7 August – Day 1. Chamonix to Trient

"It rains in the Alps?!

It’s fair to say the forecast was a bit marginal for our first day with rain expected from about 11:00 am. As we waited in Chamonix for the bus which would take us to Montroc and the start, I said, “It’ll be fine”…and the rain started! (I really should learn to keep my mouth shut.)

For the rest of the day, the weather played with us, easing and then coming back with more rain. Such was my confidence that it would be a passing shower, I never put on waterproof trousers and by the time I thought about it, my shorts were truly soaked, so there was no longer any point!

Given that the view from Aiguilette des Posettes would be non-existent due to the clouds and the fact that we’d heard thunder, Alex decided to guide us by a lower route. Disappointing as this might be, it did mean we were able to get warm drinks at Chalet de Balme, and – crucially – warm up and dry off a bit!

From there we decided to take the most direct route for Trient; there seemed little point in just getting wet for the sheer hell of it and there was by now no let-up in the weather. So, we trudged on. I have to say, though, despite being very “mouillé” (‘wet’ – at least I was learning a bit more French vocabulary), it was nice to get walking and to get to know everyone; and, though the mountains were generally wreathed in cloud, there were a few views to admire.

We crossed Col de Balme and entered Switzerland before starting a long, gentle descent into the Trient valley and our accommodation for the night which we reached in record-breaking time and a complete downpour.

Although the accommodation is basic (there are only two choices in Trient, both Auberges), the place was more than acceptable and I had a room to myself in which I could dry off my kit! Happy days!"
Ian Price