Alpine Hiking Adventure TMB Day 13 - Courmayeur to Refuge Bonatti

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Sunday 7 August 2016

Alpine Hiking Adventure TMB Day 13 - Courmayeur to Refuge Bonatti

Waking to the sun shining on the green slopes around Courmayeur, we felt much better rested for a night in a real bed. After our morning meditation Esther went to the shops to fetch a fruity, soy yogurt breakfast and some further trail food while I packed up...and shortly after 9 we were off. An early start for us when not staying in the tent. A steep, hot 700m climb to Refuge Bertone at around 2000m came with the reward of incredible views of Mont Blanc Courmayeur.

By now the sun was hot and high in the sky but not hot enough to put us off ascending even further onto Mont de la Saxe. This additional 500m of climbing to over 2500m was actually part of the old TMB route, but the new route now takes a 3 hours shorter option traversing around the edge of this high ridgekine instead. However, with such perfect weather and having read about the stunning panoramic views on the top of the ridge we couldn't resist.

The views didn't disappoint. Sitting cooking our lunch with a view that stretched over 3 whole days TMB hiking, with Mont Blanc on display and awesome glaciers was just magical.

After lunch it was just another 3 hours of walking through green, lush mountainside while we enjoyed the flora and fauna and before we knew it we reached our overnight base.

As a first for us we had actually taken the step of pre booking a place in a mountain Refuge. These high altitude accommodations are mostly cramped dormitories with beds literally touching each other and we were nervous about how we would find it. They do also have smaller rooms but these were much more expensive. However, with foul overnight storms forecast we equally didn't want to be under canvas.

To be honest, at first we were a little overwhelmed. Very little privacy and the prospect of literally sleeping inches from a stranger did not make us feel relaxed. However, as the evening wore on and we enjoyed the conversation and company of some of our fellow guests we did relax into it. It was a very nice, communal atmosphere and we could see why anyone that cannot or doesn't want to carry a tent chooses these options. I just wonder if anyone will snore too loudly? I hope not.

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