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Old 25.06.2015, 17:27
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Trekking in the Alps

Hello dear members
I want to plan a trip to Switzerland and i have a few questions regarding my plan.
1. Being a student i am looking for a budget trip. Is that possible in Switzerland?
2. I can visit in September for 7-9 days, will this be a good time to be there?
3. I am currently in Finland and it has some cool fell scenery but its mostly flat. Visiting the alps has been a dream for me. What i actually want to do in my trip is to find a trek which can be covered in around 5 days and i can have a place to camp at the end of each day. I hear that there are places to stay, managed by the alpine club but i would not like to spend too much on lodging.
4. The closest and cheapest flight i can get is to Milan. I would like to get to Zermatt from there. Seeing the Matterhorn is one of the things that i really want to do. Any suggestions?
I would like to add that i am no expert at trekking and am looking for an easy to medium trail. Not something where i have to traverse glaciers or climb mountain faces etc.

I hope you guys can answer my questions and if you think this might not be a very good trip you can also suggest other options like visiting the Italian side of the Alps or anything else.

Thanks
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Old 25.06.2015, 17:43
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Re: Trekking is the Alps

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1. Being a student i am looking for a budget trip. Is that possible in Switzerland?
Compared to what? vs Spain or Greece - not really. vs Finland yes probably.

If you really want to trek, at decent value right up in the mountains, take a look at alpine huts:

http://www.sac-cas.ch/en/huts.html

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2. I can visit in September for 7-9 days, will this be a good time to be there?
Yes probably, it's outside the school holidays and the weather should be nice (but you take your chances as always!).

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3. I am currently in Finland and it has some cool fell scenery but its mostly flat. Visiting the alps has been a dream for me. What i actually want to do in my trip is to find a trek which can be covered in around 5 days and i can have a place to camp at the end of each day. I hear that there are places to stay, managed by the alpine club but i would not like to spend too much on lodging.
See first point; also see http://map.admin.ch for detailed maps.

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4. The closest and cheapest flight i can get is to Milan. I would like to get to Zermatt from there. Seeing the Matterhorn is one of the things that i really want to do. Any suggestions?
Sorry no idea.

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I would like to add that i am no expert at trekking and am looking for an easy to medium trail. Not something where i have to traverse glaciers or climb mountain faces etc.
Use common sense, and best to do with a friend - there are official routes on http://www.wanderland.ch

The Dolomites would probably be cheaper, as would the Pyrenees, both are also spectacular. That said, Switzerland is hard to beat for clear but interesting paths well marked for beginners.
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Old 25.06.2015, 17:53
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Re: Trekking is the Alps

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4. The closest and cheapest flight i can get is to Milan. I would like to get to Zermatt from there. Seeing the Matterhorn is one of the things that i really want to do. Any suggestions?
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Sorry no idea.
You could start your trip by getting to Breuil/Cervinia by train, then taking the cable cars up to Plateau Rosa and thence desceding by foot and/or cable car into Zermatt. The top area is glacier but There are marked walking tracks so you won't be needing your ice axe and crampons (unless you wanted to do something like walking up from there onto Monta Rosa, for example).

There are a couple of mountain huts in the area, and you could plan several days walking down to Taesch, for example. Some details here http://www.zermatt.ch/en/Media/Planning-hikes-tours and more on the SAC site already mentioned.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, the first hut you'd come to at the top of Cervinia would be a great starting point. http://www.mountwiki.com/wiki/view/C..._Guides%27_Hut
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Old 25.06.2015, 20:08
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

I think September is probably the best time of year for hiking here, although I prefer the second half of the month.

One option would be to do part of the Chamonix-Zermatt "Walkers' Haute Route", finishing in Zermatt. You would be able to easily get to Sion or Sierre from Milan at the start of your holiday, and could then walk eastwards towards Zermatt, staying in a different valley each evening. I can't help with camping advice unfortunately, but I would think that the valley villages will have camp sites.

Alternatively, you could start in Zermatt and work your way westwards towards Zinal in the val d'Anniviers. There are some really good hikes around there, you can get right into the heart of the 4,000ers without needing to do anything particularly difficult. If you do this, I would highly recommend a night at the Cabane du Mountet, 4 to 5 hours' walk from Zinal.

If you decide to stay in Swiss Alpine Club huts, you will need to budget for about 65 CHF per night (bed, breakfast and evening meal), plus drinks and lunch.

Have a look at wanderland.ch/en (in English) and hikr.org (mostly in German) for more ideas

Last edited by stephen_NE; 25.06.2015 at 20:09. Reason: corrected typo
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Old 25.06.2015, 21:22
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

Don't forget Youth Hostel - Auberges de Jeunesse, Jugendherberge. You need to be a member in your country of residence, then you can use any YHA hostel in the world. There are many in towns and alpine resorts.

Have a Google for locations.

Later edit - forgot to add that it is a good idea to purchase a very lightweigt sheet sleeping bag, with a pocket for the pillow- many huts provide blankets and pillows, but no sheets, same for some of the simpler YHAs. You can get those from any good camping store.

