I have very fortunately got myself on a JCMT-funded alpine course in Chamonix in early July.
However a quick glance at flight prices tells me they are really quite high at this time of year - does anyone have any tips?
I'm based in East Scotland (nearest Airport is Edinburgh); so while driving is an option it will probably be as expensive as flying, and it'll take the best part of a day to make it just to Calais.
I would love to take the train for the sake of the environment but I imagine it would not be cheap.
When I did it last year, the Trust asked if we were happy to participate in a WhatsApp group with those on the course - I imagine there'll be others thinking about driving down so that's another few people to split costs with if you were to drive.
I ended up driving down with mates but don't see why you wouldn't be able to lift share with others on the course
Does anyone hitch these days? I don't see any around but it used to be very popular with the financially challenged (including myself). I used it here and abroad (but not in Europe) into my thirties. Having a pack and looking like an outdoor type (as opposed to an axe-murderer) probably helped.
Depends what you call a shoestring. You could do it for under £100 by coach. It's awful, take booze/narcotics, but it's cheap.
Edit, ignore the above, I hadn't doubled the price.
It's still awful though.
If you are 27 or under a 4 day interail pass will cost you £161 at present, for this price you will get all your rail travel for 4 days which should take you from your local station right the way through to Chamonix with just a few supplements to pay for the Eurostar and any fast trains that you use in France.
It is not dirt cheap but by the time you include shuttles to and from the airport at both ends it is hard to fly for significantly less and I certainly find it had to believe that you could drive there any cheaper taking into account ferry prices in July.
You can also get 4% cash back with topcashback which isn't a huge amount but every little helps.
Is flying to Basel and then getting the train any better?. We've given up going to Geneva from Scotland in the summer as it got so blooming expensive.
If you want to learn to climb in the alps I’d guess you want the snow and ice to remain there. Take. The. Train. Also an interrail pass isn’t that expensive, and the train is actually much, much more pleasant than driving or Ryanair (despite taking longer).
Its £140 by coach (London to Chamonix return). I would have thought that finding people to share with in the car would be cheaper though.
Hitch. Part of the alpine climbing adventure (or, at least, it was 30yrs ago.)
A 7 days in a month Inter Rail pass is €264 and would probably get you there and back without the hassle of weight limits on luggage and would be a bit of an adventure in and of itself.
There's a good chance I'll be driving that way; I'm waiting to hear from a friend r.e. dates, but if it matches up with you I'll drop you a line.
Otherwise, ask around; odds are there are carloads of like-minded people heading that way at around that time. Try uni mountaineering clubs, UKC and any contact you have with other folk in your course. I've driven Edinburgh-Chamonix (and other alpine hubs) in two days as the sole driver; leave Edinburgh at 5am, take the channel tunnel and sleep in the campsite in Font. Quick circuit on the boulders in the morning, then you get to Cham mid-afternoon.
Interrail pass is a good, socially responsible option.
Hitching; make yourself as presentable as possible, stick all your kit in the biggest rucksack you can find. Take a smaller one to climb with, though. Try to avoid having stuff in your hands, it's easy to leave things in a car.
Not being facetious, but if you have more time than money, it is possible to cycle. You could perhaps get someone else to take your boots and hardware, but you'll need the same sleeping / cooking / personal gear with you.
It's only 500 miles from the coast ports to Chamonix. And you can be creative for using the train down the UK using Split my Journey, and other hints from the Man in Seat 61.
I've done it a number of times and a couple of weeks should get you comfortably from Scotland to Chamonix. One week would see you top up your fitness for the course quite admirably.
Years ago my wife and i did the bus from Glasgow to a small town in what was then Czechoslovakia and back. Great fun, had to change bus in Prague, the next bus had broken suspension!
If you want to save money by cycling, it’s probably better skipping the UK trains and taking the French ones, which are much cleaner, faster and reliable.
> If you want to save money by cycling, it’s probably better skipping the UK trains and taking the French ones, which are much cleaner, faster and reliable.
Agreed, but the French roads/weather are much better for cycling.
Do you know what, not an awful idea... Would be quite the adventure!
It's been a few years since I did a cycle tour, but would probably still be up for pushing 150km a day...
Hmmm... It'd take me a week.
This Alpine Conditions page gives a summary of what is being climbed at the moment, what is 'in' nick and what the prospects are...