This specialised walk ensures that all members of the family experience the spectacular trails and wonderful alpine spirit of the French, Italian and Swiss Alps. Guided along mountain trails this relaxed itinerary provides awesome views of Mont Blanc with overnight stays in charming alpine villages and mountain huts. Carrying only a day pack, our donkeys transport our bags and supplies, and become part of the walking experience with the children taking turns leading their favourite donkey. We have plenty of time to enjoy the small villages we happen upon along the way, including the delightful La Fouly and enchanting Trient. Staying in local refuges we feast on French, Swiss and Italian cuisine. This itinerary, suitable for active children from age 7 and up, provides an exhilarating alpine walk with unforgettable vistas around every bend.
MODERATE– GRADE 3
The walking is moderate (3) grade with daily guided walks of around 3-6 hours. There are some more demanding stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for active children from 7 years of age. Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep and alter the grading of the trip to challenging. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds. The planned itinerary may be altered in the event of adverse weather conditions.
Today begins by meeting the rest of the group and your guide in the delightful Italian town of Courmayeur where you can sample the excellent ice creams. You will be advised of the meeting point with your tour confirmation. There will be a short briefing where you will pack gear in the kit bags provided (to be loaded onto the donkeys) and begin walking. The route climbs steadily through birch forest and the tree line before arriving at the refuge. In good weather the views are superb. Overnight refuge with shower.
We walk to the road head and transfer to the next section of the trail. There are great views over the 'Grandes Jorasses' and we can see the southern face of Mont-Blanc which is really quite spectacular. We will pass through the high mountain pastures of Arminal, Malatra and Arnuva, before climbing up to Elena refuge where there are excellent views to the glacier and mountains beyond. Overnight refuge with shower.
Today views of the Pré de Bar glacier, (a glacier that boasts a perfect tongue formation), are with us all the way as we make our way towards the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), which marks the border of Switzerland and Italy. The day starts with a steep climb to the pass and the view back to the Italian Val Ferret is superb, as is the view to the Grand Combin to the east. The descent from the pass takes you to the valley floor and your refuge just before the charming village of La Fouly. Overnight refuge with shower.
Half an hour in to this mornings walk you arrive in the pretty village of La Fouly. Although this is most definitely a quieter day, it is also one that brings you into contact with some scenes of amazing natural beauty. Dry meadows, pools of cold, fresh water and chalets that are as black as the small Heren cows that roam about, and are surrounded by flower filled gardens. Swiss village life is all about us and whilst the dramatic scenery of previous days is not as apparent today, it is a chance to experience the wonderful “Valais des Hommes”. Overnight gîte with shower.
Today’s walk takes you on a gentle ascent through the Bovine mountain pastures which overlook the Rhône valley and the village of Martigny. In the distance are the Bernese Alps. On a good weather day there are extraordinary views to the Trient Glacier during the days walk. The high point of the day is at around 2049m before we descend to the Col de la Forclaz. Overnight Refuge with shower.
On our last days walk we make our way to the Balme mountain passage. Weather permitting we will be afforded wonderful views over the Mont Blanc chain. Our walk concludes in the Chamonix Valley.
Today takes you up to the Col des Montets (1481m) and through the nature reserve of Aiguilles Rouges (red needles) to view glaciers tumbling from across the valley. Within the nature reserve view wildflowers and drink in impressive views from a different perspective. Later you return to Le Tour where the walk concludes. Note: Altitude differences are not noted as it is dependent on the route taken.
The trip was excellent. The walking was challenging but really enjoyable. Our kids aged 10 and 12 loved the donkeys and learned a lot about getting them ready in mornings, helping to load the gear onto them. Our guide Yoan was superb. He had boundless patience and energy. Encouraging younger children on tougher ascents and generally creating a great atmosphere for the whole group.
D. Mcconnell, Cookstown, UK, 08 Aug 2017
Our trip was fabulous the leader was super great English and interacted to keep the 6 children on the trip focused and happy. He showed them how to look after the donkeys and lead them, he was very conscious of safety regarding the donkeys. He was equally good with the adults and the whole group jelled very well. He dealt with 2 problems of illness within the group arranging day transport for them to have days off and rejoining group. Not an easy task with three countries involved.
P. Mcconnell, UK, 10 Aug 2017
Per Person, Twin Share