspiration, a little closer to home:
I’ve written posts for each day I am on this trek. Included in most of my posts while crossing the Haute Route will be photographs from the lovely Gorsuch store in Vail, Colorado, the US mecca for chalet chic. While I am cozy in my Mont Belle, I have visions of these Gorsuch jackets, with their fine details, dancing in my head: