The night was amazing. Clear and cold and with this amazing feeling of exhaustion I slept like a baby. Also my experiment with the new x-small sleeping pad worked out perfectly fine. I can’t move a lot before I fall off but I can sleep on the side and also stretched out on my back without any problems. Using the backpack as extension for me legs worked perfectly fine. New setup approved. 200 grams gone for good 😎

We got up at 5.30am and left camp at shortly after 6 o’clock.



We haven’t lost any of our speed-packing skills and organisation. We have been an amazing team for three month and we still are. Just talked about it the other day and to find someone who is as crazy as me (well, or even crazier 😋) is a rare gift. Thanks for being the #besthikingpartnerontheplanet Kaylee… 😘


So we started hiking. We made it to the 24km marker somewhere between Ref. de Nant Borrant and Ch. de la Balme yesterday. We had no clue how far we would get and today would be an important indicator to see how much we can do in one day. Based on this we would get a better feeling how far we could actually make it in four days. So off we went. Clearly you could see that we were in the Alps:


Our first high pass was right ahead of us – the Col dul Bonhomme with 2.329m. A nice climb in the early morning sun. We had camped right at the tree line last night so we were in the alpine scrub quickly. The area I love the most. Flowers, little bushes, grass, moss, and the rough and rocky parts with endless views…




On top of the pass we encountered our first little snow patch but since we were so sweaty we decided to traverse a little further for our second breakfast break to get out of the wind.


We also came to the first point where we had to made a decision about our route. Badly prepared as we were we didn’t know that there are a few alternates on the TMB. There are three or four sections were you can take the “high route” which will lead you straight across passes instead of walking around them. This means of course even more up and down but also more spectacular views. We just looked at each other and it was not really anything we had to talk about – we were here to have fun and so surely we took the first high route. This led us to the Pass Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and from there we had to drop down 700m to La Ville des Glaciers.




It was a first taste of what to expect during the rest of the tour: always something between 600 and 1.500m up and down. Flat parts? They don’t really exist. And then we were already on the 700m way up to Col de la Seigne and with this the border to Italy. Italia, Italia… 😍 It’s so cool that on this trip we will be in a different every day – by foot. On the way up clouds were pushing in already. We wanted to have a longer lunch break up here since we had the first 20km in our legs by this time already. As soon as we sat down it started pouring on us. We barely managed to get our rain gear out before we and our stuff got wet. We quickly hiked downhill with the sky just opening up and dumping water on us. The only luck was that we had tail wind and therefore the almost horizontal rain and wind rather pushed us down than making our faces feel like being in a washing machine.


Since there was no end in sight and we were pretty soaked already we decided to make a quick stop in the Rifugio Elisabetta. We had a hot coffee and waited for about 45 minutes for the rain to calm down.


We knew we still had quite some distance to make for today to get to Courmayeur for some food shopping. So we  left Elisabetta in a light drizzle and were gifted with these stunning views of mountains and cloud…




Passing Glacier du Miage was a very special moment for me. This glacier is a very unique one. For one it is with around 10km of length Italy’s longest glacier but even more interesting it is Europe’s largest debris-covered glacier. About half of its surface is covered with rocks from the surrounding walls which means it looks like a big tounge of rocks. But actually it is ice and only the top layer – between a few centimeters and a meter in thickness – are rocks which are transported into the valley on the glacial ice. Why was it so special to me? When I climbed Mont Blanc in 2011 our journey begun on Glacier du Miage which we walked on all the way up to the ridge which connects the Aiguille de Bionnassay and the Dome du Gouter. We also fell into several crevasses of this glacier on our way down. So approaching the glacier and then finally looking into its valley brought back many memories on my first real alpine mountaineering experience. We could see the entire glacier winding itself up the massif at the end of the valley into a northerly direction passing the Rifugio Gonella where we stayed the night before the summit day. A majestic scenery with all the clouds now…

Glacier du Miage in the front – looks like a horizontal rock wall…

But there was still work to do! We had another 500m climb up a side valley before we would drop 1.500m straight down into Courmayeur. Unintentionally we ended up in a trail running race which happened on this day and was also following our intended route up and down into Courmayeur which was their finish. These guys ran a 55km race through this area also constantly going up and down. To be fair they were on their last 10km and with this already had 45km in their legs. But on the last climb Kaylee who was in front just started passing these guys. You should have seen their faces when they saw this girl with her backpack passing them on the way up during their race. It was hilarious… 😂 I had no chance but to follow her so we ended up passing every trail runner on our way up. On the way down they were a bit faster than us without packs but since we made some ground good on the way up we arrived at the finish line with our “crowed” from the climb. They couldn’t believe us being down there already with them and they all gave us a cheerful and happy “Ciao, ciao!!”. We still seem to be in shape! Pretty amazing that there seems to be a good memory effect in leg-muscles. Trail running seems to be something I might have to check out in the future…


It turned out to be our luck that we raced the guys. We arrived in Courmayeur at 19.20 and the supermarket closed at 19.30. So we just made it in time to get food and when we came out of the supermarket Kaylee was completely exhausted. She even talked about taking a break tomorrow and how unimportant it was to finish the whole thing. She also became very quiet. But we still had to organise water for tomorrow and to find a camp spot for the night. Wild camping was not permitted but also no camping site was available so we had to make our way out of town and find something where we could hide with our tent. We stopped at the five-star Grant Hotel which was en route for us and asked them for water. They very politely escorted us out of the lobby into their garden and offered us to use their garden hose – I couldn’t stop laughing. They just didn’t want dirty and smelly hikers in their lobby. #hikertrashforlife! So good to be back on the trail!!! 😍

We had to go for another kilometer when we found a nice and flat spot next to the river sheltered with bushes and trees from the road. A perfect spot for the night. After in total 44km and thousands of meters in elevation change we pitched our tent at shortly before 21.00 o’clock. So after 14 hours of really hard hiking we were “ab-so-lu-tely shattered!” – as our beloved friend Martyn used to say on the PCT in these situations. Well, he would actually say it every evening or also on the afternoon already… 😂

We were knackered! Batteries empty and we fell into a deep sleep after dinner. I only woke up at night when a heavy thunderstorm with lightning went over our tent. But luckily we were in the valley sheltered by trees and by far the most uninteresting item for a lighting to struck into. And the rest of the night – I can’t remember a single thing. I was absolutely shattered but happy. 😊


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