Beginner Cmimbing/hiking : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

I visited your web page because I am an American working in Paris and I really want to do some hiking in the Alps. I chose Chamonix because it is not too far, I don't have much money to spend on this trip and would only come for a few days. What I am looking for are some beautiful views, charming villages, grass, flowers, but not too strenous climbing, actually I just want to hike and be safe! If you could point me in some direction and give me some info as to where I could go and some safety tips, I would be delighted. Thanks and I hope to hear from you soon! Sincerely, Danielle J. Cooper

-- Danielle J. Cooper (, April 22, 1999


My girlfriend (now fiance')and I just returned from several weeks in southern France and northern Italy, and I can recommend a little jaunt for you. We are both climbers, but I'll stay away from those routes for you, as you requested. Since you're going to be in Chamonix, if you can get to the Italian side of the range, consider hiking the trails around the Saussurea Alpine Botanical Gardens and the Nature Oasis of the Pavillon du Mont Frety. There we saw several LARGE marmots (way bigger than our Pacific NW variety), a few chamois, and one ibex. Flowers weren't out yet since it was early May, but the weather was warm and foggy. The cablecars from Chamonix to Punta Helbronner were not running, and traffic thru the Mont Blanc tunnel was curtailed because of the big fire they had in it in March, so we could only go from La Palud to Punta Helbronner by cablecar. We never got to Cham (snif!).

From Cham, take the series of funiculars (cablecars) up to the border and down to Saussurea and get out and walk up towards Rifugio Torino. There are two trails, each between 2 and nearly 3km long, with elevation gains from 130m and 330m, respectively. If you're really ambitious, take the gondolas all the way down to La Palud (or bus from Cham to LP - cheaper than the 3 gondolas if cost is an issue) and walk up from LP to the Gardens. That trail gains about 520m to the Gardens, then add on for the two trails already mentioned. Depending on when you go, you should have a real great time.

Also, we stayed in Aosta and there are MANY beautiful and scenic hikes (we only did 4) around the area. Several good and steep hikes are in the hills on the south of town and beyond the Dora Baltea River. If you're looking for charm, views, grassy fields, and flowers, you found it there!

Hope this helps, and if you need more specific info, just email.

Ci' vediamo dopo! ...sobo

-- Paul Soboleski (, May 14, 1999.

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