The Tour du Mont-Blanc, also called the ‘TMB’, is a hiking tour at mid-altitude.
It crosses three countries and offers three different views of the Mont-Blanc range:
- The Italian side and its giant cliff faces
- The Swiss side with its rolling valleys
- The French side with its huge glaciers
Enjoy the authentic way to hike the Tour du Mont-Blanc. We carry all our belongings for the week and stay in dormitory, in mountain inns or huts. We use public transportation for transfers and get food supplies from villages or from the huts. Hike around Mont-Blanc clockwise, whereas most tours follow a counter clockwise direction.
Day 1 : Chamonix - Col de Balme
Our hiking adventure starts from the village of Le Tour. Once at Col de Balme (2 191m), our first hiking goal, we will say goodbye to the king of the Alps, Mont Blanc, and the nearby needles, and discover the Swiss Alps and pastures. We follow the trail down to Alpages des Grands and lower down to the Trient glacier creek. The Col de la Forclaz (1 527m) and our hotel are only 2 miles away.
Elevation gain: 880m - Elevation drop: 700m
Day 2 : Croix de Bovine - Champex - La Fouly
As we hike up to the alpine pastures of La Giète (1 884m), the Swiss Herens cow breed welcomes our arrival with a typical cowbell melody. While we leave behind us the busy cheese maker, the trail leads to Croix de Bovine. There the panorama rewards our efforts with an incredible view over the upper Rhone valley. The Bernese Oberland and the Penian Mountains border the Swiss Wallis region. It is time to hike down to the charming alpine village of Champex, from where we transfer to the hamlet of La Fouly by bus. After a few more minutes of hiking, we reach La Léchère mountain inn where we stop for the night.
Elevation gain: 850m - Elevation drop: 740m
Day 3 : Grand Col Ferret - Maison Vieille hut
Today we are on our way to the Grand Col Ferret (1 537m), the border between Italy and Switzerland. The view from the pass over the southern side of the Mont-Blanc range is breathtaking ! The Mont Dolent, the emblematic summit joining Italy, France and Switzerland is just on our right. As we hike back down, the Glacier of Pré de Bar seems so close, and in the distance the Miage Glacier looks so imposing ! Once we’ve reached Arnuva we will use the local bus to reach Courmayeur. After a quicky visit of the town, a last climb will leads us to Rifugio Maison vieille (2000m). To shorten the climb we might considerate taking Dolone's gondola.
Elevation gain: 1 100m - Elevation drop: 760m
Day 4 : Col Chécrouit - Les Chapieux
After breakfast, we leave the Rifugio Maison vieille and the Col Chécrouit. we hike past the Combal lake and Elisabetta hut, and finally up to Col de la Seigne (2 516m), the border between Italy and France. As we hike down into the green pastures of the Beaufort region, the grazing goats, and herds of light brown velvety-eyed Tarine cows liven up this remote and uninhabited landscape. We spend the night at the mountain inn of La Nova.
Elevation gain: 1 015m - Elevation drop: 1 250m
Day 5 : Col du Bonhomme - Nant-Borrant hut
We hike up to Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and to Col du Bonhomme (2 479m). The trail runs across both passes and offers splendid natural terraces for us to enjoy our picnic under the indifferent eyes of ibexes. We descend down to La Balme, until we reach the Nant-Borrant hut, where we will spend the night.
Elevation gain: 930m - Elevation drop: 1 000m
Day 6 : Col du Tricot - Bellevue - les Houches
In the morning, we gradually descend all the way to Notre Dame de la Gorge. We walk across the small alpine town of Les Contamines and soon head up to Le Truc and the alpine pastures of Miage. The views that surround us are stunning ! Then we will test our calves on the steep switchbacks up to Col du Tricot (2120m), one of the reasons why we trained for this trip … Our loop ends at the summit of Bellevue. Happy to see the Chamonix valley again, we ride the tram down to the valley bottom and meet civilisation again ! We transfer to Chamonix in the afternoon.
Elevation gain: 1 300m - Elevation drop: 1 000m
The guide may have to adapt the route to weather conditions and/or to group physical and/or technical ability.
Group session associates several people who don’t know each other. It allows for a planned program to benefit from an attractive price on fixed dates. This formula is ideal for people looking for the friendliness of a group.
Dates 2021 :
- From Sunday June 20th to Friday June 25th
- From Sunday July 11th to Friday July 16th
- From Sunday August 1st to Friday August 6th
- From Monday August 30th to Saturday September 4th
Price 2021 : Coming soon - based on minimum 6 participants.
