The Haute Route, airport
The date of the trip is "to be decided". Beginning of August would be best, weatherwise and otherwise. With or without others, I plan to do this trip in August. If no others go I will do it alone. I have wanted to do this for a number of years. The "Haute Route", or "High Route", is said to be one of the 10 most beautiful hikes in the world and the best hike in Europe. It begins at Chamonix, France, right on the Swiss border. That is the location of Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe, 15,781 ft (the town is NOT at that elevation, you can see it from a distance). The hike, 112 miles, quickly crosses into Switzerland and ends at the beautiful village, no cars allowed, of Zermott (the Matterhorn). There is a lot on the internet about this hike. I posted some on this before, sorry if you saw it and this is a repeat. The best youtube video I've seen on it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lcCJ2ohFOE&feature=youtube_gdata. It is NOT "technical" hiking, which would be with ropes, etc. It is never more than 9000 ft in altitude and so there would be no altitude sickness issues. The "bible" book on the subject is by Kev Reynolds, "Chamonix-Zermott, the Walkers Haute Route", available through Amazon. I purchased the book some time ago and have put in an order for the revised edition when it comes out. The book gives as detailed a description of the route, day by day, inclucding a chart with distance and elevation gain day by day, and estimated hiking time every day. Very thorough. One does NOT camp out, but rather stays in Swiss inns at night. So travel light. Cost is your airfare to get there (normally fly into Geneva Switzerland an hour bus ride away), plus from what I can tell about $80/night for the inn and food. Personally since I've never been to France I may want to fly to Paris, stay several days in a hostel (or if others go, perhaps rent a place through Airbnb), then take an overnight train to Chamonix. While not "technical" this is strenuous hiking, requiring being in top shape. Average about 4000 ft elevation gain/day plus elevation loss. Some days less, several days in a row 5500 ft elevation gain. For those who hike, keep in mind that while that's a lot of hiking, the trails are mostly not rocky as they are in New England, but rather smooth trails. Probably on the average 8 hr/ day, leaving plenty of time to enjoy and explore the villages where you stay. Because it's not overnight camping, no sleeping bag, no tents, one does not have to carry much. And, as to water there is a safe, clean water supply not requiring purifiying, constantly along the route so carrying 1-2 liters of water is all that's needed. Others who have done this tell me that while it's supposedly 14 days, it's so strenuous that they wish they had taken one rest day. Because it's so popular in the summer, it's necessary to have reservations a few days in advance. From what I read, the inn where you stay will call ahead for you to the next location. French is the language in Chamonix and for some distance into Switzerland, then German, but the Swiss who speak German in Switzerland and people in Germany can not understand each other at all. But of course, being Europe and being a tourist/traveler destination, many if not all people will speak English. No limit as to how many people can go. If interested contact me.