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Old 28.06.2015, 00:11
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

Thank you for all the suggestions.
I now have an idea on how i can proceed. "Haute route of Europe" starting from Brigs and ending at Zermatt or a part of that route (starting from Saas Fee) can be a good option.
I couldn't find much info for stephen_NE's suggested Chamonix-Zermatt "Walkers' Haute Route". I will look into that and other routes later.
At the moment i know that i can plan something so i will wait and hope to save some cash from my summer job. If i need more info later i will ask here again.

Thanks
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Old 28.06.2015, 14:16
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

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Thank you for all the suggestions.
I now have an idea on how i can proceed. "Haute route of Europe" starting from Brigs and ending at Zermatt or a part of that route (starting from Saas Fee) can be a good option.
I couldn't find much info for stephen_NE's suggested Chamonix-Zermatt "Walkers' Haute Route". I will look into that and other routes later.
I suggest you look a little more into the Haute Route. A lot of it is on glaciated terrain and it's normally only done in a group with a mountain guide and full equipment. And usually only in the Spring befoe all the crevasses open up again as the snow on them melts. It's a lot more serious than your first posts implied you are looking for.

Parts of it, well yes, maybe some of the lower sections in Zermatt and Saas Fee, but the higher bits, e.g. between Zermatt and Saas Fee, no, you should not even think about it.

UNLESS, this "Walker's Haute Route" is something quite different from the Haute Route proper, that is
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Old 28.06.2015, 17:56
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

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I suggest you look a little more into the Haute Route. A lot of it is on glaciated terrain and it's normally only done in a group with a mountain guide and full equipment. And usually only in the Spring befoe all the crevasses open up again as the snow on them melts. It's a lot more serious than your first posts implied you are looking for.

Parts of it, well yes, maybe some of the lower sections in Zermatt and Saas Fee, but the higher bits, e.g. between Zermatt and Saas Fee, no, you should not even think about it.
Yes i am not looking for something that challenging. I think i will write here later when i have finalized a route, to have a second or third opinion.

Thanks for the heads-up.
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Old 28.06.2015, 18:42
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

Check this page for good advice regarding walkers Haute Route.

http://www.alpineexploratory.com/wal...ute-route.html
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Old 28.06.2015, 22:49
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

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UNLESS, this "Walker's Haute Route" is something quite different from the Haute Route proper, that is
Yes, it's a totally different thing, which is why I specifically referred to the "walkers' Haute Route". It's a classic "moyenne montagne" long-distance hike, and corresponds to part of the national route No. 5 described on wanderland.ch.

The complete itinerary is Chamonix - Arpette - Verbier - Cabane de Louvie - Cabane de Prafleuri - Cabane des Dix - Arolla - les Haudères - moiry - Grimentz - Gruben - St. Niklaus - Randa - Zermatt.

I think the highest point is the Col de Louvie at 2921 metres. It's all on red-white marked paths, T2-T3 level of difficulty.
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Old 29.06.2015, 12:57
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

You may want to check out the Glacier Express (only 2 instead of 3 connestions daily after september 20). It's a scenic train that runs across the Alps from Zermatt to Brig, then eastwards to Andermatt and on to St. Moritz. You could switch trains at Andermatt and head to Milan. Additionally, from Andermatt you my want to detour north for the famous Gotthard line (link in german) and retrace your steps on your way to Milano. If you do, you want to go to at least Amsteg, better yet to Erstfeld.

As for price, there are a ton of special fare tickets available to reduce your costs. Contact SBB (click "show form"), the national train company, or check your options yourself (the links on the left below "international guests").

And of course: be prepared for rainy weather. If you're lucky you get nothing but sunshine, but if not you may get a full week of rainy weather.
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Old 29.06.2015, 13:36
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Re: Trekking is the Alps

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You could start your trip by getting to Breuil/Cervinia by train, then taking the cable cars up to Plateau Rosa and thence desceding by foot and/or cable car into Zermatt. The top area is glacier but There are marked walking tracks so you won't be needing your ice axe and crampons (unless you wanted to do something like walking up from there onto Monta Rosa, for example).[/URL]
No, there aren't marked walking tracks from Plateau Rosa.

You have two options to get to the Zermatt lifts from Plateau Rosa. Up to Klein Matterhorn (this cable car can regularly close due weather), or down to Trockner Steg. Both routes are glacial only have marked ski pistes, no walking route, the piste down to Trockner Steg is closed in September. The piste up to Klein Matterhorn is super icy in summer and definitely has small crevasses, not an issue on skis, but wouldn't walk over without suitable equipment.
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Old 29.06.2015, 14:05
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Re: Trekking is the Alps

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No, there aren't marked walking tracks from Plateau Rosa.

