Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Blanc
Trek around the roof of Europe and tackle a high mountain glacier
Hotels and Mountain Refuges
"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."
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.
Trek 7 days around the Mont Blanc Massif, seeing the most beautiful sections of the range.
Strap on your crampons and set foot on a glacier 11,000 feet above sea level.
Be on the lookout for Chamois (a goat-antelope like animal) or marmots (looks similar to a beaver) on your trek.
The Tour du 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.
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).
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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)
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 Total
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.
Hike from Les Contamine to Courmayeur
Pygmy Elephant gives you 10 Pygmy miles for every mile you trek.
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.
If you can complete the Glacier hike, we give you another 1,000 miles. It's good to challenge yourself, don't you think?
Hike from Courmayeur to Chamonix
Pygmy Elephant gives you 10 Pygmy miles for every mile you trek.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
$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.
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.
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.
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.
Level : Low
Level : Low
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.