What an excellent trip. I feel privileged to have undertaken it. Overall the group was fortunate enough to have nice appropriate weather to undertake the challenging long hikes which were up to 20km in length and over 1,500 metres ascent.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
In Chamonix, France; we reached high ascent, and got to see Mont Blanc. The team leader and team members worked well together to ensure everybody in the group: ranging from 24-67 years of age, reached the highest ascent possible crossing ice and difficult wet terrain. Exodus, as they have done on other trips carefully selected people who would and did work well together to achieve the challenging yet realistically possible routes set out by the Exodus team leader. Some helped people upwards when they struggled and others assisted others crossing the ice.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Our group leader had the challenge of constantly having to check the weather and its impact on our group’s ability to safely complete the hikes in Mont Blanc. One part of the mountains would be perfectly clear and dry and another section just a few hundred metres higher would be covered in melting ice unsafe for crossing. On several days the itinerary did alter significantly; but this did not in any way impact on our experience. Thus we did not miss out on what for most people will be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Our leader coped with these changes well. He made good use out of the more experienced hikers. One fellow traveller willingly and happily remained at the back to ensure no one got lost or left behind or came to any harm.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Be comfortable and enjoy walking. Try to walk at least 5-10km in one session at least once a week even when it is cold and wet.
Invest in top of the range hiking boots (Salomon and Meindl), socks and hiking poles. Your feet will get wet and your clothes will get muddy. Expect heavy rain and to have clothing for all weathers.
Be prepared to mix and socialise and where necessary help other members of your team. If you are the sort of person that would feel like a caged "stuffed" animal on an all-inclusive cruise - then this Mont Blnac trip is for you.
The trip itself is not expensive. The tour guide will advise of best places to go when you have free time and places which offer the best value for money. However when you stop in huts/cafes on top of the mountains; be prepared to be ripped off (as there is no competition and difficulties of receiving supplies in the middle of Mont Blanc on a Mountain top), one place charged €5 for a 33cl can of coke. Please note on this trip most meals were provided free by Exodus; so these were optional luxuries rather than necessities.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
It was nice to travel with an international group of different ages and backgrounds. It was interesting to hear first how live is lived in different parts of the world. On this particular trip participants came from as far afield as Canada, Australia, Malaysia and Ireland. I also got to speak to a member from another Exodus group who came from Singapore.
Many participants had special dietary requirements. Every was more than well fed with tasty nutritional food by Exodus needed for energy intensive hikes undertaken. Whether you do not eat meat, only eat gluten free, don’t eat pork products, seafood or shellfish; your needs will be met and you will not be made to feel that you are putting the Exodus staff or other participants out in any way.
It is wonderful for the Exodus team to read such positive feedback and we are delighted that Mr Barron enjoyed the trip so much. We are also pleased to read that the food we provided exceeded expectations and it is true that we make every effort to cater for vegetarians and those will allergies. That said to make sure that we meet future expectations we would like to clarify that the facilities we have to cater with are limited and the camp and restaurant meals are organised on a group menu basis where the whole group eats the same menu. Although we do our best it is not usually possible to make alternatives to the group meal and we hope that our future guests will understand the limitations of what we can achieve and will enjoy the group meals we do offer.