Challenging walking and stunning scenery. I've done a few long distance hikes over the last few years, and would rate this as one of the best - with the Tour de Mont Blanc being the other one. The mountains in the alps are just more human-scale than the ones in Nepal - which I think makes them more attractive, and more accessible.
- What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
The high passes were indeed the highlights - getting to the top was a challenge on a couple of the days, but once there the views were stunning.
- What did you think of your group leader?
Frank was a good trek leader - allowing the speedy folks to go ahead when it was safe to do so, and keeping an eye out for the backmarkers without making anyone feel like they had to hurry. He was also ok with letting the fitter walkers stride ahead when the route was clear and safe, giving us the space to walk at our own pace.
You don't get too many of them to a penny... Breaks were often enough, without being too-much.
- Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
Do some hill-walking exercise before you come and you'll enjoy it more. Climbing hills is probably the best practice, but I think an elliptical bike can also be a good alternative if you can't get to the mountains. This is a good challenging trip - challenging for the long climbs, and the stretches of bouldering on the hut-hut days. It deserves being a grade-higher than the Tour de Mont Blanc, but is still quite acheivable for any (semi-regular) walker.
Bring a set of good ear-plugs for the refuge nights if you're hoping to get any sleep. Oh - and just in case you (or someone else) picks up a cough... bring plenty of cough sweets.
Take plenty of memory cards + spare batteries for the camera. Power was available most nights at the camp sites with both UK and Euro plugs, although not convenient on the hut-hut section.
- Is there anything else you would like to add?
The food was excellent most of the time, although a couple of exeriments didn't pan out that well. If your chef suggests he's going to do a raclette but could only get hold of fondue cheese - suggest a fondue instead! On the positive side - he managed to buy some good local cheese and saucisson for the packed-lunches - which was good.