Week of November 9-16, 1995
Swiss vacations for serious hardbodies
Q: My wife and I want to travel to Switzerland in early June 1996. We enjoy active vacations--having done nine Ironman Triathalons between us, the harder the better. We would like information regarding the best outfitter to coordinate this type of vacation in the Alps.
A: Plenty of outfitters offer multiday group hiking trips in Switzerland--it's just a matter of finding one that's challenging enough for your fitness level. With this in mind, you may want to consider one of the world's most renowned treks: a hike around Mount Blanc, western Europe's highest peak. Depending on which outfitter you choose, you'll spend about ten days above 6,000 feet-- traversing the seven surrounding valleys, crossing high alpine passes, and negotiating steep glacial ridges. After tiring days of six to eight hours of walking, you'll be rewarded for your efforts each day with excellent meals and comfortable beds in the high mountain chalets and hikers' lodges along the way. Mountain Travel-Sobek runs a strenuous 13-day Mont Blanc Ciruit from mid-June through late September; prices start at $2,290 per person, excluding roundtrip airfare to Geneva. Above the Clouds Trekking's 13-day Tour de Mont Blanc also begins in Geneva and follows roughly the same route. They offer four summer departures, beginning June 18. This challenging hut-to-hut trek will run you $1,575 per person; you're on your own for airfare to Geneva. If you're looking for an even more rigorous Alps trek, you may want to consider contacting the American Mountain Guides Association at 303-271-0984 to find out how to join a privately run mountaineering expedition. For trip departures and itineraries, contact Mountain Travel-Sobek at 800-227-2384 or Above the Clouds Trekking at 800-233-4499.