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July 1, 2012

ARGH! I Am Getting So Discouraged!

Now that I am pretty much done planning the Torino-Asti-Alba-Saluzzo-Torino loop (or as done as I can be) I decided to start working on the logistics for our other Torino Day Trip: Moring in Courmayeur, cable car to Helbronner Peak to revisit Mont Blanc, then Aosta for the afternoon.

This is getting tricky. Sadly, I feel the likelihood of us doing it evaporating…

Because Courmayeur is an hour by bus from Aosta, we have to get to Aosta as early as possible in the morning. Skies tend to be clearer in the mornings, better weather for peak-gazing! The best train would be one leaving Torino at 5:30AM, getting us into Aosta by 8AM. 

From Torino

Don’t balk at the times, we sincerely don’t mind getting up that early to get on the train. We are early birds ANYWAY and we can have breakfast on board.

Look here’s proof!  Austria in 2007. It’s a HORRIBLE picture of me.. gawd the shoes!!!  But you can see we are ready for a 6:14AM train!

Train to Innsbruck

If we don’t take the 5:30AM train, the next one would only get us there at 9:39AM and that’s no good for the bus transfer. The goal is to make the 9:45 bus in Aosta, arriving in Courmayeur at 10:45. We’d only have 6 minutes to find the bus (I have not done any of this research yet – normally the bus and train are nearby, but watch THIS be the city where that is not true!), buy our tickets and go. I find the timing too tight and if we miss the 9:45 bus, the next one would only be at 10:45 AM getting us to Courmayeur at 11:45 AM! …  getting late! 

Bus time

BUT BUT BUT…  this time table is only valid until September 2! And we’re going to be there just a little later than that. So you see, already planning this much was pointless. Who knows what the times will look like after Sept 2?  I am sort of assuming that the busses will be MORE frequent since Courmayeur is a ski village… but I have no way of confirming that hunch.

The next step in my research was how to get from the Courmayeur bus station to the Cable Car that takes us up to Helbronner Point.

My Guidebook lists the La Palud – Punta Helbronner cable car as an activity in Courmayeur, so I imagined it would be a little like the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car in Chamonix.

Oh God, another hurdle! Courmayeur is NOT the departure point! That’s one town over in La Palud!!! Groan…  Quote from Wikipedia when you look up Courmayeur: The nearby village of La Palud is the base station of the Funivie Monte Bianco, the cable car to the Pointe Helbronner.

Ok fine, next question then: How to get to La Palud from Courmayeur?? Seems it’s a state secret. I found NOTHING on line, even Google Earth can’t help me with public transportation options. 

Courm and Palud

I wrote to some of the Local Tourist Websites I found for the area – not much help. If we don’t stumble upon something easier on the spot, we’ll just have to cab it; it’s less than 10 minutes away. OK – not so bad.

Here is a cross section of the Cable Cars on Mont Blanc to give you an idea of what we want to do:

Mont Blanc

Last year, we did “The Right Side” from Chamonix to Aiguille Du Midi. This year, we are attempting to do “The Left Side” from Courmayeur to Helbronner.

BUT, all the Websites I have found, don’t talk about getting to Helbronner from Courmayeur!!! They do from Chamonix, but from Courmayeur the only info is the price to “Rifugio Torino”… why not further? Does one imply the other??? I think maybe that is what is implied by “TRANS MONT BLANC”…  but who can be sure???

tickets

SIIIIIIIGH.

I think the earliest we can expect to get to the summit is about 11:30 AM. This will be SIX HOURS after our departure…  and we have to come back too! Another six hours!!

I am re-thinking this idea. Perhaps we should just stick to Aosta and nix the Courmayeur excursion. Aosta is said to be a nice place, so we aren’t totally missing out…

Back to the drawing board!

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