Journeys worth taking

France, Italy, Switzerland

Tour du Mont Blanc
Privately Guided with Glacier hiking

Epic journeys

Trek around the roof of Europe and tackle a high mountain glacier

Lodging

Hotels and Mountain Refuges

Nights

9

Trip Details

Privately Guided

Price

$4,125

Transport

Your feet

Pygmy miles

5,950

Experience
Experience
Itinerary
Pygmy miles
Accommodation
Practical info

Experience

Journey

"Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains; They crown'd him long ago On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow."

Lord Byron

To unearth the secrets of the monarch of mountains, there is no greater privilege than to explore with the help of a highly trained IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Association) High Mountain Guide. On this privately guided tour of Mont Blanc you will spend 7 days trekking around the massif, exploring tiny Swiss hamlets like Champex du Lac and traversing cols (saddles) like Col de Seigne on the border between France and Italy. 

Your guide is well informed on the best routes to take depending on weather, time of year and fitness. Each day, your itinerary can be adapted so that you get the most out of your days in the alps. Along with your tour of Mont Blanc (also known as the "TMB"), you will receive a rare opportunity - a chance to hike on a glacier 11,000 feet high. This is the advantage of making your TMB with a High Mountain guide. He can take you places that are otherwise off limits. Rest assured, you are in good hands. 

"Mont Blanc is the monarch of mountains; They crown'd him long ago On a throne of rocks, in a robe of clouds, With a diadem of snow."

Activities

Trekking

Trek 7 days around the Mont Blanc Massif, seeing the most beautiful sections of the range.

Mountaineering

Strap on your crampons and set foot on a glacier 11,000 feet above sea level.

Wildlife Viewing

Be on the lookout for Chamois (a goat-antelope like animal) or marmots (looks similar to a beaver) on your trek.

Place

The Tour de Mont Blanc is a long distance trekking trail passing through France, Switzerland and Italy. The complete TMB circuit is approximately 107 miles (170 km) and has an altitude gain and loss of over 6.2 miles (10 km), which is more than the height of Everest. On this itinerary, you will complete the circuit using transfers in some areas. You will actually hike between 50 to 75% of the tour, depending on your preferences, skill and weather conditions. 

Your glacier hike starts off after an ascent via cable car to Helbronner. Here you will spend 3 to 4 hours exploring the Glacier du Geant with crampons and ice axes. Glacier du Geant provides most of the flow for the famous Mer de Glace that slithers it's way above Chamonix valley and of Valle Blanche, famous for skiing in the winter time. 

Trekking with a mountain guide is real privilege. The IFGMA defines the following characteristics about a guide:

A mountain guide is a professional whose competence has been certified. He is capable of taking and instructing any person in a secure, responsible and autonomous manner for activities specific to the profession (in particular alpinism, climbing, athletic climbing, ski touring, off-piste, ice climbing, high-altitude mountaineering). The minimum technical requirements are defined below:

  • A rock climbing test of level 5a minimum, in mountaineering boots
  • A rock climbing test of level 6b minimum, in climbing shoes
  • An ice climbing test with ice axe, using the classic technique
  • An ice climbing test with one or two ice axes, using the front point technique
  • A skiing test, mastering all types of snow on all terrains.

Itinerary

Track

Itinerary

The 9 night base itinerary features a mixture of mountain refugios and boutique hotels, striking a balance of high mountain vistas and luxury while spending the night in the valleys. Depending on your preferences, experience and time constraints, we will adapt the journey to fit your needs (longer and shorter itineraries are possible). 

Day-1

Arrival and Transfer to Chamonix

After arriving at Geneva Airport, your private driver will transport you to your boutique hotel in Chamonix. Enjoy the onsite spa and pool during the day. Get plenty of rest, because tomorrow your journey begins. Overnight at Le Morgane or similar 4 star hotel.

Day-2

Notre Dame de Gorge to Les Mottets

In the morning, you will meet your guide for breakfast, then it's on to Notre Dame de Gorge to begin your tour of Mont Blanc. Depending on your experience and weather conditions, you will take one of two routes. The first is a TMB alternative that ascends to Col des Fours (total height gain of 5170 feet and loss of 2,874 feet). This alternative gives superior views and avoids a longs stretch of road in the Ville des Glaciers. If weather is bad, you may wish to trek to the small village of Les Chapieaux and take a taxi on to Les Mottets. (B,L,D) Overnight at Les Mottets

Day-3

Les Mottets to Courmayeur

Ciao Bella! After crossing over Col de Seigne (8,254 feet) we arrive in Italy. We stop at Refugio Elisabetta for lunch, and continue on to Lac Combal (4 hours) and La Visaille (45 min). From here we can either take a public bus to Courmayeur or for very fit people, hike up to Col Checrouit (6,417 feet) and take the chairlift and cable car down to Courmayeur (3-4 hours)

