In 1990 I spent a week in Arolla, in the Valais, and while planning that trip I bought the first edition of Kev Reynolds' excellent book, The Valais, a Walking Guide, now in its fourth edition. At the end of the section on multi-day tours there is a brief (two page) sketch of a possible Walker's Haute Route. At the time I was certainly completely incapable of something so ambitious, but it is always possible to dream!
In 1994 I started hiking more seriously, first in the Boston area, then in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. By 2002 I was in good enough shape to go west for two trips: Mount Elbert, Colorado (14,440 feet, 4,401 meters) and Mount Whitney, California (14,505 feet, 4,421 meters), the highest peak in the USA outside Alaska.
In 2005 I finally decided that it was time to return to Switzerland, and planned a vacation in the Valais during which I would scout out sections of the Hikers Haute Route. I enjoyed the sections that I did very much, and started planning a return trip (which took place in July/August 2007), doing a lot of reading (books, maps, web sites). The results of my trip and the post-trip reading are presented in three sections:
- A guide to the resources I found most useful.
- A section in which I discuss the choice of a route. I realize that many English speaking hikers (walkers in the UK!) will simply follow Kev Reynolds' suggested walkers haute route, but even they may be interested in knowing what the alternatives are.
- Trip reports on the Haute Route segments that I did (or attempted) in 2005. Each trip report is accompanied by a Google Earth (.kmz) file that you can download to see the route in three dimensions.