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France: Vanoise and Chamonix

ByStephen PlattScharlie Platt

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This trip in the early summer of 1994, like other trips we made to the Alps, is a tale of two parts. First we circumnavigated the Vanoise National Park. Created in 1963, it was the first national park in France and is the most bio-diverse with over 5,000 plant species. It borders the Gran Paradiso in Italy and together they form one of the largest protected areas in Europe. We did the six-day hike with Val, a friend from Sheffield and had the alpine flower meadows virtually to ourselves, seeing few other people. The path follows part of the famous Via Alpina, the GR5, that runs from Geneva to Nice, and sections of the GR55. It crosses a number of high passes and most of the path is over 2,500 metres. There was still plenty of snow and we had to watch our step in places. We stayed in refuges or camped near them because wild camping was forbidden in the park. Tony, a friend from Cambridge, joined us for the second week in Chamonix, where we had intended to climb Mont Blanc. In the event, our party of four lacked the experience to tackle the crowning summit and we contented ourselves with three easy routes – the Aiguilles du Tour, Petit Verte and Belvédère. These mixed routes of rock and snow were all delightful, accessible and safe, and the weather was perfect all week. Apart from nights in the Refuges Trient and Lac Blanc, we camped in Frasserands.


Publication Date
Nov 24, 2023
Travel & Adventure
All Rights Reserved - Standard Copyright License
By (author): Stephen Platt, By (author): Scharlie Platt


Perfect Bound
Interior Color
US Trade (6 x 9 in / 152 x 229 mm)

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