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Walk the complete Tour du Mont Blanc loop in 8 days with a sporting hiking schedule
Choose a starting point that is convenient for you: Courmayeur or Chamonix
Stay overnight in huts at high altitude instead of valleys where possible
Step off the beaten track and climb the Tete Nord de Four summit for a great panorama of Mont Blanc
The area surrounding the Mont Blanc is exceptionally diverse and extremely variable. Tour du Mont Blanc will take you through sun-drenched valleys, past scenic lakes and towering cliffs with gaping gorges between them. This beautiful scenery is dominated by the snow-white chain of Mont Blanc peaks that will vanish from sight time and again only to reappear at a new surprising angle.
The itinerary of our trek around the Mont Blanc features a fairly challenging schedule: eight complete days of hiking with a substantial cumulative ascent of 1,000 to 1,500 m on a daily basis. This hike includes lengthy daytime treks with 7 to 9 hours of net walking time. We recommend it to hikers in good physical shape and with prior mountain hiking experience.
The itinerary avoids valley crossings where possible and takes you through somewhat more challenging trails compared to the classical itinerary. At the south tip of the massif, the trail takes you to the Tete Nord de Four peak – the highest point of the trek.
Tour du Mont Blanc is available as a guided or self-guided trip. You can choose where to start this hike – in the Italian Courmayeur or in the French Chamonix. Along the itinerary you will be overnighting at mountain huts and guest houses that offer breakfasts, dinners and hot showers.
For information relative to Covid-19, please visit Information Covid-19. Risk-free booking terms apply to the 2020 trips.
Day 1: Courmayeur
You arrive in Courmayeur and check-in at the hotel. Courmayeur offers much to see for the rest of the day: it has long been one of the major centers of mountaineering in the Alps.
Day 2: Italian Val Ferret
Ascent 1350 m. Descent 530 m. Distance 18 km. Walking time 8 hours.
The first day of the trek takes you through the entire Italian Val Ferret along its southeastern slopes at elevations of 1,800 to 2,100 m. On completing its ascent, the trail runs mostly through open terrain, crossing several gorges and mountain streams. Today's itinerary offers exclusively scenic panoramas. All day long you will be seeing the Mont Blanc massif on the opposite side of the valley – its magnificent main ridge and glaciers on the eastern slopes. At the end of the day the trail ends at a mountain ridge in perfect timing for an overnight stop at a mountain hut at its foot, where you can get a good rest before climbing the ridge at the break of dawn.
Day 3: Lac du Champex
Ascent 960 m. Descent 1540 m. Hiking distance 25 km. Walking time 8 hours.
Today you are in for a long but easy trek that will take you through the entire Swiss Val Ferret all the way to the postcard-perfect lake Lac de Champex. The trail begins with a steep ascent to the ridge. As you descend from it on the other side, you will lose sight of the Mont Blanc massif that will reappear on the horizon only a day later, and enter the Val Ferret. The trail makes a smooth descent through the valley in the northern direction, crossing pastures and running past infrequent Swiss hamlets. In the latter half of the day you will ascend to Lac de Champex nestled between two mountain groups and will spend the night there. A shortcut is available for this leg: there is a bus line in Val Ferret that can save you 2 hours of time and reduce your hiking distance by 8 km.
Day 4: Fenetre d'Arpette Pass
Ascent 1200 m. Descent 1380 m. Distance 15 km. Walking time 7 hours.
Crossing the Fenetre d’Arpette mountain pass is one of the few truly challenging legs of the Tour du Mont Blanc itinerary. It involves a lengthy ascent to the pass with a very steep approach. The Fenetre d’Arpette pass itself is one of the highest points along the itinerary. Here you will climb as high as 2,665 m. The spectacular panoramic views more than make up for the complexity of today's ascent. They will accompany you both as you ascend to the mountain pass and on the other side where you will pass right next to the Glacier du Trient.
Day 5: Aiguilles Rouges
Ascent 1720 m. Descent 1230 m. Hiking distance 19 km. Walking time 9 hours.
The Aiguilles Rouges massif is of the most picturesque locations of the Tour du Mont Blanc. In the morning, you start hiking towards the Swiss-French border that runs through a Mont Blanc offshoot known as Col de Balme. The Mont Blanc massif comes back into view as you cross Col de Balme. From there you descend into the top portion of the Chamonix Valley along a scenic trail following the ridge. In the latter half of the day you will go up to the Aiguilles Rouges massif facing the Mont Blanc. This mountain range is a protected natural territory. Here you will follow an incredibly scenic trail running through open terrain with spectacular views of the western slopes of the Mont Blanc. There is a section of difficult trail know as the famous TMB’s “passage dificile”. It is a secured path on an exposed slope. A shortcut is available on this leg with a bus connection in the upper Chamonix Valley and a cablecar: it allows you to shorten the crossing and avoid the difficult path.
