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Frequently asked questions

What does the 'Challenge' rating mean ?

Trip Challenge Rating

Defining a 'challenge' or 'difficulty' rating is a complex affair. We are each made differently, have different levels of experience and hence perceive things differently, please bear this in mind with our challenge ratings. In general, we try to accommodate the broadest levels of experience and abilities.

Our trip challenge rating will help you decide what hiking experience is best for you. The ratings take into consideration a variety of factors, including trip metrics (e.g. distance, elevation gain), terrain type (including exposure to the elements), and amenities. Note that some days may be short in distance, but have significant elevation gains or losses. Please contact us for specific trip details for particular itineraries.

1 – Casual Average distance per day: 1mi – 4mi / 1.5km – 6km Average elevation gain/loss per day: 0ft – 500ft / 0m – 150m Terrain type: Gentle hills or flat terrain, well-maintained paths and sidewalks, and little exposure. Amenities: Lodgings will generally be in hotels, wi-fi/mobile coverage is usually available, participants may be able to access to local shops. Suitable for: Basic fitness level required. Participants of all ages welcome.

2 – Moderate Average distance per day: 5mi – 9mi / 8km – 14.5km Average elevation gain/loss per day: 500ft – 3,000ft / 150m – 900m Terrain type: Mountains and rolling hills, trails are a mix of meadows, woodland, and rocky paths with some moderate ascents and descents, some exposure on the trails to be expected. Amenities: Lodgings will a mix of hotels and refuges, wi-fi/mobile coverage is available most days of the trek, participants will have intermittent access to local shops. Suitable for: Participants should feel confident about their fitness level and ability to complete back-to-back, all day, hiking days. Not suitable for children under age 16.

3 – Vigorous Average distance per day: 8mi – 14mi / 13km – 23km Average elevation gain/loss per day: 1,000ft – 4,000ft / 300m – 1,200m Terrain type: Mountains and rolling hills, trails are a mix of woodland and rocky paths with some steep ascents and descents, moderate exposure on the trails to be expected. Amenities: Lodgings will a mix of hotels and refuges, wi-fi/mobile coverage is available some days of the trek, participants will have limited access to local shops. Suitable for: Participants should have an above-average fitness level and ability to hike 5-7 hours a day at a pace of 2.5mph/4kph. Not be suitable for children.

4 – Intense Average distance per day: 8mi – 16mi / 13km – 26km Average elevation gain/loss per day: 1,000ft – 5,000ft / 300m – 1,500m Terrain type: Mountains, conditions may include snow cover, trails may include game trails and rocky paths with complex and steep ascents and descents, expect significant exposure on some days of this trek. Amenities: Lodgings will be primarily refuges, wi-fi/mobile coverage is limited, participants will have little or no access to local shops. Suitable for: Participants should have an excellent fitness level and ability to hike 5-7 hours a day at a pace of 2.5mph/4kph. NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN OR PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM VERTIGO OR ACROPHOBIA.

Am I capable of participating in this hiking tour ?

We design our treks and hiking tours with an inclusive approach by professional mountain guides. Whether you are first-timer or an experienced walker and you are willing to put in the time to prepare for the tour, you should be capable of successfully participating in our tours (subject to incapacitating disabilities or significant injuries). If you are in any doubt give us a call.

I'm a slow walker will this tour be appropriate for me ?

If you put in the time to prepare and are willing to make the effort when required, we will make every effort for you, provided it is not detrimental to the experience of the group. Our tours are designed to allow participants to skip certain sections if necessary by taking alternative transport (at their own cost and guidance) and meeting up with the group later in the day, whilst this is not the idea, it nevertheless remains an option. If you are unsure, why not read our blog, Will I be the slowest?

I'm a fast walker can I walk ahead of the group, alone by myself ?

This is a group holiday and part of the enjoyment is meeting and spending time with fellow participants sharing your passion for the outdoors and hiking. We all walk at different comfortable speeds and we recognise this with our tours. Provided your guide deems it safe and appropriate, you can walk ahead provided you respect the other participants and the limits set by your guide.

What can I expect from an alpine refuge ?

An alpine refuge (FR), also known as a hutt (DE), refugio (IT), refugi (ES), cabane (CH), or mountain hut provides simple accommodation, usually (mixed-sex) dormitories of 6, or more, particularly the smaller huts. By contrast, in the larger huts, we try to take small rooms, where available. There will be shared toilet facilities and sinks to wash, and some huts have hot showers. Bedding is provided though many huts require you bring a simple sleeping-bag liner for hygiene. We have these available to borrow if you require - please contact us for more information.

All the huts we use are serviced by a full-time team who manage the hut and provide the bar (wine and beer, etc), our dinner and breakfast. Dinner is a simple 3-course meal, with starter, main course, and dessert. Breakfast will be a hot drink (tea, coffee or hot chocolate) and a cold buffet, ranging anywhere from simple bread and jam to more elaborate offering such and cereals, cold meats, and cheese.

Spending a night is usually a fun, though basic existence. The emphasis is on the location and the experience. Their resources are limited, with supplies brought up by mules, humans or expensive helicopters, so don't expect your favorite cappuccino coffee or fried eggs for breakfast.

You may at first feel a little out of your comfort zone. It's likely you're not alone. Remember it's a special experience. Generally, our tours are limited to one night at a time in huts.

I have a special dietary requirement ?

The fun of travelling is about experiencing things different from home and accepting that we may not always have access to our usual treats, particularly in the mountains. We recognise people do have specific diets, by choice or by necessity. Vegetarians are accommodated in all restaurants. Vegan and gluten-free options are becoming more accessible although you are advised to bring appropriate supplements. Ensure you include your special dietary requirement on the supplied health form.

Do I need and special gear for hiking in Europe ?

After booking we send out regular accompanying information, including a comprehensive gear list. However, there are no special requirements, the usual appropriate hiking gear for mountain weather : good boots, layered clothing system with good waterproofs, backpack, water bottles, sun protection, etc.

Can I book a single room ?

Our pricing is based on 2 persons sharing a hotel room. Clients booking individually will be assigned a room companion. For some tours we can arrange single occupancy, which can be selected as an extra fee at the time of booking where it is available.

Can I arrange to extend my holiday ?

We provide fantastic options to extension your tour in one of the cities nearby the departure/return locations of our main tours. These are highly recommended to relax before or after your tour. They have been carefully selected by us to be value for money and to maximise your enjoyment.
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