Trekking tour around Mont Blanc, TMB

Dates: Mid June to late September

10 – day program, 9 hiking days

The Tour du Mont Blanc, a complete circuit of the Mont Blanc, is the ultimate long distance mountain walk in the Alps, and has some of the most stunning scenery.

The TMB is a 120km route that passes through France, Italy and Switzerland. The track offers cultural delights, picture book Alpine villages, the vibrant towns of Chamonix and Courmayeur, and mountain huts with majestic views.  Almost each night we stay in a different location. Accommodation varies from small family run village hotels and hand picked mountain guest houses.

Detailed Program:

Arriving day:
We pick you up at Geneva airport or you travel independent to Les Houches in the Chamonix Valley. Check-in at the Hotel and get to know your hiking guide that tells you all about the tour.
Dinner and night at the Hotel in Les Houches

Day 2: Les Houches (1007m) to Les Contamines (1167m)
Cable car ride up to Bellevue and ascent to Col de Tricot. A great lunch waits for us after a steep descent to the alpine village Chalets du Miage. We pass the Refuge de Truc where we buy some fresh cheese and sausages and finish the day in Les Contamines.
Night and dinner at Hotel in Les Contamines
• ascent 639m, descent 1200m
• distance 14km

Day 3: Les Contamines (1167m) to Les Chapieux (1554m).
We reach Col de Bonhomme (2329m) 0ver an old Roman bridge and trough alpine cow pastures.  After a picknick lunch we traverse the hillside to the slightly higher Col de Croix de Bonhomme before a descent to the hamlet of Les Chapieux.
Night and dinner at les Chapieux or village du Glacier
• ascent 1270 m, descent 906m
• distance 15 km

Getting into Italy

Day 4: Village du Glacier (1554m) to Courmayeur
We follow the well marked route up to Col de la Seigne (2516m) where we cross the border into Italy. We enjoy views to the impressive Mont Blanc from it south side while stepping over the border line. From the Col we descend slightly down to Val Veny and take a bus to the alpine city of Courmayeur.
Night at Hotel Courmayeur, no organized dinner
• ascent 734 m, descent 741m
• distance 15 km

Day 5: Courmayeur (1226m) – Rest day.

Today you have a rest day in Courmayeur. There are great shops, cafes and bars. We also suggest a trip up the new cable car to punta Helbronner. Fantastic views of Mont Blanc and the glaciers of the Valle Blanche.
Night in Hotel in Courmayeur, no organized dinner

Day 6: Courmayeur (1226m) to Refugio Ferret. 

We head up to Bertone Refuge for a coffee. Then along the ridge with some of the finest views of the Mont Blanc range, to the guesthouse Chalet Ferret(2025m). A peaceful mountain guest house next to a mountain stream.
Night and dinner at Chalet Ferret
• ascent 1080m, descent 522m
• distance 18km

Getting into Switzerland

Day 7: Chalet Ferret (2025m) to La Fouly (1610m).
A gentle traverse of the mountainside to the Rifugio Elena for a morning coffee followed by a climb up to the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) where we cross the border into Switzerland. Down through the flower meadows to the small village of La Fouly.
Night and dinner in a Hotel in La Fouly.
• ascent 760m, descent 746m
• distance 14km

Day 8: Champex Lac (1466m) to Trient (1279m).
We take a bus up to Champex Lac and  walk along the Bovine trail up to the Bovinette alpage where you can enjoy a delicious apple pie or a home made soup. Enjoy stunning views down to the Roman town of Martigny and the Rhone valley as you walk to Trient for the night.
Night and dinner in a Guesthouse in Trient
• ascent 750m, descent 705m
• distance 14 km

Back to France

Day 9: Trient (1279m) to Argentière (1252m).
The last Col of the tour… The hike over the Col de Balme brings you back into the Chamonix valley and down to Argentière. The view from the pass over Mont Blanc and the surrounding mountains are just incredible. We stop for a delicious homemade Quiche at a mountain guest house before heading down to Argentiére.

Night at Hotel in Argentière, no organized dinner
• ascent 1100m, descent 500m
• distance 13km

Day 10: Argentière (1252m) to Chamonix (1000m).
From the Col des Montets  you walk through the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve  to the famous Lac Blanc which provides a magnificent view of the Mont Blanc Massif. Your last walk down of the tour to La Flégere (1875m) and than a  cable car down back to Chamonix.
Last night in a Hotel in Chamonix and farewell dinner
• ascent 1100m, decent 500m
• distance 12km

Map:

map of the tour du Mont Blanc

Difficulty

This is a challenging route with an accumulated height gain and loss of over 9,000meters. The route crosses from valley to valley via  mountain passes, with long and some steep ascents and descents. This tour is ideal for regular walkers that are physically fit. The terrain on this trail is diverse with country lanes, forest trails, rocky mountain paths, and high mountain meadows. In early season you might have to walk over a few snow patches.

 We can arrange a luggage transfer between accommodations to make the tour easier for you.

