What did I prepare before the hike
I personally did not prepare in any special way for the trek. I workout daily (mix of strength + cardio) for several years, thus I did not need anything extra on top of what I was already doing, but if you don't workout daily, make sure to walk for several km every day, do a bit of cardio and ensure to strengthen your lower body.
Everyone is different on what they would need with them, but make sure to stay under 10 kg(water included)
Keep in mind that everyone smells so don't worry about a lot of changes of clothes you will not need them. I hiked most of the trail with 1 pair of shorts and changed only my sports bra and t-shirt.
- Osprey Kyte 36L: perfect size, very comfortable
- I would take less protein bars you can always buy more
- I had much more sunscreen than I needed
- I would take 1 pair of long leggings & 1 t-shirt (instead of 2)
- A sleeping sleeve is a must
A small overview:
We started on a Sunday from Refuge des Mottes and walked about 30km all the way to Refugio Bertone. After the downhill into Courmayeur I injured my knee (external ligament on right knee) so it got pretty complicated from then on for every downhill. Keep in mind that that downhill is pretty intense, if you know you have bad knees consider the cable car, or take a lot of care while going down.
Luckily my uphills were still at pretty high speed so could compensate managing to finish in the planned amount of days.
Given my injured knee I decided to skip a bit of the road:
I had to take the bus from Ferret to Issert given the long downhill (and yeap there were a lot of others like me in the bus) and I had to also skip the La Flegere to Les Houches bit (I did do the long version via Lac Blanc though) but the weather was crap and as I would have not made the cable car from Brevet into Chamonix it would have been impossible for me to do the downhill from Brevet.
Staying at refuge places was very nice as generally you could meet a lot of people and chat over dinner.
I did not find the route busy, did anti-clockwise. I would say there were actually more people doing the clockwise version.
2. Get trekking poles it makes such a big difference if you have them.
3. Prepare for all weather but don’t overpack. In most refuge places you can wash you clothes and dry them on the backpack.
4. Most days you can easily buy food from somewhere or you can ask for a picnic at the refuge
5. Staying at refuge places was fun as gives you the chance to meet a lot of people (there are exceptions of course)
6. Waterproof trail sneakers instead of boots (lighter and provide enough ankle support)