Day 6: Le Brevent
Ascent 800 m. Descent 1670 m. Distance 17 km. Walking time 7 hours.
The trail takes you across the eastern slopes of the Aiguilles Rouges massif that offer breathtaking views of the Mont Blanc massif and its gigantic glaciers. This leg of the itinerary includes the most popular vantage point for taking photos of the Mont Blanc – the Le Brevent peak, from which you can see the entire gigantic Glacier de Bossons. It is the highest point of today's relatively easy but nonetheless beautiful itinerary meandering over the slopes of the Aiguilles Rouges massif.
Day 7: Western Slopes of Mont Blanc
Ascent 950 m. Descent 1280 m. Distance 16 km. Walking time 7 hours.
Today's itinerary yet again deviates from the classical hiking route around the Mont Blanc, which would take you through villages and along roads. Instead, you embark on an incomparably more beautiful version of the itinerary running across the western slopes of the Mont Blanc through the Col de Tricot saddle. Here the trail crosses a moraine right under a glacier tongue before ascending to the Col de Tricot saddle from where it enters the exposed and sun-drenched slopes above the valley.
Day 8: Tete Nord de Fours Summit
Ascent 1400 m. Descent 970 m. Distance 16 km. Walking time 7 hours.
It is one of the most picturesque legs of the itinerary. Today you will climb to the Tete Nord de Fours peak offering a breathtaking 360-degree panoramic view. This requires straying from the beaten path yet again and walking deep into the Mont Blanc massif from its southern tip. This is a relatively seldom-traveled trail offering a good chance of sighting the Alpine ibex. The Tete Nord de Fours summit is the highest point along the itinerary, standing 2,756 m tall. The descent from the peak takes you through a challenging albeit short trail on the way down. A gorge will then direct you to the main trail of the trek of the Tour du Mont Blanc where you will overnight at a mountain hut.
Day 9: Val Veny
Ascent 1110 m. Descent 1800 m. Distance 22 km. Walking time 9 hours.
The last day of the trek will take you past several landmarks, each worthy of a separate hike. You will see the famous “Limestone Pyramids”, or Les Pyramides Calcaires, pastures on outwash plains beneath the Les Blanches glacier, the granite pinnacles of Les Grandes Jorasses, and the “Giant's Tooth” towering above the skies – the Dente del Gigante peak. Early in the day, on reaching the mountain pass, you will cross the French-Italian border and descend into the Val Veny valley stretching parallel to the Mont Blanc massif. The valley is home to all of the landmarks mentioned above. In the latter half of the day, the trail will take you through a minor mountain group called Arp, whose slopes will take you down to Courmayeur.
Day 10: Courmayeur
The trip has come to an end. After you walked the entire Tour du Mont Blanc with a very challenging hiking schedule, it may be a good idea to stay a day or two in Courmayeur and cool off or to visit the medieval castles of the lower Aosta valley.
Tour du Mont Blanc with a start in Chamonix
Chamonix is an equally convenient point to start hiking Tour du Mont Blanc. If you choose Chamonix as the starting point, you will have a basecamp hotel in Chamonix and will walk exactly the same TMB legs that are described in the itinerary starting from Courmayeur. Naturally, this does not change the difficulty level of this trip: it is Level 4 due to a very challenging hiking schedule.
This is a private tour on the dates of your choice.
The prices are per person and include the VAT tax.
Validity of prices: Summer 2019.
The indicated tour duration includes the days of arrival and departure. Accommodation on the day of arrival and night before departure is included in the price.
Self-guided tour: supplement applies to one-person bookings
10 Day Self Guided Tour € 120
Single supplement includes single room accommodation in the basecamp hotel on the first and the final nights of the tour.
Guided tour: minimum 4 participants.
Courmayeur. With Turin being the closetst airport, a slightly more distant Milan Malpensa is served by a significantly larger number of airlines. It takes around 4 hours to reach Courmayeur from Milano Malpensa by train and/or bus. Travel time from Turin Airport is in a range 2:30 - 3:00 hours. You may also choose Milan Bergamo airport that is served by numerous low-cost airlines: travel time to Courmayeur from this airport is around 4:30 - 5:00.
Chamonix. Geneva is the only well-connected airport in the region. Its takes around 1h 40m hours to reach Chamonix by bus.
We can help you to plan the route from the airport and provide you with the schedules: please contact us before you buy plane tickets.
