The beauty and majestic grace of the spectacular Mont Blanc region should be experienced by everyone on foot at some point in their lives. Thanks to this specially crafted walking itinerary, it can be. This trip is hiking at its most civilized combining both comfort and exceptional day walks, where you carry only a light daypack, that will surely increase your appetite for even more walking adventures. The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of Europe's most popular alpine trails and for many good reasons. The extraordinary vistas of snow clad peaks with daily pass crossings, the chance to see playful marmots and chamoix along the trail and the contrasts of walking through three different countries are just some of the memorable aspects of this iconic route. During this delightful introduction to walking in the region you'll gradually ascend high alpine passes, breaking for lunch to absorb the panoramic views stretching from tumbling glaciers to meadows laden with colourful blooms. At the end of each days walk you'll relax and refresh in your private room in small gites and mountain hotels that brim with local charm and serve up regional flavours that compliment the walks impeccably.
MODERATE to CHALLENGING – GRADE 4
The walking is moderate to challenging (4) grade with daily guided walks of around 5-9 hours, between 8 and 15km and maximum ascents / descents of 1200 metres per day. There are some challenging stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep and alter the grading of the trip to challenging. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds.
Leaving from the village of Le Tour you take the scenic high mountain path of Balme heading towards Switzerland. Weather permitting you will be able to take some wonderful photos of the Mont Blanc chain including the impressive “La Verte”, the Drus and the Needles of Chamonix. You will cross the border between France and Switzerland before making your way down to the village of Trient for overnight accommodation.
There are two alternative routes between Trient and Champex. The first is via the Mountain of Bovine which involves crossing the Forclaz Pass (1527m) where there are beautiful lake views. The other, is The “Fenêtre d’Arpette” (2665m) route, which is a variant on the Tour du Mont Blanc and is quite challenging. In adverse weather conditions this pass is not recommended. The trail is not as well defined as the lower route but as with many pass crossings, the rewards on a good weather day are the extraordinary views to the Trient Glacier. The descent to Champex is steep though you will have the opportunity to have a hot shower at your lodge. The decision on which path will be taken is always at the discretion of the guide, however usually we take standard TMB route.
This morning you take a bus transfer to the small village of Ferret (1705m) and commence walking. The route takes you out of Switzerland and into Italy by the Grand Col Ferret (2537m) pass. It’s a steady climb and at the Col you will be awe inspired by the sweeping views of the Pre de Bar glacier. After some time drinking in the panorama you can amble down the steep track to your overnight accommodation at the Refuge Elena which is located at the base of the glacier and a great place to view the changing light on the alps.
This morning we take a transfer to La Visaille from where we ascend the enchanting valley where the enormous Miage glacier flows down into Lake Combal. On the Italian side of Mont Blanc, one gains a completely different perspective of the highest peak in the European Alps. Continue over the Seigne mountain path, which is overhung by limestone pyramids and the Estelette Glacier, until you reach France. The trail then descends across the high mountain pastures to the City of the Glaciers. Today also provides an excellent opportunity to buy Beaufort cheese from the local farmers.
This mornings walk takes you up mountain pastures to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) where there are good views southeast to the peaks of the Vanoise. The trail continues down to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m) and crosses the Contamines Natural Reserve. A sharp descent through a pine forest fringed gorge takes you to an ancient Roman Road and the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge. Continue walking to the Contamines Valley.
The trail takes us along the river valley and heads slowly to La Gruvaz before continuing to Le Champel and a fairly steep ascent via Bionnassay to the Col de Voza. A longer route can be taken following a combination of tracks and trails above Contamines before you ascend to cross a shoulder of Mont Truc followed by an ascent of the Col du Tricot (2120m) which forms the divide between the Miage and Bionnasay Valleys. From here you have some spectacular views of limestone cliffs and the pistes below. The descent follows a combination of gravel roads and tracks past some settlements to reach Les Houches.
The 'Mont Blanc in Comfort' trekking trip was truly fabulous. Everything was great, the guide (Christophe) was excellent, all was well organised, accommodation and food was great, group was great .. - as you can see I have only praise for it!
A. Lazar, NSW, Australia
Excellent trip in beautiful weather,spectacular views,great trekking and comfortable accomodation. The description of "moderate to challenging" is accurate and made for a real sense of achievement on our return to civilisation.
J. Richardson., Wetherby, UK.
I was travelling solo and I chose the perfect trip with the perfect group of people. Amazing challenging picture perfect holiday. The best hike I've ever done.
B. Abbott., Trigg, WA. Australia
Per Person, Twin Share