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 summer.
June Winter remains!
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 toaid 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 arrive?
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.
Our self-guided treks
Both our Tour du Mont Blanc 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 Tour du Mont Blanc 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 clients.
Our guided treks
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.
TMB group 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....