Friday, 20 September 2013

Last trek of the season!

I started this summer trekking season in the snow - old névé snow left over from winter, weeks ago it seems. And fittingly we finished in the snow - this time fresh snow which fell to about 1600m earlier this week.

I had a reasonably "roughie toughie" group this last time which helped as some of the passes had to be crossed in cold and demanding conditions. However, we didn't miss too many views and had 2 perfectly sunny days in Italy, so we saw those steep and spectacular Italian faces of Monte Bianco.

The good thing about bad weather is that when it clears the mountains have a fresh coat of white and are usually very clear, with no heat haze to spoil the shots. This was certainly true this time and our final day from Switzerland back into France, which began in blizzard conditions, finished in bright sunshine. We fought our way over the Col de Balme, faces stinging in the icy snow and wind, but as we descended to the Chamonix Valley we were rewarded with the most fabulous breaks in the cloud, revealing the high peaks in all their beauty.

Now we're back to sunny weather, forecast for the next few days. Time for me to recover and reflect on what has been not only a great summer season for Trekking in the Alps but an amazing year - full groups, lots of weeks and some great people.
Next up is the winter season. Between now and then I'll keep you posted with the changing seasons here in the Alps and later in Provence.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

The Dolomites in perfect conditions

I last went to the Dolomites two years ago and was really impressed by the spectacular scenery. Going back this year I was equally bowled over by how stunning it all is - you don't have to walk far to be amongst magnificent rocky towers with wide ranging views of the seemingly endless peaks and plateaux that make up this eastern part of the Alps. 

When you think of the Dolomites you imagine the soaring towers of pink limestone, with those famous via ferrata routes snaking precariously up their steep faces, but you may not imagine that there are also beautiful green meadows, long gentle rivers and fabulous crystal clear mountain lakes.


The flowers were also abundant even at this late stage in the season. We came across wild ponies grazing the high meadows, marmots whistled at our arrival alongside the rushing streams, and chamois and ibex peered down at us from their rocky perches.

OK, so I am waxing a bit lyrical, but it really was a very good trip and I will definitely be programming this for next year. Come join me!
Photo: Tyrone Allard