Some might say that a mere 20 treks for a range as well trodden as the Alps is rather parsimonious, but what contributing editor Kev Reynolds has done is select the crème de la crème of trekking options, invited a coterie of top outdoor writers to describe them (along with his esteemed self), dropped in a fine selection of images and gathered it all together in a highly attractive package that will surely inspire anyone who calls themselves a real walker.
"An inspirational walking guide to 20 summer treks in the European Alps in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France and Slovenia, by 8 Alpine trekking experts, including the classics such as the Tour of Mont Blanc and lesser-known routes like the Traverse of the Slovenian Alps. Illustrated with clear overview maps and route profiles throughout."
The Treks and the authors
Trek 1 Grande Traversata delle Alpi: GTA – Gillian Price
Trek 2 Tour of the Queyras – Alan Castle
Trek 3 Tour of the Oisans – Kev Reynolds
Trek 4 Tour of the Vanoise – Kev Reynolds
Trek 5 Gran Paradiso Alta Via 2 – Gillian Price
Trek 6 Tour of Mont Blanc – Kev Reynolds
Trek 7 GR5: Through the French Alps – Paddy Dillon
Trek 8 Tour of Mont Ruan – Hilary Sharp
Trek 9 The Walker's Haute Route – Kev Reynolds
Trek 10 Alpine Pass Route – Kev Reynolds
Trek 11 Tour of the Jungfrau Region – Kev Reynolds
Trek 12 Tour of the Matterhorn – Hilary Sharp
Trek 13 Tour of Monte Rosa – Hilary Sharp
Trek 14 Tour of the Rätikon – Kev Reynolds
Trek 15 Across the Eastern Alps: E5 – Gillian Price
Trek 16 Stubai High-Level Route – Allan Hartley
Trek 17 Zillertal High-Level Route – Allan Hartley
Trek 18 Dolomites Alta Via 1 – Gillian Price
Trek 19 Dolomites Alta Via 2 – Gillian Price
Trek 20 Julian Alps Traverse – Roy Clark & Justi Carey
Author: Kev Reynolds
Published: 18 Mar 2011
The book diplomatically takes in all of the major alpine nations, starting just 40km from the Mediterranean with the mighty Grande Traversata delle Alpi through Italy's lesser known Ligurian, Maritime and Cottian Alps then heading north in an arc through France, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria and ending with a traverse of Slovenia's Julian Alps (one of the most enticing of the walks in the book in my humble opinion).
This allows the book to cover classics such as the Tour of Mont Blanc and the Walker's Haute Route as well as more obscure treks like the Tour of Mont Ruan (which I can personally recommend) on the Franco-Swiss border of the Northern Alps and, of course, a couple of routes in the magnificent Italian Dolomites.
"...Evocative descriptions in conjunction with lovely photographs had me flicking through Trekking in the Alps over my morning coffee for several days in a row..."
The treks described vary in length, time and difficulty which again means there's something for everyone. If you can only escape from work for a week or so then you'll be looking at, say, the Tour of the Rätikon in Austria (56km, six days and a modest 3000m of ascent) or the above mentioned Tour of Mont Ruan ((67km, 5-6 days and 4000m of ascent); if time and suffering are no object, there are the multi-week GR5 through the French Alps or Italy's mighty GTA (633km, 47 days and just 44,000m of ascent) to tempt you.
Evocative descriptions in conjunction with lovely photographs had me flicking through Trekking in the Alps over my morning coffee for several days in a row. You wouldn't literally use the book as a guide, of course (for one thing it's too cumbersome) but it's the ideal lead in to choosing a trek and then ordering the appropriate detailed guide to plan your trip in detail.
Besides descriptions, pics and basic maps of the routes there are useful introductory chapters covering such info as when to go, hut conventions and safety in the mountains, much of which most readers will already be au fait with, which is about as near as I can get to a criticism of this very pleasing book.
If you need inspiration to head off to the Alps this summer, Trekking in the Alps will surely provide it.
Alf Alderson is an award-winning freelance journalist and photographer based in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales. He specialises in ski, surf and mountain sports journalism and writes for a wide range of publications and websites in Britain, Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia. He is also the author of various guidebooks and is gear review editor at OE magazine.
More about Alf on his website.
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