The willingness of others to pass on information to help others that follow is an inspiring part of the hiking community. Packing for a trekking trip is a balancing act. …” You want your pack to be as light as possible so you can truly enjoy the trek. We were impressed with what came out of the kitchen on most occasions. A great hiking day. —Brad A., Nova Scotia, Canada, “Lutz is a fantastic climber, he takes extraordinary care for the safety of his clients, and he genuinely seeks out the company of his clients during the long hours that can be spent in a hut, which is unusual and not easy for someone who speaks English as a second language. With my antisocial streak and limited time I think I’ll do a small (up to five day) section of the HR to get a taste and spend a bit longer on the gr5 and/or in the pyrenees. Zermatt, like Chamonix, has many great activities to offer. We will start by hiking along with the “lac des Dix” before hiking the “pas du Chat” and the col de Reidmatten before going down to Arolla, a wonderful mountain village in the heart of the Valais. If you choose to bring Iodine or other water purification tablets, please be aware that most of the higher huts have a very limited amount of snow-melt water available, which the hut keepers only pass on to patrons in boiled form for a fee. Please refer to our Mont Blanc page for further details. Water purification tablets or small personal water filtration system (optional) Warm hat that covers your ears Please ask us about current cost and details. The highest pass is at 2964 m (9,800 ft). We offer you a choice of: – 7 days (“The Best of the Haute Route”, – 11 Days “The Classic Haute Route” or– 14 Days “The Full Haute Route” Most of the Haute Route is in Switzerland and offers stunning views of the highest peaks in the Alps. The huts and the food there were far beyond our expectations. The lodging in general was very good, save for one exception – as it happens, in the hotel at Champex Melissa and I had to share a room. The terrain was new and unfamiliar to me, but I had complete confidence and trust in Thomas’ skills and judgement. Be sure to inquire with your cell phone provider as to your roaming capabilities in Europe. Upon booking with us, we can recommend hotels that will likely store your luggage for you while you trek. The train station is only 10 minutes by foot from our hotel. They should be waterproof, and you should have worn them at least a few times before the trip. Half board (breakfast and 3-course dinners) in all huts and at the hotel in Fionay. For returning to the Geneva Airport, the cost is about 85 Swiss Francs per person for the 4-hour train ride. On Top did a great job meeting our requirements and desires for this custom trip/We feel that all of our questions where answered in a prompt and thorough manner. The highest point reached by the standard route is 2,987m (9,799ft) and the height gain on the route is around 15,200m (49,867ft). From the Tsena de Refien Glacier to the summit of the Pigne D’Arolla (3,800 m / 12,500 ft), the high point of the Haute Route and one of the finest viewpoints anywhere in the Alps – the mighty Matterhorn is right in front of us. You’ll take a few transfers at strategic points to skip the lesser scenic parts of the trip while still doing most of the full route. Please let us know in advance. July 25 – Aug. 1 Wind and waterproof over-pants with side zippers (Gore-Tex or similar) The Haute Route is the classic hiking and trekking route leading from Chamonix, France to Zermatt, Switzerland, like Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. — Murray C., Australia, “Thomas was an excellent guide. The food at the huts was great! They always had our safety first and were fun to hang out with and were encouraging the group during some tough sections. Drinking water is available by purchasing bottled or boiled water/tea at a cost of approximately US$10 per litre. We recommend booking your trip as far in advance as possible since accommodations are extremely limited in some places and may impact your starting date. —August M., CA, USA, ” The guides were amazing- so impressed with Geoffroy’s professionalism and always felt safe. The hotel lodging – in Argentiere and Arolla – was very good. You’ll leave the high mountain environment and exchange it for typical swiss alpine meadows. Geoffroy was a bit worried about the very long day (?day3) but we did the steeper route instead and though tough, was fine. ), but was also flexible and understanding should we want to stop for an occasional break or photo. June is often still too snowy, especially in early June (which also means participants have to carry food / self-cater) and the weather can be more unsettled. Watch out for warning signs … Apart from a hiccup with one of my emails to you, all our correspondence was answered promptly and accurately. 