MONT BLANC CIRCUIT
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
At the Col du Bonhomme refuge one of our party played the guitar that was in the refuge. It seemed quite surreal for us to be singing along to the Pretenders 500 miles at 2,100 metres The views across the whole trek are sensational, hard to pick a highlight, but the descent into Italy down the Col Ferret was pretty nice There are plenty of cake stops along the route, which certainly helped me, the cakes at each refuge were really good and I was lucky to be part of a group that wanted to stop and partake at regular intervals.
What did you think of your group leader?
Mike Rhodes was an excellent leader. I have no experience of the other leaders, who I would expect to be just as good, but if you end up with Mike you are really lucky. He is a really nice man, who knows the area like the back of his hand. He can identify every flower, peak (including who climbed it first) & animal you might encounter and is a wealth of knowledge on the area generally, including recommended activities on the rest days. Because of his knowledge he is able to adjust the route to fit the group's ability, he put several tougher climbs in for our group as we were all fairly fit, but these were also avoidable for those who would rather have a rest.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Compeed! - I was lucky and didn't suffer with blisters, but on a 10 day trek, if you do suffer you will certainly get through them. Mike also uses surgical tape over the top of the Compeed to stop them rubbing on your sock and coming off. a bit of vaseline on the top of the tape helps even more. There are quite a few chemists, shops etc on route who sell them, but better to be self sufficient Don't wear white t-shirts - I doubt mine will ever be white again You can buy stuff in Chamonix before the trek starts, but it is pretty pricey and best left for things you forgot to bring, I would recommend purchasing anything you need at home. Take your camera, ipod etc chargers. The support van is well kitted out and I was able to charge batteries in it once we got to camp or overnight (it had about 8 socket points the group could use) A book is useful for the evenings, as is a small speaker for your ipod, but obviously only if the whole group like your taste in music! Wet wipes are useful for the 2 days you are basic camping (ie no hot showers, but there are toilets)
Is there anything else you would like to add?
This is a really good trip, I would recommend to anyone who wants to see the Mont Blanc area. A good level of fitness is necessary, but that said, the guide won't leave anyone behind - not that you have to walk in a group, our party of 16 tended to spread out to around 5-10 minutes apart over a 1.5 hour section. You also get to chat to everyone else in your group, although ours wasn't a 'singles trip' there were 2 couples, 2 pairs of friends and a whole lot of single travellers, you should be prepared to mingle and chat to others even ifyou come in a 'couple'.