Included in the package :
- The organization and supervision of each tour by state qualified trekking guide/s
- Half-board accommodation (dinner, breakfast and night) in mountain hut and basic hotel (4-bed room & dormitory)
- Picnic lunches
- Lift passes
- Drinks and personal expenditure (souvenirs…)
- Repatriation insurance (mandatory)
You are a private group, you can ask for a customized trip.
- Exclusive guide
A more individualized relationship between your group and the professional.
- Choose your date of departure
You can choose your date of departure within the limit of the hut availabilities.
- Flexibility all along the trip
Depending on weather conditions, your level and your expectations, the guide can suggest you some different options of itinerary.
Meeting : at 8.00 am in front of the Compagnie des Guides in Chamonix.
Ability level : 4/5 - TMB "Back to basics" is a strenuous trek. A minimum of 800m (2700ft) vertical gain and about 8 hours of hiking daily day. Hiking on maintained trails with off trail hiking sections, in scree and bouldery areas. Mountain terrain can involve difficult and exposed trails, for sure-footed hikers. Good physical training and multiday hiking experience on mountain trails are required.
Guiding policy : by a state qualified trekking guide with a maximum of 12 people in the group.
Important : no booking accepted in our scheduled groups for people under the age of 18 without a legal guardian.
- During the trip : 5 nights in basic hotel or mountain hut (in dormitory). Each hiker carries all his personal belongings, and the picnic along the entire trek.
- Before & after the trip : we have some hotel partners in Chamonix with special prices for our customers. If you want to receive information ask Anaïs.
- Participants must have an insurance with repatriation cover. Cancellation insurance is highly recommended. You can take out insurance offering both of these types of cover when you sign up.
- Participants must also take valid ID with them.
Preparing for the trip : you are welcome to come and meet your guide the evening before at our office at 6 pm.
- Ankle supporting boots with notched technical rubber sole (i.e. VIBRAM).
- We strongly recommend wearing new boots (several days and preferably hiking) to break them in before the hike.
- To avoid blisters, try rubbing baby talc on dry feet before using boots (sprinkling talc inside boot works too)
- Minimum size recommended 40 L (bigger is better than too small).
- Take out lunch should fit AFTER packing all your personal belongings.
- Bad weather precaution: pack covers are great to protect pack from rain or snow. We also recommend packing your belongings in a large and solid plastic bag (i.e. garbage bag) for a better protection in case of heavy rainfall.
Avoid using cotton underwear. Compared to technical synthetic material, it is heavier and it dries slowly. Wool is also getting popular amongst sportswear brands. Synthetic and wool are warmer; they dry fast, and allow you to pack light (you can easily wash a piece of underwear in the sink as you arrive at the mountain inn/hut. It’ll be dry before you finish your first beer!)
Taking enough time to pack is essential, as you are going to carry every item for several days in a row. Avoiding extra weight can easily be done by packing your clothes tightly, placing heavy items at the bottom of the pack, and avoiding empty spaces. As a result weight is better spread throughout your back and weight impression diminished. Your back pack should not exceed 19 pounds (9kg).
- 1 long-sleeve shirt + 1 Tshirt (both synthetic)
- 1 polar fleece + 1 light down jacket (or a second fleece)
- 1 pair of shorts + 1 pair of hiking pants
- 1 pair of synthetic hiking socks
- 1 Goretex jacket (waterproof windbreaker)
- 1 poncho (large rain cover that fits over your pack) or 1 pack cover
- 1 pair of rain pants (although light Gore-tex pants are expensive, other types of light rain pants work too)
- 1 water bottle (1.5 quart, to 2 quarts minimum)
- 1 pocket knife + 1 « spork »
- Sun hat or ball cap, sunscreen, sun glasses, lip protection
- 1 warm hat and a pair of gloves
- 1 pair of telescopic poles
FOR THE ENTIRE HIKE
- 2 changes of clothes: (T-shirt, underwear and socks) prefer synthetic to cotton
- 1 pair of long underwear (synthetic recommended)
- 1 pair of ultra-light shoes (i.e. flip flops, slippers)
- 1 pocket light or head-lamp
- Personal first aid kit **
- 1 one-person sleep-sheet (silk is the most comfortable and remains the lightest)
- Ultra-light shower kit (feel free to customize ...) + synthetic « dry fast » towel
- ID card or valid passport + small change/ bills for personal expenses.
- A small amount of laundry detergent
- Optional : low gaiters ( early season trekking), camera, binoculars, umbrella, etc …
** Elastoplast (stretchable strapping tape), band-aids, second skin, medicine for common aches and pains (diarrhea, headaches, sore throat…) Don’t forget to bring your personal prescription treatment if you have one. Mountain leaders also carry a complete first aid kit. Remember that packing light is essential.
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