2 hours. Luggage transfer is NOT available on this trip as it is EXTREMELY expensive so we don’t offer it as an option. Being a vegetarian was not a problem, there was plenty for me to eat. Bring light, technical clothing that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly when sweaty or wet. Besides the stunning scenery and the gourmet food, another attractive aspect of this trek is that there is a good amount flexibility from day to day. If your trip is cold or the snow is very slushy, your feet may be cold and wet at times? Morning panorama on the Grosse Scheidegg with view towards … Lodging in the huts was excellent, except for Albert Premier. These “huts” are more like lodges in the backcountry, with good and plentiful food, hot coffee, beer, and wine, often indoor plumbing, and scenic outdoor terraces on which to relax at the end of the day. I have always found them invaluable in helping me to make decisions on whether or not I would use a particular organisation. The communication on your side was above and beyond. The Haute Route is a spectacular and demanding summer hike: a strenuous high-level traverse in the French and Swiss Alps, walking from Chamonix (France) to Zermatt (Switzerland) in 10 to 12 days. You’ll start in Chamonix, France and finish in Zermatt, Switzerland, two historical cities at the bottom of these mountains respectively. The final day other groups were crossing the glaciers paying close attention to the routes Thomas confidently chose. Short, summer gaiters will also do the job. Is it any surprise we had such a cracking adventure…” The Classic Walker's Haute Route, linking the famous mountaineering capitals of Chamonix and Zermatt, is one of the best multi-day trekking journeys in the world. There are a number of airport shuttle services that provide door-to-door service from Geneva International Airport at very competitive prices for any destination in the Chamonix Valley. It is also theborder with Italy and the views on the Matterhorn, the Monte Rosa and all the 4000m peaks aroundis just spectacular. Since then it’s been called the Walker’s Haute Route, the Hiker’s Haute Route, the High Route, the Chamonix-to-Zermatt Haute Route, and finally, just the Haute Route. Only one hut was a disappointment in the food department – and that was only a lunch stop for us. Aug. 8 – 15 No problems with the food. ” Liechtenstein to Grindelwald. But all who explore the legendary trails of the world face the same challenges. Train tickets can be booked online at Swiss Rail. The crampons we provide you with are “strap-on” type C1 and the B1 trekking boot with gore-tex-leather laminate is the minimum standard required. Not only do gaiters protect your socks and inside of your boots from getting wet, they also protect your pants and calves from crampon punctures. —Heather S., Montana, USA, “…The hotel in Argentiere was wonderful! The first 10 minutes of turning back down to the valley felt bitter, and while it was absolutely the right decision, it still stung a little bit. Very professional, knowledgable and helpful. There is a strong correlation between lighter packs and the ability to finish the trip in Zermatt. For both guides, we literally entrusted our lives in their hands and I felt VERY safe knowing that they would do anything to help us. Hike The Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, Switzerland. Haute Route Hiking Products (one-off) The itinerary, mobile map and booking portal have been designed for Haute Route hikers to plan their trip with confidence and feel well supported navigating the trail. For the last day of the tour, we suggest taking the lift to the Klein Matterhorn at almost 4000m on top of the Zermatt Resort. Group of 4 participants: Premium of 10% The route is not technical so no prior expertise is required. 3 nights in 3-star accommodation, 1 night in 1-star accommodation, 2 nights in dormitory accommodation in a mountain hut. A great hiking day. Walker’s Haute Route. US $80, CA $100, € 65, £ 60, Canada: 340 Canyon Close, Canmore, 500 m /1,640 ft climb, 4 km, ~2 hours of hiking. Temperatures on the Haute Route Glacier Trek can vary hugely. If you arrive at any Paris airport then travel by train: TGV which will take approximately 4-5 hours via St. Gervais. (We’ll provide you with recommendations). It starts off at the base of the Mont Blanc in Chamonix and ends in Zermatt, with views of the iconic Matterhorn. 