Tour Mt Blanc  
Map of Tour Mt Blanc   17 Jul  17 Jul 
The Tour du Mont Blanc
17 Jul 2004
The Tour du Mont Blanc    17 Jul 2004
  Tour Mt Blanc   

Here we are, Regina, Paul, Emily, and Linda, at the Portland airport, waiting for a flight to Geneva. We're on our way to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), a multi-day trip around the mountain and its neighboring peaks, all together called the Mont Blanc massif.

The TMB is one of three Alpine hikes that we will tackle. The others being the Dolomites and the Haute Route.

Since this is a photo-centric blog, I'll talk cameras, but only for a bit as it's likely of little interest to anyone but me. In this photo, and most of the upcoming photos, I was behind the camera. This was my first digital, a Canon point and shoot. I found the freedom from carrying film somewhat balanced by the need for AA batteries. Nevertheless, digital, I decided, was a marvel.

Ahh, but technology marches on. The Canon was replaced by a flock of ever-more-expensive Nikons (plus lenses) which required I learn what aperture, speed, iso, and white balance mean. Lovely cameras, and sturdy; I dropped a D300 hard, and it slid across the deck whilst riding on a ferry in the Bosporus. Camera and lens unscathed.

But the Nikons were pushed aside by the more pack-able and a bit retro Fuji (plus lenses).

And now, the poor Fujis are vying for attention with the the uber-packable but un-ergonomic iPhone. The Apple photos may be great but experience wise I feel I've returned to point & shoot.

Umm, back to the hike. The TMB passes through France, Italy, and Switzerland and typically takes about a week. What makes this multi-day hike doable is we needn't camp or carry any food beyond water and lunch. Instead we relied on Alpine refuges, basically small private hotel/cafes. The Alps are heavily sprinkled with these refuges. The refuges vary in comfort but each offers meals and a bed for the night. Most offer warm water. Some feature a room of bunk beds, others rent private rooms.