ALPS 2018: I sent this as an email to those that expressed interest. I’m also posting it here in case anybody else is interested.
Just to stimulate your thoughts about location ….
Dates: Sat 07 July to Sun 22 July 2018 (should be just before the main rush of French school holidays).
Location: I am focussing on 3 areas which I mentioned before: Arolla, Vallorcine/Chamonix Valley, and Ailefroide/Ecrins National Part. I think you can almost guarantee that there will be some via ferratas and mountain biking in all areas.
Ailefroide, in France, in the Ecrins National Park, also known as the Dauphine alps. Further South than the main Alpine chain. Other villages and campsites are nearby:
pros: no lifts (this is a +ve in my opinion). lots of easy alpine mountaineering routes (F and PD, 3000 – 4000m) and hut to hut link ups. Rugged walking. reputation for good weather. Driving time to Chamonix = 3.5 hours. Deirdre and Peter know a lot about the general area and there are other villages, potentially with better campsites, lower down the valley.
cons: the rock climbing looks hard (VS upwards) but there may be easier stuff lower down the valley. Deirdre and Peter are already going to this area later in summer 2018, so they would not go on the CMC trip.
Arolla, in Switzerland, in the Val d’Herens Western Pennine Alps. There are other villages in the Val d’Herens – so there is a choice of campsites and you can access a lot of mountains. Also the Rhone valley to the North has a lot of valley level bolted crags (in my limited experience):
Pros: lots of easy alpine mountaineering routes (F and PD, 3000 – 4000m) and hut to hut link ups and walking. No lifts (this is a +ve in my opinion, in that it means the area is quieter).
Driving Time to Chamonix =1hr 35mins. Driving Time to Saas Fee = 2hrs. So its quite easy to get to other areas.
cons: It looks like there is not much rock climbing in Arolla but the main Rhone valley is only an hour away and I think there are lots of bolted crags there. Switzerland is more expensive than France and Italy.
Vallorcine, in France, Northern end of Chamonix valley close to the Swiss border:
pros: Vallorcine campsite is recommended by club members who went there a few years ago.
The high parts of the Mont Blanc chain do feel quite serious, but there are easy mountaineering routes dotted around most of the Month blanc chain (F and PD, 3000 – 4000m), particularly at the North end on the Swiss border (e.g. the Trient glacier area, and this end of the valley is quieter). There is also the Aiguilles Rouges.
Good walking. It looks like there is quite a lot of rock climbing. Lots of lifts in the main Chamonix area (this is a positive if you are prepared to pay for them and because you can get very quick access to the glaciers on the Mont blanc side and to the Aiguilles Rouges on the other side. The northern Swiss end of the chain does not have any lifts so is quieter).
Driving time to Arolla 1hr 35 mins .
cons: The Chamonix area can be very busy.
Please reply to all with any ides or comments.