/ Cham/Locations from Geneva Airport in October?

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ianstevens - on 09 Sep 2018

Looking for a bit of experience (hopefully) from anyone who has been on a running trip to the Alps in October. I've got the first week of October free and will have just submitted my PhD thesis so will require/deserve a short holiday - ideally somewhere exciting (i.e. not the UK). Already been to Font this year so fancied a different kind of trip.

I'll have about 5-6 days, 3-4 of actual running. Anyone been at this time of year and able to recommend a destination accessible from Geneva airport with a good selection of runs < 30km? I'm not averse to either a) not going to the top of things if there is snow cover, or b) soloing VDiff ish to get to the top of things if there is no snow cover. I acclimatize pretty well so happy to head up to 3-3500m without too much acclimatization. Would rather not camp.

Was thinking of going to Chamonix but thought I would investigate the hive mind first. I appreciate that huts/lifts will mainly, if not entirely be shut, and the weather is variable. Anyone else done a similar trip or have alternative ideas/suggestions? Or even specific route suggestions?

Dave Kerr - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to ianstevens:

Will you have a car or are you relying on public transport?

And does it need to be Geneva airport?

Post edited at 14:11
ianstevens - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Public transport. It doesn’t have to be Geneva, but for the dates I can do it was the cheapest flights by quite a margin. Keen to go further afield than the UK - I’ve done a lot in the south (think lakes down) and Scotland is usually quite grim that time of year. Open to suggestions on other locations , but Don’t want to spend more the 2.5 hours on a plane really.

Dave Kerr - on 09 Sep 2018
In reply to ianstevens:

If you don't have a car and are only going for a few days then you need a place with lots to do on the doorstep. Cham obviously has that but other biggish centres might be worth checking out like arolla or saas fee.

Ferret on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to ianstevens:

I don't know it in Autumn but I'd have though Chamonix would suit very well. I've done summer holiday there last few years (staying in Montroc which is a quiet spek just up valley from Argentier). If flights to Geneva make sense for you it is then very easy to get to Cham via bus or airport transfer like Alpybus/Mountain Transfers and others of that type.

Once there transport around the valley is easy with local buses and the train.... the tourist tax that you pay if staying in formal accommodation (and possibly camp sites too) entitles you to some kind of card that gets you on buses for free but you generally need to ask for it as the venues tend not to hand them out unless asked.

I'd be surprised if some of the main and most touristy lifts were still not running to get you up high and the train up Mer deGlace and from St Gervais up will presumably still run. Use these or foot power to get high and worlds your oyster. Both sides of valley have a good network of valley paths and tracks and both sides have a higher level traverse at around 2,000 meters altitude which should be OK as I assume snow may not be that low yet. And also higher stuff clearly... but the classic traverse of the valley is at about 2,000 or so. You could run up valley and up Le Tour and drop down to Vallorcine and get train back, do a traverse of the Grande Balcone North and or South depending on energy levels. There is a web site that has maps and instructions for assorted runs in short/medium and long lengths. Just google Chamonix valley trail running and you should find it.

If you are familiar with your speed at altitude fine, but for ref (admittedly in summer heat) I was a lot slower at 2 to 2,500 than normal, even reasonably acclimatised. Ran from Col des Montets up to Lac Blanc, then on to Brevant above Cham  via Le Index then back to Argentier on lower tracks and admittedly taking it easy and having a lunch stop etc the 13 odd miles of that took me about 5 hours.... pitiful compared with my UK speed over similar distance and height gains.... If doing that you have a choice of going high straight away on path up into the aguilles rouge, or staying a bit lower and heading to Petite Aguillettes Argentier from where the path goes up on ladders and a few walkways etc for a bit.

If using lifts (assuming they are open) there are good deals on multi day passes that might make sense, cheapest type (still expensive) is consecutive days, or you can pay a fraction more for non consecutive. Covers the lifts and the mountain railways.


ianstevens - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to Ferret:

I think we're in similar boats here - I know it, as a climbing destination, and therefore not in Autumn. But thanks for the pointers. Will have a look into some of the routes you suggest too.

plyometrics - on 10 Sep 2018
In reply to ianstevens:

Definitely Chamonix. Great time of year to be there for running and there are limitless opportunities around the valley. Lots of options to extend or cut short your runs depending on conditions and how you’re feeling mid run. 

Have a superb time!

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