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Frequently asked questions
Do I need special equipment ?
The equipment list below should make it clear but we supply all special equipment (eg snowshoes, harnesses), so you just need personal equipment such as boots, a backpack , a fleece and waterproofs (just in case!).

What do I have to organise ?
We assume you are on holiday so we do everything so you can relax. For most holidays you get yourself to Geneva airport (Switzerland) and we do the rest. You will be met at the airport and Chamonix is just one hour from there which is where most treks start from.

What other costs are there ?
There are no hidden costs so it will be clear what you are paying for. You should take out your own insurance and you will need money for drinks because there is a lot of good wine to try.

What footwear do I need ?
See the equipment list below.
Lightweight walking boots are good in summer.
For winter, plastic boots (or strong leather boots) with
Sorrels or other warm boots for the evening are the ideal combination.

Acclimatisation ?
The itineraries are planned for your careful acclimatisation and to allow you good rest days. It is a very complex subject but, in general, we aim to walk high and sleep low.

Is the walking difficult ?
Activities will be geared to your personal objectives and fitness. You're on holiday so you can easily take an extra rest day. Be aware that snow-shoeing is a little harder than walking on those thigh muscles.
On average we walk for 6hrs a day within a range of 4-8 hours of nice, steady walking.

How are treks graded ?
Treks are graded where:
A = flatish ground at low altitude. Modest height gains of up to 200m (700ft) per day.

B = moderate walking or physical activity. Maximum height gains of 600m (2,000ft) a day.

C = more strenous walking with height gains of up to 1,200m (4,000ft) a day.

D = eg an ascent of Mont Blanc, steep and at altitude: Or height gains of up to 1,800m (5,900ft) a day.

How fit do I have to be ?
The fitter you are the more you will be able to look around and enjoy your holiday. We want to make walking a normal and popular form of transport again.

Equipment list - WINTER Equipment list - SUMMER
Temperatures can easily be -10°C, but it's a dry cold. Temperatures rise dramatically when the sun comes out, and snowshoeing is very strenuous, so you need lightweight layers that you can add or take-off quickly. Cotton t-shirts will stay wet and cold on your body; thermal clothing is best.

Backpack (rucksack) 40-45 litres
Plastic boots (can be hired here) or leather boots
Warm boots like "Sorrels"
Trainers or sandals in the hotel
Trekking poles or ski poles
Gaiters (to keep deep snow out of boots)
Waterproof jacket and trousers (or salopettes are best)
Waterproof gloves and warm hat
Sunglasses and suncream/lipcream
Waterbottle (1 litre max) and/or thermos
Thin thermal top and pants
2 Fleeces (for a thick/thin combination)

Evening wear is casual: jeans, fleece and boots, unless you plan to go dancing.
Summer temperatures can be up to 40°C in the valley and 30°C in the mountains at mid-day. That's hot. Shorts, sandals and sunhats are the usual fashion. But it can rain heavily and can become very cold too.

Backpack (rucksack) 30-45 litres
Lightweight walking boots + several pairs of socks
Trainers or sandals for the hotel and town
Trekking poles or ski poles
Waterproofs, jacket and trousers
Thin thermal top and pants
Shorts + tee-shirt
Thin trousers + long-sleeved shirt (to protect your arms and legs from sunburn)
Sun hat or baseball cap
Sunglasses, suncream and lipcream
Waterbottle (1 litre)

Ice axe: a long walking axe is useful, early in the season as there are sometimes patches of old snow to cross. It can be rented here.
Only bring an altimeter and GPS if you have them, you don't need to buy them for the holiday.

Evening wear is casual: jeans, T-shirt or shirt and trainers, unless you plan to go dancing.
The idea is to carry the minimum in your rucksack: waterproofs, water, a snack and a camera. You should throw out all that other "just in case" stuff that, in total weighs 5kg or so (10lb-15lb).
I carry that !

Looking for an intensive French course in Chamonix? ask

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