Macmillan Mont Blanc challenge 2018
When and how?
September the 12th 2018 was our date along with 23 other people rising money for Macmillan and taking on a hiking challenge. As a team we have managed to rise over £35,000 and still rising. It has been an amazing challenge and adventure and I can confidently say one that everyone attended will remember for ever.
Depart London and fly to Geneva. On arrival we met our awaiting transport and drove around two hours into and through the Chamonix Valley. Our first campsite was few miles beyond Chamonix itself, in Tre-le-Champ.
Tre-le-Champ – Tete de Balme 2321m – Tre-le-Champ After a great breakfast we walked to the small railway station and transferred to the small Swiss town of Vallorcine, 1260m. It took as approximately half an hour and from there we walked on forest tracks that are well-graded but steep in places. We got up well above the tree line where we have enjoyed the view out over the Vallorcine valley, before the final push to our high point: the Tete de Balme, 2321m. A 360-degree panorama provided us with views along the spectacular Chamonix Valley to Mont Blanc, westward across to Lake Emosson and east-wards a vista of Swiss peaks. Being at that peak meant we were standing on the Swiss / French border. We descended along the same track to the Col des Posettes, 1997m, and climb again to Aiguillette des Posettes, 2201m. From the second peak we descended along the spectacular ridge line with great views all around us. The ridge is steep in places and gradually descends into the tree line and back down to the camp.
Day 3: Tre-le-Champ – Col des Montets – Chalet de la Flegere – Planpraz
The toughest day, started with a steep walk from camp to the Col des Montets, 1461m. From there we continueed up a steep and tough zigzag path to approximately 1800m, where the path levels onto the Balcony Route: a mid-level contouring path running along the length of the Chamonix valley. This is one of the most spectacular walks in the entire Alps region. The summit of Mont Blanc was our constant companion with its needle-sharp spires, sheer cliffs, huge crevasse-fractured glaciers and hanging valleys with spilling, gushing waterfall all facing us on the opposite valley wall. The views were constantly changing as our perspective moves and numerous narrower tributary valleys and more distant mountain peaks come in and out of view. On our side of the valley the path was well-graded and surrounded by greenery. During the day we have approached many obstacles from fallen trees, very narrow pathways to walking over rock fall. In the afternoon we passed the mountain hut at Flegere and continued through dense forest, eventually climbing out of the tree line up to Planpraz, where we took the cable car down into the Chamonix Valley to camp. Walking out of the cable car and continuing down hill was painful for many.
Day 4: Chamonix – Le Brevent 2525m – Chamonix
We made our way back to the cable car and returned up to Panpraz at 2000m. We then followed a steep track leading to a zigzag path up to the Col du Brevent. This was a beautiful but tough trek with amazing views to the north and west. We continued high up on the ridge and climbed to the highest point of our entire trek: the summit of Brevent at 2525m. From the peak we had tremendous, uninterrupted views of all of the surrounding peaks, including magnificent views of Mont Blanc in all its glory. Any closer and Mont Blanc would be too close to see its full scale, but we were able to see the glaciers, crevasses and sheer cliffs in perfect detail. Our route took us across open mountain landscape before we descended steeply on well-graded paths that snake down through the trees to our finishing point at Les Bossons (1012m.) This was a tough descent with some very steep sections. After crossing the final line we all had just over an hour to get ready and attend the dinner ceremony. The restaurant was very local with wooden interior, serving delicious food.
Day 5: Depart Geneva
After breakfast we left the camp and drove back to Geneva airport to catch the flight back to London UK. Sad day for everyone.