/ Chamonix walking late May

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Barrya 12 Sep 2019

Hi there, 

I've got an opportunity to be in Chamonix in late May next year with my family and we were wondering about what walking may be available. We are really keen to get up into the hills and hike to a refuge as an intro to Alpine walking with our kids (aged 8-14 and experienced walkers in Scotland, Snowdonia & the Lakes).

We have been advised that the higher routes wont be open until June but would like to make the most of the opportunity to get some walking and an overnight trip in.

Does anyone have a view or experience in walking from Chamonix around late May and know of any routes or refuges we can look at? as I said, we dont need to be getting up too high, its for fun not summits.

thanks

Barry

Doug 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

Does it have to be Chamonix ? the lower areas elsewhere in the Alps will have less snow so better walking at that time of year. Chamonix is great for alpine style climbing but other areas are (in my opinion) better for walking

DaveHK 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Doug:

> Does it have to be Chamonix ? the lower areas elsewhere in the Alps will have less snow so better walking at that time of year. Chamonix is great for alpine style climbing but other areas are (in my opinion) better for walking

This is good advice.

Barrya 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Doug:

Hi Doug, Doesn't have to be Chamonix but I have flights booked for Geneva so needs to be accessible from there. Any advice on specific locations would be appreciated. thanks

teh_mark 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

In addition to snow, the weather in Chamonix in May can be unsettled. You might find you spend much of your time hiding from torrential downpours and thunderstorms.

That said, it is a beautiful place at any time of the year and in any weather, if you've never visited before. Especially in the relative quiet of the off seasons.

Webster 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

it all depends on how snowy the winter is but this year the balcon routes were under snow well into june and not a place to be taking the family. also many of the trekking huts will not be open yet in may. 

samoens is a beautifull place for the family and is close to chamonix but lower down and out of the high alps. but even there i dont know if hut to hut routes will be doable in may without crampons etc

MG 12 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

> Hi Doug, Doesn't have to be Chamonix but I have flights booked for Geneva so needs to be accessible from there. Any advice on specific locations would be appreciated. thanks

Most of the alps! Train to the alpes maritime? 

McHeath 13 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

Chamonix ist about the last place I'd consider for a walking holiday in May; I'd go for an area with grassy summits/ridges at around 2000-2500m. Even If the weather ist good in Chamonix and there is little or no snow, you're going to be spending a lot of time among the trees on forestry or service trails, with no chance of reaching what feels like a proper summit. Sure, the views when you get higher can be magnificent, looking across the valley from underneath the Aiguilles Rouges for instance, but I find it much more unsatisfying than for instance climbing 1500m on deserted small paths through steep meadows or over boulder fields to a 2300m summit which is slightly higher than all its neighbours. Just my preference!

If you google Chamonix Hiking you'll find loads, this one for instance:

https://www.chamonix.com/hiking-trails,241,en.html

Post edited at 08:46
Doug 13 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

Will you have a hire car or are you intending to use public transport ? will make a difference to your options. I know the southern French Alps better than the north but thats a few hours travel from Geneve. Depending on the weather & snow conditions you might want to consider the Jura as well which is very close to Geneve. Possibly consider the areas around Annecy or Chambery ? Places like the Chartreuse & the Bauges are likely to be snow free (depends on the winter) & are well worth a visit. May is 'out of season' and you may find it difficult to find accomadation in some places.

CEW 13 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

I was there either first or second week of June this year and there was still considerable snow around 2000m - both north and south balcony trails weren’t clear for walking without crampons etc. Also most huts weren’t yet open so worth checking which ones are open in May if your wanting to go and stay. There’s still plenty of lovely places to walk lower down - just remember the bus and train timetable for the valley is less regular in off peak season, especially on an evening. 

Barrya 16 Sep 2019
In reply to Barrya:

Thanks everyone for the posts and replies on this. Useful info which has enabled us to make the decision to shift our trip to later in July. 

Cheers!

barry 


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