Day 2 – Refuge des Monttets to Courmayeur.
The large communal dorm. together with the adjacent excellent toilet/shower block gave us a civilised night’s rest allowing my ever sensitive bowels to sort themselves out, mostly. Some weeks before back in the U.K. Steve & I had revised our plans changing a 4 day schedule for the run to a 5 day schedule meaning that Day 2 would be a short day (now even shorter after the extra 6.6K end to Day 1).
After a good breakfast we were in no haste to get away & were among the last to leave the hut at around 8:00 am.
A new day a new Steve we began the climb to the Col de la Seigne (some 700 metres) at a good pace also known as a fast walk passing several fellow ‘walkers’ as we did so. Soon after a stop for a photo shot we were passed by a young guy trying to catch up with his mates, the red mist descended ‘I’m not having that’ so I set off to reel him in. Trying not to be overly competitive I got on his heels & allowed him to lead me to the Col with him no doubt thinking ‘what is this guy about?’
It wasn’t a long wait at the Col for Steve to join me at which point I confessed my ‘motivation’ to his response ‘I wondered what got into you’.
From here we descended to & past the Refuge Elisabetta & made our way to the days final climb, the variant route via Alpe sup de l’Arp Vieille with it’s fine views over the Glacier du Miage & Mont Blanc’s South Eastern Flanks. Steve, although going better today, suggested near the foot of the climb that I go on. Looking forward to the targets (aka walkers) ahead, I needed no second bidding & got on with it.
I enjoyed the climb but was a tad disappointed to reach the top only to find several large groups resting & taking in the view, who could blame them but this was far from splendid isolation.
After some 10/15 minutes Steve joined me & again encouraged me to go on & we can meet up at our day’s destination, Courmayeur. With a splendid traverse run laying ahead I needed no second invitation gave Steve some route guidance & said farewell. It was a hot morning now but I knew that a hut would be waiting for me before the long descent into Courmayeur.
The traverse run was an absolute joy, yes I was feeling the effects of Day 1 so I didn’t exactly feel I had energy to spare but I did have some energy to burn & did so. I reached the Refugio Maison Vieille in approximately half an hour & immediately ordered my new go to hydration combination of Coke & Origina (strangely I had never drank Origina until the day before, have not drunk it since my return from the Alps but drank can after can over the 5 days of the run, odd, yes I am).
Soon I was on my way down the steep & seemingly never ending descent into Courmayeur, the heat rose, I was descending into an oven. Just after 1:00 pm I reached our pre-booked hotel (well known to me & booked by me, there was no mistake this time), checked in & found evidence that Judy, who was supporting our run from here-on with my car, had already checked in & gone walkabouts. Needing a beer more than a shower I wandered over to a Pizzeria took a pleasant long sip & then put in the e-mail ‘Judy I’m here, where are you?’
Judy soon joined me to watch me eat a Capresse (Mozarella, Tomato’s & Basil), just what the heatwave required & then in the corner of my eye I saw him, the Norwegian from Day 1, strolling into town. To give him his due he’d come 6.6K further than me but of course I justified ‘he’d have set off much earlier than us & I’ve been here an hour….’ you get my thinking?
Steve came in an hour & half behind me having deliberately slowed down to ‘enjoy’ the route, plans were discussed, the hotel’s manager phoned & booked our restaurant for the evening (one I knew to be excellent) before we went to our respective rooms for a well earned rest.
The day ended with an excellent meal & a bottle of wine too many back at the hotel, fine for Steve who was not joining me for Day 3 but not exactly clever on my part as Day 3 was the ‘Longest Day’ part of the plan.
Day’s Stats:- 24.8K with 1,148 Metres of ascent in 5 Hours 7 Minutes.