All posts tagged: No Roads Expeditions

Day Four – Aosta day trip

A change of scenery today, being our rest day, so most of us are off to the Italian town of Aosta, 34kms down the valley by bus from our hotel. A leisurely breakfast then onto the 8.40 bus which wound its way down the valley, through picturesque villages, hillsides strewn with vines impressive Chateaux perched over the rock faces, and into city with the most preserved Roman ruins in Italy. We were met at the bus stop by our guide for the morning, Elizabeth, who proceeded to spend the next three hours delivering us to all the main historical sites, filling us with information about the Roman way of life, giving us a sense of how the village would have looked in ancient times. First to the Criptoportico Forense which is amongst the best preserved archaeological vestigial from the Roman era. Next the Museo Archeologico Regionale, exhibiting many pieces from the 8th millennium BC until the Middle Ages. Onwards through the old town, all the while being serenaded by the most beautiful hymn music, being …

Day Three – Les Chapieux to Courmayeur

(19kms…6 hours) Another great start to the day, with a breakfast of muesli, the freshest croissants ever, home made yoghurt, and a multitude of different breads and fruits. We had time for a quick wander around town and a team photo by a wonderful two story stone barn before being bused up the narrow winding lane to our start. We had a slow steady climb in the morning which was meant to provide stunning views of Mont Blanc for the first time but with the weather slowly deteriorating we lost our views and discovered the variables of weather in the alps as the rain slowly built. After three false starts on whether to put on the wet weather gear or not, we were finally kitted out but not before a few of us got wet with our indecision, lesson learnt. With weather gear on, we continued up the hill till we reached a saddle in the mountain which was the border between France and Italy. Luckily the rain dissipated and we were able to see …

Day Two – Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

(8.5 hours…21km’s) After a restful nights sleep, weary aching joints staggered down to a great breakfast, before heading off at 8am. Ishmael claims today to be the most difficult day of the walk with over 1200 metres of ascent, and 900 metres of descent, food for thought as the body warms up. The Mont Blanc circuit is essentially 10 days of climbing from the valley up over mountain passes, and back towards the valley each day. Total ascent is about 10,000 metres, and the same descent. Basically we are going up and down big hills as we sort of circle the Mont Blanc Massif, the group of glacier fields surrounding Mont Blanc itself. From Les Contamines at 1170m we climbed slowly and steadily up to Croix du Bonhomme at 2443m, through beautiful pine forest, into low covered flooring all with breathtaking scenery to elevate the aches and groans of protesting muscles and joints. The path we are taking this morning is an old Roman road and the highlight of the morning was crossing an ancient …

Day One – Chamonix to Les Contamines

Day One – (7 hours…16 km approx) Finally the day we start walking arrives, after two years in the making and many training sessions up and down hills, stairs and ramps! An early start with breakfast at 7.30, and on our way at 8am to Les Houches by mini bus, and the cable car to our much anticipated start at La Chalette, but not before plenty of photos to commemorate the moment. The morning was a mix of beautiful pine forest trails, short steep climbs and descents: fields of low shrubs with wild blueberry bushes carpeting the floor. A cable bridge crossing at the Passerelle du Glacier was a highlight, especially for Kate and Rach who may not like heights! More up and down, then a great lunch of potato omelette and green salad at the beautiful Refuge de Miage. Most agreed that the morning had been tougher than expected, with legs taking time to acclimatize to the steep terrain. The weather was mild to warm, producing buckets of sweat, as glutes hammies and quads …

Annecy to Chamonix

We left stunning Annecy in mid afternoon by bus, arriving in Chamonix at about 5.30. We were met by a few of our crew and hiked out to our hotel which is a little out of town, as the biggest endurance event in Europe climaxes today. The UTMB ultra endurance races around the Mont Blanc region, including a 160km run around the same route we will be taking. Our walk takes 10 days, the winner of the ultra marathon took 20 hours! Lots of undernourished, skinny people staggering around town as our crew chowd down on pizza/pasta/hamburger & and or steak at a restaurant in the centre of the village. Chamonix is quite a large town, with a vibrant shopping/restaurant/cafe strip, and a typical holiday vibe. It was great to finally be all together, as we rounded out our walking crew with Gemma & Liz, who have been in Italy for a few days, and Denise & Dan straight from Oz. After a busy evening we only have one full day in Chamonix, spent wandering …

Lukla to Kathmandu for 3 days

Last night was hilarious, a celebration of the end of our trek, with us shouting our crew a few beers after a successful trip. For days now we have been hearing about Suba’s (one of our porters) prowess on the dance floor, and we finally got to see him in all his glory jiving away, with a few beers under his belt, to the intoxicating Nepalese beats! What a groover! The rest of the boys didn’t hold back either, especially after lubrication, hitting the dance floor at the lodge till the bar was shutdown, thankfully at 10 as our bar tab was getting substantially inflated! Great to see everyone in relax mode, especially the porters who have a tough job lugging our gear for 17 days, and deserve all the beer they could down, which was A LOT!! Credit to them though, they all crawled out of bed at 5.30am to farewell us at the airport, especially Mingma who looked decidedly wobbly! Only Dawa was flying back to Kathmandu with us, the rest live in …

DAY 16 Phakding to Lukla

Our last day of walking, and a nice easy three hours at that with only one hill near the end to remind us of what we will be missing! As we walk we see reflections of ourselves going the other way, all fresh and eager, chatty and excited, still smelling like roses unlike our own slightly grubby, well worn and worn out fragrance! The closer we get to the finish the slower we seem to go as the magnitude and scope of what has gone before dawns on us. The culmination of 15 days battling both the elements, the environment, and our own mental demons (especially the Chola Pass, thanks very much!) is just at the top of the hill, through the arch we gathered at to date stamp the start of our trek….and soon, the end. Our final destination. But, it’s not the destination, but the journey we celebrate. At times it was hard, bloody hard, but for every tough climb, a moments rest was had to bask in the satisfaction of being here. …