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Summer Haute Route

24/09/2014



After a very wet start to the summer I was praying for sunshine for my Chamonix-Zermatt Haute Route with a big team of Aussies in the middle of August. Fortunately, the Gods were listening, and after about 6 weeks of almost constant rain we were blessed with wall to wall sunshine for the whole week !

The team of 10 guys had flown from Australia and were fairly jet-lagged as we ran through the briefing in Chamonix. Due to the size of the group we were to be joined by fellow Guide Tim Blakemore, and I had no doubt that this would be a fun week.

I think it's fair to say that the guys did not quite realise what they were letting themselves in for. Fitness levels in the group varied considerably, and some had perhaps been mis-sold the trip by their friends. However, being red-blooded Aussie guys, nobody was going to be the first to quit. And so began the nightly ritual of comparing blisters and asking how tough the next day was going to be.

In fairness, I think the Haute Route is sometimes underplayed by people. Most days are quite tough, and it is not possible to compare it to something as simple as the Tour du Mont Blanc or even an ascent of Kilimanjaro. Most days are around 8 hours, and you are at high altitude from the minute you start. Perhaps calling it "Europe's toughest trek" would be a better way to do it.

Anyway, despite the hardships, the guys dug deep and every man made it to Zermatt. It had been 6 tough days, walking over the glaciers, and enjoying stunning views all the way.The weather could not have been any better, and I'm sure the team will look back on the trip with fond memories as they recall the "Two pommie Guides who tried to break them". Well done lads - superb effort, especially for a bunch of ex crims.


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