Thursday, November 30, 2023

The Tour du Mont Blanc – Rick Steves’ Journey Weblog

Earlier this fall, 4 of us — whole novices at long-distance treks — hiked round Europe’s highest mountain. (On the primary day, large birds of prey circled excessive overhead. My hunch: They had been vultures simply ready for one in all us to drop.)

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 100-mile, ten-day hike — however we cheated a bit, mountaineering the very best 60 miles in six days from mountain lodge to mountain lodge, catching native buses by the much less thrilling elements, and letting a “sherpa service” shuttle our luggage every day by France, Italy, and Switzerland, from Chamonix to Chamonix.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 160 km (100 mile) circle round Europe’s tallest mountain. We did essentially the most rewarding 100 km (60 miles) connecting the segments with public buses.
I really like the sherpa service provided on Mont Blanc: You allow your large bag within the resort foyer or at your mountain refuge and belief the shuttle bus to choose it up and ship it secure and sound to your subsequent lodging. Day-after-day, our luggage had been ready fortunately for us at check-in.
An array of buses and mountain lifts can be found to hikers to assist them alongside, as they select, on the Tour du Mont Blanc. However the season is brief, and many of the lifts and buses had been shutting down by mid-September.

This was the primary time I’d loved a slice of Europe with my girlfriend Shelley, and we had been joined by Sue and David from Minnesota. (I’ve labored with David Preston for 20 years at TPT – Twin Cities PBS. Within the public tv world, he’s thought-about the “pledge drive guru.”)

It appears everybody hikes the Tour du Mont Blanc in a counter-clockwise route, ranging from the ceremonial begin level within the village of Les Houches, simply outdoors Chamonix. And this arch is at all times good for a contented, pre-blister group shot.

Every day, we’d hike what the path indicators mentioned could be a five-hour hike — that took us six or seven.  Our mantra: “Take our time. This is the reason we’re right here.” Typically, the day would begin at a 3,000-foot climb to a cross (or “col”) 8,000 ft above sea degree. Every col was just a little triumph, with its cairn of rocks organized in a pile, dramatic climate blowing throughout, commanding views, and congratulatory selfies.

A part of our pre-trip coaching was taking steep hikes nearer to dwelling. As a typical day’s climb on the TMB is a thousand meters (or roughly 3,000 ft), I’d suggest selecting a follow hike with a 3,000-foot elevation acquire so you should utilize it as a reference level. Ours in Washington State was the Mount Si path. We even had a time period for a 3,000-foot altitude acquire: “a Mount Si.”

Each morning on Mont Blanc, we’d do our onerous work, usually climbing a 3,000-foot elevation acquire. It appeared to final ceaselessly…however it didn’t. And reaching the cross (usually round 8,000 ft above sea degree) was at all times a lunchtime celebration.

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