Courmayeur to Chamonix (trail running): Day 2 - La Fouly to Trient

This is part 2 or a 3-part series covering our Courmayeur to Chamonix trail run in July 2018. Part 1 can be found here. Part 3 is here. Enjoy!

(Looking for advice on what to bring, or how to plan this trip yourself? Try this link :)

 Switzerland is so pretty, even the garden sprayers form rainbows.

Switzerland is so pretty, even the garden sprayers form rainbows.

Waking up, we rose to slightly stiffer than we had been the previous day, but not as stiff as could have been expected considering the distance and climbing of day 1. A quick check also showed that amusingly, my knee, felt......better than the day before? The mysteries of injuries and pain - "Pain is really strange" as the title of the book correctly highlights! Thankfully, our second day 'only' contained 1,400metres of ascent however over the same distance so at least we'd get time to recover. Nothing like a positive mindset, right?

 

From the outset, the second day is a complete reversal of the first: 11KM of a mix of trail and road, and all downhill dropping roughly 600metres over the distance as you pass through several pretty, quaint Swiss villages before breaking off left at the town of Issert. Of course, what goes down must go up (or close enough to the correct saying!) and you start up the 'easy' climb to Champex. I air-quote the word 'easy' because this was the guidebook description: what it really is is a steady push over 4KM up 500metres. It feels longer, perhaps after all the friendly descent up to now....

...However, it does drop you out at the picturesque town of Champex. Situated on a small lake, it's a relaxing vibe with numerous tourists stand-up paddle boarding on the lake while others lounge around the few lakeside cafes. For us, it was an excuse for a coffee and a stop-off at the supermarket - what would be the last proper supermarket we'd see until Argentiere. I write this down so that anyone else deciding to do this takes note of this fact and buys more than we did!

 Champex. These people were looking much more 'holiday-y' than we felt.....

Champex. These people were looking much more 'holiday-y' than we felt.....

From Champex, it's then another 5 or 6KM of light ascending and descending trail before the Climb Of The Day: passing Alpage de Bovine, a lovely little mountain rest-point and the peak col nearby: 800metres of ascent over 6KM. From our own perspective, this climb felt easier than the earlier one into Champex - maybe that coffee in Champex had made the difference?! Who knows but it was felt like a more enjoyable push and we weren't complaining about that!

As ever, it was also becoming evident that the daily estimates of the guidebook were wrong, usually out by 5-10% and in the wrong direction. I.e. today's route was supposedly 30KM, however instead we'd be knocking out 33!  From experience, I know now that an iPhone running continuously gives a more accurate result than many running watches - note to any future guidebook authors!

Back to the day's run however, re-stating that quote correctly, what goes up must go down and from the summit col, it's a 750metre descent into the village of Trient before finding our night's accommodation: L'Auberge du Mont Blanc. For future reference to any other people replicating this adventure: this Auberge HAS A SAUNA!!!!!! Bring swimming togs: we had none and no, we emphatically told we weren't going in naked! (Worth a shot when we were that desperate :). The night was spent watching Belgium throw away their golden opportunity against the efficient-but-unexciting French side in the World Cup, and sharing stories of treks with various other fellow hostellers.

Treating ourselves this time, however, we had a room to ourselves and it was a relatively early night before passing out prior to the final dash into Chamonix. 

 

Notes:

  • The other piece to emphasise here: we didn't find a store in the village of Trient. We didn't look hard because we'd done enough walking, however we also had to walk the length of the village on route to the hostel and if there wasn't one, it needs a signpost.
  • The hostel was great overall, and the dorms also looked very good. Closest challenge was the showers were very busy for the number of people staying and warm water was at a premium. I'd definitely stay there again, but keep in mind waiting to outside of the peak hours when all the trekking groups arrive for your showers is the way to go.
 High on the final col of the day.

High on the final col of the day.

 This hat started out the project white. The level of dirt was symbolic of the use of my own body, as well as giving a continuous idea of how dusty our clothes likely were.

This hat started out the project white. The level of dirt was symbolic of the use of my own body, as well as giving a continuous idea of how dusty our clothes likely were.

Looking for Day 3? See here!

Looking for advice on what to bring, or how to plan this trip yourself? Try this link :)