Tour du Mont Blanc group Ibex in the Gran Paradiso Gran Paradiso Alta Via 2

FAQ Frequently asked questions

If you have any questions or concerns about participating in one of our treks either guided or self-guided, please give us a call or send us an email.

 

Alternatively take a look at the questions below which are frequently asked by our clients.

Do I need specialist equipment?

You will need equipment which is suitable for walking on rugged paths at a fairly high altitude where the conditions can be extremely variable from hour to hour even during the summer months.

 

FOOTWEAR needs to be supportive and with a good grip. Boots are recommended, but there are currently some very good “approach shoes” available which can be more comfortable on hot summer days. Trainers or fell running footwear is definitely NOT recommended. Paths can be stony, sometimes we encounter scree type terrain and it is not uncommon to be walking through snow and heavy rain even during the summer.

 

WATERPROOFS are essential and need to be functional for the various conditions mentioned above. They need to be carried and so it is your preference as to their weight.

 

WARM CLOTHING is another requisite. You may not need it throughout the duration of the trek, but conditions can change quickly and you could easily be in desperate need of a hat and gloves at high altitude. You will be best off “layering” so that you can adjust the amount of insulation you require throughout the day.

A thermal, wicking base layer is recommended for comfort, ease of wear and ease of laundering.

 

Ask for a copy of our ‘Packing List’ document for further information or take a look at our http://www.montblanctreks.com/trekking-kit-list page on our website.

 

Do I need walking poles?

Lightweight poles are readily available nowadays and are heavily recommended by us for trekking. They are particularly beneficial for downhill sections, which can be both tiring and wearing on the knees. They are also a benefit for keeping balance etc on other difficult sections.

 

How hard is the trek?

Our treks are graded using our 1-5 scale. The TMB is graded at 3, whilst the WHR is slightly tougher due to height gain and terrain & is graded at level 4. The Gran Paradiso trek is graded at level 5 & is the toughest trek we offer.

 

See further details on our trek grading on our http://www.montblanctreks.com/terms_and_conditions page on our website.

 

Timing & when to trek

With regards to dates I wouldn't advise commencing the tour before mid June for the Tour du Mont Blanc & mid July for the Haute Route & Gran Paradiso, before then there tends to be a lot of snow left around from the winter season, which makes each day harder and more tiring. All transport including cable cars, buses etc are operational by the end of June.

 

What will the weather be like?

In a word, changeable! The area in the Alps around Mont Blanc has its own micro-climate and during our trekking period we at MBT will experience all types of weather (sometimes in one day!). You need to be prepared as described in the equipment section above for possible poor weather. You also need to be prepared, with a high factor SUNSCREEN, sunglasses and head shade for those scorching days with breath taking views.

 

Average valley temperatures for Chamonix at 1100m, allow for temperature drop for altitude gain as the Cols at 2500m will be significantly cooler.

 

June-July

Min +7°C / +9°C

Max +20°C /+24°C

August- September

Min +8°C / +6°C

Max +22°C /+18°C

 

Are there any clothes washing facilities?

Not as such although the hotel in Courmayeur does offer a laundry service at the half way point on the TMB. Our recommendation is that you take suitable clothing available nowadays, which you can rinse through and dry overnight. There will be drying facilities available.

 

Is there a signal for my mobile phone?

There is fairly good coverage in most of the main towns and villages. You will pass through various countries, France, Italy, Switzerland, so it may well be worth contacting your service provider before you leave home, in order to see how to get the best deal. There is no coverage on the section between Col du Bonhomme & Col du Seigne.

 

Will I be able to use wifi?

Virtually all our hotels have wifi and in most of them it is free. You may be charged on the odd evening depending on the hotel/refuge.

 

Do I need to carry all my gear?

You do not necessarily need to carry all the equipment you need for the whole trek, as we do offer, for an extra charge a bag transfer facility for the bulk of your kit. You will need a suitable rucksack to accommodate your daily clothing/equipment, your lunch requirements, drinking requirements and any other items you wish to have with you during the day. On ALL our treks it is necessary on some days to carry over night equipment when we are required to stay in refuge accommodations that have no vehicular access or are particularly remote, and as a result the baggage transfer team cannot get to you.

 

See our http://www.montblanctreks.com/bag-transfers page for further information on this service.

 

If the trip is based on half board accommodation, what do I do for lunch?

Everyday you will need to provide yourself with lunch and snacks. If you are on a guided trek, your guide will advise you as to the best places and times to stock up on provisions. There are plenty of places scattered along the routes where provisions can be obtained. On some days it is possible that you may access a mountain refuge, which will offer snacks, but this should not be depended upon, as supplies in the mountains can be limited.

 

Will I need to carry water?

It is crucial that you keep hydrated during the day. This will help to avoid headaches and altitude sickness. On a guided trek, your guide will advise on the amount of water you are recommended to carry and will inform you of suitable “topping up” points along the way. It is suggested that you refrain from using the mountain streams and only use the known “safe water” supplies.

