Author Topic: Alpine centre recommendations  (Read 1412 times)

pdstsp

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Alpine centre recommendations
« on: 15:04:49, 28/11/16 »
Afternoon all


I am hoping to pick some brains.  I am looking for recommendations for a town in which to base a weeks walking trip in the French Alps (or Swiss for that matter).  We are a group of 4 middle aged walkers with varying fitness and desire levels.  This year we based ourselves in Samoens for a week and had a fantastic time - early starts, short drives to the beginning of a walk, good days out, around 15-18 miles per day.  One of our party has no desire to do a linear walk as his fitness levels would mean he was under pressure, so the fixed base works for us, as he can dip out for a day, or do half the walk if he's tired.    Staying in a small town also has the benefit of somewhere to eat, shops and perhaps a bar.  I have walked fairly extensively in the Morzine, Samoens areas and fancy something a bit further south, maybe the Ecrins, or somewhere like that.  I also wondered if anyone has experience of the Aravis area.  We would like to walk away from ski paraphernalia as much as possible.


Thanks for reading


Paul

gunwharfman

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #1 on: 21:49:00, 28/11/16 »
Perhaps hike part of the Tour du Mont Blanc. Arrive at Chamonix, hike along an easy-ish footpath and stay at Les Houche then follow the Tour Du Mont Blanc to Contamines, then onto Courmayeur in Italy, then catch a bus through the Mont Blanc Tunnel back to Chamonix. An easy way to spend 7 days, so much to do, so much to see.

pdstsp

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #2 on: 10:23:23, 29/11/16 »
Thanks gunwharfman - problem is that one of the guys really doesn't want to do a multi-day walk from place to place - hence why we did a single base this year and were looking for the same next.  Personally the TMB is something I want to do, but I have committed to organising this trip as a single base (or possibly dual), but doing day walks only.  There is a chance we could do an overnight 2 day walk, staying in a refuge, but I think this would be my friends limit.
Paul

ninthace

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #3 on: 15:24:55, 29/11/16 »
Almost any of the winter resorts in France are also good walking areas. For example the Trois Vallees, Les Arcs, Alp d'Huez, Val d'Isere to name but four. Check their resort web sites for information on walking.
I know you asked after the Swiss or French Alps but Austria has a great walking scene too with well way-marked paths. One resort in particular, Saalbach Hinterglemm, could meet your requirements. Last time I was there, a selection of the ski lifts ran in summer allowing you to gain the ridge line in comfort and there are some fantastic routes from one lift head to the next or taking an extended descent to return on foot or by bus along the valley. The lift pass was free if you stayed in a local hotel and included the use of buses within the valley.
Solvitur Ambulando

pdstsp

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #4 on: 17:09:29, 29/11/16 »
Hi Ninthace - yes I had thought of the ski resorts and have summer holidayed in a few - however I think we want to get away from the infrastructure as much as possible, and explore some areas we don't know - hence asking about the Ecrins.  Our aim is to do good long days and we do climb a bit  (we averaged over 1600m per day this year), it is just that a couple of the party take the odd day or afternoon off.


Must confess I hadn't considered Austria - I'm a bit lazy and Liverpool-Geneva or Nice flights are handy and regular.

ninthace

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #5 on: 18:32:35, 29/11/16 »
Sorry can't help with Ecrins in particular, only spent a fortnight walking around Briancon 17 years ago with the family so totally different profile to your plans. However, there is a Cicerone guide for the area that may be useful and the National Park does have its own website
Solvitur Ambulando

pdstsp

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #6 on: 12:24:42, 30/11/16 »
Thanks Ninthace- I've ordered the Cicerone Guide (despite the mixed reviews) and the IGN maps - I'll make something up and, if they complain, push them off a cliff.

altirando

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #7 on: 23:53:53, 30/11/16 »
Don't recommend the Ecrins.  Dead end valley crowded in summer, start point for climbs not so good for satisfying walks.  Better alternative centre for walking is Pralognan, many good signposted trails , only drawback huge open camping area. I like the Vercors huge plateau,.south of Grenoble, easy walking.  Bit further south, ...I have often stayed at a c.amp.site just above Gap[ and explored the Champsaur, but this is an extra days driving.  Briancon is well placed to explore several good areas if you drive out every day. Shorter drive, the area round Lake Annecy has several little peaks around 2,300 metres climbable on good trails.  I think that might be my top recommendation, camping Lac Bleu has apartments to rent as well as campsites.  Know most alpine areas including Austria, memories of a week of pouring rainČ! Can answer most .questions.

altirando

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #8 on: 23:59:03, 30/11/16 »
Oh Swiss alps.  Has to be Saas Fee, local guides used to offer a group ascent of a 4000m peak, easy, just a snow plod.

Owen

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #9 on: 19:09:51, 01/12/16 »
For the Ecrin LaBerarde or Vallouise.
For the Vanoise it's hard to avoid the ski set up but maybe Bourg St. Maurice.
For the Valais alps try Arolla, Evolene or Zinal.
Further east there's Vicosoprano in the Bregaglia valley, a bit of a hidden gem.

altirando

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #10 on: 23:23:17, 01/12/16 »
Bourg is outside the main walking area.  Pralognan is in .the middle.

pdstsp

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #11 on: 15:20:48, 06/12/16 »
Thanks everyone - lots to look at and think about.  Have to say I was tempted by the Ecrins merely based on some cycling done in the area and particlularly the views from the Col du Galibier, but the map looks a little like lots of valleys and the Cicerone guide is a bit hit and miss in its approach in my opinion.


I know the area round Annecy relatively well, but again from a cyclists perspective rather than walking - strong possibility.


Also like the idea of Owen's hidden gems.  Have booked flights to Geneva so will now spend a few happy evenings doing some research - am also looking at the Chamonix valley - maybe Argentiere or somewhere like that.  Part of the joy is in the planning for me, so your suggestions have given me some food for thought.


Thanks again for all the recommendations - much appreciated. 

altirando

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Re: Alpine centre recommendations
« Reply #12 on: 18:24:22, 06/12/16 »
If you fancy near the Galibier, the little town of La Grave might suit you. Easy walking at the back, Big mountains at the front and a cable car.  Easy drive down the valley to Briancon for more routes.  Big camp site and I think somesort of bunkhouse.