Mont Blanc: A Climb That Took Everything We Had

We knew the third day of our 110-mile trek around Mont Blanc would be our most challenging backpacking test ever. But were we ready? Our first long-distance trek, Spain’s Camino de Santiago, had taught us to be prepared for surprises at every corner and over every hill.

We climbed all morning, 4,317 feet, to an altitude above 8,000 feet. When Sue reached the snowy mountain pass, or col, she was greeted by cloud cover, which closed in quickly, along with a chill. And then came a realization that reminded us of our climb to O’Cebreiro in Spain. But the bad news in France’s Alps was worse than what we faced on the Camino.

We were one col short. Another climb, on slopes steeper than they look in the photos, loomed. Reg was anything but a happy hiker when he turned sideways in the bottom photo to look back at Sue. The path led up, into dripping clouds, around and over rock and ice. Our rubbery legs and aching knees then faced more than 3,000 feet of descent to our hostel in Les Chapieux.

So how have we learned to endure such difficult times? Our lessons began in Pamplona, Spain, as we took the first steps of our monthlong pilgrimage. We tell and illustrate our story in our book, Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows. Click on “trekking slide shows” in the menu to view Sue’s short slide shows from each of our treks.

I would love to hear from you.

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