Book Review: Snowshoeing Mount Blanc and the Western Alps

Want a guide to the world’s destination for champagne powder? And, yes, I mean that literally. Snowshoeing Mount Blanc and the Western Alps by Hilary Sharp lives to be THE resource for snowshoeing Europe’s great heavenly gift, the Alps.

This guide provides a mass of content for snowshoers to enjoy, utilize, and devour…the guide itself is made of water-friendly paper (that is, it won’t deteriorate over time after exposure to snow and at the bottom of packs). It’s meant to be used, and Sharp had that in mind when directing readers to remote backcountry areas that provide some of the world’s best snowshoeing conditions and landscapes.

Although I have yet (and I mean yet) to visit this corner of the Earth, I’m fully equipped to meet the Alps with confidence. Sharp’s guide is a testament to her expertise in the field of backcountry touring and guiding. In fact, it would behoove you as a reader to visit her Web site:

Fun fact: Sharp writes for Snowshoe Magazine. Check out some of her recent articles:

Sharp’s guide follows a smattering of snowshoe hikes within France, Switzerland and Italy. The guide also provides a very comprehensive section explaining some technical information on snowshoeing/mountaineering – one of the best I’ve seen. This follows into a great section on safety and technique.

All trails are organized by region. Sharp also provides color maps that are accompanied by the trails starting point, starting altitude, summit altitude, altitude gain, time, grade, aspect, map, and accommodation. Sharp also includes a number of color pictures that add the flavor of the region.

If you’re traveling to France, Switzerland and Italy, Sharp’s guide on snowshoeing in the Alps is the back-pocket book to have. The guide is filled with useable information and provides a great sense of security when tromping through Europe’s finest snow.