Solo-hiking Tour du Mont Blanc

Hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc was a great adventure! Not only for the beautiful alpine views but for the great people I met along the way. With a total of 170 km and about 10 kilometres of ascent/descent, it is better to be correctly prepared and equipped. This tour is usually done in 8 to 12 days between June and September.

Preparation & equipment

  • Buy a guide with the minimum info to understand the tour and its signage. Most people on the tour had this one for French speakers: TopoGuides – Tour du Mont Blanc – FFRandonnée and this one for English speakers Tour of mont Blanc – Kev Reynolds
  • Buy a map, IGN maps are not needed if you have a guide and a GPS you can trust in term of accuracy in the mountains and battery
  • Make a list of the required gear and pack your bag with the minimum. Remember that you will have water and food in addition. This list was the best I found.
  • Prepare and decide your route in advance, make sure you have the alternative routes available if you decide to take any variant from the official TMB trail or if the weather doesn’t allow you to take the variant for example.
  • I traced my route on View Ranger using the web version, exported it in gpx file and imported it into Gaia GPS which has one of the clearest design on mobile and was very easy to follow in the fog! All my gpx files are available here: [Download GPX TMB routes]
  • Forget about weather apps on your phone, only this website is used by locals and proved to have accurate weather reports: http://chamonix-meteo.com/

Planning

  • Planning should be done carefully based on the physical challenge you want to experience:
    • Less than 10 days will be a though challenge, but you can take the bus or use chair lifts to shorten the trek, it can be a good option if you are limited on time
    • 10 days should be good and let time for variants as I did
    • More than 10 days will be comfortable and let time to do extra trails
Day Itinerary Night/Refuge Route
Departure Home ➤ Les Houches Chalet Les Méandres (ex Tupilak)
Day 1 Les Houches ➤ Les Contamines (Variant Tricot) Gîte le Pontet  VR
Day 2 Les Contamines ➤ Refuge Croix du Bonhomme Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme  VR
Day 3 Refuge Croix du Bonhomme ➤ Rifugio Elisabetta (Variant Col des Fours) Rifugio Elisabetta  VR
Day 4 Rifugio Elisabetta ➤ Rifugio Bertone Rifugio Bertone  VR
Day 5 Rifugio Bertone ➤ Rifugio Elena (Variant Bernada) Rifugio Elena  VR
Day 6 Rifugio Elena ➤ La Fouly Maya Joie  VR
Day 7 La Fouly ➤ Champex Auberge Gîte Bon Abri  VR
Day 8 Champex ➤ Trient (Variant Arpette) Auberge Mont blanc  VR
Day 9 Trient ➤ Tre le Champ Gite le moulin  VR
Day 10 Tre le Champ ➤ Chamonix (Variant Lac Blanc) Hotel  VR
Return Chamonix ➤ Les Houches  ➤ Home All GPX files

Booking if sleeping in refuges

  • Booking can be easy if you go through an agency, many people get the best rooms in refuges by using an agency
  • Booking can be done on http://www.montourdumontblanc.com/
  • Booking can also be done by phone, make sure you confirm a second time the reservation a week before with the refuge
Google Cloud Architect Professional certified!

Taking the GCP Architect exam is quite a challenge as there is very little study material or practice questions available at the moment.

To prepare for the exam:

To sum up the exam without saying too much, it was 50 questions for a total of 120 minutes. Timing is friendly, I had about 15-20 minutes left before the end. Half of the exam worked pretty easily by proceeding by elimination to remove the craziest answers. I was surprise to see a split screen with questions on the left and a listbox on the right allowing to switch between the 4 use cases available at the moment.

About 15 questions were related to use cases. They seemed more complex, even confusing sometimes. I had to use only 2 use cases out of 4, the rest of the questions is more general and seemed to be what I would categorize as medium level questions.

A few points I would suggest to work on:

  • Prepare yourself with the 4 use cases available, work on them for an hour as if they were your customer and how you would deal with each point (means which service you would use on GCP instead of what they have)
  • Read about BQ, Bigtable, CloudStorage, Pub/Sub, Dataflow, Dataproc and when to use all of them
  • Container engine vs Compute Engine vs App Engine
  • Know cloud related business terms: capex, opex, tco, capacity planning
  • Best practices regarding IAM, audit logs and how to secure them
  • Know resources that are global vs regional vs zonal (some major differences with AWS)
  • Know how are structured the different databases
  • Learn everything about instance groups, load balancers, stress tests
  • CI/CD on GCP, how to architect perfectly dev/qa/stg/prod environments
  • You will have to look at Java and Python code as expected
  • Cloud deployment manager is part of the exam and interesting to know in details
  • Migration: how do you deal with existing DC, move data around, etc
  • Network: VPN, firewall, tags

Once again, good luck to everyone taking this exam!