Surely the Verbier variation has no place in a real “long distance ski route” connecting between Chamonix and Zermatt
Then your beef is with the Verbier variation, not the HR in general, as your initial post seemed to suggest.
I’m not sure you need be such a purist about it--the original 1911 winter route (the Classic variation over Plateau du Couloir) had a road segment, too, so Verbier is actually in character if it matters. You do ski every day on the Verbier route, so I’m not sure how it’s not a long-distance ski tour--you cover, what, 50K on skis on consecutive days (weather permitting, of course)?
Personally, I think the road segments are less fun, but they have their own charms. It’s a marvelous contrast to the US, for instance, where the lack of public transit would never allow you to ski out of one mountain range, scoot across & enter another without elaborate & contrived shuttles (like bicycling between, for instance). And even if you could, they’d never allow you to carry your sharp ice axes onto a public bus
Most of the great views on the website of “Chalet le Foret”, I’ve seen on ski tours that did not and had no intention of spanning between Chamonix and Zermatt. Those special dawn views from Bertol are not included at all in the two main routes considered by most parties. I went to Bertol as part of a delightful loop tour from Arolla.
I’ve always wanted to tack on a loop through the Bertol to a Cham-Zermatt HR, but we’re always racing weather by that point. The Arolla loop through the Dix, Vignettes, Bertol looks really great--is that what you did?
...by emphasizing the reality and desirability of doing disconnected segments, it’s easier for more groups to find more ways to enjoy the many great touring options available to fit the weather and conditions available.
Can’t argue with that, but the experience of skiing the HR, with it’s history, strong effort & amazing scenery is better saved to do in one go, IMO. As you stated, there are lots of other tours to do if your time slot is short or the conditions unfavorable.
My suggestion is that most groups would have more fun + prettier + safer skiing for a week in the high western Alps if they allowed themselves even more freedom to depart from any sense of a “single ski route” than a mere single taxi ride.
Generally ski touring is more fun and more safe if you start with an awareness of more options, rather than focusing on one big goal.
Again, can’t argue, although I think there is a big difference between ski touring for a week out of a town, & ski touring for a week out of huts. The real problem is that a week isn’t really enough for a HR. The success rate would be much higher if people allowed a couple weather days. But the Arolla Chamber of Commerce would suffer…
Skiing the HR, for better or worse, has become a milestone in anyone’s ski mountaineering career. There’s nothing like it in the US (or UK, obviously), & most people aren’t even aware of any other multi-day tours until after their first HR.
Unlike many other options--including those in Bill O’Connor’s books you mentioned--it’s also well structured as a multi-day tour, so there are many variations possible to suit different skill levels & snow conditions, & so you don’t have to sleep in winter rooms or camp part of the time, or eat Spaghetti Bolognese every single night, as has happened to me more than once on other hut routes.