Mont Blanc Classic

Mont Blanc Classic

Trip Highlights

  • Trek through stunning alpine scenery around the highest peak in Western Europe
  • Experience the exhilaration of trekking through three countries in the European Alps
  • Enjoying the culinary specialties such as Raclette
  • Participating in the camaraderie on the trail and at night in the refuges

Trip Summary

A trek around the highest peak in the European Alps where spectacular alpine scenery combines with the charm of French, Swiss and Italian mountain villages. This historic itinerary takes you across passes, around enormous glaciers and via stunning lakes to take in some of the best viewpoints in the Alps. Meadows crossed by clear melt water streams lead you downwards to green pastures where shepherds will sell their Beaufort cheese to you fresh! Mountain refuges and hotels provide a relaxing respite at the end of your day's trek. This journey is for experienced alpine walkers - providing an enthralling alpine experience with unsurpassed views around each bend.



The walking is moderate to challenging (4) grade with daily walks of around 5-9 hours, between 8 and 34 km and maximum ascents of 1800 metres per day (note: on 34 km day between Courmayeur and Les Chapieux, many walkers choose to take a bus to the Val Veni cutting 12km from the days walk, particularly in poor weather). The timing provided in the itinerary is a guide only and is for the walking components only – rest breaks are not included. 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 with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good to excellent level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. You should also be able to navigate in alpine regions using a map and compass. Whilst the route is very well marked and well trodden, adverse weather conditions may make navigation difficult without reference to a map and compass. 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 advanced. 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. (9km, +700m/2297ft, -900m/2953ft)

Meals:  D

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. (18.6km, +1400m/4593ft, -1000m/3280ft or +900m/2953ft, -650m/2132ft)

Meals:  B,D

This morning you take a public bus (fare not included - 15 Swiss Francs) 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. (13km, +900m/2953ft, -500m/1640ft)

Meals:  B,D

This mornings walk takes you through the Val Ferret and along a balcony path with impressive views of the Grand Jorasses, Mont Blanc and in the distance the Col de la Seigne marking the border between France and Italy. On reaching Refugio Bonatti there are three options to reach Courmayeur. The newly rerouted TMB trail traverses the north flank of Monte de la Saxe, whilst the former official TMB route takes you along the crest of Monte de la Saxe. Both are high trails with fabulous views of the Brenva face of Mont Blanc and the dramatic Aiguille Noire. The alternative route is via the variant route over the Col du Sapin (2436m) with a quick descent to Courmayeur. This latter route is preferable in poor weather (or take a bus from the roadhead at Arnuva). Overnight Courmayeur. (20km, +800m/2625ft, -1600m/5249ft)

Meals:  B,D

This is a long and hard day if you intend to walk the full distance. There are options to shorten by taking a bus (cutting out 2 hours) or from around mid July to the end of August you can take a chairlift from Courmayeur (cutting out 700m of the ascent). From the centre of Courmayeur the walk heads steeply up a switchback trail to the Col Checroui. From here you continue the ascent to a steep spur at the top of the valley Veni where the views are spectacular. The descent is quite steep to the relatively flat valley floor. 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. (32.5km or 16.1km with transfers / +1800m/5906ft,-1490m/4888ft, or +950m/3117ft, -1004m/3293ft) Note: It is possible to split this day's walk and stay the night near Lake Combal - this option must be requested at the time of booking and will lengthen the trip to a 9 day trip - supplement applies. Please note that luggage transfer will not be available on the split section and you will therefore be required to carry your overnight requirements in your daypack on this day. Therefore day 5 to Lake Combal would involve 4.5-5 hours of walking with 1560m/5118ft ascent and 460m/1510ft descent. The next day you would walk 3.5-4 hours, with 400m ascent and 1000m descent to reach Les Chapieux, where your luggage will be waiting for you.

