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Ski the Haute Route how fit? how much mountain experience?

The classic Haute route is probably the most famous hut to hut ski tour in the world. Every year it is attempted by hundreds of ski mountaineers.

Chamonix to Zermatt. The Haute Route passes through some of the most impressive Alpine landscape anywhere in the world. When it was first pioneered by the Victorian explorers it was thought to be impossible and even today the sheer ingenuity and complexity of the route continues to impress and inspire.

Today it remains firmly on the wish-list of many a Ski Tourer, but how fit do you need to be to join a guided group? What about mountain skills? What level of skiing?

We've put together this guide to help answer those questions.

Ski Level

Ski Level

You should be a confident skier on red runs and enjoy playing with the terrain, skiing narrow corridors at the side and using the bumps to help start a new turn. When the slope gets steeper (up to but not exceeding 30 degrees/steep black runs) you are capable of looking ahead and identifying the line you intend to ski. You are also capable of adjusting your skiing so you can follow your intended route. In fresh snow, off-piste or when the bumps get larger you can still manage to make controlled progress using skids and side slips to cope.

Mountain Skills

Mountain Skills

These tours will encounter steep ground and previous experience of ice axe, crampons, harnesses and ropes is essential. Skiers will be expected to walk and climb slopes and mixed ground on foot up to 45 degrees, in both ascent and descent. Previous experience of moving together on a rope and abseiling or being lowered is advisable. Coping ski techniques such as side slipping, down hill kick turns and stem turns are essential and should be well practiced and reliable. Uphill kick turns, when touring should be fluid and reliable in both directions on hard snow up to 35 degrees. As these tours will include sustained periods of glacial travel, previous experience of crevasse rescue is required.

Fitness

How fit do I need to be?

Sustained skiing all day with only short breaks with enough energy and stamina to maintain performance. Hiking, skinning and touring for up 8 – 10 hours per day with a potential height gain of up to 1200m+ at a steady pace of 400m/hour. Carrying a heavy rucksack of 8-10kgs is not an inconvenience to you and does not hamper your ski technique.

It's not all about skiing

It's not just about the skiing. The views, the journey through history, shared company, combined ski and mountain travel and hut life combine to make for an unforgettable 6 days.

If you have any questions, or want to check out your experience before committing, the Lodge team are here to help answer them. To speak to the team call 01479 861 256.

The Glenmore Lodge classic Haute Route traverse heads off annually and will depart on 30th March 2019.

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