Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Summer 2013

It's hard to believe that it is October already and after a very
busy season we have now time to reflect on the trials and tribulations of this
June Winter remains!
Col des Chaux from the Cabane du Mont Fort, July 2013
June is always a tricky time to undertake any of the high level
trekking routes in the Alps, for example, people presume the Tour du Mont Blanc
will be fine by mid June but in reality that is often not the case, depending
on the amount of snow during the winter and the weather and temperatures during
the spring therefore with the snow abundant winter of 2013 and the extremely
cold spring the start of the season was a challenge. After spending some time
recceing the route mid June and passing this information on to our self-guided
clients starting later in the month we found that there were three main areas
of concern... Day 3 Col du Bonhomme, Col de la Criox du Bonhomme & Col des
Fours, day 4 via the Col du Seigne & the Mont Fauvre Spur and day 6 via the
Grand Col Ferret. Self guided clients who started towards the end of June had a
challenge on their hands and were advised to hire crampons and walking roles to
aid balance on steep slopes where a slip or fall could be problematic. On a
recce to the Col du Bonhomme on the xx June it was still snowing at 2000m just
making the problem a whole lot worse, when would spring and summer finally
Col du Bonhomme, 27 June 2013

July, Straight into Summer
The start of July brought a total change to the weather, it was as
though someone had flicked a switch bypassing spring and going directly into
summer with temperatures of 28 degrees. This made the routes more achievable
however the amount of snow would take sometime to abate on the more sheltered
shady slops and high Cols.

Swiss Valais from Bovine
Our self-guided treks
Both our Tour du Mont and Walkers Haute Route proved popular again
this year and during late June and July we had many groups undertaking each
trek, with or without crampons!! During summer 2013 in addition to our own
clients we also provided self guided TMB treks for Macs Adventure providing
accommodation, self guided packs (daily route cards, maps and important trek
information), bag transfers and on hand support during the trek for all
Our guided treks
Walkers Haute Route July 7- 21 July, excellent weather and snow
abundant cols.
Walkers Haute Route group July 2013
After a recce of the high sections of the Walkers Haute Route we
realised that it really wasn't advisable to take our guided group over the
Fenetre d'Arpette and on the section between Cabane du Mont Fort and Arolla.
The week before we amended the route by taking the Bovine route from Trient to
Champex and arranging a minibus from Le Chable to Arolla then adding an extra
night in Grimentz which created an additional day of walking. The rest of the
trek remained unchanged although the group came across large amounts of snow on
the on and around all of the high Cols en-route. The Europaweg (high level
route from Grachen to Zermatt) continued to be a problem throughout the season,
the section between Europa Hutte remained closed and new stone fall between
Taschalp and Ottanwen made this section impassable. This meant that the low
route had to be taken for the majority of the season.

Tour du Mont Blanc,11-26 July & 28 July- 4 August, always be prepared!

TMB group July 2013
Descent from the Col des Fours July 2013
You would have through that by mid July that we would manage to get
around the tour du Mont Blanc without seeing that much snow, how wrong! Our
group that departed 7 July had fabulous weather and a great deal of residual
snow to deal with especially on day 3 from Contamines to Refuge Mottets. The
descent from the Col des Fours was epic and clients perfected the art of glissading
for the best part of 600m, this of course made that section of the descent
quicker than usual! Our only bad weather day was day 4 via the Col de Seigne
where wind, rain and low temperatures prevailed, this was a timely reminder
that having good kit with you at all times is essential and some of the group
who had decided to travel lightweight were cold and damp! Thanks to LaBet and
here sparkling wit we laughed our way through most of the day!

August and September to be continued....

For more info on our guided & self guided treks visit

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