Hiking the GR5 from St Gingolph to Menton

15 days. 600 kilometres. A hike across the Alps from Lake Geneva to the Mediterranean in July 2012.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 1 - St Gingolph to Refuge de Bise

Distance: 12km, Ascent: 1440m, Descent: 400m, Time: 2h45m
GR5 - Day 1

Day 1 started with an early morning train from Hyndland, Glasgow to Haymarket, Edinburgh where I wandered around in the pouring rain searching for the Airport Bus. Eventually I made my way to the airport and caught Easyjet flight to Geneva. The bags took forever to arrive, so I missed my intended train, and had to wait around for the best part of an hour before boarding the train for Brig around the north side of Lake Geneva (Lac Leman). I changed at St Maurice to return to St Gingolph on the south side of the lake, right on the Swiss/French border. I left the train station and wandered across the border into France. It was now after 6pm, so I was feeling slightly time-pressured knowing that I had to climb almost 1500 metres that evening. I found a Petit Casino right where the GR5 branches off Rue Nationale, so grabbed some basic provisions and then started hiking at 6:17pm.

I maintained a steady 10 metres / minute climbing rate, which got me to Col de Bise (1950m) by 8:35pm. It then took less than 30 minutes to get down the other side to Refuge de Bise, which was a pretty basic unmanned hut. After 2h45m of hard effort, it was slightly disappointing to realise there were no food options, other than a handful of cashew nuts and biscuits which I'd luckily bought before setting off.

Anyhow, after a long day's travelling I was more or less ready to go straight to bed.

View Petit Casino in St Gingolph in larger map

View GR5 - Stage 1 in a larger map

Stage 1 elevation profile

Stage 1 - St Gingolph to Refuge de Bise

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