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Presenter : Zay Harding

Ice Trekking in the Alps

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Globe Trekker traveller Zay Harding ski tours the legendary Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt. Taking in Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn along the way, he undertakes a toughZay Harding in The Alps journey, traversing 3 Western European countries:FranceItaly and Switzerland.

The trek begins with a training day on the world’s steepest and longest ski slope: La Vallée Blanche. After meeting up with his Irish mountain guide -Robbie Fenlon - Zay takes the highest cable car in Europe - l’Aiguille du Midi - to ski this dangerous run (avalanches are a frequent occurrence on the Haute Route). Here Zay masters the technique of off piste skiing in powder-snow and learns how to skillfully negotiate his way out of a deep crevasse.

The Haute Route begins at Argentière with a long day of skinning - walking uphill on skis – across the Argentière glacier to reach an isolated mountain hut. Here Zay meets other skiers touring the region and gets to sample the delicious French speciality tartiflette.

Ice climbing on Mer de Glace, ChamonixDay 2 of the trek is another strenuous day with 5 hours skinning to the Col du Chardonnay, at which point Zay and Robbie have to descend into Switzerland on ropes. They ski on to Champex and make a brief stop-over in Verbier to attend an amazing extreme skiing competition.

On day 5, Zay picks up the Haute Route once again at Arolla, on the Swiss side of the Alps, skinning up the Pas de Chèvres and descending via steel ladders to the Dix hut which is perched precariously right on top of a mountain peak. Here mountain hut guide Pierre shows him how to make an exquisite Swiss Rosti.

Day 6 takes in another long day skinning along the Haute route to reach the highest point of the trek: la Pigne d’Arolla. This is the highlight of the journey with a breathtaking panorama stretching out from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. The day draws to a dramatic end at the Vignettes hut, balanced on the edge of a cliff.

On the last day of their trek, Zay and Robbie descend from the Vignettes hut – crossing 3 cols and 7 glaciers – on a strenuous 12 hour journey to the Swiss Alpine village of Zermatt. Here, Zay visits the local cemetery where Zay at The Matterhornthousands of mountain climbers have lost their lives in the pursuit of their sport.

Before he bids Zermatt farewell, he has one last drink with his intrepid guide Robbie.

 

WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Chamonix Mont-Blanc
Eagle Helicopters, Sion
Glacier Express
Hotel L’Arve, Chamonix
Le Vert Hotel, Chamonix
Mountain Hardwear

Swiss Alpine Club
Switzerland Tourism
Wilderness Journeys
Valais Tourisme
Verbier & Bagnes Tourisme
Zermatt Tourism

Places Mentioned - France, Italy, Switzerland

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