Turtle, Ecuador

Your words, not ours

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Your Words - We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It's the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you're interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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  • Reviewed October 2018
    Mariana Kelemen

    Tour of Mont Blanc

    All went smoothly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Mont Blanc from Punta Helbronner cable Car station.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good judgement in all his decisions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read Exodus instructions carefully, follow them thoroughly.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    no
  • Reviewed October 2018
    christopher Spencer

    Spectacular adventure

    This was our first group travel expedition and it did not disappoint. We had been looking at this trip for a number of years through another tour company but we went with Exodus because of the supporting camping option which the other company did not offer (and a benefit that we thoroughly enjoyed). We found the entire experience to be very positive, professional and well organized with just the right amount of flexibility so that we didn't feel like we were micro-managed. Our mountain guide was experienced and did a very good job of watching over the group while allowing us to go at our own pace (within reason). The camp support leader was funny, helpful, and a fantastic cook. The near-perfect weather and jaw dropping views obviously played a big part in how much we enjoyed this trip but I definitely think that the quality of this trip was above the pack.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every valley and every col had its own 'personality' and this made each day different. I loved turning a corner and discovering another fantastic view. It was also nice to be with a group so that the experience could be shared with others.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shaun, our mountain leader was knowledgeable and experienced. He knew the route and the region well and provided very accurate introductions to each day's hiking. His pace was as steady as a metronome and perfect for the speed of our group. Once he understood our capabilities on an individual level he was good about letting us go on ahead or lag behind the pack if that's what we preferred. I definitely felt like I was in capable hands. Peter our camp support was so much fun and a delight to see at the end of each day because he has such a positive and warm personality. We arrived to a camp that was already set up which allowed us to chill out and relax as soon as we arrived. His cooking was fantastic and much better than the few restaurant dinners we had along the way. He was good about ensuring that each of the group members had what they needed for breakfasts and lunches.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be very honest with yourself when evaluating your abilities if you're considering this trip. Our group overall was comprised of fairly experienced hikers. I think that someone who's not able to maintain the group pace would risk not enjoying this trip themselves and also negatively impacting the group. Proper equipment is also a must. Weather can change quickly and being unprepared can make for a miserable and potential hazardous day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved the supported camping option on this trip. I think the group had much more fun and bonded more than we would have had we stayed in hotels.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Matt Walker

    Another one ticked off the bucket list!

    Fantastic experience with a great group! This is one of the great hikes in the world and a fantastic way to experience the Alps. The camping element added to the camaraderie of the group and saw us all bond quickly. Paul was an excellent leader, very knowledgeable on the mountains, nature and wildlife, his company and humor were very much appreciated! Kieron managed the camp to perfection with his excellent cooking and organisation, and always ready with an story to share. Don't expect to lose much weight on this trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The glacial lakes and passing over the highest point, the Grand Col Ferret.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Nigel Donovan

    Great walk

    Wonderful to get on this walk at the last minute. 11 other generous minded walkers. Lotte a talented leader and Pete a great cook and camp organiser.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day was great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lotte Stuer was excellent. Talented in making people feel at ease. Thorough and funny in her pre walk briefings. She kept a quiet eye on us all but was ready to let is go at our own pace in appropriate places. An excellent leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get a few good walks in to ensure the boots are broken in and know the challenge of a grade 4 week.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Both Lotte and Pete worked well together and worked well together.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Sara McDonagh

    I would do this again!

    This was an amazing adventure. I had never camped before nor had I ever trekked in the Alps, so lots of reasons to be a little nervous before I went. On reflection, any worry was unnecessary. The camping was fun and well managed. The scenery was amazing. And the trekking, although hard work at times, was entirely manageable and hugely rewarding. Incredible views. Wonderful people. If I could, I would do this all again. In fact I just might!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    How could you ever grow tired of looking at these mountains and trekking among them?
  • Reviewed August 2018

    Tour du Mont Blanc Camping Trek

    'It is what it says on the tin.'

