MONT BLANC CIRCUIT
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Too many. Most would include doing the touristic stuff in Chamonix (Aguille du Midi to see Mt Blanc at close range; trip to Heilbroner; seeing skiers going down Vallee Blanche, Mers du Glace and the Cave); having lunch at Lac Blanc; seeing Ibex, Marmot, and even a baby poisonous snake; doing the Balcony and the Bovine trail; multi day view of Grand Jorasse; having gelato in Courmeyer; ascending Col du Tricot in just over an hour; watching the bungee jumpers in St. Gervais; the paragliders taking off in Mt Brevent and toasting our successful completion at the top of Mt Brevent….10 days trekking, 3 countries, 176 km, 10000m cumulative elevation. Too many pleasant memories so much so some of us had withdrawal symptoms on returning home.
What did you think of your group leader?
Mike was knowledgeable and experienced. He modified the start times based on his estimate of what time we would like to arrive at camp e.g. on the day of the TDF going up Alpe d’Huez, he made sure we arrived at 2.30 pm in camp so we have time to settle down, and get to watch the race at 3 pm. This flexibility also ensured we did not get caught in bad weather, although there may be an occasion when we got wet (although not very heavy). Safety was always a priority, and he was always around to lend a helping hand whenever there were obstacles such as crossing a fast running stream, climbing down a ladder, walking over a slippery patch of snow, and climbing over steep rocks adjoining deep ravines. Matt, our driver and cook ensured we always have enough fruits, bread, cheese, and salad for our lunch bags. We were never hungry. And dinner was something that was always a pleasant surprise, with enough for second helpings for those who wanted more. I am still trying to lose the 2 kg I put on.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
My group was an experienced group, having done tougher treks in higher altitudes. However, this trek was still very challenging, especially the last two days where climbs of cumulative 1500m elevations were the norms. Train hard. Also bring lots of warm clothing as it can be very cold at night. Bring long sleeves/pants, a hat and sun block to protect from the UV…we were deep fried by the end of the trek. Be careful of ticks even though lyme disease is not prevalent in the alps. I may have been bitten, and had symptoms that were indicative such as muscle and joint ache/pain, fatigue, ear ache, and other normal flu symptoms after returning home. As a precaution I took doxycycline (an antibiotic) to kill the bacteria
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Read up on Lyme Disease and preventive measures, but do not let that discourage you from going for this very enjoyable and comfortable camping trip. Go for it. This is a very popular trek with hikers from all over the world