MONT BLANC TO THE MATTERHORN
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
Two stand-out; the first is the spectacular vistas of the Matterhorn when it finally comes into view on the final day's walking into Zermatt, until then the mountain remains hidden except for the odd fleeting distant glance. The second was the optional ascent of the Breithorn some of us completed on the free day in Zermatt, completing my first European 4000m peak and the stunning views right across the Alps and the Bernese Oberland, with both Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn visible.
What did you think of your group leader?
Mike (a new leader for Exodus this year) was an excellent group leader/ mountain guide, his knowledge and experience in the mountains was very impressive. Mike always gave you confidence he was in control however demanding the situation, including when we got snowed off the mountain at the Cabane Mont Fort! Jayne & John the support crew/chefs were also excellent, the tents were always up and tea ready for us when we arrived in camp, even when we arrived at Les Hauderes a day early. The food in camp was impressive, first time I've had duck whilst camping.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn is a fantastic route with amazing scenery and the Exodus trip is very well organised, so if you are looking for a fantastic journey through the Alps with all the hassles sorted this could be the trip for you. The walking is demanding so you do need a good fitness level for the trip, the days are harder than the Tour du Mont Blanc. Remember the weather can do anything in the Alps especially at the start/end of the season so be prepared for that, we had most things from 30 degress and sunshine to heavy snow over the two weeks (that much snow is not normal for the end of August though).
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Most of the campsites used along the way are excellent with very good facilities, however note two are basic (Grimentz & Trient), we had a great night a Grimentz so don't let that put you off. Sadly Exodus have not been able to find a good alternative at Trient which scores as the worst on the trip (I raised this last year as it is a common site with the Tour du Mont Blanc). This year two sites are in use, one at the top of the village which is quite small but quieter and a larger one at the bottom end of the village that is between the main road and a rock crushing plant. We were at the larger site, on the plus side it has a very good covered area to eat/relax under avoiding the thunder storms which has lighting and power however when we were there there was building work going on at the rock crushing plant adding to the noise of the road and the water supply failed during the evening. Our support team did what they could to get drinking water from the other site, but we had to improvise with rain water and buckets from the river for the toilets etc. You are only there for one night so don't let it put you off though.