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NEW TREK FOR 2020! - Dolomites Alta Via 1 and the The Annapurna Circuit

Full Tour du Mont Blanc in Refuges Self Guided

Independent hiking on the TMB

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The Tour du Mont Blanc self guided trek in refuges is one of the worlds 'must do' multi day treks circling the Mont Blanc mountain range, travelling through 3 countries, France, Italy and Switzerland. Take on this stunningly beautiful classic trek by resting in remote places and locations high on the trail. This trek offers a great challenge to the experienced & independent mountain walker trekking over 170 kilometres in 12 days.

12 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.

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:

Lodge, private rooms, B&B

Day 2 CHAMONIX TO LES HOUCHES:

You commence the Tour Mont Blanc full refuges 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: 13km Height gain: +700m Descent: -1500m

Accommodation:

2* Hotel in private rooms

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 REFUGE NANT BORRANT:

From Les Houches and then have the option of two routes to Contamines via Bionnassay or the Col du Tricot. The cable car from Les Houches to the Bellevue 1802m can be used to give you a helping hand to reduce the height gain.

Daily stats:

Using the cable car:

Via Bionnassay: Distance: 20k | Height gain: +845m | Descent: -1200m
Via Col du Tricot: Distance: 19k | Height gain: +950m| Descent: -1300m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast.

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 REFUGE NANT BORRANT 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 & 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: 15k | Height gain: +1300m | Descent: -900m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast

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.

Option to alter the itinerary so you stay in Chapieux, please ask at the time of enquiry.

Day 5 REFUGE MOTTETS TO REFUGE RANDONNEUR:

Leaving Refuge Mottets we climb steeply at times to the Col du Seigne passing over the French/Italian border. We descend through the Val Veny and make our final ascent via the Vielle d'Arp and on to the Refuge Randonneur.

Daily stats:

Distance: 23k | Height gain: +1300m | Descent: -880m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast

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 REFUGE RANDONNEUR TO REFUGIO BERTONI:

The day starts by a descent to the beautiful Italian alpine village of Courmayeur. Spend a moment and enjoy a delicious Italian coffee before making a steep ascent up to the Refuge Bertone and its amazing views of Mont Blanc high above Courmayeur.

Daily stats:

Distance: 10k | Height gain: +800m | Descent: -750m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast

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. Fabulous views of some of the most famous peaks in the European Alps including Mont Blanc & the Grand Jorasses.

Day 7 REFUGIO BERTONI TO REFUGE ELENA:

From the Refuge Bertone where you traverse high above the Val Ferret enjoying amazing views of Mont Blanc & the Grand Jorasses. You will make a temporary descent to Arnuva at the head of the valley before the final climb up to Refuge Elena with its commanding position below the Glacier de Pre de Bar.

Daily stats:

Distance: 16k | Height gain: +550m | Descent: -360m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast

Guide notes:

Today is truly stunning with the most amazing views all day long (weather permitting). Stop in at the Refuge Bonatti for delicious italian refreshments, its a must!

DAY 8 REFUGE ELENA TO LA FOULY:

The day starts with a steep ascent to the Col du Ferret on the Italian/Swiss border with amazing views back down the Val Ferret and beyond towards the Val Veny & the Col du Seigne. You will then descend in to Switzerland to Ferret & finally La Fouly.

Daily stats:

13k | Height gain: +500m | Descent: -950m

Accommodation:

Auberge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast.

Guide notes:

Once at the Col stare in wonder at the view looking back at your last few 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 La Peule.

Day 9 LA FOULY TO CHAMPEX-LAC:

Day nine 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:

Pension, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast

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 10 CHAMPEX-LAC TO TRIENT:

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

Daily stats:

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

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

Accommodation:

Auberge, dormitory with eveing meal & breakfast

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 11 TRIENT TO REFUGE BOERNE:

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. Once at the Col there are a number of possibilities for the decent to the hamlet of Tre le Champ.

Daily stats:

Direct via the Col du Balme: Distance: 13k | Height gain: +900m | Descent: -900m

Via Catogne & the Col du Balme: Distance: 15k | Height gain: +1000m | Descent: -1000m

Accommodation:

Refuge, dormitory with evening meal & breakfast

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 12 REFUGE BOERNE 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 & 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 & 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: +1000m | Descent: -500m

Accommodation:

Lodge with private 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 13 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.

"Take only memories, leave only footprints"
Chief Seattle