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Rome-ing in the French Alps

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Y10 Outdoor Education Trip to Chamonix

As part of Year 10’s outdoor education, 12 students and 3 members of staff celebrated the end of the school year with a camping and hiking trip to the French Alps.

Having flown from Rome to Geneva on Saturday morning, everyone arrived safely at Camping des Écureuils which is just over 1000m above sea level. The students successfully pitched their tents at the foot of the Mont Blanc Massif (although a tent was found to have missing poles and so Ms. Giddins got an upgrade to one of the Tithomes). The views from the campsite were nothing short of spectacular and the group spent the evening cooking and relaxing while admiring the Glacier des Bossons. 

Y10 Outdoor Education Trip to Chamonix

The area had been experiencing a heat wave with temperatures similar to those in Rome, so the night was a little restless but everyone was up and ready for a supermarket shop on Sunday morning. After lunch, hiking kit was checked and then the group walked into Chamonix to pick up things they had forgotten and have some free time enjoying the town. Ieva’s boots had seen too much action on the International Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and the soles fell off on the short hike to town - better that than on the mountain!

Y10 Outdoor Education Trip to Chamonix

Monday morning was an early start. The group met their guide, Eve, in the centre of Chamonix at 9am for their first adventure up to the Glacier des Bossons. Lunch was spent overlooking the glacier and Eve was able to share her knowledge about its formation and the impacts of global warming - 100 years ago, it reached all the way to the campsite! Hiking nearly 20km and gaining almost 1000m in elevation, there were a lot of personal challenges to overcome. Some tears were shed as we descended and found not just one, but two of the bridges had been washed away which meant we had to hike back up the way we had come. Mental strength and perseverance are necessary in mountainous environments as you have to adapt to your environment; the students learnt this first hand. A special mention has to be made to Guia who is recovering from an ACL operation and completed this hike like a hero with not a single complaint. Needless to say, everyone slept extremely well on Monday night after aching feet were iced in the glacial stream of the campsite.

Y10 Outdoor Education Trip to Chamonix

On Tuesday, the hike was further up the valley in La Buet. The risk of bad weather meant the group had to stay at a lower altitude but got to explore the alpine meadows of the area and enjoy the views across to where they’d hiked the previous day. The storms held off meaning that everyone could enjoy a long lunch and a nap in the mountains - possibly the first time everyone had been quiet all trip! Feeling refreshed and with a boost of energy from some Kendal mint cake, Eve took the group off-trial to go marmot-spotting and slowly descend back to the train station. A quick shower at the campsite and then into Chamonix centre for a celebratory dinner of burgers at the famous Poco Loco. The students might have conquered mountains this trip but many were defeated by the ‘Poco Loco Big’.

Staff and students alike thoroughly enjoyed the experience and thank Mr. Eagle for planning and coordinating this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. His passion for outdoor sports and education has been passed to the next generation who are already excited to explore more mountains with only their backpacks and tents.

Ms Homayoonpoor

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