Courmayeur is the Italian equivalent of Chamonix and enjoys a rich history of alpine climbers, as evidenced by the varied sculptures hanging out by the central cathedral. Today, it is a high class resort town both in the winter and summer.
(B,L,D) Overnight at La Scoiattolo

Day-4

Glacier Trek

Today we will take the cable car up to Helbronner (11,318 feet). Your guide will break out the ropes, harnesses and crampons for 3 to 4 hours of glacier hiking. Afterwards, we enjoy lunch at the Pavillon restaurant with an amazing view. For those that glacier trekking is a mountain too high to climb (literally and figuratively), alternative activities can be arranged. (B,L,D) Overnight at La Scoiattolo

Day-5

Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti

From Courmayeur (4,020 feet) we make our way to Rifugio Bonatti (6,643 feet). Today's views of "Mont Biano" from the Italian side might be the best of the tour. After an initial climb out of Courmayeur which gains most of your elevation for the day, the main route follows an easy path along Mont de la Saxe with views of Mont Blanc. The main route to Rifugio Bonatti will take you about 5 hours to complete. Bonatti is possibly the nicest and most well equipped refuge on the tour. For the more hearty walkers, two higher elevation alternatives exist. (B,L,D) Overnight in private ensuite at Refugio Bonatti.

Day-6

Rifugio Bonatti to Champex du Lac

"I've got a fever, and the only prescription... is more cow bell!"

Christopher Walken, Switzerland enthusiast

Do you hear those cow bells? That's the sound of pastoral Switzerland. The high point of today's hike is the Grand Col Ferret (8,356 feet) and is a taxing climb that separates Italy from Switzerland. The TMB in Switzerland may lack some of the big mountain appeal of Italy and France, but it more than makes up for it with the idyllic landscape and by gone hamlets of the Val Ferret (the name of the valley in which the TMB snakes through Switzerland). After reaching La Fouly, we transfer to Champex via taxi or bus. (B,L,D) Overnight at Hotel Splendide

Day-7

Champex du Lac to Trient

The main route slithers it's way up and gives views of the Martigny valley below. Although not as hard as some sections, it is a challenging stage. An alternative to Fenette de Arpette should be considered in clear weather and is on of the highest points reached on the TMB at 8,743 feet. Total hiking time for the main route is 5 to 6 hours and for the alternate it is 7 to 8 hours. (B, L, D) Overnight in la Grand Ourse or Hotel de Forclaz

Day-8

Trient to Argentiere

Ah Cheri, you have made it back to France. The trip from Trient to Argentiere is not particularly difficult and you catch the first glimpse of the rounded peak of Mont Blanc since you left Italy. In France, you return to the Vallee de l'Arve, which appears at the foot of the Monarch of the Alps. Lunch at Alpage du Balme. Today's hike should take between 6 and 7 hours. (B,L,D) Overnight at Hotel Carroune or equivalent.

Day-9

Argentiere to Le Brevent

We've saved one of the most interesting treks with perhaps the most splendid views for last. The main route uses a number of ladder and chain systems to ascend to Tete aux Vents. If you have vertigo or are jittery with heights, there is an alternative route via Col des Montets that avoids the ladder section. After reaching Tete aux Vents, the route levels off and it is a more subdued downward sloping walk to Refuge La Flegere (4 hours). The refuge is a nice spot to sit and take lunch and gather your strength for the final push to Le Brevent (8,287 feet). Brevent has long been considered one of the best view points of Mont Blanc and is where many people stood to witness the historic first climb of the mountain. The final ascent to Le Brevent includes two ladders near the top, so for those wishing to avoid these or simply would like to avoid the final push, an option exists to take the cable car down at Plan Praz and avoid some 1,700 feet of elevation gain. The total time to Le Brevent should take around 8 hours. Congrats! You've done it. Take the lift down to Chamonix from Le Brevent and enjoy your evening at Le Morgane (B, L)

Day-10

Chamonix to Geneva Airport

After a leisured breakfast, you have the day open until your flight to enjoy Chamonix. Alternatively, why not have a spa day? You've earned. Transfer to Geneva airport provided. Ciao! and Au revoir!!! (B)

Pygmy miles

Pygmy Miles Total

Challenge
Motorized Vehicle
Hiking
Bicycle
Sustainability
Miscellaneous
3750pygmy miles

Base Miles

For every $1 you spend with us, you earn 1 Pygmy Mile.

This hike places a value on human powered transportation. Furthermore, visiting smaller hamlets, villages and locally owned refuges provides economic resources to communities that may otherwise be missed if not for making the trek. One should always practice a leave no trace ethos and take care of their footprint in the high mountains.