Rates
  • 3915.00€ per hiker / single room supplement 410.00€

Included in the price:
Organization, certified UIMLA-hiking guide for the whole tour, 10 nights in privat rooms with ensuite bathroom in typical village hotels and mountain guest houses, breakfasts, 7 dinners, cable cars, pick up and drop off at Geneva airport, transport to hiking starts 

Not included in the price: lunches, 3 dinners,luggage transfer (we are happy to organize that for you, the cost is  35.00€ per day per luggage of 15kg), meals that are not listed above, personal insurance (accident, travel, annulation etc.), drinks

a picknick along our tour du Mont Blanc Trekking
Lunches

We didn’t include lunches because often hikers have different kind of appetite and food wishes along the trail. There are a view mountain guesthouses where we can stop for delicious lunches and the guides are more than happy to organize a buffet style picknick during the hike. Once in Les Houches the guide will ask you what your food preferences are.

 


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9 Reasons why you should hike the Tour du Mont Blanc

There is a never-ending battle over which city or region is truly the best “mountain town,” “trail city” or “outdoor heaven.” East versus West, mountain access versus desert singletrack, dense forest versus world-class crags, even the local craft-brew scene comes into the debate. Europe doesn’t have this problem—there’s a clear winner.
Chamonix, France is nestled at around 3,000 feet at the base of the picturesque Mont Blanc Massif and is about as close to a true outdoor heaven as a town can possibly be.
Chamonix’s crowning attraction for adventure-seekers, though, is its location along the Tour du Mont Blanc, a 170 kilometer (105-mile) circuit that observes the massif from all sides through three countries. More of a shrine to the Alps than a simple walk in the mountains, the TMB is the definition of a Bucket List Hike.

So, why should you stick the TMB on top of your list? Here are a few good reasons.
1. The Difficulty

The trail acts as a rite of passage for those addicted to serene alpine environments, climbing to 2,500 meters five times and totaling somewhere around 30,000 feet of total elevation gain. Each section of trail is comprised of a major uphill slog, usually followed by an almost equally brutal descent. It’s certainly no walk in the park, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

2. The Scenery

This one is a no-brainer. With hardly any forest cover, the mountain views are panoramic and never-ending. From almost any point along the trail there are million-dollar views of the massif’s glaciers and of Mont Blanc itself. You’ll want to keep your camera handy!

3. The Food

The TMB gives hikers the option to forego the “just add water” meals and incessant food daydreams that usually characterize a lengthy backpacking trip. Villages with stores and bakeries can be found almost daily, and more than 50 trail refuges offer semi-reasonable prices for hot food. Don’t worry, the physical demands of the hike will erase any guilt you might have about culinary indulgences. When in Europe, right?

4. The Accessibility

Many people shy away from backcountry trips that take longer than 2-3 days, the standard time/distance threshold where the risk goes up and the ability to bail goes way down. One of the most appealing characteristics of the Tour du Mont Blanc is how accessible and well marked the trail is. The path winds around some of the most sought-after terrain in Europe, so people are always nearby and help is readily available if needed. There are plenty of points to get on or off the trail, giving hikers the flexibility to create their own itineraries.

5. The Prestige

The trail is famous for its beauty, but this fame extends far beyond some pretty pictures in a magazine. For over a decade now, Chamonix and the TMB have hosted thousands of trail runners each August for the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB), which has developed into one of the most prestigious and influential ultra races in the world. Hundreds of the fastest mountain athletes flock to Chamonix weeks before the event to train for what may be their biggest race of the year. The UTMB follows the TMB counterclockwise starting and ending in Chamonix, and the fastest runners finish in under 24 hours.

6. The People

One of the best aspects of any popular hiking destination is the people that you meet on the trail. The fact that the Tour du Mont Blanc is such a global attraction elevates this to a whole new level. On any thru-hike it would not be unusual to hear ten different languages being spoken and to see an incredible age range of people using the trail. The trail is also open to mountain bikes, so it’s common to see cyclists resting on the trail’s high-elevation cols before an exhilarating descent. Swapping trail stories is even more fun when your campfire pals are from all over the world.

7. The History

Most high mountain areas have a history of adventure, and the Mont Blanc Massif is no different. The first ascent of Mont Blanc was in the late 1700’s, not too long after the first circumnavigation of the massif itself roughly along the Tour du Mont Blanc’s path. Some of the trails that comprise today’s TMB route are even older than this, though, because they follow old trade and transportation routes used for many centuries between mountain villages—some dating as far back to the days of the Roman Empire.

8. The Culture

In international travel, getting from Point A to B efficiently can sometimes restrict cultural immersion. Hiking is the perfect way to reverse that. As the trail wanders through quaint and historic hamlets in France, Italy, and Switzerland, hikers are able to gain an intimate look into local life and culture at their own pace without the distractions of modern transportation.

9. The Distance

Hiking over mountainous terrain is tough, especially for the first few days. When a hiker is able to continue working through the soreness and discomfort on a longer trek, a new world of empowered enjoyment can be found. A thru-hike of the TMB takes 9-12 days for most hikers, giving anyone plenty of time to adapt to the terrain and to thrive in the mountains. This is the perfect distance for an international trip that calls for a full-scale adventure in a compact timeline.

 


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