All posts tagged: TMB

Day Nine – Triente – Argentiere

( 6 hours – 18kms) Once again our group promptly hit breakfast at 7.30 sharp, followed by the 8.30 bus to our starting point of Triente, snuggled down in the valley with ominous mountain ranges surrounding us on three sides. The weather in the valley was cool but we are expecting hot and humid conditions all day with the threat of thunderstorms and foul weather forecast for tomorrow. With this in mind there is a real chance that we may have to abandon our walk a day early, so all were very keen and excited to be hitting the track. Said track went straight up, switchback after switchback, cool breeze turning into a humid swamp, turning a rough enough climb into a sweat box challenge. Regular short breaks to mop down, before finally reaching the Col de Balme at 2191 metres, and the border between Switzerland and France. More Aussie border excitement, lots of photos, spectacular views and a lovely cooling breeze. Maybe a selfie? A leap of faith… Finally, a leisurely walk to our …

Day Seven – La Fouly – Champex-Lac

(4 hours – 14kms) Today is the shortest walk of the tour, only 4 hours, mainly following the valley, with a short sharp 450 metre climb to our hotel next to Champex Lac. Breakfast in the boarding house dining room, a team photo on the hotel steps and off at precisely 8.19! We are nothing if not prompt! Ismael has never seen such attention to detail. All jokes aside, the Hotel was really good, serving up a different experience to what we have experienced to date, and very comfortable and accommodating. Shrugging off the ghosts of boarding houses passed, we strolled down the valley, setting a leisurely pace as we have become accustomed to the gentle cadence of the days walk, following our gliding guide, Ismael. Through Swiss villages featuring brillant wooden doors, and wonderful shutters framed with flower boxes flowing with red geraniums. Probably the highlight was the gnome garden, which from all accounts has being growing year by year. More pine forest wandering, then up the hill to Champex-Lac, and our wonderful accommodation, …

Day Six – Val Ferret – La Fouly

(6 hours – 20kms) We finally leave the Hotel Crampon this morning after three lovely nights with tremendous hosts. The highlight of breakfast was Leeanne’s statement that she was contemplating an AFD (Alcohol Free Day) today! Once the giggles stopped we settled back to our breakfast of fruit, muesli & croissants. After yesterdays shambles with the bus, Ismael organised a mini bus transfer back to the same starting point. Tick! Our route today takes us slowly up the valley and onto the ridge which climbs gradually, and consistently, up towards the saddle which marks, invisibly, the border between Italy and Switzerland. Once again, excited Australians straddling the two countries for a photo opportunity. Ismael then took us into Switzerland and up the top of a nearby hill which offered great views down the valley to our nights destination, la Fouly. After another photo opportunity, Ismael noticed the crowd of walkers strolling down towards our lunch stop at a small farm, and declared a state of emergency. We needed to hoof it down the hill, passing …

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 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 …