For the sake of clarity for the readers of the website, I decided to create a special page dedicated to the questions that everyone can ask themselves by browsing the suggested itineraries. If a question does not appear in the list below, you can contact me by email, I will be happy to answer you and add the question to the list.
Why did you rank hikes by difficulty?
This is, in my opinion, the best way to account for the range of possible routes in the region while having an indication of feasibility , especially for beginners.
I could have adopted a taxonomy based solely on the cumulative positive gain, the time or the distance, but these components are not very clear for novices who, without experience in the field, can not rely on theoretical data.
Moreover, it seems irrelevant to consider only one component at a time, since the difficulty of a hike is measured according to the combination of these three variables.
How is the level of difficulty of a hike evaluated?
The classification in each of the difficulty levels is based on the combination of three variables displayed on each route card: cumulative positive gain, time, and total distance (round-trip). To this set is added an additional technical component, that is to say the presence or not of exposed and / or technical passages on the course.
For example, two hikes with the same cumulative gain, time, and distance might be classified in two different levels (often Easy and Intermediate) because of a technical or exposed passage in one of them. Practically, the Lac de Pormenaz, although having a climbing time, a cumulative gain and distance of an easy hike, ranks amongst “Intermediate” hikes due to a small technical passage slightly exposed to heights. If, for some, this is absolutely not a problem, for others it may seem more delicate, hence this level of difficulty.
Finally, there are rare hikes (such as the Tête des Prapators) with a higher difficulty due to the steepness of the trail over a major part of the route. Even if the cumulative gain seems “acceptable”, the steep passages can significantly amplify the perception of the gain, especially for beginners. In the case of the Tête des Prapators, almost one kilometer has an average slope of 38%, which results in a good ascent 😀
How are cumulative gain and total distance calculated?
The indications of gain and of distance come from the Geoportal of the IGN and are interpreted with Google Earth, a geographic information system allowing to visualize the hikes in a three-dimensional environment. This data is stored in a KML file, which can be downloaded under each route map. Note that the offset value is rounded up to the next whole number.
The description of the route does not correspond to what I saw in the field, why?
Some route cards may contain errors due to changes on the ground due to authorities’ decisions or physical changes (landslides, floods, etc.). This is frequently the case for the old route cards published at the beginning of the site between 2001 and 2005 and which I have not been able to update since.
In this case, send me an e-mail; I will correct the description without delay.
I would like to propose my own route card of a hike not described yet. Is it possible?
Randos-MontBlanc.com was originally designed more like a blog than a community site, so it is not possible to publish new itineraries on your behalf.
However, if you wish to suggest me ideas as well as specific indications related to a hike, do not hesitate to contact me. Once published, I will mention your name/nickname in the route card if you wish.
This post is also available in Français