You have two options to get to the Zermatt lifts from Plateau Rosa. Up to Klein Matterhorn (this cable car can regularly close due weather), or down to Trockner Steg. Both routes are glacial only have marked ski pistes, no walking route, the piste down to Trockner Steg is closed in September. The piste up to Klein Matterhorn is super icy in summer and definitely has small crevasses, not an issue on skis, but wouldn't walk over without suitable equipment.
Yes, I realised all this after posting - didn't get round to fixing it. Thx.
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Old 30.06.2015, 09:47
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

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And of course: be prepared for rainy weather. If you're lucky you get nothing but sunshine, but if not you may get a full week of rainy weather.
Thanks, all your advice is duly noted. Regarding the weather, i guess rather than waiting for the right moment, which might be next year, i would go for it. That is a risk you have to take as a traveler. Few weeks back i was trekking in Lapland (up in the arctic circle), i had planned it for a long time and was really excited to see the midnight sun; guess what? it was overcast and rained for the whole time and the skies only cleared on the night of my departure.

The reason i specifically mentioned the time is because in Karakorums or Himalayas September is not a good time to be in the mountains because of the monsoons, when cloud bursts and flash floods etc can happen. I hope its not the case in the Alps.
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Old 30.06.2015, 10:41
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

I didn't mean to deter you at all, quite the contrary

I think september is a good time for alpine hiking - summer heat is gone and winter cold hasn't arrived yet.
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Old 03.09.2015, 21:00
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

Hello nice people
Thanks to stephen_NE's suggestion i have decided to go for the Walker's Haute Route and made some changes to my plan. I will now have 9 days to walk from Chamonix to Zermatt (too few i know) and instead of Bergamo i will land in Geneva.
So i have booked my tickets and everything. I will be reaching Geneva on the morning of 10th Sep and go to Chamonix from there ASAP. I have been reading Kev Reynolds "Chamonix to Zermatt" to plan my walks. I am definitely short of 3-4 days at least as even the shortest trip in the book takes 12 days. So i am thinking of taking help from the cable cars or post buses that i read operate in the area.

Particularly i need information on the cable car operated between Le Chable and Mont Fort. This cable car can save me an entire day.
1. But i am not sure if it will be in operation (i will get to this point on 13th Sep) and
2. what is the approximate cost of ticket for one way.
3. The time of operation will also be important to make sure i catch one.

I read that there are post buses available Arolla to La Sage.
4. What is the time during which i can get a bus, are they available in the evenings?

5. Apart from that can anyone give me some specific advice on how to get back from Zermatt to Bergamo. Train or bus?
6. I am sparing one whole day to get to Bergamo from Zermatt. Will that be enough.

Some people suggested a few websites to check the fares etc. but it is quite confusing as the type of tickets available are too many. My priority is the cheapest possible option. Even better if i can get a student discount.

I would be really glad if anyone can answer my questions here.
Thanks, can't wait to get there.
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Old 03.09.2015, 23:11
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

For ticket fares check site SBB.CH
You could check for Switzerland 8 day pass if using public transport daily
It would include some museums, chocolate factory free entry.
And half fare for cable cars.
Youth hostels could be used for cheaper stay in Switzerland.
Geneva, Zurich are also good cities to visit along with Zermatt
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Old 03.09.2015, 23:38
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

As mentioned by shraddha above, sbb will give you all the information you need for trains, buses and cable cars (timetables and prices).

For the cable car up from Le Châble, you need to put in:
From: Le Châble TV
To: Croix-des-Ruinettes

These are gondolas on a continuous loop, so there is no timetable as such, and yes, they will be running on 13th September.

Arolla to La Sage, looks like the bus runs approximately every two hours, last one is at 17:25.

Hopefully the weather will come good for you, you may get snow at quite low levels if the forecast for the next few days is correct.

Last edited by stephen_NE; 03.09.2015 at 23:43. Reason: autocorrect doesn't like the word sbb, despite it being one of the most useful words in the Swiss language ;-)
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Old 04.09.2015, 08:39
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

Walker's Haute route is great - but please note that its no easy/medium. Its classified as difficult mountain hike, and involves a few ladders and steep descends from passes. Search for "haute route ladder".
Otherwise its one of the most beautiful routes in Alps. You can stay at various huts, in September you won't need reservation. You can also stay in the valleys which could be a bit cheaper (not much) than huts. sbb.ch is best place to find buses etc. Also the yellow hiking signs on the route will show a bus icon for towns that are accessible by bus.
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Old 04.09.2015, 20:05
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Re: Trekking in the Alps

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Search for "haute route ladder".
That is the Pas de Chèvres, which is a more difficult variant on the standard route. It can be easily avoided by going over the Col de Riedmatten, which is right next to it. The Col de Riedmatten is steep on the Cabane des Dix side (i.e. the uphill side if doing the walk in the "normal" direction), but not in any way difficult or dangerous.

I don't remember there being any other ladders... a few cabled sections, especially if you go all the way to Zermatt via the Europaweg, but I wouldn't rate it as any more than a solid T3 on the Swiss Alpine Club scale.
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