The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the oldest Grande Randonées in France and famous worldwide. In ten days you walk around the highest mountain in the Alps where you spend the night in atmospheric huts and gîte d'étapes. Mountain hiking experience is a plus: when you complete the trail, you have at gained least 10,000 altitude meters. But the muscle pain ebbs away quickly, because since the Tour du Mont Blanc runs through both France, Switzerland and Italy, the landscape, culture, cuisine and atmosphere are very diverse and you are constantly surprised by local treats.In this article we give you extensive practical information about the Tour du Mont Blanc.
About the Tour de Mont Blanc
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a classic hiking trail of 170 kilometers around the highest mountain in the Alps. You walk consecutively through Vallée du Trient, Vallée de l'Arve, Vallée de Montjoie, Vallée des Glaciers, valley Veni, the Italian valley Ferret, the Swiss valley Ferret and the valley d'Arpette. Many walk counterclockwise, but since it is a round trip, you can also go clockwise. Besides the highest mountain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc massif houses more than 400 peaks and 40 glaciers. The hike leads through the regions Haute Savoie in France, Aosta in Italy and Valais in Switzerland. On the way you get to know the characteristic landscapes, culture and cuisine of these three countries. Chamonix in France is a frequently used starting point, but we opt for the Swiss Trient which can be easily reached by public transport.
Most hikers take about eight to eleven days on the classic Tour du Mont Blanc. You walk between 4 and 8 hours a day. There are many alternative stages and the wide range of overnight stops gives you the freedom to shorten daily stages. The highest point on the classic route is the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2,433 meters), but whoever chooses the alpine variant also climbs to the 2.756 meter high Tête Nord des Fours and the equally high Mont Fortin. When completing the trail you have gained at least 10,000 vertical meters. Experience in mountain hiking is necessary, regardless of which variant you walk. Chamonix and Courmayeur are alpine towns and with the many shops, restaurants and bars in the centre, they are great places to spend a rest day if necessary.
How to get there?
If you arrive in Basel, you can take the train to Martigny via Visp before taking the bus to Trient. However, most hikers arrive in Geneva and take the train to Martigny. If you want to start your hike in Chamonix, there are several shuttle services at Geneva Airport that will drop you off at Chamonix centre.
Facts about the route
Day 1: Trient (1,300 m.) - Aiguille des Posettes (2,201 m.) - Tré-le-Champ (1,417 m.)
Duration: 7 hours. elevation gain: 1,100 meters, descend: 1,000 meters.
Day 2: Tré-le-Champ (1,417 m.) - Le Clocher du Brévent (2,398 m.) - Refuge de Bellachat (2,152 m.)
Duration: 8 hours. Elevation gain: 1,600 meters, descend: 900 meters.
Day 3: Refuge de Bellachat (2,152 m.) - Aiguillette des Houches (2,285 m.) - Tresse (1,016 m.)
Duration: 7 hours. Elevation gain: 750 meters, descend: 1900 meters.
Day 4: Tresse (1,016 m.) - Mont Joly (2,525 m.) - Refuge de Nant Borrant (1,460 m.)
Duration: 7 hours. Elevation gain: 1,600 meters, descend: 1,250 meters.
Day 5: Refuge de Nant Borrant (1,460 m.) - Tête Nord des Fours (2,665 m.) - Refuge des Mottets (1,864 m.)
Duration: 7 hours. Elevation gain: 1,400 meters, drop: 1,000 meters.
Day 6: Refuge des Mottets (1,864 m.) - Mont Fortin (2,756 m.) - Le Randonneur (1,900 m.)
Duration: 8 hours. Elevation gain: 1,250 meters, descend: 1,150 meters.
Day 7: Le Randonneur (1,900 m.) - Mont Chetif (2,343 m.) - Courmayeur (1,226 m.)
Duration: 4 hours. Elevation gain: 600 meters, descend: 1,300 meters.
Day 8: Courmayeur (1,226 m.) - Testa della Tronche (2,584 m.) - Rifugio Elena (2,062 m.)
Duration: 8 hours. Elevation gain: 2,100 meters, descend: 1,200 meters
Day 9: Rifugio Elena (2,062 m.) - Tête de Ferret (2,713 m.) - Relais d'Arpette (1,627 m.)
Duration: 8 hours. Elevation gain: 1,500 meters, descend: 1,850 meters.
Day 10: Relais d'Arpette (1,627 m.) - Fenêtre d'Arpette (2,665 m.) - Trient (1,300 m.)
Duration: 5 hours. Elevation gain: 1,050 meters, descend: 1,400 meters.