Excellent, Tough Trip but Very Rewarding
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Arriving at a col each day at just under 3000 metres after a long, hard ascent and the stunning blue sky views that awaited us.
What did you think of your group leader?
As a result of Simon's background he was a fast paced, no-nonsense leader which, on occasions, was necessary due to the challenging/tough nature of this trek. However, a slightly slower pace to meet the total group needs might have been more appropriate as those who were at the back every day struggled to keep up and we had to keep waiting for them to catch up. Conversely, you really need to be a good and very fit mountain walker to get the best out of this trek.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
On your first day off at Les Bossons, Chamonix (the warm-up day), do the ascent and descent from the campsite to the Refuge de Bellachat at altitude 2152 metres. This will give you a good feel for what the daily ascents and descents are like, whilst warming you up nicely for what is in store most days. If you make it, try the delicious omelettes at the Refuge and the views are also very stunning. For the huts and auberge take a head torch with a red light so as not to wake people up with a bright LED and also ear plugs. You only need to take a sleeping bag liner in your day pack and no flip-flops for the huts as croc shoes are provided. You will need to take a towel and soap etc as you can have a shower in the Mountain Huts at a cost of 5 Francs and they are free in the auberge. The long descents can be very arduous on your knees - definitely take and use two poles.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
As the trip notes state this is a challenging/tough trek and you need to be more than a fell walker, capable of walking at altitude. You must also be capable of walking at a moderate to fast rate each day sometimes over very uneven rocky ground, otherwise you will probably be the one at the back holding the group up every day and preventing them from achieving the daily challenges e.g. ladders and high routes thus causing the leader to 'water-down' the itinerary. This will affect the dynamics of the group and also put you under pressure and potentially prevent you from enjoying a wonderful trek.