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Tour du Mont Blanc Full Guided Trek

Hiking the TMB with our UIMLA guides

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The Tour du Mont Blanc makes for an excellent multi-day trekking holiday in the alps. Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular long distance treks in Europe approximately 170 k in length with an accumulation of 9,500m of height gain. Starting and finishing in the Chamonix valley the route circumnavigates the ‘Mont Blanc Massif’ taking in some of the most spectacular alpine scenery through France, Italy & Switzerland. Bag transfer included.

12 night itinerary

Day 1 ARRIVAL IN CHAMONIX

On the day of arrival we have a trek briefing in the hotel lounge at 5pm, this gives you the opportunity to meet your guide & the rest of the group.

During the briefing we will go though all the necessary information including itinerary, accommodation, meals & bag transfer. The guide will also discuss plans for the first day of the trek. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions you might have so you are fully informed before you start your adventure.

Accommodation:

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

Day 2 CHAMONIX TO LES HOUCHES

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

Our day starts with a cable car ride to the Bellevue 1802m with stunning views of the Mont Blanc range from high above the westerly end of the Chamonix valley. We 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 and we make our ascent through three cols, Col du Bonhomme, Col de la Croix du Bonhomme & the Col des Fours 2665m. Descending steeply through the wild and remote landscape to Ville des Glaciers and our 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 us a great position below the Col du Seigne 2516m, although we climb steeply at times we soon find ourselves over the col & across French/Italian border into Italy. We then make a descent into the stunning Val Veny with easy walking through the hanging valleys to Lac Combal. From here we 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: REST DAY

The full trek offers a rest day in Courmayeur giving you the opportunity to reflect on the westerly half of the trek and relax and enjoy this beautiful Italian alpine town. Perhaps visit the spa at Pre St Didier, take the Skyway cable car to Point Helbronner or just wander though the historic streets & enjoy the delicious food & drink.

Accommodation:

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

Day 7 COURMAYEUR TO REFUGIO BONATTI:

Fully refreshed we make our ascent to the Refuge Bertoni and enjoy amazing views of Mont Blanc and Courmayeur down below. We 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 our 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 8 REFUGIO BONATTI TO LA FOULY:

An early start and a new country awaits, we continue through the Val Ferret to Arnuva before making our long ascent to the Grand Col Ferret 2537m via the Refugio Elena and the Italian/Swiss border. We then make a relatively easy and enjoyable descent via la Peule, Ferret to La Fouly and our 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 9 LA FOULY TO CHAMPEX-LAC:

Day 8 brings an easy day in comparison walking in the beautiful Swiss Val Ferret. We then pass through the Swiss villages of Praz de Fort and Issert before make our ascent to the charming village of Champex-Lac and our 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 and 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 easy start to the day is to be had as we wind our way on easy paths to Plan de l'Au. We then climb up steadily to the Alpage Bovine 1987m and enjoy fabulous views over Martigny and the Swiss Valais. We spend the rest of the day making our descent to the Col du Forclaz 1526m with a final descent to Trient.

Daily stats:

Distance: 18k | Height gain: +750m | Descent: -950m

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.

Day 11 TRIENT TO ARGENTIERE:

Today we have two options as we 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, we then make our 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 12 ARGENTIERE TO CHAMONIX

Our final day and a fitting end to the trek takes us back into the Aiguille Rouges to the stunning Lac des Cheserys & Lac Blanc 2352m. We then make a descent to Flegere and take the balcony path traversing high above the Chamonix valley to Planpraz at our starting point 11 days earlier 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 TMB & tour du Mont Blanc one of the best multi day treks in the world. In the event of lift closures, we make our 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 13 DEPART CHAMONIX

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

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