Proper hiking boots are a must for the mountains. We recommend high boots because they support the ankle better than any low boots and provide better stability on a rocky terrain. The weather conditions in Pennine Alps, Graian Alps, and especially in the Mont Blanc area, change rapidly: you must have warm clothes with you even in the middle of the summer: waterproof and windproof jacket, fleece jacket, long trekking pants and a cap. A raincoat, poncho or other type of rainwear is necessary. Other necessary items are the toiletries, light clean footwear to use in the huts, sunglasses and water bottles or bladders for a total capacity of 2-3 liters. You'll receive a detailed packing list specifically for your trip at the booking. We ask all the participants to read it carefully and be well prepared for the hiking trip.
For detailed information on the gear and clothing please read Hiking gear.
The first and last nights of your trip are in one of our basecamp hotels. While hiking, you will stay overnight in the mountain huts. You can count on the following services in the mountain huts: a bed in a shared room or in a private room (must be booked in advance), shower with hot water, toilets, meals, and a possibility to buy take away water and snacks such as sandwiches and chocolate. Shared rooms are equipped with bunk beds with mattresses, pillows and blankets. Bed linen is not provided in shared bedrooms: you must have a sleeping bag liner with you. Typically, it is a light cotton bag. Warm sleeping bag is unnecessary, since there are blankets in the bedrooms. In private rooms you are often offered bed linen, thus a sleeping bag liner is not required. If you book private rooms, we inform you on whether you need to bring a sleeping bag liner. Most huts have a heating system, but it is normally not required in the summer months. You will need clean footwear for the huts: light slides are an ideal solution. For detailed information on the huts please read Mountain Huts in the Alps.
In hut-to-hut hiking tours you are served a breakfast and a dinner in the huts and mountain hotels on the route.
Normally, the breakfast is served from 7am to 9am. It usually includes an unlimited quantity of coffee and tea, bread, butter, jam, honey and chocolate spread. In addition, some huts offer ham, cheese and muesli for breakfast. After breakfast we recommend filling your thermos with hot water or tea: ask the staff, and it will be for free in most huts.
The dinner time in the mountain huts is 7pm or 7:30pm for all guests. A typical dinner in a hut is very rich and includes a starter, the first course (such as pasta, risotto, dumplings), the second course (meat with a side dish) and a dessert. Any drinks at dinner (water, wine, beer, tea, coffee) are not free and should be ordered and paid separately.
It is possible to stop for lunch in the mountain huts and villages on the way, but this option is not available in all days of the trip. These days we recommend to take a light snack (sandwiches, yoghurt, chocolate, water) from the hut where you have stopped for the overnight.
Our guided hiking tours are led by professional guides, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience and with passion for mountains. They permanently work in the region of the exact hiking tour, have professional licenses, are experts in emergency situations, regularly upgrade their qualifications and work in accordance with national regulations.
For self-guided hiking, it is necessary to be properly dressed, follow the safety rules and make realistic time calculation for day crossings – preferably according to the hiking schedule that we provide. Our self-guided hiking trips are planned so that they do not require specific skills or gear, unless it is clearly specified in the tour description. You can expect well-maintained trails equipped with direction signs. Exposed sections of the trail are secured on the self-guided routes: it makes them safe provided that you follow the basic safety rules for hiking in the mountains.
Mountains are a natural environment with a high level of risk, so we insistently ask all participants to read the safety rules and emergency procedures: Safety Considerations. If you have questions about the safety rules, please contact us +39 0463 63 60 80.
Insurance. It is important to have an appropriate insurance that covers the hiking activity. You don't need to include the climbing activity in your insurance, unless you are planning to climb during the hike.
Visa. We will provide you with a booking confirmation for all days of your trip. If you need an Italian or French visa, you can enclose this document with your visa application.
We organize hiking tours in Mont Blanc area from July till mid-September. The best time to hike around Mont Blanc is the second half of July and August: the weather is more stable, and there is no snow on the passes.
The Graian Alps which include Mont Blanc area is the most high-altitude environment of Europe. This fact influences the weather conditions in the region making it prone to sudden temperature shifts. In summer at midday clouds accumulate above the peaks what causes rain and decrease in temperature. It is windy on the mountain passes and ridges. At an elevation of 2,000 m (6,560 ft) the maximum temperature is 17° C (62° F). The valleys at 1,000 – 1,400 m (3,280 – 4,590 ft) warm up to 20-22° C (68-72° F). In the evening and in the morning in the highlands it is rather chilly, meanwhile in the valleys it is fresh, and at night it never gets hot in the valleys.
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