Route planning

Monaco harbour

Following the spirit of the challenge, the route broadly parallels the spine of the Alps, passing within sight of many of the larger mountains. As I will be travelling solo and very early and late in the year, I've mostly avoided using remote, high routes to keep the risk acceptable, and to reduce the effect on my schedule of re-routing due to unstable or impassable snow.

Most of my route is on the Via Alpina which is sensibly planned to follow well-known paths, to use mountain huts, cross mountain ranges using walkers passes and to visit villages often enough that one needn't carry silly amounts of food. I've used it as the backbone of the walk with a few extensions and changes:

  • In Slovenia, I'm detouring to visit the Southernmost glacier in the Alps.
  • I'm extending Eastward towards Vienna to reach the Easternmost 2000m summit in the Alps, within sight of Hungary.
  • In France I'm including much of the Tour de l'Oisans in the Parc National des Ecrins, as this is wonderful high country, and it doesn't feel right to scoot straight past towards Monaco - likewise an extra few days touring the Queyras National Park, which is magnificent.

I'm walking anticlockwise, as in Spring, there is usually less snow in the South, and it clears quicker, so better progress should be possible early in the year.

Also, if early Autumn snow chokes everything (at Chamonix say), and makes the preferred route close to the Franco-Italian border impassable, there are still alternative routes through real mountains (skirting South West from Chamonix along the Western fringe of the Ecrins and then the Alpes de Haute Provence for example) to return to the Mediterranean.