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Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Days 6 and 7: Le Peuty to Les Houches

A grey, overcast morning began with another huge climb. The Col de la Balme would be my final border crossing. Here I would step back into France, the first and last country of my journey.

I trudged up winding switchbacks through forest, munching on the last of my croissants as I walked. I soon rose above the treeline, scrambling my way around and across snow before reaching the broad saddle, upon which stood the Refuge de la Balme. Like 90% of the refuges I had passed on the Tour du Mont Blanc, it was closed at this time of year and looked like a creepy place to spend the night. A magical view of the Chamonix valley sprawled out below, leading southwest towards Chamonix and eventually my starting – and finishing – point of Les Houches. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 5: La Fouly to Le Peuty

Apart from the the fact that I was burnt to a crisp, today was a fairly uneventful day. Not a single mountain pass to cross and minimal remote country to traverse.

It was almost unbearably sunny, and the gentle ten mile walk down the valley to Champex was lovely. From the campsite I followed the river straight down the valley, through a handful of tiny Swiss towns just waking up to the early morning. The only part offering anything close to excitement was an exposed narrow section of trail through which I had to grip onto a metal chain fixed to the rock face. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 3: Lac Combal to Refugio Bonatti

I was shocked when I woke up to see that it was actually sunny outside. It was still freezing cold this early in the morning but I packed up my tent and wolfed down my breakfast (I’ve bought an industrial-sized sack of croissants to last me the whole week) so I could get as much walking as possible done while it was sunny. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 2: Nant Borrant to Lac Combal

Today was one of the most difficult and exciting days of hiking I’ve ever done. A real change from the straightforward hiking of yesterday.

I set off early from the refuge as I knew it would be a long day. I was aiming to reach Lac Combal (I love camping by lakes) which was about 20 miles ahead with some difficult terrrain in between. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

Tour du Mont Blanc Day 1: Les Houches to Nant Borrant

I hadn’t even started walking yet and already I was soaking wet and shivering, with blood all over my sleeping bag.

I flew into Geneva the day before and caught an airport transfer to the small French skiing town of Les Houches where I pitched up in the local campsite. With ski season firmly over and summer visitors yet to arrive, there wasn’t a single other person to be seen. Read more

Tour du Mont Blanc

A Spontaneous Adventure in the Alps

Spontaneous adventures are the best adventures.

That’s why tomorrow morning I’m flying out to the Swiss Alps to begin a 110-mile trek through the mountains.

I am leaving one job today and in ten days time I am starting another. In the meantime I’m faced with a nine-day stretch completely devoid of any commitments, stress or responsibility. To make the most of the free time I have left, I have decided to fill it with one last medium-sized adventure while I still can.

I had to find a trek I could complete in under a week. Something easy to get to but not too close to home. Something with mountains. Something challenging but also an established route I can follow to minimise planning.

After a thorough seven minutes of research I settled on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Read more

London to Paris - Newhaven

A Frantic 200-Mile Journey from London to Paris

Just over a week ago I set out to make the most of a long Bank Holiday weekend by cycling 200-miles from London to Paris. I wanted to show that anyone can have an adventure without much cost, fitness or time.

This is how it went. Read more

London to Paris

London to Paris by Bike: A Three Day Microadventure

It’s been four months since my last adventure.

It was a year ago – almost to the day – that I was standing at the Mexican border ready to walk the 2650 miles north to Canada. Since then I’ve had a few small trips, but with the combination of winter laziness, absence of money and work-based fatigue it’s all gone a bit downhill. The start of 2018 has featured a real absence of adventure, and I’m going through the usual withdrawal symptoms.

Time to do something about it. Read more

Learning to Embrace Negativity

The “F*** You” Factor – Dealing with Negativity

“I will not let people walk through my mind with their dirty feet”

– Mahatma Gandhi –

 

If there is one thing I’ve learnt from over three years and 4000 miles worth of adventures, it’s that people like to say no.

They will say things like:

“That’s not possible.”

“You can’t do it.”

“Why would you want to do that?”

“You’ll never make it”

“It’s too dangerous.”

“You’re doing it wrong.”

“There’s nowhere to camp here, you should check into a hotel.” Read more

Troltunga - Ringedalsvatnet

An Unsuccessful Winter Ascent of Trolltunga, Norway

Getting to the top of the mountain is optional, getting back down is not.

That’s what I told myself on a freezing cold Norwegian afternoon in December as I reached the halfway point on my climb up to Trolltunga. This was the exact moment I realised I wasn’t going to make it. Read more