Meals:  B,D

This morning's 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. (14km, +930/3051ft, -1300m/4265ft)

Meals:  B,D

The trail takes you 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. Alternate route via the Col de Voza (4.5hrs, +633m, -646m) (20km, +1318m/4324ft, -1478m/4849ft)

Meals:  B,D

This morning is one of the toughest ascents of the trail, taking you through thick forest from the town of Les Houches right up to the heights of Le Brevent. Enroute there are some sections which are exposed and above the tree line the views of Mont Blanc are more than enough reward for your efforts. Reaching Brevent you can take the cable car down (not included, allow EUR26 pp) to the centre of Chamonix. Alternatively, continue along the balcony trail for a further 2 hours to Flégère. This trail is one of our favourites so if you have the energy and the weather is good we highly recommend you continue to Flégère. However it is important to note that the last cablecar returning to the valley is around 4-4:30pm (mid June to early September). The cablecar (not included, allow EUR15 pp) from Flégère takes you to Les Praz which is one stop on the train to Chamonix or about a 30 minute walk along the river. Your luggage will be waiting for you at your pre tour hotel. (17km, +1500m/4921ft)

Meals:  B

Reverse Itinerary from Les Contamines

Today is quite a challenge for the first day on the trail but the views, the squeaking sounds of marmots and the fresh mountain air will be more than compensation for the big ascent to the Col du Bonhomme (2329m). From the pass, the view to the Val Montjoie in the north and the Vallon de la Gittaz to the southwest is expansive. Continuing further up you reach the high point of the day, the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2483m) before descending through fields of flowers to the Vallee des Glaciers and the small hamlet of Le Chapieux. (+1300m/4265ft, -930m/3051ft)

Meals:  D

The first section of the walk today can be shortened by a shuttle service. Enroute you can purchase the delicious Beaufort Cheese from a local cheese factory. The trail up the Valley of Glaciers is a delight. A switchback trail leads you up to the border between France and Italy, the Col de la Seigne (2516m). In good weather, the view from this pass is incredible with high mountains surrounding and the grand southern face of Mont Blanc beginning to appear. Descend to the Val Veny and your overnight accommodation. (+1004m/3295ft, -268m/879ft)

Meals:  B,D

There are a few options for your walk today. We recommend a bus transfer for part of the route, depending on weather conditions and fitness considerations. The first part of the day takes in an incredible balcony trail with close-up views of the glaciers tumbling from the Mont Blanc range. Reaching Courmayeur there should be time for a gelato before continuing on foot or by bus to the Val Ferret and your overnight accommodation. (+860m/2821ft, -2000m/6562ft)

Meals:  B,D

Another exceptional pass crossing as you make your way to the high point of the main TMB walk and the Grand Col Ferret (2537m). Enjoy the sweeping views back along the Val Veny and the Col de la Seigne where you have come from. The trail descends into Switzerland and the small hamlet of Ferret. (+832m/2730ft, -475m/1558ft)

Meals:  B,D

A delightful day through classic Swiss alpine scenery with no great challenges, except perhaps to feast on delectable cheese during your picnic lunch! Continue past Champex to your overnight Gite. (+420m/1378ft, -565m/1854ft)

Meals:  B,D

Today you can choose between the gentler route via Alp Bovine, or a challenging ascent of the Fenetre d'Arpette (2665m) via a variant route. This is the highest point of the walk and offers incredible views to the Trient glacier and rocky alpine terrain. However the gentler route is a worthy alternative (and the only option in bad weather), through alpine pastures and with views to Grand Combin. Overnight in the small hamlet of Col de la Forclaz or nearby Trient. (+742m or 1199m/2434ft or 3934ft, -682m or 1139m/2238ft or 3737ft)

Meals:  B,D

A gentle day's walk today with plenty of time to soak in the views and farewell Switzerland as you cross over the col de Balme (2191m). From the pass it is a steep descent into the ski resort of Le Tour. (+665m/2182ft, -738m/2421ft)

Meals:  B,D

A superb last day on the trail with options to walk all the way to Brevent along the Grand Balcon Sud or finish at Le Flegere. You may also choose to detour to the Lac Blanc, for one of the classic views of the Mont Blanc region. Return to Chamonix by cablecar (not included) where the trip concludes. (+733ft or 1226m/2405ft or 4022ft, -257m/843ft)

