Day 1 Monday 13th July 2015
Les Chosolats 1212m – L’Aiguilettes des Posettes 2201m – Col des Posettes 1997m – Switzerland, Tete de Balme – Vallorcine
We woke at 7:45am, some of us from a drunken slumber following an ‘ice breaking’ prosecco and wine session that led to some pretty intense and competitive foosball action in the games room! I didn’t have much time before the circuit class, so I swigged back on some coffee and headed down to where CHX Geoff was setting up the med balls and TRX ready to torture us. We partnered up and completed the circuits, a lovely one involving lots of med ball squats, med ball sit ups and planks – just what you need before a day on the hills! Nicely warmed up, we headed for breakfast, wonderfully prepared by CHX Ali. A nice and healthy spread – hard boiled eggs, soaked oats, fruit, yoghurt, toast and tea. We then sorted out our kit (must note here, a lesson very well learnt, eat more breakfast, pack more snacks and do not assume you will be OK without walking poles)!
Covered in factor 50, back pack filled with 3 litres of water, a waterproof jacket and a banana, we set off.
It was a beautiful morning in Chamonix, sunny and warm, 24c at 10am. We started at les Chosolots 1212m along Petit Balcon Nord to Le Tour and began our ascent up L’Aiguillettes Des Posettes which would reach 2201m. Already at 1000m in Chamonix, the altitude does take some getting used to and progressing at speed to 2201m was a challenge. Our mountain guide, Francois, set a nice quick and steady pace and we were covering on average around 4 km per hour. Around 1:30pm we approached the final stretch that would lead us to the summit of L’Aiguillettes Des Posettes. CHX founder, Damien, a highly experienced mountaineering legend! And one of my fellow mountain bootcampers, Simon, a personal trainer and London banker, challenged me to speed hike the rest of the way up with them; we were around 500m from the top. I accepted the challenge with confidence, but it didn’t take long before I was eating their dust! They made it to the top around 5 minutes before me but I am sure it would have been a considerable amount longer if I hadn’t been nicely (hmmm) encouraged and motivated by my lovely boss, Mark. Evidently, he is ex military and it sure showed! The final part of the hike up to Des Posettes is a steep section that requires a wide stride and big step ups, some on wooden planks that are set quite far apart. I can’t lie; I did struggle on the way up! The altitude affects were kicking in and I was struggling to breathe. This was probably the most difficult part of the day. This was the moment I realised my rookie error. What was I thinking only eating one hard boiled egg, a tiny sliver of melon and a spoonful of soaked porridge oats for brekkie!? My tummy was rumbling pretty loudly and aggressively and I felt like I was running on empty. Clearly my reserves served me well because I made it to the top without fainting and met the others. What a wonderful view from the top, we sat on the grass and tucked straight in to our lunches, freshly prepared that morning and a super healthy mix of grains vegetables and rice. Definitely needed that! We waited for the rest of the group to meet us and then had a well earned rest before setting off again.
We headed down to Col Des Posettes at 1997m and then up and over the border in to Switzerland at Tete de Balme at 2321m. I always find the descent much harder work on my legs, but much easier work on my lungs – a completely different sensation. My fellow bootcamper, Jen, made it pretty clear she much preferred ‘going down’ and she sure did! She zoomed off in to the lead and set a nice strong steady pace that we all followed. Having skied in Chamonix twice before, it was bizarre to be trekking down the black runs I had skied only 3 months previously.
We made it down and after 6 hours of speed hiking we had a well earned beer down in Vallorcine. Total height gain today was 1400m and we covered 25km. Not bad for a warm up day! Bring on tomorrow.
– Emma Cox
Physio4Life Clinic Manager & Chamonix Hardcross Guinea Pig 🙂