250pygmy miles

Hike from Les Contamine to Courmayeur

Pygmy Elephant gives you 10 Pygmy miles for every mile you trek.

250pygmy miles

Conquer the Col des Fours Variant (8,743 ft)

If you're able to conquer the Col des Fours Variant on day 2, we will reward you with an extra 250 points.

1000pygmy miles

Glacier Hike

If you can complete the Glacier hike, we give you another 1,000 miles. It's good to challenge yourself, don't you think?

450pygmy miles

Hike from Courmayeur to Chamonix

Pygmy Elephant gives you 10 Pygmy miles for every mile you trek.

250pygmy miles

Snap a picture of a chamois or marmot

If you're able to snap a photo of a marmot or chamois, you'll earn an extra 250 Pygmy Miles. Just tag us on social media after your trip.

Total Pygmy Miles

5950pygmy miles

Accommodation

 

Le Morgane

Chamonix

In the heart of Chamonix, the style and the concept of the 4 star Boutique Hotel Le Morgane differs from traditional alpine hotels. Located in central downtown, Le Morgane will be your base for your first and last night on tour.

Les Mottets

Les Mottets

This refugio sits serenely at the bottom of Col de la Seigne. It features both dormitories and private rooms with ensuite facilities. Once a dairy farm, the main lodge is decorated with old cheese making tools and even one of the dormitories is a converted cow barn.

Lo Scoiattolo

Courmayeur

This small, 3 star boutique hotel offers 22 rooms divided into single rooms, standard double rooms as well as comfort double rooms with extended services and junior suites; all surrounded by spacious balconies. Lo Scoiattolo has a restaurant, bar and small spa on site.

Rifugio Bonatti

Rifugio Bonatti

Located at 6,640 feet (2025 meters) above sea level, this high mountain hut is a shining example of what a modern refuge should do. It features both dormitories and private rooms with ensuite facilities. The food is grand and so are the views. Not everyone speaks English, but enough of the staff does to make it comfortable.

Hotel Splendide

Champex du Lac

Located next to a beautiful alpine lake, this three star hotel gets high marks for service and large rooms.

La Grande Ourse

Trient

La Grande Ourse has both private rooms with shared bathrooms and small dormitories of up to 8 people. The rooms have been refurbished and provide a comfortable nights sleep. Dining is together in the communal dining area.

Hotel de La Couronne

Argentiere

Hotel de La Couronne features a cosy library and reading area, attached restaurant and ensuite rooms. The restaurant features homestyle cooking and receives praise from many TMB hikers (along with the more than adequate breakfast). It is located about 20 minutes off the main TMB route.

Practical info

Price

$4,125 per person based on double occupancy

$6,000 for single travelers

Included in the base rate of your trip is the following:

  • 8 Days Guiding with a certified high mountain guide 
  • 24 hour customer service
  • 5 Baggage transfers to keep you trekking light
  • 2 nights at high mountain Refugios and 7 nights at Hotels (two 4 star and three 3 star) 
  • Airport Transfers to Chamonix from Geneva Airport and back
  • All Lifts and transport needed during the course of the trip
  • Expert consultation from an advisor who has completed the trek
  • Personalized itinerary with customization
  • All meals except on the arrival / departure day and dinner the night before departure. 

Service categories

Pygmy Itineraries

After initial consultation, we will adjust the itinerary to fit your experience, preferences and time constraints. In most cases, hotel, refugio and routing substitutions can be made without a price increase as long as the same format is taken. For parties of three or more, inquire for a reduced price.

 

When

jan
feb
mar
apr
may
jun
jul
aug
sep
oct
nov
dec
not available
average
optimal

The trek is only possible in the summer months, when the passes are clear from snow and ice. In late June, the Tour de Mont Blanc shows off its color with wild flowers. Heavy tourism periods are between mid July and late August. September can be a great time for the TMB when the temperature is a bit cooler and there are less hikers on route.

How

Privately guided

This is a privately guided tour offering the highest level of qualification available for guides in the region. Your guide is a high mountain guide (rather than a "Mountain Leader"). Your guide will carry a satellite phone with him in case of emergencies.

Challenge Level

Technical Ability

Level : Low

Mental Strength

Level : Low

Physical Conditioning

Level : Medium

  • This trip can be handled by most individuals in good health. 
  • Mental Strength is rated at low. With both back office and guiding support, you will be well taken care of on your trip. 
  • Lastly, physical conditioning is rated at medium considering the use of public transport, ski lifts and private hire.

Talk to our Adventure Expert

Our Managing Director, Andrew, has been to over 40 countries in his quest for the perfect adventure. He has biked the death road in Boiliva, trekked 500 miles across northern Spain on the Camino de Santiago, cycled from Brussels to Florence and hiked the five sacred mountains of China. Pygmy Elephant is how he spreads his love for adventure and self discovery in the world.