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near Zermatt, Canton du Valais (Switzerland)
The first day of the TMR is a tough start especially if you will be climbing it all the way to Theodulpass without using the cable cars. I strongly recommend walking all the way from Zermatt to Rifugio Theodulo (and i don't recommend using any kind of transportation for the whole tour!). The trail is well marked up to Gandeghutte. You can take any route you want but you have to follow the "Gandegghutte" signposts. You can stop at this beautiful hut to have some rest before attacking the glacier. Just above the Gandegghutte you will be dealing with the only glacier of this tour: the Theodul glacier. Because it is a glacier, safety rules suppose you will be roped and having all the equipments of a glacier traverse. But if you follow the ski slope on the glacier (no guide needed), you may need crampons only (Crampons are a must). On our first day, it was the start of the Ultra Trail of Monte Rosa race and all the participants were crossing the glacier with their running outfits. Never get out of the path because there is a high risk of crevasses. The ski slope will lead you above the rifugio Theodulo (you don't need to reach Testa Gria). You will see a trail to the right that will lead you down to the refuge. At the moment we reached the top of the glacier, the weather was turning really bad and the visibility was very poor. Follow your gps to find your way! Just before arriving to the refuge theodulo, it started to snow heavily. The Theodulhutte (3317 m) is a very nice place to spend the night. It is very comfortable and the staff is great. Food is delicious. Showers are not available.