Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tour du Mont Blanc- Autumn 2011

We woke on day 6 of the Tour du Mont Blanc to grim weather, low cloud and persistent rain & the forecast for the day gave snow level to 1200 metres. A real reminder for the group that bad weather kit is essential even though if felt a little pointless carrying it in the heat of the previous week. Layered up we set out towards Arnurva for a welcome cappuccino and a chance to dry out at the Chalet Val Ferret before making our way up past the Refugio Elena and on to the Col du Ferret.

Rain turned to snow at about 2,000 metres and by the time we passed the Italian/ Swiss boarder we were pretty much wearing the contents of our rucksacks. This was no place to hang around we made a quick descent to La Puele and beyond to Ferret and La Fouly.

We were entertained at Breakfast by the sight of snow falling as though it was a morning in January, just as well that we had an easy day heading down the Val Ferret and on to Champex-Lac. Although the snow had turned to rain en-route the temperatures were low and we were glad of a hot shower & warm & dry accommodation.

The forecast for day 8 was good, the low cloud took a while to shift be it promised

to be stunning. Because of the good forecast & the possibility of interesting conditions under foot, I gave the group the option between Bovine or the TMB variant, Fenetre d’Arpette (more challenging but the group were more than capable).

As we walked up the Val d’Arpette in freezing low cloud it was hard to see how this might clear but whilst we were enjoying a 10 minute chocolate stop we were treated to the most amazing dissipation revealing 360 degrees of newly snow plastered mountains…. or as Carmel exclaimed ‘Holy snapping duck poo’ (Australian for WOW I believe).

We continued moving up through the snowline over the boulders and via steep ground to the Fenetre d”Arpette were we were rewarded for our efforts again by the best views of the trek so far (and boy we had plenty) the Swiss Valasian alps to the south east, Trient plateau & glacier to the south and the Aiguille Rouge to the north west. Care was needed at the top as we made our descent and we finally reached Trient a little jaded but trilled at the day we had just had.

Day 9 was to be the last day of our autumn Tour du Mont Blanc as we were finishing on this occasion in Argentierre. We headed steeply up through the woods from Trient to the Alpage of Tseppes, which made for a great resting place as we admired the views back towards the Fenetre d”Arpette and the Trient Glacier. From here we traversed across to Catogne and took the left fork at the path junction up to the Col du Balme as Mont Blanc came back into view in all its splendor.

After lunch one last treat in store as we headed over to the Aiguillette des Possettes. The views from the summit of the Possettes (I think) are the best in the area, 360-degree views of magnificence! Followed by a beautiful descent via the ridge to Tre la Champ and Argentierre beyond.

What a trek, autumn is truly a stunning time of year to undertake the Tour du Mont Blanc, we were treated to amazing views because of the weather conditions and awesome photo opportunities.

Visit our Flickr photostream at :

Thank to ‘Team TMB’ Carmel, Jude, Ann, Jane & Keith for an enjoyable trek, you were a joy to guide.

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