Tour Du Mont Blanc Camping
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
It is very hard to say what the most inspirational moments were on the trip as there were so many magical moments, these included swimming in a beautiful fresh water lake even though the locals seemed to think we were barmy doing this. however it was great fun and a good way to relax after a longish day trekking. The many varied views on the trek, the Helbruna cable car to the Aiguille du Midi and from the campsites watching and recording the sun rise and set on the Bosson glacier were truly stunning and inspirational. The great humour shared by the whole group and leaders during the trek and the communal camping life style Particularly having to muck in with the cleaning and washing up brought everyone closer together and more integrated as a group.
What did you think of your group leader?
John Briggs was and is an exceptional tour leader!! very dedicated and well organised!! John guided us all safely and brilliantly!! throughout each day of the trek. There were 14 of us on the trek and John set the pace brilliantly allowing for the people like me to have time to take photographs and to record the scenery through painting and drawing. John paced and managed each trekking day extremely well giving a detailed briefing each evening of what to expect on the days trails. John also shared his in-depth expertise on the mountain scenery and its flora a Forna. Whilst on the rest days he gave equally good briefings with options and directions of what's available to do in the region(s) where the rest days were spent. I have undertaken a number of treks in Nepal and some in south America and I have never had explained by any previous guide(s) how to be able to walk properly to use your boots and to be able to trust them to avoid potential walking hazards etc. John did this at key intervals in the trek which was extremely useful and made walking easier and safer. Clare Appleby who also had an equally difficult job of organising all the camping logistics including setting up each campsite, shopping and then cooking great three course dinners as well as transporting the luggage between each campsite. Clare made everyone feel extremely welcome and her cooking was amazing! If you are lucky enough to have John Briggs and Clare Appleby as your team leader(s) then you will get a truly well managed, organised and emersive camping trek that you will remember for the rest of your life.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
You need to have a good level of fitness to do this trek with some experience of mountain trekking as some of the days have continuous fairly steep ascents and descents. It is important that you have a undertaken some training / walking in preparation for this trip before you go and to have the right equipment including good well broken in boots. I also find that trekking poles help a great deal whilst on the trails. The tents that exodus use are spacious and comfortable but I would recommend a good self inflating camping mattress and I also took a four season sleeping bag even though it was only cold a few nights during camping. You may need some extra Euros than outlined on the trip notes as some of the refuge drinks can be expensive. If it is clear and good weather it is well worth paying the 80 euros (approx). to do the return cable car trip from Helbrunna on the Italian side to the Aguille Du Midi on one of the rest days for some of the most breathtaking scenery of mountains you will see any where!! You can pay in Euros in Switzerland - so there is no need to take or change money into Swiss francs. Bring some swim ware / shorts - for swimming in rivers etc..
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The campsites that exodus use are very good the majority of them have fantastic mountain views of glaciers and mountains. The majority of campsites have good hot showers all of which are free - Switzerland was the best equipped campsites. Most campsites particularly the ones on the rest days have washing and drying machines so there are some opportunities to be able to do washing for a modest price. If you are looking for a totally immersive and exceptional holiday which will bring you closer to the mountains and the natural world I would definitely recommend this holiday!! Neil Pittaway August 2016