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TMB Day 5: Food Poisoning Recovery Day

Forced Sightseeing on a Bad Stomach

September 6, 2020

refuge on rocky mountain side

TMB Stage 5 Anti-Clockwise

12 km
1080 m
Rifugio Bonatti

Given the sleepless night and symptoms, I figured I had gotten a form of food poisoning from lunch the previous day. Shit happens. It wasn’t my first time, and it will probably not be the last. I hope the next one will come in a thousand years from now.

Anyhow. Once I understood that I had food poisoning, I made my best attempts at purging my body. It kinda worked. Plus, Clotilde took good care of me. I was almost back to normal in the evening on Day 5.

We decided that it was probably best to rest in Courmayeur for an extra night. We canceled our stay at Rifugio Bonatti (sorry for that, guys!) and checked how to reach the next stage from Courmayeur.

That figured out, we headed out to the expensive but beautifully engineered Skyway Monte Bianco.

skyway view
View of Courmayeur from the gondola, on the way to Punta Helbronner.

I was anxious because they were doing temperature checks for COVID symptoms (you don’t want a sick person in that overcrowded-even-at-half-capacity cabin). Given my state of grogginess, I figured that I probably had a fever. Maybe I hadn’t, or the machine didn’t work, or the attendant did not look at the readings. We were on the way up. Hurray.

The top, Punta Helbronner, sits at 3466 m high. It’s pretty cold up there. And unfortunately for us, it was cloudy. If it wasn’t, we could have continued to Aiguille du Midi and admire the Mer des Glaces from above. Next time maybe.

For those doing half of the TMB (from Chamonix to Courmayeur), you can use the cable cars to start or finish your journey with panoramic views of the massif by crossing to the other side instead of using the tunnel.

Clotilde enjoyed an authentic Italian hot chocolate while I sipped Chamomile tea (the previous night’s research indicated that it might help relieve the stomach). We walked around the station and watched frozen alpinists recovering inside, while others ventured on the Col du Géant outside. We even spotted tents on the glacier.

punta helbronner
Cloudy view north from Punta Helbronner, looking at Glacier du Miage. You can see two tents on the far left.

After coming back down, we enjoyed a walk back to Courmayeur under the afternoon sun. I was already feeling better in the evening and enjoyed a bowl of delicious plain rice (read whatever you want online, I suggest you avoid ingesting anything other than water or herbal tea until you feel better).

Veggie Donburi for Clotilde and white rice for hubby. Yummy.

Pretty sure the next morning will be fine!