GR5 Day 3 – Snow with friends

So, today was a happy day!  The gr5 trail intersects with the deservedly famous TMB trail for the duration of my day.  So while I had to endure lots of sunburnt people walking slowly with heavy packs, they had conveniently left me lots of tracks to follow through the snow!!!   

I walked from Les Houches to the lovely village of Contamines, where I stopped to buy crampons and sunglasses.  The guidebook said it was a six hour walk, but I managed it in 3.5.  I also had two coffees as no one was up when I left Les Houches at 6am.
And then continued up the river to start the climb up to the Col du Bonhomme.   It is a lovely easy climb for most of the day passing multiple refuges selling cake.  As we got up to 2000m, the snow was back.  


There were about 50 or so hikers making the traverse, a stark contrast to my lonesome traverse yesterday.  Some had amusing clothing choices – the French (and I) were in shorts and tshirts, but there were about 30 Chinese hikers who were covered from head to toe, including buffs on their faces!  I asked the guide what that was about and apparently no one wanted a tan!!!  


I stopped early today after a mere 7 hours on my feet as my next leg is over the exposed Crete de Gittes, and there was a thunderstorm forecast for this afternoon.   So am enjoying the delights of a mixed dorm in the refuge to Col du croix du bonhomme at 2450metres.

The Crete de Gittes


The plans are shifting for the next few days as I had originally intended to climb multiple passes higher than 2200 metres and these are now all snowed in and inadvisable for a lone hiker (especially one who doesn’t understand snow and is scared of heights).   I still plan to walk to the Mediterranean, it just might require a few days pounding the tarmac.  I am treating this as an exercise in flexibility!

Distance travelled = 32km

Ascent/descent = 2316/894

Coffees = 4

Times fell on butt = zero!!! (Though I almost fell up the stairs to the refuge) 

No. of hikers overtaken ascending from Contamines to the Col = 78

**note I am now on day 6 but have very limited 3G, will upload photos and additional posts when I reach civilisation 🙂

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