Where to start…? It has been a while since I have seen mountains for the last time. A few short escapes to Switzerland in February but the last real hike was the PCT. And we finished the trail in September last year. I can’t believ that this has been so long ago already. Even though I enjoy the start-up life I am craving time in the mountains constantly. You will never be the same after a long-distance-hike they say… I think they are right.

I still would have probably not initiated this trip by myself. But I received a message a few weeks ago that someone would be in Switzerland for a few days and if I wanted to join for some serious hiking. And of course this was all I needed to go. So I booked a flight to Geneva, jumped into my favourite airline and off I was. The cool thing about being ultra-light is also that you can book the hand-luggage only fares if you go on a full camping trip and you are still way below weight and size limits… 😂


A quick hop on a bus from Geneva to Chamonix and that’s were I was expected already. It had been over 9 month now since we had seen each other for the last time and we did you through an amazing time together last year. So it was very special and way overdue that we met again. Moreover I don’t know anyone who would have agreed and actually would have had as much fun as us two to do this trail in such a short amont of time.

What can I say – Smiles is back! 😍


We did spend 24/7 for more than 3 month together in a tent and on the trail. Now we had been back to society for quite some time. Kaylee even got her own new apartment. But when it comes to hiking nothing has changed. We are still crushing it.

We did some last food shopping for the next couple of days. That is one of the major improvements compared to the PCT – you can choose from 200 different types of cheese and and uncountable amount of salami and other amazing trail food. Where we had 8 kinds of beef jerkey and maybe 6 differnt types of cheese for five month we had problems deciding which ones to take. Sooooo good. But the downside of the generally good approach of reasonable packaging size in Europe is that you don’t find 1 liter Gatorade bottles with the big opening. So no pee-bottle on this trail for me… 🙈

Now we were ready to begin the adventure. Based on our research we were talking about a 170km hike with about 23.000m of elevation change. Sounds like a lot, is a lot but it becomes a real challenge when you have another constraint. Kaylees mother and sister were also in Switzerland and wanted us to be back on the 17th to have the evening and next day together before they all were all going back home. Today was the 13th, 14.00 o’clock already. So we had 4 and a bit of a day. Since it would have been a straight climb of 1.500m out of Chamonix and then 5km later a 1.500km decent to Les Houches we decided to take the train there to start the tour. It was going to make us faster on the first day and we were already closer to Chamonix now on the trail if we wouldn’t make it all the way. It sounded quite impossible at the beginning but we said we’ll just try how far we get. So off we went!

Les Houches – clean and fresh.

Finally at 15.00 we made it on the trail. After the first navigational challenges to actually find a way out of town which probably cost us half an hour we were finally on the trail. A little taste of what we were going to get. A constant up and down hill. We left civilisation behind us and went into the mountains – we thought.



The first climb was steep. Very steep. And it was hot. We were sweating and talking was reduced to a bare minimum. Were we completely out of shape? Was it the heat? Or maybe the steaper trails compared to the PCT? Or everything at the same time? We were fast but thinking about another 160km in four days sounded more and more unrealistic. I caught myself looking at the map already looking for “escape” points at the end.

After the first climb we passed the first serviced hut with food and drinks and caught our first views of Mont Blanc. But shortly after that we were actually back on an asphalt road passing shops. We looked at each other asking ourselves why we were carrying food for 3 days already. Not very ultra-light at all. But it also felt more like a serious hike to us somehow.

But then we got out of the last town in Les Contamines and we entered the wilderness.



Most of the time we spent on catching up. A lot of stuff had happened in the last month and even thought we talked on a regular basis there was lots to talk about. So we hiked and talked. And it just felt great to be out again. Nothing had changed. Kaylee naturally went up front making the pace (and what a pace). I fell back a few times taking pictures and I had a hard time catching up! Was I gonna make it at all? I was afraid of feeling completely exhausted tomorrow already.

At 20.30 we found exactly what we had been looking for – the perfect camp spot. We talked about it a few times. Wild camping is not really permitted like it is in the US, Canada or NZ. But for one we had no option as to hike as far as we would get on a day and then just pitch a tent and we also couldn’t imagine ourselves in a Refugio instead of our missed tent. So in respect of the “Leave No Trace” principle (camping only on durable surfaces, pack it in – pack it out, deposit of human waste and toilet paper, etc..) we decided to camp. And how could anyone resist to camp here:


After 24km on our first half-day we went to bed after a quick dinner. Exhausted but very happy. Also really curious to see how my extra small sleeping pad would work. Kaylee told me I could forget about trading at night if I was getting cold argumenting that she was way shorter than me and would probably fit on the mattress. She just said: “You wanted it this way: ultra-light, freeze at night! 😋”


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