10/10 would recommend this trip to my friends.” Rosalinda C., Canada, “We adored both Geoffrey and Fridjion and they worked very well together. This day can be substantially shortened in case of inclement weather or for custom group departures by lodging at the Chanrion Hut (about 3.5 hours of hiking) and reaching the Vignettes Hut the next day via Otemma Glacier (7 hrs). Always check with the hotel when you book that they’ll do this. Expect travel time to Chamonix to take approx. Also the trek was much harder than I’d anticipated and if I’d been any less fit I wouldn’t have coped. The idea of reaching those two places by foot was first charted as a summer mountaineering route by members of the English Alpine Club in the mid-19th century. Didn’t realise we’d be buying water and it was SOOOO expensive. Although the route is more popular in winter and done on skis, you’ll be following a similar and absolutely stunning itinerary, climbing up dramatic mountain passes, hiking through alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. The 11-day tour is a great choice if you want the best hiking the Haute Route has to offer but don’t have time for the full 14-day trip. How much it costs to hike the Walker’s Haute Route is one of the most common questions I’m asked. I do like a challenge though so it was great for me but I can think of plenty of people who may have thought they could managed based on basic trip notes. If you choose a trekking boot, it should be an upper-end one like the LOWA Mens Trekking boot which is what our head guide has used the most on the Haute Route over the last 15 years. Stunning scenery every step of the way! On your website you might like to consider putting some testimonials up for people to read. Loved the rosti, but don’t eat too much at lunch and then hike or you could get heartburn!…” Descent via the Glacier du Trient, Glacier Orny to the Cabane Orny (2,830 m / 9,300 ft) for a late lunch. A long and wonderful hike with stunning views on the big 4000m peaks around Weisshorn, Mont Rose, Dom de Mischabel, Taschorn,… and the Matterhorn! Huts are usually right on the trail or close to it. Schonbielehutte serves excellent food (we didn’t stay there). Hopefully, Thomas too:) Thomas was the most skilled mountaineering guide I’ve had to date! Aug 1 – 8 —Mike M., NJ, USA, “Flory was a really great guide – always ready to help and always sensitive to how everyone was doing. Pass through charming mountain villages in the Alps. Also, returning the boots to Chamonix can be a challenge if you plan to return directly from Zermatt to Geneva Airport. All Rights Reserved. I think everything before the trip ticked very well, and it did as well during the trip – there was nothing missing, mis-communicated, and everything was very clear and precise. —Martin R., UK, “Flory is a super guide. The Haute Route was a spectacular hike; we got to walk through some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. He was also sociable and friendly in the afternoons and at dinnertime. I thought all lodging was good except the lodging conditions at the Albert Premier hut, which was kind of crappy but excellent everywhere else, especially Arolla…” Should you be interested in the less challenging, but still beautiful Haute Route hike, we recommend the trip of our friends Karin & Louis at alpineinterface.com. There are dozens of outdoor stores intermingled with cafes, bistros, bookstores, and restaurants. The Haute Route Glacier Trek provides perfect acclimatization for climbing Mont Blanc (4,810 m / 15,778 ft.) in two additional days. The Pyrenees High Route (Haute Route Pyrénées, HRP) is a long distance hiking trail that follows the mountainous divide along the French-Spanish border. We would gladly be guided by Sebastion again. The itinerary was along the biggest glaciers of the area sleeping in huts. 7-day, hut-to-hut trek on glaciers and trails in the Western Alps from Chamonix to Zermatt. Website Design & Optimization by SEO Ninja, (eg. Take more face wipes for washing (women). Light hut shoes or crocs (optional – most huts provide them) I (Trish) felt that the precautionary measures he took at various stages of the trip were most appropriate. Early morning start (5 a.m.) via the Glacier du Tour to Col Superieur du Tour (3,300 m / 10,800 ft), which marks the border between France and Switzerland. —Nikki, Nick and Alice M., Australia, ” I thought Till was an exceptional guide. Sunglasses with high UV protection Beautiful hike, with views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley, to the Albert Premier Hut (2,702 m / 8,870 ft) for lunch. Otherwise, you likely will find it too challenging. Price for the return trip to Chamonix Valley is around 500 Swiss Francs. Sleeping arrangments are co-ed dormitory-style. Loved it all. Most of the huts were nice, given their location. Mountain Dropoffs is our go-to for transfers between Geneva and Chamonix Valley (Argentiere). The food varied a bit by hut. I really respect his work, his style, and pretty much everything he did while on the tour. Definitely need more detailed explanation of degree of difficulty in trip notes. The tour departs from the train station in Martigny at noon. It was a tough 7 days. One or two lightweight garbage bags for extra waterproofing (optional) Group of 3 participants: Premium of 30% The cost is about 85 Swiss Francs per person for the 4-hour train ride. Nick also had a great 2 days with him after the trip instead of Mont Blanc. This option is only suitable for strong groups/hikers as the last two hours of the day turn into a bit of a “death march.”