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Ideas For Outdoor Adventures (Summer)

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Reading the earlier thread on summer holidays got me thinking. Like others, I am formulating plans for what we can do in the great outdoors when all this is over.

So whilst we can't actually get out to do stuff I thought it may be an idea to share knowledge and experiences of DIY trips we've done - to help others and, perhaps, to provide some inspiration to those who may otherwise have not considered such trips as they aren't aware of them.

Other Snowheads can then add their experiences to give us further ideas.

Here's my starter for 10 - Hiking (Backpacking) The Tour of Mont Blanc (Late August 2017).

As veterans of Austria "hut to hut" (mountain refuge) week long hiking trips we initially considered this 10-12 day, self-guided, hike as a similar (refuge) trip. However, the cost of the refuges on the route (of up to 70 CH Francs pp per night) proved prohibitive. Sad

Although we are keen backpackers/wild campers our experience was limited to 2 day/1 night trips in the Lake District. I was therefore surprised (but delighted) when Mrs B announced that she would like to backpack the entire TMB route, sleeping in our 2 man tent.

In short, we had a fantastic and incredible trip. We flew to Geneva and took a transfer coach to Chamonix, then started and finished the tour in Les Houches. On the trip we circumnavigated the Mont Blanc massif, hiking through France, Switzerland and Italy, then back to France. The scenery was stunning and we met fantastic people on the way, finishing the route as an international group of 7 (with new friends from Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands and the UK that we had bumped into regularly on the route). The route was approximately 110 miles long and involved 30,000 feet of ascent.

Campsites were usually cheap (with some at no cost) and our itinerary included 1 night camping for €5 pp outside a refuge above Les Houches (with use of the refuge facilities - and bar Very Happy), camping for free on an official wild camp site (with purpose built toilets, above Les Contamines), free camping on an official site in the hamlet of Les Chapieux, France, wild camping on the col between France and Italy, €9 pp for a lovely site in Courmayeur, Italy (with full facilities and a lovely, cheap pizza restaurant), €50 pp for our only night in a refuge (the lovely Bonatti hut above Courmayeur, which included an evening meal, bed and breakfast), 11 CH Francs pp at a full-facility site in La Fouly, 3.50 CH Francs pp (with toilet block included) at a site in La Perty (named after a Snowhead Puzzled wink ), 13.50 CH Francs pp at a site in Champex and €7.50 pp for a night at a lovely site near Argentiere (where we sat out our only storm of the trip, for a couple of days). We also had 2 nights (unofficial) wild camping above Chamonix and 1 on the France/Italy border.

In practical terms, we never went more than 2 days without passing through a village/town (for restocking food supplies) and drinking water was plentiful (from natural springs) at regular intervals, so we didn't have to carry too much of that.

In short - it was the best hiking trip we've ever undertaken and it was particularly rewarding to be self sufficient and carry everything we needed.

We took with us the excellent Cicerone guidebook, which describes and gives directions for the entire route, although the route is well signposted throughout.

I'd really recommend it to any Snowhead interested in mountain hiking and would be happy to provide further info to anyone interested in planning a similar trip.
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