A call with Humphrey this morning reminded me of this excellent trip that dates back to 2012, the above picture featuring Roy and Susan at Col de Vallonpierre, 2607 metres, on 8 September 2012.
For anyone looking for a fine ‘hut to hut’ route of up to a fortnight in the Alps, this could be a great choice. Kev Reynolds’ Cicerone guide provides all the information you should need, and the Parc National des Écrins 1:50000 scale hiking map covers the entire route.
If you are planning to go in August, it may be best to book the mountain huts in advance, but outside that month it’s simply courteous to call ahead to let the guardian know that you will be arriving. The hut guardians are usually happy to do this for you. Huts vary regarding bookings – some (possibly most these days) can be booked by email, or once they have opened reservations can be made by ‘phone. Due to increasing instances of ‘no-shows’ many huts now require payment of a deposit, often by bank transfer. This isn’t really practical for UK visitors due to high bank charges. We’ve solved this problem in the past by agreeing to confirm our reservation by ‘phone a couple of days before arrival. If you are going as a group you do get piece of mind by taking the trouble to book in advance. If you then get delayed by bad weather you’d have to undergo a session of phone calls to adjust the bookings – luckily in nearly forty years of Alpine trips this has yet to happen to me.
For anyone interested, my contemporaneous GR54 blog postings are here. I’m afraid there’s currently no index page, so you’ll need to scroll to the bottom and work upwards until I rectify that omission.
Have fun in the Alps! If you go to the Écrins this September say hello to Humphrey if you bump into him. Have a great trip, HMP3!