. You’ll get a real feel for mountain life in France and Switzerland with their own culture, and even a local dialect in Zermatt. Le Tour to Col de la Forclaz (September 31, 2010) 6.5 miles, +3482 ft, -3324 ft; 18.2% avg grade … I think she and I might have felt a bit more comfortable to be notified of this arrangement ahead, and if possible not to share the room (of course, I can only speak to myself), but again, I don’t feel this created any complexity or unease that we couldn’t handle. From St Niklaus, a short train transfer takes you to Randa. You’ll finish in the village of Zermatt in Switzerland. It may stay well above freezing all the time (even at 5 a.m. when leaving the hut and stepping onto the glacier) but it could also dip well below freezing with snow every day of your trip, even in mid-summer. We’ll arrange a transfer with a private van to you to Fionnay where the hike starts. Huts were comfortable, and had great food. Backpack (40-45 litres) with rain cover fitted to the pack Two nights lodging with breakfast in double rooms in 2- or 3-star hotels in Argentiere / Chamonix and Champex. The Hotel de la Couronne in Argentiere and Grand Hotel Kurhaus in Arolla were both wonderful places to stay. All downhill today: On well-marked trails via the hamlet of Zmutt with plenty of opportunities for postcard shots of the Matterhorn all the way to Zermatt. Alternatively, you can do a short hike to the wonderful little alpine village of Zmutt above Zermatt. Early September often brings the first snowfalls at higher elevations which makes for a very pretty, pristine ambiance in the mountains, but it is often not enough to improve travel conditions in warm summers. Of course he was wonderful to hang out with and is kind, patient and personable. They are fantastic guides– made the whole trip so very enjoyable from start to finish despite having to juggle some weather issues, variance in tempos amidst the group, and all the things we were likely entirely unaware of…” All organisation was great. See the specific tab for the inclusions on each tour. Plan to arrive in Chamonix in the late afternoon, leaving enough time to settle into your hotel, eat dinner, and prepare for your trek the following day. Haute Route Trek to Zermatt Itinerary Day 1 Transfer to Fionnay and hike to Cabane de Louvie. Chamonix is a sports enthusiast’s shopping mecca. Airport & Shuttles: Medium weight Primaloft jacket with hood We will overnight in historic and comfortable huts of the Swiss and French Alpine Club, often impressively perched on cliff edges above 3000m (10,000ft) and always nestled amongst towering peaks. We recommend budgeting 35 Swiss Francs /day (about US$35). The easiest one goes through Bovine and the classical but more challenging one goes through Fenetre d’Arpette. The Hiker’s “Haute Route” is an entirely non-technical hike without any glacier travel or exposed trails. When buying, renting, or borrowing gear for the trip, please keep weight, performance, and function in mind. Our other guide spoke broken French and some German. —Meg J., NY, USA, “I had a great time on both the trek and Weissmies climb. Great job! Some cooks really took pride in their meals, and it showed. If you are seeking a bigger adventure and don’t mind carrying a heavier backpack, this is a very worthwhile consideration. We’ve seen it all and our recommendation is to be ready for anything upon arrival in Chamonix Valley. The only clothes they bring on the Haute Route is what they wear on their body on a colder day plus a spare set of underwear, two pairs of spare socks, a spare short sleeve shirt, rain (over)pants with side zippers, a light Gore-Tex jacket, and flip flops or crocs for the huts (although many huts provide footwear). Most of our international guests arrive at the airport in Geneva, Switzerland, from where scheduled shuttles run almost hourly to the Chamonix Valley (1.5 hours). Day 6: Gruben to St Niklaus and then Zermatt. Also really appreciated your commitment to ensuring the trip was still happening despite those last-minute cancellations. We commonly take the route via the “4 Saddles”: Col du Tsofeiret (2,640 m / 8,660 ft), Col de la Lire Rose (3,100 m / 10,200 ft), du Mont Rouge (3,400 m / 11,150 ft) and the Col de Cheilon (3,240 m / 10,600 ft) which traverses the smaller glaciers Gietroz and Cheillon in order to arrive at the Dix Hut (2,930 m / 9,600 ft). 