The Alps: Q&A

Arching across 700 miles of Europe, the Alps are a landscape of superlatives. Highest, grandest, remotest: they’re a supersized outdoor playground. And you’ll be in good hands with us. The force behind our excellent alpine tours are Mark and Carey Faulkner. Here, we learn more about this magnificent mountain range, and why they love this place.  

The Alps in Autumn The Alps in Autumn

 

   

 They’re our most popular mountain destination. But what is it about the Alps that most appeals to you?MARK: These are real mountains with huge glaciers, massive cliffs, waterfalls, deep valleys and amazing snow-clad summits. As you zigzag up the valley, forests take over, and at 2000 meters the forests thin away and the true mountains are revealed. CAREY: I love the changes of season. Spring meadows full of sweet-smelling flowers, the heady haze of summer and the and cow bells ringing out, autumnal colours and the golden glow of evenings, and trees covered in fresh snow in the winter months. We love the fact that they offer so much variety. Does it still surprise you? We love the fact that they offer so much variety. Does it still surprise you?MARK: There are a lot of beautiful mountains in the world but the Alps are spectacular in their ability to have so much diversity in one range, yes. From the remote wilderness to the rich culture of the towns in the valleys. CAREY: Yes, in one day you could be shopping and eating in Chamonix and Courmayeur, strolling through pastures and meadows, hiking the steep paths to high passes and flower covered scree and rock.

 

How fit do you need to be to try your first Alpine holiday?MARK: Fitter than you think. Its described as moderate to challenging and for someone who has hill walking experience it is that. For someone without hill walking experience and or who is a little less fit then they would like to be then it will be challenging or possibly even tough. CAREY: The fitter you are the more you’ll enjoy yourself. A day or two walking in the Alps is an achievable goal for most keen walkers, an eight or 15 day trek with five days of consecutive walking is a more serious undertaking. What about the Mont Blanc massif itself – what makes it so special?

MARK: it’s just one of those ‘trek before you die’ routes. The walks are rich and rewarding, and it travels through three countries with three cultures and cuisines. And it’s not just a mountain. It’s a collection of numerous peaks, glaciers and cliffs, and each terrain is spectacular. CAREY: Its accessibility – there are just so many scenic and rewarding walks with constantly changing scenery; lush green valleys, cool forests, high passes and snow covered peaks. Oh, and delicious cuisine too! Try local cheese straight from the farm!

  Why do you think it’s important to trek with an experienced local guide?

MARK: The training, the motivation and the job of leading walking groups is to show the mountains at their best. To give travellers a superb experience. Safety is the mechanics of the job, but bringing the mountains to life their flora and fauna, geology, weather and culture are equally important too CAREY: It’s about sharing a love of mountains. An ability to motivate people and help them out when they are struggling is also really important. We’re a group – so we want to enjoy a shared experience. We look forward to welcoming you…

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