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One member initially nearly keeling over due to a lack of electrolytes, to go on to be as strong or stronger than the rest of us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Severely competent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes. (See below.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Random comments on the TWB trip transpiring 7/7/17 to 7/21/18: Participants: Seven, plus guide and support driver/cook. All Brits, except for one US (me). The weather was exceptionally good. During the day, it sputtered a couple of times, but no heavy rain at all. Clouds had only a minor impact on views. Periods of rain on a couple of nights. All in all, far better than I expected. Only one morning I would call cold. (And I get cold easily.) Nothing approaching freezing, AFAIK. Photos here: https://len5742.smugmug.com/Len/2018-Tour-du-Mont-Blanc/ Campgrounds: Les Marmottes campground is said to be three-star rated. You will spend four of your fourteen nights here. - No toilet paper. No toilet seats. (Not a hole-in-the-ground squat toilet, just no toilet seat.) But you do have toilets! Bring a roll of TP. - Couple of the sinks have liquid hand-washing soap dispensers. Bring a bar of soap. - Crowded, at least at the Exodus-designated area, next to the toilet/shower building. (See photos.) Expect a fair amount of noise and kids running around until about 11pm. I arrived early from the US, and stayed at an auberge in Les Houches, before moving to the campground. After we finished the hiking and returned again to Les Marmottes, I bailed back to the auberge instead of spending the last two nights in the campground. I highly recommend moving to more peaceful accommodation for the last one or two nights, if you can afford it. All of the campgrounds had toilets, even the so-called wild camps. Some even had TP and toilet seats. There was at least one with squat toilets. Showers, when available, were at least adequately warm. We went to a refuge-prepared dinner at at least one of the two wild camps, can't remember about the other. 'Wild camp' = lack of showers and wifi? Certainly there was no lack of other campers. Showers: Some are free and as long as you want, a couple are pay-to-play. Protip: Note that for one shower we were given a card to use (for a fixed number of minutes), without further explanation. Turns out, you hold the card up next to sensor box that's in the shower, thus activating. Wifi: worked pretty well most of the time. I think I remember one camp where it didn't. Of course, each has its own connection ritual. At one place, you had to pay a euro or two. Food: Breakfast: - Tea and coffee. Also, orange juice and milk. I asked for hot chocolate mix, supplied w/no problem, but then I realized water plus mix tastes like hot chocolate water, so I gave that up. (Needed powdered milk.) - Muesli, all the way down. This particular mix was primarily uncooked oats, plus some unchewable things I think were raisons or similar. And a few clumps of not-oats. Mixing thoroughly with yogurt saves the day. Should do better here. Lunch: After you wolf down breakfast, you race to prepare your pack lunch. What I would call, in my lack of sophistication, 'French bread' (not sliced bread), is the base for make-your-own sandwiches. Sliced ham plus various cheeses, plus lettuce, onions, mayonaisse, etc. (Peanut butter and sliced bread available for US-passport-carrying participants only.) Also, bananas, oranges, apples, etc. Dinner: Either prepared by our support driver, or taken at a refuge/restaurant. The dinners prepared by the support driver I rate as pretty good to great. A couple of the refuge meals were just meh, otherwise good enough. One special note: The pizza we ordered out at an Italian campground was unequivocally the worst I've ever seen or eaten. Protip: Bring Clif bars or similar. My stomach was off the entire trip. It was suggested that it might have been due to the excessive consumption of dairy products. Something to keep in mind. Tent: The tent Exodus uses appears to be a Quechua '2 Seconds XL Air'. Never heard of this brand before, but saw a fair number of their tents and backpacks on the hike. The tents have what is, to me, a novel design. The trip instructions tell you you're gonna have to pack up your tent. I envisioned just extracting some collapsible poles and rolling up the canopy, shoving in a stuff sack. Wrong. You need to watch and study this last 20 seconds of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAtckY8Vejs&list=PLIZaXMUrOOZcqXogjXImTYrpSsSvZsSSJ&index=233 The Exodus tents are an older version of the tent in the video, I think. In any case, you get to gather up, wrestle the tent into a figure 8, and fold up, without any assistance from straps shown in the video. But the video does give you a general idea what to expect. I'd guess on average it took three-four morning rituals to become adequately proficient in packing the tent. Protip: For the first couple of days, work with a partner to wrestle with this thing. Protip 2: If the tent is really wet, wear rain gear during the wrestling match. Typical Trekking day: 7-7:30 Individual packup 7:30-8 Breakfast, lunch prep 8-8:30 Wash dishes, pack support van 8:30-16:30 Walk Includes 'second breakfast' and lunch breaks, and a few other rests, combined or separate from two or more breaks at refuges. >16:30 Teatime? 