We Don’t Courm-e-yeur Very Often

By Phil on 2013.08.21 In Tour du Mont Blanc

(This should have been posted on Wednesday 21st but we have been living in refuges on mountains for last 2 days and only just returned to civilisation at our spa retreat)

Sorry for late post. I bet you thought we had won the Euro Millions and decided to cancel this trek and head to the med on a yacht.

Well I can tell you we didn’t win the Euro Millions last night, but there is a very good reason for that. Jase put the wrong one on! He put on the Euro Jackpot not Euro Millions! Yet another example of us not being to read or speak the language of countries we visit. Apparently our lottery is not drawn until Friday and we don’t even know what the jackpot of that is. We will let you know.

Anyway we had lovely relaxing afternoon in Courmayeur drinking wine and cocktails in the piazza watching some Italian Cirque de Soleil gymnast doing her stuff followed by the biggest pizzas any of us have ever had. Was at least 20″.

The next morning without a hangover and after finding out we weren’t millionaires, we headed to breakfast for our early start for long hard day ahead. We also decided to take the guide book to help asses our day. After a few minutes of agreeing we were reading the right stage we were happy we knew where we were meant to be going.

As we left the hotel we thought we would check with the manager and receptionist to make sure we headed in the right direction out of town to start the days walk. They even gave us a nice Courmayeur street map to help us. As we continued we also asked a couple of locals to make sure we were heading in right direction. To which they reassured us. All was looking good. Or so we thought until we got to the end of town and didn’t see any TMB signs. So we decided to get the guide book and even the proper map out! Yes Gemma, a map! Can you believe it! Then we realised we had walked past out starting point ages ago in centre of village, which incidentally was pretty damn close to where we ended yesterday’s walk. So 58 minutes and over 4km later we found our starting point which happened to be right outside the restaurant we went to last night before walking out as we didn’t like the menu. Maybe if we stayed we might have seen the start signs. At this point we were ready for a coffee before starting walk from correct start point at 10:45! Though we could have done without the extra 4k.

After laughing about getting lost in Courmayeur for an hour we eventually got started and it was a relentless ascent. A right bugger to be honest in blistering heat, with the occasional shade from the trees. It was a killer! What made it worse is we were basically walking under the Courmayeur cable cars going up to exactly where were heading. Probably only took 10 mins in cable car!

After a very hard 800+ metre ascent we reached a refuge below the Mont Blanc! It was stunning. It looked so close that you could touch it, yet it was still so far away and another 2800 metres high at least! So we sat in our deck chairs in the sun having an ice lolly and some of our pack lunch. The view was simply mind blowing. Hard to describe on here.

We then continued on our route to the highest point of the day at 2554 metres and even closer to Mont Blanc. We could not have asked for a better day. Crystal clear blue skies with the snow on top of MB glistening. I have to say its the most impressive thing I have seen in person. You could see slow running water streaming down the side but you know that if you were close up that water would be gushing down as you could hear the noise of the water in the distance. That’s how big MB is.

We had a really long descent towards our refuge which really pushed us to our limits. Hardest walk any of us have done by far due to ascent, heat, rucksacks and not forgetting the additional 4km getting lost in Courmayuer. But the views we saw more than made up for it.

We arrived at Rufugio Elisabetta after 7 hours of actual walking time. We were among the last to arrive. We were then informed that they had mixed up our booking of a private room and had us booked in for the next night. They apologised for mix up and put us in a room with three independent tour guides. We thought we could get some navigational tips from them. As to be fair we need all the help we can get. However they we all foreign and didn’t say much so that ruined that plan.

As we sat at our table for our meal, which was fairly basic though still enjoyable and enough, we got chatting to a Spanish mother and daughter who were doing the same route as us and we had actually passed them a few days ago. After asking where we were from the daughter said Jase looked Latino and not British, to which we found hilarious. I then asked how they would translate his name Jason. Before Jase said: “Ah my name doesn’t translate in Spanish. When I was taught Spanish at school everyone else had their name translated for the lessons but they just had to give me a name, which was Pepe.” At this point me and Joe were creased with laughing and from now on Jase will be known as Pepe Perkins.

After our main course of pork or veal with smash potato, Pepe had to wait a little while before being given his veggie option. Which was that veggie classic of Smash and two slices of cheese! You should have seen our faces before bursting out laughing. Even our new Spanish friends were crying laughing at it.

We then headed to our room where our fellow roommates were all sat in the dark with their head torches on reading maps! I guess they are guides for a reason. There was also some guy asleep on a mattress outside our room as well as an elderly gentleman in only his pants wandering around the landing. You see some right sights in these refuges.

Click here to view today’s route (ignore first 4km getting lost)

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Welcome to my blog about hiking, trekking, Fjällräven Polar 2014, in fact anything where you require boots and the outdoors.

My name is Phil, and following my outdoor epiphany which started in the summer of 2012 I’m now hooked on everything outdoors. So far my biggest treks have included the 250km Cathar Way, the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc and best of all, winning 1st place to take part in the Fjällräven Polar in April 2014.

I plan to use this blog to write about all my adventures, which will include my personal goal of becoming a Munroist (completing all 282 Scottish Munro mountains), summer treks, weekends in the Lakes and many more.

I like to try and make my blog posts humorous so I hope you enjoy reading and that I can put a smile on people’s faces while showing you some amazing places.

If you have any questions about the blog or the places I'm writing about, don't hesitate to contact me on: phil@philyourboots.com

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