After running trips on the famous Chamonix to Zermatt Haute route for nearly 15 years, we decided the time was right to expand our horizons. While the classic Haute route travels through some of the most spectacular scenery on the planet, those looking to satisfy their desires for awesome skiing are often disappointed. The Urner Haute route is one that will satisfy those looking for both great skiing and breathtaking scenery.
In a much quieter part of the Central Swiss Alps, this tour links two smaller, but legendary deep snow ski towns, Engelberg and Andermatt. In recent years, Engelberg, in particular, has become somewhat of an off-piste mecca for skiers in the know and has gained much popularity amongst Scandinavians skiers. While boasting several ski areas of its own, Andermatt is also largely known for its off-piste runs.
Touring between these two towns will take us through some steep, rugged and magnificent terrain. Most days on the tour will involve fine descents and over the course of the tour, numerous summit options exist if conditions and energy allow.
Program Cost Inclusions:
- 3 Nights lodging in Engelberg
- Hut lodging fees
- Breakfasts and Dinners in huts
- All ground transportation during the trip
- 7 days of guided skiing with IFMGA certified guides.
Program Cost Exclusions:
- Travel insurance
- Travel to and from Engelberg
- Drinks in huts
- Meals in Town
- Skier rescue insurance
Day 0: Meet in Engelberg at our hotel and go over pre-trip meeting
Day 1: Use the lifts to access one of the classic off-piste tours near Engelberg
Day 2: Travel by train to Realp (near Andermatt) and tour up to the Albert Heim Hut (2543m), our home for the first night.
Day 3: We leave the hut and head up the Lochberglucke (2814m). From here a short decent allows us to skin up the north side of Lochberg (3079m). A long glacier run down the Alprigensee drops us above the Göscheneralpsee and down to the dam that creates the lake. After crossing the dam, we ascend up to the Chelanalp hut (2350m) for the night.
Day 4: It is nice that our big day comes in the middle with a planned ascent of the Sustenhorn (3505m) which offers amazing views of the Urner Alps. We then ski down to the Sustenpass and our home for the night, the Steingletscher Hotel (1865m).
Day 5: From the Steingletscher Hotel we climb the Uraltgletscher to reach the summit of the Fünffingersstock (2993m). Our descent is made via a traverse back through the Obertaljoch and onto one of the several east facing descents. From there a short climb brings us to the Susti hut (2257m).
Day 6: From the Sustli hut we climb up the Stossenfirn on our way to the summit of Grassen (2964m). We are rewarded with a long ski run back into Engelberg via the Firnalpeligletscher under the great SE wall of Titlis. From the edge of the snow line, a short walk takes us to a bus stop and a quick ride back to town and our hotel.
Day 7: We have included an extra day in this itinerary to accommodate poor weather, in case we have to wait out a day at a hut during a storm. This increases our chances of a successful completion of the tour. If we don't use this day on the route, we will do a final day of off-piste skiing based out of Engelberg.
Day 8: Depart after breakfast
To maximize your enjoyment on a tour of this nature, the most important skills to have are skiing skills. While most of the terrain is fairly moderate by resort standards, we typically encounter a wide range of snow conditions. It is important for skiers to be able to comfortably ski black runs at a ski area in any conditions. Further, you must be able to perform survival turns (hop turns, stem christie etc.) down steeper terrain and in very difficult snow conditions. Skiers should have some touring experience and be adept at using skins, performing kick turns and skiing with a small pack.
Previous mountaineering experience is not required though will prove beneficial. We will cover skills such as the use of ski crampons, avalanche transceivers, boot crampons, ice axes, and traveling as a rope team. We have factored time into the tour to cover these skills thus ensuring a high degree of safety and comfort for all members of the team.
This tour will also demand a high degree of fitness. You don’t need to be an Olympic athlete as many people complete the tour every year, however, the more fit you arrive, the more you will enjoy the tour. Not to mention having the energy to ski an extra run after arriving at the destination hut for the day.
If you have any doubts or concerns about your abilities or skiing skills, please don’t hesitate to call and address them. We will gladly offer training advice or we can arrange for some pre-trip training to ensure your skills are up to speed before embarking on this trip of a lifetime.