19:00 or 19:30 Dinner, then wash dishes if not dining out The trail: Busy, busy, busy, busy. The trail tread itself is not that rough. I wore trail runners. Worked just fine. Heavy boots and their 'ankle support' not needed. Because the trip notes said otherwise, I asked for special dispensation for my footwear, and was allowed to proceed at my own risk. The last three days do have some steep climbs. The views/scenery: Nice enough. Spectacular? Hmm...For me, Val Farret col was the only place that came close to a knock-your-socks-off view. You never really get high enough to get a layers-and-layers type of mountain views. I rode up to Aguille du Midi before the start of the trek, and the views from up there kind of deflated the hiking views, at least for a while. I guess the repeated combination of strenuous hiking for a few hours, followed by sitting a refuge deck and drink lattes while enjoying mountain scenery makes for an enjoyable experience. Do not find Mont Blanc itself aesthetically appealing. I am reminded of a combination of the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Extra credit activities: Ride up to Aguille du Midi makes for great views. Also enjoyed Montenvers train to the glacier. Personnel: Driver/cook: Very friendly, good sense of humor (laughed at my jokes). Perpared generally great meals. Guide: Very knowledgeable about flora/fauna, geology, etc. Set a reasonable hiking pace. She said at the beginning we didn't have to hike in a cheek-by-jowl configuration, but the majority seemed to prefer that. I generally hung back in my own space, as did a couple others. It seemed to work OK. Note re: The guide vs. the itinerary. The two descending cable car rides on the last two hiking days listed as optional (you have to pay for them) are really 'optional'. That is, particularly for the one on the second-to-last hiking day, you will be verbally brow-beaten into submitting to riding the cable car down. 'I don't know why anyone would want to walk.'...'will absolutely ruin your day'...'terrible trail tread'...worst of all...'takes two hours'. The whole group was sort of shocked at the level of vehemence. The excoriation of this particular section of trail was so over the top, I asked to walk down. Just had to see this awful no good really really bad section of trail. One other guy who had also initially expressed an interest in walking rather than riding first gave in, but then when I persisted, joined in again. So the guide and us two descended by foot, while the others rode down. It turned out to be a decent enough hike, with terrific views up and down the Chamonix valley initially, and then dropped into a cool (temp-wise) downhill walk in the forest. The trail tread was well-maintained. There was a short steep bit that required a minor amount of care, but was not at all outside the realm of prior experience on this trail. As it was of moderate downhill grade, could easily jog parts of it. Best of all, WE WALKED FOR AN HOUR AND SAW ONLY A COUPLE OTHER HIKERS. An absolute impossibility anywhere else on this trail. We finished in an hour. There was also another place earlier in the trek where the guide said 'I don't know why anyone would walk here', and yet some of us did walk, and enjoyed it. You will ride enough buses and cable cars as an aleady-fixed part of the itinerary, why add to it? I can sympathize with the guide getting bored after several years of guiding multiple groups each year, and wanting it to be overas quick as possible. But for the rest of us, this is a one-time experience. Maybe pick a new trek to guide? Random last thoughts: Bring electrolyte tabs, especially if you don't have a lot of experience full-day, strenuous, warm weather hiking. Bring a pee bottle if you're old like me. The tents have zipable windows on the side which make it easy to dump out. Bring shock cord or similar to rig a drying line for your always-wet towel.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Alison Sefton

    A classic route

    A great route, planned well with rest days in the right place. The walking leader, John was knowledgable on the area and gave lots of information on the history of mountaineering in the Mont Blanc massif. We were very lucky with the weather and got stunning views every day. All campsites were as described in the trip notes and, with the exception of the two wild camps had all required facilities. Great food every night either cooked by Kieron or in a local restaurant. All in all a great trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring earplugs!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Matthew Craft

    Fantastic holiday

    One of the best treks I have ever done well organised, food fantastic and stunning Mountains. Great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning views
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Matthew Craft

    Fantastic holiday

    One of the best treks I have ever done well organised, food fantastic and stunning Mountains. Great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning views
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Matthew Craft

    Fantastic holiday

    One of the best treks I have ever done well organised, food fantastic and stunning Mountains. Great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning views
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