3000m summit within easy reach
In spite of overall small size, Reunion Island is one the place cunting with a summit over 3000m (3070m exactly) : LE PITON DES NEIGES. This mythical summit has the specificity to be easily accessible by walking. Indeed, no snow, no extreme temperatures (it is never hot at the top of the summit but still supportable), no specific equipments required and neither a guide. You can go just by yourself following the abundant signs.
Well, you just need to reach one of the different starting point somewhere in the island..
It does not mean neither that it is very easy nor you don’t need to make any efforts… Actually, you will suffer (most of humans suffer) but many people already climbed it.
To reach the summit, you have the choice. You can do it in one day (especially from Cilaos, the shortest way – leaving very early in the morning) or prefer the 2 day / 1 night option. In that case, it is easy and comfortable to book a night in the dorm of the shelter.
You can also start from different point on the island: La Plaine des Cafres, Dimitile (Entre-Deux) ou Salazie which at the end of the day contributes in brining different experiences of Piton Des Neiges.
Go beyond the limits
After a short lunch break in the city center of Cilaos, we parked the car in the forest. We were facing a wall. Indeed, we had more than 1000m to climb in just 4kms. In summary, it was the best and fastest way to experience the specificity of the trekking in La Reunion.
4h later (the time indication is a bit useless as nobody is equal regarding efforts and pain), we were more than happy to reach the shelter under a wet fog. We could finally take a rest, enjoy a nice dinner (gastronomy in the shelters in La Réunion is very unique. You can eat very well and it is always home made. It is maybe worthto visit La Reunion just for it) and try to sleep.
Wonder of nature in front of your eyes
If you sleep in the shelter, my recommendation is to wake up at 4am and start to climb the left part. 2h more or less in the rocks to dominate the island and see the sunrise. WAHOU!!!!!
We were a bit late and the sun was already in our backs… but we all had the chance to admire the view (with a bit of fresh wind) on Cilaos and Salazie. The view was totally clear. Just a couple of clouds to balance the colors and make this day and the moment together perfect.
In general, the main feeling after Piton des Neiges is : « We did it !! ».
Legs were painflul. We were wet from heavy rain on the last part (before reaching CIlaos again). We were tired of such efforts. But we were all happy that we went beyond our limits, beyond our possibilities and made such a beautiful ascent.
Personally, I am really happy that I’ve shared this adventure with my wife and our friends. What is finally magic with Le Piton des Neiges, we wil all always keep this moment in our minds and be proud that we have done it together.
PS: A big thanks to Agata and Piotrek for their beautiful pictures