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While I was growing up, my mother worked for various airlines, which meant our family received ridiculously discounted flights. We traveled across the globe on most school vacations. But the deal came with caveats (don’t they all?). We had to fly standby, so securing seats on any flight always depended on whether there was something open or a no-show. That twisted game of musical chairs made me realize that spontaneity is great and all, but the anticipation of planning a trip in advance is half the fun. That’s why I’m here to encourage you to sign up for an incredible 12-day trip that I’m joining to the French Alps with Outside+ members and Outside readers in September. We’ve turned over the planning to travel outfitter Modern Adventure, which is organizing a collection of exclusive trips alongside members of our editorial staff next year. What makes me particularly excited for this grand traverse is to be back in the mountains. All of that exposure to international travel as a young lad turned me into an explorer of the world’s great ranges. And now I’m that Outside editor whose apartment walls are decorated with framed pictures of the peaks I jetted off to: staring in amazement at the Fitz Roy skyline in Patagonia, a photo of Peru’s Cordillera Blanca in the early-morning light, and a somewhat grainy image I snapped of India’s Garhwal Himalayas. While you could argue that many other iconic ranges are missing from this lineup, the most obvious one to me is the Alps. I can’t wait to share this experience—the fresh Alpine air, the luxurious mountain chalets, and delicious food after a long day of hiking—with you. Come join me! To learn more and sign up, click here and read below. —Jeremy-Miles Rellosa
The Trip: French Alps Grand Traverse
Guest Outside editor: Jeremy-Miles Rellosa, gear review editor
Inaugural Trip Dates: September 11–22, 2022 | Price: $7,400 | Outside+ price: $7,200
In 1786, a doctor in Chamonix named Michel-Gabriel Paccard and a local crystal hunter, Jacques Balmat, teamed up to become the first two people ever recorded to stand atop 15,770-foot Mont Blanc, a feat that inspired centuries of exploration in the French Alps. But there is an even better way to see these beautiful mountains that doesn’t involve risking your life.
Start at Megève, near Chamonix, and amble and eat your way 100 miles down to Sospel, a hillside village near Monaco. It takes ten days to complete the trek; on most of them you will log up to eight hours of hiking, with 1,500- to 4,000-foot climbs on dirt footpaths that have served shepherds, tradesmen, and armies for centuries. Come evening, you’ll arrive in picturesque villages where a hot meal and a warm bed await. If your legs get too tired—or your belly too full—a few cable car rides along the way will lessen the pain.
“I am excited to experience the beauty of the French Alps with our readers, though secretly I’m coming along just for the food,” says Jeremy-Miles Rellosa, the Outside editor joining this trip. Yes, the gooey raclette cheese, delicious local red wine, and stunning mountain views will undoubtedly leave you in awe, but this trip is also designed to hit the nooks and crannies of the French Alps that remain unknown to many North Americans, like the 12,650-foot Grande Casse massif of Vanoise, the nation’s first national park. By the time you arrive at the coast, you may want to turn north and walk back to where it all began. Or stay put and soak in the Mediterranean Sea. —Tim Neville
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