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Explore the Tour of Mont Blanc (Rucksack Readers) Spiral-bound – 31 Oct 2005
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The Tour of Mont Blanc is Europe's most popular long-distance walk, encircling the highest mountain in the Alps (and arguably in the continent). This classic alpine route runs for 170 km (106 miles) and can be completed in 11 days. You walk through France, Italy and Switzerland, overnighting in alpine refuges. Although the route ascends and descends a lot, its highest pass is at only 2665 m (8750 ft), and no technical skills or equipment are needed. The scenery is superb: majestic glaciers and snow-laden peaks overlook peaceful lakes and alpine meadows. This book contains all you need to plan and enjoy your holiday: drop-down map showing the whole route in four panels the Way in sections, with summaries of distance, terrain and where to find food and drink concise background on Mont Blanc, geology, and wildlife planning information for travel by train, bus or plane in full colour, with over 60 photographs waterproof paper throughout.
About the Author
Born in 1973 in Northern Ireland, Gareth McCormack graduated from Queen's University Belfast in 1995 in law. After two years of walking and climbing through Asia, Australia and New Zealand, he returned to Ireland and established himself as a professional writer and photographer. He has worked extensively on the Lonely Planet series of walking guidebooks and is a regular contributor to the Irish magazine Walking World Ireland. His photographs have appeared in magazines, newspapers and advertising worldwide and he still lives in the north-west of Ireland.
Top customer reviews
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What caught my eye at first was author Gareth McCormack's outstanding illustrations. Post-walk, I was equally impressed by the sound advice in the Planning & Preparation section. Yes, I thought, how right he is to tell people what they will be taking on!
McCormack doesn't labour his prose. Read him slowly, carefully noting such points as:
- assess your fitness objectively before you leave;
- start early each day for the best weather;
- check which cable cars are running.
Once you've mentally applied such wisdom to the context of the UK mainland, you'll realise that you need to be certain you can climb and descend a Munro on at least three successive days. You need to ask yourself when you last really did that.
The book makes clear that the TMB isn't a single line on a map. Forget about the official routes of England's national trails. Distance yourself from any anally-retentive bleating for clarification of exactly which stile Wainwright climbed four decades ago. The TMB is an experience, and there are many options that you can adapt to suit your party.
Don't rely solely on this or any other guidebook to get you round, nor indeed on way-marking alone. You'll need a compass as well as the maps listed in the Reference section.
The Packing Checklist is generally good, though I regard the whistle and survival bag as "essential" rather than "desirable". The Background Information on history, geology and glaciers, habitats and wildlife, and climbing Mont Blanc itself, are concise and well presented.
If taking a rest day in Courmayeur or Chamonix, don't miss out on the sequence of cable cars that raise you up to 3800m and carry you on a 5km traverse high above the permanent snowfield. The Italians modestly refer to this as the eighth wonder of the world!
When you come home you'll read this book again and compare McCormack's photographs with your own, and then you'll start thinking how you'll vary the route next time you visit the highest Alps. That's what I'm doing now.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Combine this book with Kev Reynolds book "Tour du Mont Blanc" and the Rando Editions "Pays du Mont-Blanc A1 1:50,000" hiking map and that's all your need to take this incredible journey.
The paper is thick and resistant.
There are several disadvantages:
1. The alternative and additional trails are not described (or not in enough detail).
2. The size is too big
3. The map's scale is too big
4. no recommendations on the different accommodations on the route.