Chamonix, September 2011 – Girls Adventure Holiday
I’m not very good at sitting still; beach holidays just don’t suit me anymore. So a girls activity week with Alpine Elements , back in 2011, seemed like the perfect idea.
It was my first time in Chamonix and I was blown away. Green meadows rose gently to cooler pine forests then soared up into snow covered mountains. Heading out for a short, steep run on our first day I was met by lean and exhausted looking runners coming from the other direction. I had never heard of the Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc (UTMB) before but now know I was meeting people who had run over 100 miles in one of the toughest ultra-trails in Europe. The spark for my love of trail running was born in that moment!
We packed in long (slightly longer than expected) mountain walks, mountain bike riding, large quantities of ice cream and visits to the Chamonix swimming pool – where it was compulsory for men to wear budgie smugglers. The highlight of the trip, however, was definitely the Via Ferrata; a terrifying few hours of clinging precariously to small metal rungs attached to a dizzying rock face.
Vi Ferrata is Italian for ‘iron road’ and basically consists of a fixed steel cable running along a rock face. You are secured with a harness and two carabiners and therefore (unless you manage to unclip both carabiners at once!) you really are pretty safe. Try telling that to your brain though, when the ground is hundreds of feet away.
We were deeply scared (well three of the four of us were!) but we all loved it. The views out over Mont Blanc and down into the valley were fantastic and there was such a sense of achievement when we reached the top.
You don’t need climbing experience to do a Via Ferrata, you don’t even have to leave the UK. My best friend recently took me to How Stean Gorge to relive our terror and Honister and Kinlochleven are both on our bucket list. One day I even hope to head to the Dolomites for a really big dollop of fear!
Get out there and find your adventure!
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