120,000 vertical metres climbed
In mid 2006 Bogong owner Neil and his son Tim enjoyed an extraordinary journey across the spine of the European Alps. Starting on the sea in Trieste, Italy, their journey crossed five countries and many mountain passes to arrive back at the Mediterranean Sea in France at Menton 97 days later and both about 14 kilos lighter.
At various times their route took in a variety of long distance walking trails including the Via Alpina, E2 and GR5 but the route was of their own creation. Short sections of some well know walking routes such as the Tour of Mont Blanc were traversed and the crowds on such routes highlighted the wisdom of selecting their own route.
Accommodation was primarily in the excellent series of mountain huts that are sprinkled liberally across the alps in all countries. These serve a meal and offer dormitory style sleeping. No sleeping bags or tents were carried. So many mountain passes were crossed, often of over 3000m, that they lost count.
Walking Possibilities in Europe
Neil says that walking possibilities in the alps are almost unlimited. One needs to acknowledge that the alps are not a wilderness area like we we have in Australia and it is not possible to get that type of experience. Due to the network of serviced huts it is possible to walk without being burdened by heavy packs. The walking is often through incredibly spectacular terrain. There are many easy walking possibilities but many of the routes are steep, challenging walking much harder than walking tracks in Australia. You will often require a head for heights.
Neil says it is difficult to pick one individual highlight. The trip will be remembered for the rhythm of walking day after day. There were many memorable days these being two best.
Day 55: Crossing the Kirsten Pass in Switzerland in a blizzard and through difficult snow conditions. Below is an extract from an email sent home after this day.
Day 89: A long day across 6 rough mountain passes on a little travelled route when we snuck over the border from France into Italy late in the trip.
A pic from both these days in included in the photo gallery.
Bogong carries many excellent English walking guides to the European Alps. Click here for details.
A good selection of the best walks from all countries and areas from Slovenia to France is found in the excellent book Walking In the Alps.