1,450 m / 4,750 ft climb, 480m / 1,550 ft descent, 14 km makes for 8-9 hours walking time. Food quality was good but last 2 huts only offereed bread with butter/jame to eat for breakfast. Along the way, the trail passes by 10 of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps, as it winds its way through glacial valleys, alpine meadows, and enchanting villages. They were all great and had a personality of their own as you well know. This guide covers everything you need to know about the most famous itinerary in the Alps, considered one of the 10 best trekking circuits in the world. The 14-day trek is for purists who want to do the Haute Route in its entirety without skipping any sections or taking transfers and be fully immersed in nature. Lots of our North American guests are used to carrying heavy backpacks on multi-day trips due to the fewer amenities in North American huts. More than a trek, the Haute Route is a real journey. Camera, spare batteries (optional) Itinerary? This was one of the groups that was looking to where Thomas took us.” Lue W., Canada, “Guide: Wow. The use of crampons might sometimes be required but participants are not expected to have previous experience. As mentioned the hotel in Argentiere was great. We will gladly set up the Haute Route Glacier Trek for your private group anytime from mid-June to mid-September. The closest international airport to Chamonix Valley is Geneva Airport where there are regular shuttles to Argentiere and Chamonix (1.5-2 hours). Day 3: Transfer from Champex to Fionnay – Cabane de Louvie. Hike one of the most iconic long-distance trekking trails in the world. Food in all places excellent…” The dormitory facilities and food at the huts were superior to anything I expected. The trip usually finishes after lunch together, however many of our clients prefer to stay in Zermatt, in which case we offer to arrange and add additional hotel lodging to your trip itinerary. Depending on conditions and group preferences we can also take a shorter but steeper trail (with exposed sections, protected by chains and cables for hand-railing). Pre and post trip accommodation. Itinerary fantastic. As, well he helped instill personal confidence in the two of us to do things that I never once felt afraid or doubted my ability to achieve. The Haute Route, (or the High Route or Mountaineers' Route) is the name given to a route (with several variations) undertaken on foot or by ski touring between the Mont Blanc Chamonix in France, and the Matterhorn Zermatt in Switzerland. —Robert P., VA, USA, “Seb was extremely compentent and knowledgeable. But you also need to have enough gear to be warm (or cool), comfortable, and well-fed and watered. This option effectively gives us a cushion day should the weather be adverse or other contingencies delay us by a day. I really appreciated and enjoyed the fact that everything was written, ordered, thought of, and delivered in mail. —Tennis & Trish O., WA, USA, “Philippe is an incredible guide. Day 9: Gruben to St Niklaus and then Randa. It’s a popular hike during summer so you won’t be alone if you come into any difficulty. by staying in huts (refuge in French, rifugio in Italian) and hostels (gîtes), and eating your meals there, you can hike with a very light pack. Can’t think of anything else I needed. Often, trekkers can opt to take a cable car or train for part of the day's journey, creating a less-strenuous hike if needed. I(Trish) went to church in Argentiere the sunday before our trip. The highest point along the Haute Route is the summit of the Pigne D’Arolla at 3,800 m / 12,500 ft. After spending a week high in the mountains, walking down Zermatt’s bustling main street will feel like returning to a different world. Unpleasant “squat–style” bathroom. While the latter is sometimes cheaper, the former offers more flexibility. Seb was absolutely amazing – extremely professional, tended to our needs, served as an example, kept the pace and morale – I really couldn’t ask for anyone better. Transportation from Zermatt at the end of the trip. The easiest one goes through Bovine and the classical but more challenging one goes through Fenetre d’Arpette. Huts and sleeping rooms seemed too crowded to me. Trip organisation was good. Feminine hygiene supplies —Alex B., Thailand, July 4 – 11 Really appreciated how the first and last days were shorter, with the more difficult days in the middle of the trip (allowed us time to ‘build up’ to those more difficult days). The famous Haute Route as a summer trek The Walker's Haute Route is one of Europe's best hikes, but also one of its most demanding. Great … challenging for me, less so for my daughter. Hotels in Argentiere and Alrolla were absolutely fine, with the award for hoteliers of the year going to our new best friends at the Sonne, which was excellent!!!!!!!!!! If any of our friends would ever consider a trip like this, we would definitely recommend OnTop.” British mountaineers and explorers first named it the High Level Route in the mid-19th century. The huts..in my opinion the best one