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Alps Information

Info on rolling, river features, kayaking technique, advice on kit purchase...

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Alps Information

Postby Jamess » Tue May 10, 2011 2:07 pm

Some Advice on Alps Travelling and such like. Thanks to the original author.

- Car Insurance (covered for European driving and any additional drivers added). MoT, Tax, Servicing in date?
- European breakdown cover
- Activities Insurance (all relevant activities covered - VF, WW kayaking, rafting, climbing? - e.g. Level 4 Snowcard)
- Campsite (L'Argentiere) booked or assurance its OK to pay on the day.
- Passport
- Euro car driving kit (warning triangle, hi-vis jacket, First Aid Kit, Headlight adaptors, map etc.)

Channel Crossings
- Sea France --
- Norfolk Line --
- Ferry Savers --
- P&O --

Channel Tunnel

Activities Insurance
- Make sure you have a policy that includes all of the appropriate activities not just white water kayaking and rafting in Europe. Snowcard/Activcard usually offer good combined activity packages from between £20-50

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Everyone who is a UK national needs one. Insurance companies often won't pay out if you are hospitalised and don't have an EHIC as well as your comprehensive activities insurance policy. If you don’t already have a card, you need to apply online for one. Website is Try and do this sooner rather than later as it can sometimes take quite a while to get it posted to you in the run up to Summer.

- Although it's possible with one, it's far quicker and easier to get to the Alps with 2 drivers. So if you are a driver with a car, you might have to arrange this with your insurance company (ensuring you are both covered for continental driving)
- Breakdown cover: Similarly its wise to arrange European breakdown cover for the journey and to arrange a service of your car before setting out (it’ll be doing lots of miles).
- There's also little things you need to buy and consider (GB stickers if not on your reg plate, flourescent jackets/warning triangles (legal requirement), headlight adaptors etc.)
- For more information about driving in France visit this site:

Fuel Prices and “filling up”
- French Fuel prices

- Ensure you know what the French for “Petrol” (sans-plomb) and “Diesel” (gazole) are before going, and be aware that some places on auto-routes are combined fuel/eating stops, so there can be quite a gap between fuelling up and paying. So, make sure you’re paying for you’re fuel and not some Dutch truckers diesel. ALSO - be wary of paying for fuel with an English credit or debit card – most systems are automated and tend to say “Non” to your foreign plastic – so try and pay cash. Also, some French petrol stations are not 24 hours, so try and make sure you fill up during the day on overnight drives. On Sunday’s/French public holidays/strike days (they like all of these) HGVs are sometimes banned from auto-routes, and fuel stations may be closed as well – particularly in the smaller villages – so make sure you fill up before these days too.

Peage/road tolls
Frenchies don’t pay as much for road tax as us, instead they pay (amongst other things) to use the auto-routes (motorways) at “peage” or toll stations. To calculate how much it’s likely to cost visit this site:

The main campsite we are likely to be spending most of our time at will be at the Argentiere Pole dancing site between Embrun and Briancon.
Website here:

Webcams (including Argentiere)

River Levels
Summer river levels can be somewhat predictable in the French Alps by looking at the amount of snow from the winter season - in that end of may/June/start of July always offers a window for paddling. Mostly this season, those in the know are suggesting high river levels for the end of May and early June, due to loads of snow falling earlier in the winter. How fast and when the snow melts depends on the weather yet to come (temperature and rainfall (predominantly from thunderstorms)). So, in effect, it would not be impossible for the majority of the snow to melt in one mental high water week or fortnight. For example, an early June heat wave in Summer 2000 saw land and mud slides, washout of the Guil, near evacuation of the Rabioux campsite, road closures etc. due to the high levels. Saying that, high levels could be more prolonged and even extend to the end of June when we plan to be there. Rain of course also plays a major factor, as seen with the high levels of 2008 through the most of June. So, as said already, be prepared for anything to happen with regards to levels (too low is however a near impossibility) – so what activities you do might change.

More info:
- Paul’s photos from 2007 are here --
- Paul’s Alps 2008 photos --
- Back in The Day - Alps 2007 video --
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Re: Alps Information

Postby mattH » Tue May 10, 2011 9:22 pm

Jamess wrote:Thanks to the original author.

:-) You're welcome.

River level geekery all to come soon :-D
Always remember to drive like Welsh Cheese - CAERPHILLY!
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