TOUR DU MONT BLANC
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
There were 2 stand-out on a personal level during our trip: While all 13 members of the group successfully completed the demanding 1-week itinerary, special mention is due to the oldest member of the group, who, at 75 years of age, was an absolute inspiration to everyone, some of whom were less than half his age. Another group member whose pre-trip training was severely curtailed having been hospitalised for pneumonia 2 months before departure showed utter determination in admirably defying the odds to get up all of the most challenging ascents and just never gave up. There were coutless moments of scenic inspiration.
What did you think of your group leader?
Graham, a top-class guide, did an excellent job. He managed the spectrum of ability in the group very skillfully so that everyone successfully completed each days' walk. He was gently engaging with everyone and did not insinuate himself socially in any excessively imposing way. He had helpful suggestions and advice on clothing options, and gave regular tips for cost-saving measures when buying foodstuffs to take with you each day. He had a great knowledge of local terrain and prevailing conditions which gave a very comforting sense of confidence to all of us. At the end of each day he did a summary of our progress with the aid of a map, and sumarised what to expect on the following days walk. All of this greatly added to our sense of enjoyment.
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Don't expect luxury accomodation on route - it is adequate and appropriate to the rustic nature of what you are doing in the surroundings you are in. A good basic level of fitness is highly desirable. It is physically tough but not excessively so for those with a reasonable level of fitness. Although challenging, it is relatively short. I would consider it a good preparation for those considering longer treks of a demanding nature (such as the GR 20 in Corsica or Everest base camp). Those with a sense of sociability and teamwork will find this more rewarding than those with strongly independent, individualistic attitudes.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
The food is pretty basic and relatively unexciting - gourmet food enthusiasts will not get the opportunity to indulge their tastebuds much over the course of the week! Nevertheless we had one vegetarian in our group and his needs were more than adequately catered for.