ever was Vignette! Due to its length, we only recommend this for experienced hikers who’ve done at least one 10-day trek before. Itinerary: In general, I think the days were perfect, balancing the correct amount of altitude gain and sleeping in relatively high-altitude huts, versus effort per each day. I am speechless. The scenery was outstanding. A shorter day, perfect to rest from the big past 2 days and before a long day to reach Zinal. Seb was really the best I could wish for, and all the logistics before and while on the trip were handled flawlessly.” Yochai E., Israel, “Markus and Lutz were first rate! Please note that if you decide to rent boots, you should arrive a couple of days early to wear the boots in hiking terrain and make sure they don’t give you blisters! Hiking the Haute Route. For returning to the Geneva Airport, the cost and trip duration are similar. Our hiking group totaled 8 people (2 from Brazil, 1 from Canada and the rest from USA). Your trip starts in Chamonix, France and each day you’ll hike to your next accommodation. Crampons with anti-snowballing plates (usually integrated into modern crampons) that are suitable for your boots. Ten of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc and the crooked spire of the Matterhorn, rise along this magnificent “high route,” along with plentiful glaciers, cool mountain tarns, and meadows full of wildflowers. The 7-day tour is a great choice if you want the best hiking the Haute Route has to offer but don’t have time for the full 14-day trip. We can arrange an airport transfer from the Geneva Airport to Chamonix Valley for around 40EUR per person (the rate may be higher as it is peak season). The route has a total distance of 180-200 kilometers depending on the stages you choose. However, colder temperatures and often stable fall weather with fewer travelers make for great trips in those summers where snow coverage on the glaciers held up over the summer. Without hesitation I would highly recommend OnTop Mountaineering! Hike the High Alpine Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt in 2 weeks. Really knowledgeable and personable, and very responsive to individual concerns and abilities. Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex or similar) Day time temperatures can vary between 30°C (86°F) in the valleys to -10°C (14°F) on clear mornings when we start our day from a high-level hut. The Hiker’s Haute Route (HHR) goes by many names. Hiking grounds us to our planet, inspires creativity, challenges the boundaries of our mind and tests our physical limits. Bring or rent the following (see ‘Trip Info Links’ at the bottom of this page): Light mountaineering boots or sturdy, waterproof hiking boots that cover your ankles (make sure they are comfortable and don’t give you blisters!) This should cover buying lunch, snacks, water, and one beer at each hut. Breakfasts in both Argentiere and Zermatt were wonderful. like in the old times. This is where the sport of mountaineering was born in the 19th century, and just a glance at the 360-degree panorama explains why: 10 of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn, rise along this magnificent “high route.” Our path across this famous … Final day before Zermatt! But what mattered most is that he had a sound knowledge of the terrain on every surface that was clear and pronounced especially nearing the end when the glaciers got complicated and routes altered due to changes in landscape. Any additional costs in case of itinerary changes regardless if those changes were made due to adverse weather or mountain conditions, or due to personal or group preferences. You can either buy your train ticket upon arrival in Zermatt or you can book it ahead online. Alex Roddie offers the lowdown on this classic trek, and tells a few tales from the trail… I first visited the Pyrenees in 2016, and was immediately smitten. The Haute Route looks the most stunning, but I’m also one of those people who prefer solitude hiking. I really enjoyed it, and felt it was challenging and interesting for me. good trails. By Train: Very environmentally unsound to be buying plastic bottles. First and foremost, make sure your boots are comfortable and don’t give you blisters! Lodging in double or triple rooms in a hotel located at the beautiful Champex Lake or we will take a one-hour taxi ride to the Mauvoisin Lake (1,850 m / 6,070 ft) in the Bagne Valley from where we continue our Haute Route Trek early the next day. It is also the border with Italy and the views on the Matterhorn, the Monte Rosa and all the 4000m peaks around is just spectacular. This day is the last one before reaching the famous swiss alpine city Zermatt. We usually meet at 8 a.m. on the first trekking day at our preferred hotel in Argentiere (first hotel night with breakfast included), about 15 minutes up the valley from Chamonix.