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Tour du Mont Blanc Full Self Guided Trek

Independent hiking on the TMB

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The Mont Blanc full circuit self guided trek is the most popular long distance trek in Europe and it is not hard to see why, the environment is truly spectacular covering an approximate distance of 170k with stunning views day after day. Undertaking the Tour du Mont Blanc self-guided is reserved for experienced independent mountain walkers, the daily height gain on the Mont Blanc Circuit is substantial with overall the accumulation for the 10 day trek in the region of 9,000m.

11 night itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL IN CHAMONIX

As we are based in Chamonix please ask if you wish to have a self guided trek briefing to go through any aspect of your trek before you start on your adventure.

If you require a briefing on your day of arrival please specify at the time of booking so we can make sure someone will be available.

Accommodation:

3* Hotel, private en-suite rooms, B & B

Day 2 CHAMONIX TO LES HOUCHES

You commence the Tour Mont Blanc full trek from Chamonix taking the cable car to the Planpraz at 2000m, from here you take the TMB route to the Col du Brevent, Brevent 2525m and descend along the stunning ridge to Refuge Bel Lachat. From the refuge, you make the long and tough descent via Parc Merlet to Les Houches and your hotel accommodation for the night.

Daily stats:

Distance: 13k | Height gain: +700m | Descent: -1500m

Accommodation:

3* Hotel, private en-suite rooms, half board

Guide notes:

This day often feels one of the toughest on the trek generally because people are not fully acclimatised. The descent can be punishing & is probably the most difficult during the trek due 1500m sustained down hill & at times rocky terrain. Walking poles are recommended to save the knees!

Day 3 LES HOUCHES TO LES CONTAMINES:

Your day starts with a cable car ride to Bellevue 1802m with stunning views of the Mont Blanc range from high above the westerly end of the Chamonix valley. You then have a choice of routes to Les Contamines via Bionnassay & Chapel or the Col du Tricot & Chalets des Miage.

Daily stats:

Using the cable car:
Via Bionnassay: Distance: 15k | Height gain: +100m | Descent: -700m
Via Col du Tricot: Distance: 13k | Height gain: +800m| Descent: -1300m

Accommodation:

3* Hotel, private en-suite rooms, half board

Guide notes:

Day two & you are probably feeling a little tiered from the first day. The terrain is very different today, less rugged & more green as you will be trekking though high altitude pastureland. If you are trekking via the Col du Tricot check out the Blueberry pie at the Chalets des Miage, very memorable & delicious!

Day 4 LES CONTAMINES TO REFUGE MOTTETS:

A great day ahead awaits as you make your ascent over three cols, Col du Bonhomme, Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and the Col des Fours 2665m. Once over the three cols you descend steeply through the wild and remote landscape to Ville des Glaciers and your rest stop for the night at the atmospheric Refuge Mottets.

Daily stats:

Distance: 20k | Height gain: +1500m | Descent: -900m

Accommodation:

Dormitory (upgrade possible), half board

Guide notes:

On paper this looks like one of the longest & toughest days on the trek but don’t worry its very doable. There is a fair amount of height gain but it is integrated with sections of gentle terrain, which make the day more manageable. The key is to start early & allow plenty of time.

Day 5 REFUGE MOTTETS TO COURMAYEUR:

By staying at the Refuge Mottets it gives you a great position below the Col du Seigne 2516m, although you climb steeply at times you soon find yourselves over the col and across French/Italian border into Italy. You then make a descent into the stunning Val Veny with easy walking through the hanging valleys to Lac Combal. From here you descend La Visaille and take the shuttle bus to Courmayeur.

Daily stats:

Distance: 14k | Height gain: +700m | Descent: -700m

Accommodation:

3* Hotel, private en-suite rooms, B & B

Guide notes:

One of my favourite days on the Tour du Mont Blanc, the views from the Col du Seigne is second to none! Once you are at the col & if the weather is right rest for a while & take in the far-reaching views in to Italy & Switzerland, just wonderful!

Day 6 COURMAYEUR TO REFUGIO BONATTI:

Fully refreshed you make your ascent to the Refuge Bertoni and enjoy amazing views of Mont Blanc and Courmayeur down below. You spend the rest of the day on a lofty traverse from high above the Val Ferret with stunning views of the Italian side of the Mont Blanc before reaching your accommodation at the beautiful Refuge Bonatti 2056m.

Daily stats:

Distance: 17k | Height gain: +750m | Descent: -50m

Accommodation:

Dormitory (upgrade possible), half board

Guide notes:

A steep but steady climb up to the Refuge Bertoni, it’s worth it because the coffee is fabulous & the views just stunning, elevenses’ here is a must! Fabulous views of some of the most famous peaks in the European Alps including Mont Blanc & the Grand Jorasses. And for the refuge Bonatti... its just fabulous, if the night is clear go our side after diner & just 'be' in this impressive location.