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 7 breakfasts, 7 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which may include regional specialities.
  • 7 nights accommodation in mountain refuges / gîte hostels on a dormitory share basis. It is possible to upgrade to 7 nights in a double room – additional cost applies. Please note that for the double room upgrade we cannot guarantee a double room for all 7 nights and at times one night will be in a quad share room. No discount applies.
  • Luggage transfer (max 15kgs - soft duffel style luggage only)
  • Information pack including Navigational App and TMB hiking map (1:50,000) per group of 1-4 people* – the route is waymarked. Note: if you wish to purchase an extra map (if you plan to walk separately) please let us know. Full IGN maps (1:25,000) and the Cicerone guidebook can also be purchased from our office. *A group is the people in your booking party who you are travelling with, staying in the same accommodation.

What's Not Included

  • Travel to Le Tour and from Les Houches
  • Lunch and drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Storage of luggage - please ensure your pre tour hotel can store luggage before you book
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Public transport including cable cars

Upcoming Travel Dates


Maps were fantastic and the plastic waterproof pocket was excellent!

A.Frandas, VIC, Australia

We loved the Mont Blanc Classic trip (self-guided). UTracks did a great job with the bookings and it went like clockwork, so much so that other walkers asked for UTracks’ details along the way. It is such a stunning walk, the hotels and food and general organisation were excellent. It is so much fun to do. In our family group we had 4 children aged from 18 to 8 and the trip was perfect for us (we gave a little assistance to the 8 year old on some of the bigger days). We will definitely use UTracks again.

J. Mosley, Mosman, NSW, 02 Aug 2018

This trek is highly recommended! The views, people you meet along the way and the food were some of the highlights of this trip.

J. Pallarca, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 04 Aug 2018

Great trip, very well organised, fantastic pre trip information. Amazing countryside and spectacular scenery. The walk was classified as moderate to challenging but by New Zealand standards we would rate it moderate (if you are just carrying a day pack).

J. Mark, Christchurch, New Zealand, 24 Aug 2018

The Mont Blanc Classic was perfect. Eight days was sufficient to experience the amazing walk, and going in the 'non traditional' clockwise direction I believe was just as spectacular as going anti clockwise. Having our luggage transported between refuges was an added treat - way less hassle.

L. Rees, Clifton Hill, VIC, 20 Aug 2018

I wanted to complete the Tour de Mt Blanc while I still had the fitness level having recently celebrated my 70th birthday. My husband and I found it challenging at times, particularly up and down some of the long cols (passes) - Grand Col Ferret from Switzerland into Italy and Col du Bonhomme. Both had heaps of snow in mid June - eminently manageable with hiking poles. We’re new converts. The vistas throughout were glorious, the wildflowers beautiful, emanating a scent of honey, the pine forests refreshing and the sense of accomplishment not to be discounted. The camaraderie of fellow UTracks self guided hikers was the icing on the cake.

E. McCall, Byron Bay, NSW, 04 Jul 2019

Great accommodations. Very good food at every over night Refuge.

D. Howard, Illinois, USA, 24 Jul 2019

Excellent accommodation. Need to stress the importance of fitness for the trip! We had a FABULOUS experience and are both eager for more alpine walking.

S. Vanderwerff., QLD, Australia,

On the whole accommodation was warm, clean and friendly and food of good quality. Stunning walk, challenging but very worthwhile. A wonderful experience.

D. Lockie, Barwon Heads, VIC

Highly recommend this trip and UTracks. The self-guided option worked well for us as we were able to maintain our own pace - everything is well-marked and there are lots of people to ask along the way about conditions, timing etc. The refuges are great fun.

J.Fidler, Sydney, Australia

Fin trip + so easy for a single person to do. The hotel bookings (not done by me) and the 10 kg luggage shuffle (not done by me) are worth every cent!!

T. Martin., NSW. Australia

Very well organised tour. We had no problems with anything. Great accommodation. Good itinerary which took into account our needs and our abilities. Would do it again.

T. Grosman., Middle Cove, NSW, Australia


Duration:8 Days
Countries:France, Italy, Switzerland
Starting Point:Chamonix Valley
Finishing Point:Chamonix Valley
Grade:moderate to challenging  Click for more information
Trip Code:MBT
Prices From:GBP£980 Per Person
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.