Here are some of my photos from the Haute Route in Switzerland. From Day 3 through Day 5

Day 3 - Going to the Vignettes Hut

At this point in the trip, we had to say good-bye to Jim as his 8-month pregnant wife needed him at home.
However, Jim went above and beyond the call of duty and found us a replacement guide - Dylan McChillin'.
Dylan joined us in Arolla, after an epic post-holing adventure and a 4 AM drive from Chamonix.


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From Arolla, we took the Poma Chair (of Death) back up into the alpine. We waited for Alex and Kim to
rejoin us, having had a 'disagreement' with the lift. From this point, we could take another lift up
to allow for access up a pass to the Dix hut, but instead we chose a series of moraine traverses. You can see
our skin track going just behind Dylan's head.


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This was the day that I decided I love ski crampons. Dicky and I were at the back of the pack trying hard not to fall over.


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A quick shot of Bob as we're getting to a small col. What was really neat about this traverse is how well-travelled
it is. That's an actual sign post on the right of this photo. With decent visibility, the Haute Route seems pretty
easily skiable without a guide. However, with poor visibility...


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A look at Dicky as we're looking back down towards the ski area and the village of Arolla.


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I thought this ice fall was pretty dramatic. Thankfully, we mostly stayed away from its path.


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This is the last major slope prior to getting to the Vignettes hut. I thought the little sculpture on the right
just above Mike was cool as it's bolted into the rock. There's definitely no shortage of ski tracks in this bowl.


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I thought this chute looked cool. That's Dylan chilling out in the foreground.


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I think this hut took some balls to decide to put here. It's right on a major ridge with massive exposure
but that's what the Swiss do I guess.


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A nice photo of Chris, Kim, and I in front of the Vignettes hut.


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Taking our skis off on the knife edge leading into the hut. To the right of the slope, it drops a few thousand
feet. To the left, the same thing. At the back, this drops massively. Behind me is where we are heading on the
next day. Pretty big terrain for sure. I think my father-in-law (who struggles with exposure) would barf.


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Here is Chris telling me how much he loves chocolate with hazelnuts in it.


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Some of the exposure looking out from the Vignettes hut. Just above Chris' head, there are two ski tracks laced into
that slope in between l'Eveque and le Mitre de l'Eveque. It looked pretty cool to me anyway, but LOTS of crevasses to
navigate. From this hut, you can make it all the way to Zermatt in a day via the col on the right middle of this photo.
Most of the 120 people staying in the hut with us that night were going that route.

Video of a look around from the Vignettes hut



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Once we had a chance to reload on food and water, we went back down the bowl for a good spring ski.
It wasn't amazing, but it was the best skiing we had done to date on this trip.


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Chris and Dave on the skin track back up to the hut.


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The big view from the Vignettes hut.

Video of a look around from the Vignettes hut viewing gallery



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Chris, doing a big stretch.


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And now looking Euro with his scarf.


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The huts serve you breakfast and dinner (included in your hut fees) as well as selling you beer, lunches,
and other snacks. This gives an idea of the number of people having dinner with us at the Vignettes hut.
This is definitely not the Elizabeth Parker hut at Lake O'hara!


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We're checking out the map for our morning ski in the Vignettes hut.


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A cool shot of the sun setting in the Alps, above 3000m.

Day 4 - Heading to the Dix Hut


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Another early morning start, but even though we were on our skis by 6AM, we were the last people out of the hut.
Another start with skins, crampons, and head lamps, but with the sun rising behind Dylan, the view doesn't suck at all.


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Mike acted as the tail-gunner for our trip, and here he is bringing up the rear with the sun coming up on his back.


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Here is Bob as we're taking a break on the way up to the top of the Pigne d'Arolla.


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The view looking up to the Bernese Oberland is not too shabby at all. I don't like the early morning starts, but
I do enjoy the early morning light on the trail, if that's not too contradictory.


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Bob and I enjoying the view.


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Filling up on an apple in the morning.


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At this point, we're at a col enroute to the Pigne. This is where the helicopters were dropping skiers. I can't believe
that people would pay a helicopter to get up onto frozen moguls, but hey, what do I know? This is a nice shot of Bob.


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Dave and Dicky at that same col.


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Alex looking back where we had come from.


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A rare climbing action shot of Chris, Dylan, and Kim.


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A nice shot of Kim skinning up to the Pigne d'Arolla.


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Bob wanted a photo with the helicopter landing at their spot. I think we saw something like
5 choppers come in and drop off people within about a 1 hour span.


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Bob, on the top of the Pigne d'Arolla.


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Chris and I and Bob on the Pigne d'Arolla.


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Chris Riedener on the Pigne d'Arolla.

Video of the view from the Pigne d'Arolla



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I thought this was a neat vantage point, looking down to the valley as we could see all the way to
the chair lift of yesterday as well as the village of Arolla.


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From the top of this summit, you could still see back to the Matterhorn. Here is a glamour shot
for Kim.