 

Do I need a first aid kit

It is always advisable to carry the basics, including plasters for blisters and tablets for head and other aches. (Don’t forget any of your usual medication). You will be able to replenish supplies along the routes.

 

Will I need my own set of maps or navigational aids?

If you are on a self-guided trek, it is essential that you have suitable navigation equipment & have the necessary skills to use it, in order to supplement the maps and route plan you will have received. The maps and guide notes you will receive from us will be adequate but minimal.

 

If you are on a guided tour, your guide will have all the equipment and experience necessary to ensure your safety. If you wish to take along additional equipment for your own interest, please feel free to do so.

 

Will I need to carry a camera to maximize my memories?

Hopefully you will have long lasting memories of your trek. A camera is certainly going to aid those memories. Many smart phones nowadays have a camera that is quite adequate for most needs. If you wish to take specialist equipment, please remember, its security is your responsibility and you will have to carry it. We suggest that clients/parties set up something like a DropBox facility where photographs and memories can be shared.

 

“Best photo of the season”, see our http://www.montblanctreks.com/views/trekking_photo_gallery  page.

 

Will I need extra money during the trek?

It is always advisable to have a little extra cash for unforeseen difficulties or luxuries!Debit/credit cards are accepted at the majority of places, but in the most remote places, they may not have suitable facilities and cash will be the order of the day. Most of the larger villages you will pass through have ATM’s and cash can be obtained easily.

Extras will include any lifts you use (up or down) during the trek and also any other public transport that may be necessary for whatever reason (weather/illness etc).

 

What currencies will I need?

The majority of places will accept the Euro as this is the main currency in France and Italy. In Switzerland you will get a better rate if you pay in Swiss francs.

 

Do I need to arrange my own insurance?

 

Medical: YOUR OWN INSURANCE IS CRUCIAL. You will find further information and links for insurance on our website. If you are on a guided tour, your guide will do their utmost to ensure your safety, BUT accidents do happen, and even trivial accidents can result in a hefty bill if evacuation off the mountain or transport is involved. On top of those costs there could well be medical costs as well.

If you are unsure of your insurance cover, please ask us before the trek, rather than at the time when you may require assistance.

 

Possessions: You are in remote terrain where equipment can be easily lost. You will also be in some very public places, for example Hotels and Refuges. MBT cannot hold themselves responsible for your private possessions. Please make sure that they are adequately insured and kept safe.

There is a certain amount of “trust” involved with bag transfers. Bags are left for collection and again after delivery, in some relatively public places within the hotels/accommodation we use. Again, please make sure valuables are both secure and that kit is suitably insured.

 

Suggestions for trekking insurance companies that have been used by previous clients are:

 

For Residents worldwide: 

World Nomads: http://www.worldnomads.com/#axzz32cOaSiii

TravelEx “ Adventure plus pak”: http://www.travelexinsurance.com

True Traveller: http://www.truetraveller.com

 

For residents in the UK: 

 

British Mountaineering Council: BMC Insurance

World first: http://www.world-first.co.uk/home/travel-insurance/sports-and-activities/mountaineering-and-trekking.aspx

 

For UK & EU residents:

 

Globelink: http://www.globelink.co.uk

 

For residents in the USA: 

 

TravelEx 'Adventure plus pak’: http://www.travelexinsurance.com

 

For residents in Australia:

 

Insure4less: http://www.insure4less.com.au

 

Are there likely to be additional “hidden” costs?

At MBT we try to be very upfront with the potential cost of your holiday we are a UK Limited company and all our prices are in pounds sterling. As previously mentioned, extra costs will be incurred for the use of public transport. Lifts, buses and trains for example. There are also evenings when evening meal is NOT included in the cost of the accommodation. This is made apparent in our itineraries. All of our accommodations are licensed and evening meals only include water.  

 

If I choose bag transfer, will I have access to my bag every night?

We try and get your main luggage to you as often as possible, but there are certain locations where distance and travel time make this provision unviable. This is usually in the Refuges that we use.

 

See our http://www.montblanctreks.com/bag-transfers page for further information on this service.

 

Is there a limit to the amount of luggage I can have transferred?

If you opt for baggage transfer, we ask that you limit your bags to 15kg. This is for health and safety and logistical reasons. Bags need to be ready for collection at 8pm each day & left in the designated area in each hotel/ accommodation. Your bags will be delivered to your next accommodation by 6pm at the latest. Bag transfers are not available at certain locations due to the remote nature, please ask for details.

 

How many are there usually in a group?

Minimum 2 maximum 10 and group size can vary between these numbers if you are on a guided trek. We never over subscribe our groups in order that each client feels valued by the guide and also, for safety reasons.

 

If you are a self guided group, it is entirely up to yourselves as to the size of your party.

 

Am I likely to be the oldest, youngest or weakest member of the group?

We have a very wide range of clients, ages ranging from 25-75 years old, male, female, single travellers & couples, family members or friends, English speaking (US, UK, Australia, Canada etc), the common factor is the love of the mountains & fantastic scenery plus a good level of fitness.

 

How fit do I need to be?