Day 7 REFUGIO BONATTI TO LA FOULY:

An early start and a new country awaits, you continue through the Val Ferret to Arnuva before making your long ascent to the Grand Col Ferret 2537m via the Refugio Elena and the Italian/Swiss border. You then make a relatively easy and enjoyable descent via la Peule, Ferret to La Fouly and your hotel accommodation for the night.

Daily stats:

Distance: 20k | Height gain: +900m | Descent: -1400m

Accommodation:

3* private en-suite rooms, half board

Guide notes:

Again this day looks tough but the hard bits are nicely spaced with less challenging terrain & once at the Col stare in wonder at the view looking back at your last 3 days of trekking towards the Col du Seigne & over the boarder into Switzerland. The descent is long but at an easy angle & the path is good. Plenty of opportunity to stop for refreshments at Arnurva, Refuge Elena & La Peule.

Day 8 LA FOULY TO CHAMPEX-LAC:

Day 8 brings an easy day in comparison walking in the beautiful Swiss Val Ferret. You pass through the Swiss villages of Praz de Fort and Issert before make your ascent to the charming village of Champex-Lac and your resting place for the evening.

Daily stats:

Distance: 15k | Height gain: +420m | Descent: -570m

Accommodation:

3* private en-suite rooms, half board

Guide notes:

The easiest day on the trek with only 400m of ascent, which comes at the end of the day. Relax & take advantage with a later breakfast before wandering down the beautiful Swiss Val Ferret. Cafe at Issert but its not open on a Tuesday so plan ahead if you are trekking this leg on that day of the week!

Day 9 CHAMPEX-LAC TO TRIENT:

An initial leisurely start to the day is to be had as you wind our way on easy paths to Plan de l'Au. You then climb steadily to the Alpage Bovine 1987m and enjoy fabulous views over Martigny and the Swiss Valais. The rest of the day is spent making your descent to the Col du Forclaz 1526m with a final descent to Trient.

Option to take the variant via the Fenetre d'Arpette.

Daily stats:

Via Bovine: Distance: 18k | Height gain: +750m | Descent: -950m or via the Fenetre d'Arpette: Distance: 15k | Height gain: +120m | Descent: -1350m

Accommodation:

Auberge with private rooms & shared facilities, half board

Guide notes:

The Bovine route is a fabulous day not too tricky over lovely terrain. Lunch stop at the high alpine farm at Bovine is a must, you can purchase local food or even eat your own picnic on the terrace as long as you buy a drink. Amazing views across to Lac Leman & down the Rhone valley. Or perhaps try the challenging variant over the Fenetre d'Arpette with amazing views of the Trient Glacier once at the col.

Day 10 TRIENT TO ARGENTIERE:

Today you have two options as you can take the route directly to the Col du Balme from Trient or through alpine woodland to the Alpage of Tseppes, Catogne and on to the Col du Balme 2191m and the Swiss/French border. From the Col, you then make your descent to the hamlet of Le Tour and across pastureland to the village of Argentiere and our hotel accommodation for the evening.

Daily stats:

Direct via the Col du Balme: Distance: 13k | Height gain: +900m | Descent: -900m or Via Catogne & the Col du Balme: Distance: 15k | Height gain: +1000m | Descent: -1000m

Accommodation:

3* private en-suite rooms, half board

Guide notes:

Personally unless the weather is bag take the route via Catogne, the views are far superior as one up high you take a lofty traverse with excellent views over towards Emossom dam & the Aiguille Rouges nature reserve Stop if you dare at the refuge at the Col du Balme. Service with a grimace rather than a smile!

Day 11 ARGENTIERE TO CHAMONIX

Your final day and a fitting end to the trek takes you back into the Aiguille Rouges to the stunning Lac des Cheserys and Lac Blanc 2352m. Once at the lake you then make a descent to Flegere and take the balcony path traversing high above the Chamonix valley to Planpraz and your starting point completing the circuit. A final decent via the cable car back to Chamonix in time for a celebratory drink as you have just completed the Tour du Mont Blanc, one of the best multi day treks in the world.

In the event of lift closures, we make your descent back to Chamonix via Flegere.

Daily stats:

Distance: 14k | Height gain: +1200m | Descent: -500m

Accommodation:

3* private en-suite rooms, B & B

Guide notes:

A fitting end to the trek back in the Aiguille nature reserve with pristine views of the Mont Blanc massif & all its peaks & glaciers. Visiting the iconic Lac Blanc is a must & stop for refreshments in the refuge. It gets busy with day walkers in August so make an early start if possible.

Day 12 DEPART CHAMONIX

Breakfast is included however on the departure day you are free to leave at any time you wish.

Guide notes:

Once you have completed the trek I hope you will agree that the Tour du Mont Blanc is truly an exceptional trek & has a worthy place as of one of the worlds top 10 long distance walks.