Where Next?

A late entry for 2017!

Destination: Berlin, Germany.

When: December 2017.

Why: Michael and Katja invited me and Phil to spend a few days with them, and to enjoy good food and good wine (and beer and coffee!) in their excellent company. It’s over 6 years since I last visited – in 2011, in between Croatia and Paris.

How: London (LHR) to Berlin (TXL), and back, with British Airways.

Three trips in the pipeline for 2018….

Winter / Spring 2018: Snowshoeing in Italy / France

We’ve booked! Deposit paid and Premier Inn (one night at) purchased. Now I just need to book the time off work….. 

Destination: The Eastern Alps, crossing from Italy to France and back.

When: Winter / Spring 2018.

What: Transalpine Snowshoeing, with Steffi.

Why: Three Four reasons:

  1. I love snowy mountains.
  2. I’m still searching for a winter trip to match 2014’s superb Mt Toubkal Winter Climb.
  3. I’ve fancied having a go at snowshoeing for ages. “Everest” Dave recommended it years ago, and Steffi went for a week in Transylvania earlier this year and raved about it.
  4. Who knows what Brexit will bring!

We’ve gone for the Exodus trip because it looked the most adventurous of their Winter 2018 Snowshoe offering – it’s rated as activity level 4, moderate/challenging, and we’ve 2 nights in a mountain hut, backpacking in our essentials for those nights/days. Plus all meals are included and the price was right (especially with their Winter Trip 5% off offer and our return customer 5% discount). I am really looking forward to all those “superb views”!

How: On Exodus’ Transalpine Snowshoe Week (no link – they don’t like me doing that!)

We’re flying London Gatwick – Turin (and back) with British Airways and have gone for flight-inclusive: partly for convenience, and in particular to get the transfer to Thures (part of Cesana Torinese, which is 43 miles from Turin and on the border with France, Wikipedia tells me) at the start of the trip and back from Cervières (across the border, in Hautes-Alpes, France) at end;  and partly based on cost, flight-inclusive is only £120 more than flight (and transfer!)-exclusive.

The group flight leaves Gatwick horribly early on the way out, so we’ve booked a twin room at the Premier Inn, Gatwick for the night before, for the princely sum of £43.50.

Can’t wait!

Itinerary:

Day 1: Arrival and transfer to Thures (part of Cesana Torinese)
Day 2: Val Thuras* & Cima del Bosco*
Day 3: Fontana del Thures – Mautino Hut*
Day 4: Explore around the Mautino Hut
Day 5: Mautino Hut –  Cervières
Day 6: Cervières south faces
Day 7: Cervières loop walk
Day 8: End Cervières

* Not much info in English, so these links are to Italian pages on Wikipedia.it, and to the website for the Capanna Mautino (aka the Mautino Hut).

Summer 2018: Highlights of the GR10, French Pyrenees

Trip No. 2 of 2018 is, as yet, unbooked. Hazel and I are waiting for Exodus to run a special offer 🙂

Destination: The French Pyrenees.

When: June 2018.

What: Highlights of the GR10, with Hazel.

How: On Exodus’ Pyrenees: The GR10 trip (no link – they don’t like me doing that!)

Why: More mountains! Europe! Summertime!

Plus we both had a fab time on the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), aka Exodus’ TWB, back in 2012.

The GR10 is the Grande Randonnée, long distance path, that runs along the French side of the Pyrenees, providing la grande traversée des Pyrénées. It’s been on my trekking radar for a while, but work and more far flung destinations mean I won’t be able to tackle all 538 miles any time soon.  This trip seems a good way to get a feel for how it “works” and only needs a week off work.

Ten days end to end, with 7 full days of walking (mainly point-to-point), and 4 nights in basic mountain huts and the rest in simple hotels, Exodus rate the trip as activity level 5 – “Challenging”, one notch up from their Mont Blanc Circuit, TWB version.

Itinerary:

Day 1: Fly to Toulouse; transfer to Gavarnie.
Day 2: Walk the Cirque de Gavarnie and up to the Espuguette hut.
Day 3: Follow the GR10 to Pragnères; transfer to Barèges.
Day 4: Trek along the Vallée d’Aygues-Cluses; enter Néouvielle National Nature Reserve.
Day 5: Climb to the Col d’Estoudou (2260m) and up to the Col de Portet (1069m); transfer to Saint-Lary (Ariège edition).
Day 6: Free Day in Saint-Lary.
Day 7: Morning trek up to the Col d’Azet (1580m); descend to Loudenvielle.
Day 8: Enter the Val d’Aube; climb to Couret d’Esquierry (2131m); walk to les Granges d’Asteau.
Day 9: Ascent to the Coume de Bourg Pass (2272m) via Lac d’Oô; ridge walk down to Superbagnères. Overnight in Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Day 10: Transfer to Toulouse; fly to London.

Autumn / Winter 2018

We’ve pencilled in the dates and destination for the third trek I’ve got planned for 2018. I think I can just about eke out my LW vacation days to cover it…

Destination: Manaslu Circuit, Nepal.

When: November 2018.

What: The Manaslu Circuit with Val, Steffi and Charles. Our 2nd attempt.

How: With Val Pitkethly and Sirdar Chhiring, who else?!

We’re allowing three and a half weeks to complete the Manaslu Circuit (excellent map) anticlockwise around the mighty Manaslu (मनास्लु) – the eighth highest mountain in the world (8163 m / 26781 ft) – and including a rest day in KTM at the start to get through the jetlag and to allow for more thoughtful repacking than we’ve managed previously!

Why: Same reasons as last time – primarily more high altitude trekking in the Himalaya, plus some “Val specials” in an area where Light Education Development (LED) funds have provided school and medical supplies for many years – plus it means I’ll cover one more one more section of the GHT….

Itinerary: Who knows – it’s Val!