Everyday working life does not always allow us to be as fit as we would like. However we do suggest that you do preparation before you subject your body to the rigors of substantial daily treks at high level. Please see our fitness & training guide for more information.

 

Can I bring my dog?

Some parts of the routes pass through the National Parks and dogs are not allowed. Also some of our hotels/refuges are not pet friendly. So we’re sorry, the simple answer is “No”.

              

If I travel solo, will I have to pay a single supplement?

 

Self Guided: If you are solo and self guided, then the answer is yes. You will have to pay a single room supplement in the hotels, but you will probably find that you are in a dormitory in the refuges unless you request otherwise. Even then, single supplement may not always be possible.

 

Guided: If you are on a guided trek, we have no compulsory single supplements. Our accommodation is on a shared basis in twin rooms this means that you are likely to share a room with someone else of the same sex and if possible a similar age. If in the event that there is nobody suitable to share with, a single supplement will be charged nearer the trek start date once we have final group details.

 

Will I have my own private facilities in all my accommodation?

Generally speaking the answer is yes, although in some locations, you will have shared facilities. In the refuges where possible we offer the option to pay a little extra for a room on your own. If you require this option, please specify this at the time of booking. There are places on all our treks where accommodation is limited and as a result we cannot always meet that requirement. This is out of our control and we would advise you accordingly. See further details on our http://www.montblanctreks.com/travel_and_accommodation page.

 

How do I get from & to Geneva airport?

Travel from the airport to your start hotel is up to you to arrange. There are various options available, which include private taxi, minibus transfer and public transport. The cost is not included in your holiday.

 

Airport transfer

With regard to airport transfer this can be booked on-line, see their website at: https://www.mountaindropoffs.com and by using our promotional code MBT16 you will receive a discount off their flexi fare. The flex fare gives you peace of mind if your flight is delayed as they will transfer to the next available transfer unlike the supersaver which if missed will be recharged. This would cost approx 35€ per person each way.

 

If you are a group of 4 or more we can get preferential rates for you, please contact Mike Booth at Alplinks and mention that you are trekking with us. He can be contacted via the Alplinks website: http://www.alplinks.com or by email: info@alplinks.com

 

How do I get back to Geneva airport from Zermatt?

Similar to the start of your holiday, you will need to make your own arrangements for onward travel at the end of your holiday. Getting to and from Zermatt to Geneva is fairly straight forward & the Swiss rail service runs like clockwork and is the best way to get from Zermatt to Geneva airport. Train times & tickets information can be found on the following website: https://www.postauto.ch/en

 

How do I get to & from Arolla, Les Hauderes, La Sage & Zinal if doing a Easterly/Westerly Haute Route trek?

The Swiss transport service runs like clockwork and the best way to get from Geneva airport to Arolla, Les Hauderes, La Sage & Zinal would be by train & then local bus. Train & bus times & tickets information can be found on the followingwebsite: https://www.postauto.ch/en

 

What happens if I feel I am unfit to walk on any of the days?

If you are unable to complete any of the days when you should be trekking, either alone or with your group, you will have to rely mainly on public or private transport or meet the resulting costs. If you contact the office at MBT we will do everything we can to ensure a smooth transition. We are however unable to operate a transfer system where we can facilitate moving clients from one hotel to another in order that they maintain contact with their group.

 

What happens if I feel I am unable to finish the trek?

If you feel, for whatever reason, you are unable to fully complete the trek, it will be necessary for you to return to your start or finish hotel, using public transport. If you inform the MBT office, we will try and help with your arrangements. This will incur extra charges for any extra accommodation that may be necessary and unfortunately will result in you forfeiting any already booked accommodation on the trek which you may not have used.

 

If I am doing a self guided trek and there is an emergency, what should I do?

You will be provided with a list of emergency contacts and as a result you will be able to avail yourself of their facilities. This will most probably incur a cost and is the reason we ask you to ensure that you are adequately and suitably insured. See our http://www.montblanctreks.com/terms_and_conditions for further information.

 

We do ask you to inform us at the office if you encounter problems, so that we can work on your behalf, informing hotels not to expect you etc to avoid unnecessary panic.

 

If I am on a guided trek, can I change to self-guided for a day in order to vary my route?

Unfortunately the answer is no. If you are a member of a guided party, you will be deemed to be the responsibility of the guide and they will have a certain responsibility for your well-being. They will also be responsible for the safety of the rest of their group and it would be unfair to ask them to divert their attention. If you are on a guided trek, we ask you to stay with that group and follow the recommendations of the guide, which will have been made with the overall safety of the group being paramount.

 

How can I find out who else is booked?

If you would like to check who else is booked on any particular trek please just contact us. We can tell you the makeup of your group, the ratio of males to females and give you an idea of the groups age profile.

 

What are the benefits of joining a group rather than travelling on my own?

People do walk our routes solo. Some like the solitude.

However you will find our groups are small enough for you to have time to yourself, as well as feeling totally involved. The guide will take the stress out of route finding.  Being in a group is safer in what can be isolated terrain and difficult weather.

 

Will I enjoy my trek?

We sincerely hope so and will do our best to make this happen!