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Paul and the Swiss Alps, at something like 3600m.


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The next section of our tour was the only section that we had minor worries about, due to blue ice.
It turns out that the worrying section was in fine shape and after putting on and taking off boot crampons,
we wound up skiing it anyway. Click on the Full Size link to see the path we took. Notice the massive fall
hazard to the skier's right. Yikes!


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I like this photo of Dicky with the icefall behind him.


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I told Chris to strike a pose.


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This is somehow a hero pose. I don't get it either.


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Since the view was so awesome and we were basically done skinning, we decided to take an early lunch.
I believe that Dylan is pointing out the Dent Blanche here.


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Dave and Dicky and a pretty neat-looking peak.


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Dylan is in the far right here looking down the glacier and trying to scout good ski lines for us.
If you look on the top of the brown moraine, you can see the Dix hut.


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A better shot looking down the valley.


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On our ski descent, looking back up to see Dave. We had to keep between the crevasse field on the right of the photo
and a huge wind scoop on the left.


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Here is Dave finding some nice powder (kind of) turns.


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Kim is skiing out of a pretty neat photo looking up at an avalanche slope.


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Dave and a neat icefall on the side of the Mont Blanc de Collon.


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Look at the smile on Bob's face!


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A neat photo of Dylan and Kim climbing back up towards the hut after a really nice 1000m descent to the valley.


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There's our destination along with some tasty beer!


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Dave and Kim sitting on the patio enjoying the afternoon sun.


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Yeah, I'd say that this beats working for sure.


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Having some beers and sitting and enjoying the sun.


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Just before we sat down to dinner, we had a little rehydration session.

Day 5 - to the Chanrion Hut


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Once again, it was an early morning start, but even though we were on our skis at 6:30am, we were still one
of the last groups to leave the hut. Look at the chaos going on!


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I think this is a cool photo of the Hut des Dix in the early morning sun.


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Le Mont Blanc de Colline. There were quite a few parties making a run at this guy from the Dix.


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Our next stop was the col above Dylan's head.


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Paul experimenting with the fill flash to try to show Dave with the rising sun.


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While our morning felt warm, once we dropped to the glacier side and out of the sun, it felt a lot colder
around the other side.


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We're now on the top of a flat glacier in between 2 cols. From this vantage point, I think you can ski down
to the Verbier valley from here.


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These are the ants trying to ascent the Mont Blanc de Colline. It looked a little aggressive to me.


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I'm not sure which peak this is, but it looked cool.


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The Blackberry guys will love this. Here we are, on a glacier at ~3000m in the Swiss Alps, and what is our guide doing?
He's emailing on his Blackberry Storm. Seriously. Zoom in. It's awesome.


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Here we are at the top of col #2 of 3 for the day. This is the view looking south to Italy.


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The little sun-lit col to Chris's right is our target for col #3 of the morning.


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Yes, the ski down was a little steep.


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There is something really awesome about having your first lunch at 10:30AM, sitting in the sun, with a gorgeous
mountain view below you.


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I discovered that I really enjoy landjaeger (the sausage in this photo). The bacon chunk (or speck) was not
really the best thing in our lunch, but I would definitely say that the lunch on day 5 was, by far, the best of the
trip. Also, the Dix hut was, by far, my favourite hut due to the hut guardian being awesome, the place having enough
space that we weren't tripping over each other, and also being able to fill our waters properly for free.


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Chris and Dicky skiing the icy steep slope.


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Thanks to Kim for snapping this photo.


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I enjoy this one of Mikey with his tongue out.


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A little better view of our exit off the col.


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See Mom! I wore my helmet when the descents were scary.


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A nice photo with some big terrain behind me.


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A neat shot of Bob showing where we're heading on the next day (into Italy).


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A shot of Dave showing the slope we got to ski here.


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A good view of the ski out we did from col #2 with Bob and Dave carrying their skis. Click on the
Full size link to see the ski line we did.


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The view from col #3 looking down to the bottom of the glacial valley and where we'll exit to our hut.


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Dave thinks this is 'pretty cool'.


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Day 5 wound up being our best ski descent day for sure. Here is Dicky skiing a pretty big line.

Video of Dicky and Bob parallelomarking down some spring corn


Video of Dave enjoying some spring turns



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Getting a few more turns in before hitting the bottom.


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Dicky with a big smile after skiing some nice spring corn.


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Here's Dylan calling out how we're all going to earn gnar points - by jumping the stream.

Video of Bob and Dave skiing over the stream


Video of Chris skiing across the glacial stream



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A good shot of Chris taking a leak.


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A cool view of our morning ski descent. Again, click on the Full size link to see our ski path.


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Some times, when you're not expecting something, that's when it's the best. We weren't expecting any
more good skiing pretty much for the balance of the trip. When Dylan found this 38 degree corn snow
slope, we all got pretty stoked. Here's Mikey hitting it hard.


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The Chanrion hut, as we are approaching it


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Hanging out, relaxing after a good morning of ski touring at the Chanrion Hut.

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