Chamonix – Zermatt Haute Route

I guess I should start with a warning, the plan below might have errors and does not replace good route finding skills. Use at your own risk.

At the beginning of this century I built a Haute Route Ski Tour plan that was passed around a lot amongst American Mountain Guides. Recently a guide asked me about it and that sparked me to modernize the “plan” using the new tools available.  I wanted it to be editable for those with the knowledge to do that, simple for those who aren’t as knowledgeable and as accurate as I could possibly make it.

My first problem was that Swiss maps are problematic to use in digital form so I had to figure out a way to get good maps into Caltopo.  That took awhile but I figured out a soulution albeit  a bit inelegant.  Once I had Swiss maps overlaid on Caltopo I created .KMZ files to overlay them on Google Earth.  That allowed me with the help of the “Historical Imagery” under “View” to see ski tracks on much of the route.  Using those tracks and my recollection of the route from having done it a number of times I drew in the route.  I then imported the route with variations into Caltopo and made three Geopdf’s.  By using only three that allows people to use the free version of Avenza PDF Maps for the entire trip and have the maps GPS enabled on your phone.

The three sections break out like this (click the link to open the GEOpdf)

So the pdf’s above can go into your phone into the Avenza app and you’ll have the maps GPS enabled on your phone with a blue dot where you are.

If you are more savvy and want to manipulate the data or download the tracks into a GPS device, below are the .GPX files
(Some browsers add a .xml extension, delete the .xml leaving only the .gpx extension before saving)

For those that need KML files of the routes (these go into Google Earth) here they are:

Next is the KMZ files that once downloaded when you click on them they will overlay the Swiss maps onto Google Earth.

Once you get the maps into Google Earth you can adjust the opacity like this:

Finally if you want to overlay the Swiss maps onto Caltopo here is the Caltopo GeoJSON file. Once you import this file into Caltopo you’ll have the geospatial images in Caltopo.  You should be in the vicinity of the Haute Route and using the TF Outdoors as the base map so you can easily locate the Geospatial Images.  The GeoJSON file below imports all the Geospatial images for the three sections of the Haute Route.

  • Haute Route GeoJSON
    (Some browsers add a .txt extension, delete the .txt leaving only the .json extension before saving)

This is the most modern, editable and simple system I could build.  If you are new to these tools these files will be a good way to learn how to manipulate and build your own digital plans. I did this on a rest day while it was raining in March.  Remember while you play with this data your not wasting time your doing your due diligence and planning for the Haute Route!


Posted by Marc Chauvin in Climbing and Avalanche Education, Maps

Upload a .KMZ File

I know people have seen my screen movies of maps overlaid onto Google Earth that are colorized so you can see how steep slopes 2g7tare. Many have asked me how to do that and I do teach the process in my navigation course but the hardest part is creating a .kmz file.  Once you have the .kmz file, opening it up in Google Earth is quite simple. Knowing that I did some research so I can put a .kmz file into my blog that you can download.  Once downloaded you can easily open it up with Google Earth.  I have included a short tutorial so that once you download the file you can have some fun with it in Google Earth.  The file has map coverage of the entire Presidential Range. I hope you enjoy it. Download the .kmz file here.
Make sure you have the latest version of Google Earth.

  • 0-20 Degrees White
  • 21-25 Degrees Light Green
  • 26-30 Degrees Dark Green
  • 31-35 Degrees Yellow
  • 36-40 Degrees Red
  • 41-45 Degrees Purple
  • 46-50 Degrees Blue
  • 51-90 Degrees Black


Here is a little tutorial

Posted by Marc Chauvin in Climbing and Avalanche Education, Maps

Graham Trail

The Graham Ski Trail is an established trail but is not on any maps that I can find.  Here is a map that has it as accurate as I could 490fmake it and should help you find it.  It is easier to find from the Gulf of Slides Ski Trail but from the Sherburne Trail it may take a little looking to locate it as its entrance is a little camouflaged. Here is a link to a GeoPDF

Below is the QR Code you can use to import the GeoPDF into Avenza Map App on your phone.

I am also including the Graham Trail GPX (Some browsers add a .xml extension, delete the .xml leaving only the .gpx extension before saving) and .KML file of the trail.


Posted by Marc Chauvin in Climbing and Avalanche Education, Maps

Jackson Ski Touring Map

My wife and I do a little ski touring. She does more than I do since winter is pretty busy for me but if we end up with a day off 2016-trail-map-proof-2017together we often will go out for a little XC Skiing.  One area we go is Jackson Ski Touring, they have a wide variety of trails so we do some exploring of their trails. Of course I have made a Geopdf of their trail map so we can import it into the Avenza Map App on our phone. Since the map is all made I figured I would put it up here for anyone to have so you can use the trail map on your phone so that it is linked to your phone’s GPS so it will show you where you are on the map. Enjoy


This is the URL of the Geopdf 

To get the map into Avenza with a QR Code




Posted by Marc Chauvin in Maps

Caltopo DEM Shading and Google Earth

14355792_10154547588087350_413262890529097749_nHere is a video of a Caltopo Digital Elevation Model map of Mount Washington overlaid on Google Earth.  The key on the left denotes what color relates to which angle. This is one of the skills you’ll learn during a Chauvin Guides International Navigation Course.

Here is a link to Caltopo





Posted by Marc Chauvin in Maps