Day 1 – Le Couteray to Col de la Forclaz

Day 1 – Le Couteray to Col de la Forclaz, via Col de Balme and Les Grands.
Ow. Ow. Pain. We’re broken. Do not pass go, award Jo C 3 I told you so’s.

Up bright and early for a 7am breakfast, bid our farewells to Belle Vue and headed onwards and upwards.

About 1000m up, 800m down, 15km along, 23k steps.

We couldn’t have asked for a better morning (well, I could have done without the sore throat, heralding a bout of man flu 2 alpine holidays in a row >.<). The morning's climb was hard but steady, we even managed to beat sign time to Col de Balme by 20mins, on a 3hr15 route. 7km, 8k steps, 900m of up. A good morning.s work.

Too early for steak frites so had a very welcome omelete au jambon. Protein and salt. Ideal. We took the opportunity to annoy some friends by text. Mountains!

It was about half 11 when we set off, so made a bit of an optimistic decision, let’s go the long way round, avoid losing unnecessary height, see the sights and so on. Oopsy. We’d conveniently forgotten how nasty the path was, more of an assault course really. Steep snow traverses, rock fields, waterfalls,more uphill!?!

You name it. We came to an extremely welcome 7up at the refuge at le grandes before steeling ourselves to descend 600m in about that distance of dog legs through the forest.The views of the Glacier du Trient were impressive, as was the sight of the route up to Le Fenetre d’Arrgh I do not think so laddie.

At least the final stretch from the cafe at Chalet du Glacier was flat, but 3km was longer than either of us had the sense of humour for.9km, 15k steps, 100ishm up, 800ish m down.

Col de la Forclaz is as popular as I remember, but a comfortable place to nurse our blisters. Can’t remember when I last blistered my toes, let alone shoulders..

English was the language of choice in the dining room, many brits and americans on the closing leg of the TMB. Drink selection was ideal, pints of ice tea matched with plenty of Vallisanne wine. Dinner was excellent, they must have had a few no-shows because they offered seconds. Yum. That’ll offset today’s calories used nicely.

So, lessons learned. Slow uphill is succesful. Less is more. Remember it’s a holiday and don’t forget The Rules:
1) Kev knows what he’s doing
2) Do not Bend, Spindle or Mutilate Kev’s Route
3) It’s easy to forget the painful bits (as Jo C reminded us when planning)
4) If in doubt, refer to rule 1