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Hidden Gems of the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek

Emma Jack, Becki Penrose, Charlie Boscoe, Cloud 9 Adventure
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12 day
Emma Jack, Becki Penrose, Charlie Boscoe, Cloud 9 Adventure
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  • Created for hikers that want a more challenging version of the iconic Tour du Mont Blanc, this adventure will take you beyond the typical routes in search of more demanding, more spectacular, and more isolated paths. You’ll be joined by a local IML guide and spend 12 days exploring the fascinating areas around Europe’s most famous peak, coupled with cultural and gastronomic insights into France, Italy, and Switzerland. The experience includes top-notch accommodation in quality hotels and chalets, but it’s also spiced up with three overnights in authentic mountain huts. Come and see what happens when one of the world’s best hiking routes is made even better!

    • Your Ultimate Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trip begins in a chalet in Argentière. You will meet your IML guide and fellow trekkers at 6pm and go over the plan for the next eleven days and do a gear check. Meet your Alpine squad over dinner before getting a good night’s sleep in your comfy room.
      Meals: Dinner
      Accommodation: Chalet

      View of the town of Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley.
    • After a hearty breakfast, it’s time to start hiking! Your trek today starts with a climb up through the forests, on the way to the Col de Vosa—where you’ll stop for a lunch break. This is followed by a short descent to the beginning of the Bionassay Glacier, with the Aiguille de Bionassay soaring above. Take the suspension bridge across the torrent, followed by an easy climb to the Col de Tricot. Enjoy the views of Dômes de Miage while descending to the Chalet de Miage below, where your group can stop for a drink. A further 30-minute descent takes you down to the pretty village of Les Contamines, and the hotel.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel
      Walking: 8-9 hours
      Distance: 13.7 miles (22 km)
      Elevation: +4,920 ft / -4,430 ft (+1,500 m / -1,350 m)

      Alpine landscapes near the village of Les Contamines.
    • Leaving the hotel, you’ll take a pleasant route, alongside the river, to the church of Notre Dame de la Gorge. A little further on is a Roman bridge, evidence of a Roman road, as you make a steady climb to the first of today’s 3 cols; Col du Bonhomme (2,329 m / 7,641 ft). A further climb takes your group to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2,483 m / 8,146 ft) and, if the weather is good, you’ll be able to take a less-traveled path up to the Col des Fours (2,655 m / 8,743 ft). Afterward, drop down into the scenic Vallée des Glaciers, and on to your base for the night at the Refuge des Mottets.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Guest house
      Walking: 8-9 hours
      Distance: 13.7 miles (22 km)
      Elevation: +5,250 ft / -3,084 ft (+1,600 m / -940 m)

      Views from Col du Bonhomme, one of the mountain passes along the Tour du Mont Blanc.
    • Today’s hiking starts with a short but steady climb along a series of switchbacks leading you to the Col de la Seigne—and the border with Italy (2,513 m / 8,245 ft). Make an easy descent past the Rifugio Elisabetta, and down into Val Veny, with the Miage Glacier on your left. Afterward, take a variant route high along the northern slopes of Mont Favre, for show-stopping views of Mont Blanc. After the Rifugio Maison Vieille on the Col Checrouit (1,960 m / 6,430 ft), it’s a quick descent on a narrow path, amongst the ski slopes and forests of Courmayeur. If your legs start betraying you, there is the option to take a ski lift down from here (not included). From the center of Courmayeur, your group will catch a bus up to La Palud, and to the hotel.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel
      Walking: 8-9 hours
      Distance: 15 miles (24 km)
      Elevation: +3,937 ft / -6,080 ft (+1,200 m / -1,850 m)

      View of the Italian Alpine town of Courmayeur, with typical stone architecture, a rushing river, and mountain landscapes.
    • Leave the hotel and head up to Leucheney, then on to the Monte Saxe ridge that boasts stunning panoramic views from Mont Blanc across to the Jorasses—certainly one of the highlights of the whole trip. As your group reluctantly leaves the ridge, traverse to the Tête de la Tronche (2,584 m / 8,478 ft), then drop to the Col Sapin, followed by another variant up to the Col Entre Deux Sauts (2,521 m / 8,270 ft). A high valley descent brings you back down, as far as the Rifugio Bonatti, where you’ll spend an evening on the terrace (soaking up the million-dollar views) and eventually spend the night.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Mountain refuge
      Walking: 7-8 hours
      DIstance: 10.6 miles (17 km)
      Elevation: +5,184 ft / -3,084 ft (+1,580 m / -940 m)

      A mountain hut in the Italian Alps along the Tour du Mont Blanc.
    • Today you’ll trek over the Grand Col Ferret, which is one of the highest cols on the trip at 2,537 m / 8.323 ft. Start the day with a mid-height traverse above Val Ferret, before dropping down to the head of the valley. Pass by the Rifugio Elena mid-morning and stop for one of their famous cappuccinos. From here, a stunning climb takes your group to the Grand Col Ferret, where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the nearby mountains. The col is also the border with Switzerland, where the scenery will change yet again. Descend past the Refuge de la Peule and head to La Fouly via a higher balcony path. La Fouly is a traditional Alpine village with Swiss “chocolate box” chalets, and will be your group’s base for the night.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Hotel
      Walking: 7-8 hours
      Distance: 12.4 miles (20 km)
      Elevation: +3,412 ft / -4,920 ft (+1,040 m / -1,500 m)

      Views from the Grand Col Ferret, with conifers and snowy peaks.
    • Today is the most physically demanding of the trek, but is a little shorter than previous days. Start your hike with a gentle stroll along the valley, to the village of Praz-de-Fort. Your group will then take a variant route, starting with a sharp left into the Val Saleina. The Glacier d’Orny lies ahead, and above you’ll see the dramatically located Cabane d’Orny (2,831 m / 9,288 ft). Brace yourself for a long ascent to the refuge along a series of well-placed switch backs. The last section is a spectacular path on the moraine above the glacier. Settle into the hut and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the unique surroundings.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Mountain refuge
      Walking: 6-7 hours
      Distance: 10 miles (16 km)
      Elevation: +5,643 ft / -1,640 ft (+1,720 m / -500 m)

      The village of La Fouly in the Swiss Alps, with cute wooden houses surrounded by sublime Alpine peaks.
    • This is technically the most difficult day of the trek, as your group begins with a descent of the moraine, followed by a lovely balcony path to the top of the Breya cable car. From the Brenva station, take a rugged road down to the pretty Val d’Arpette, followed by another climb up through the rocks and boulder fields to the spectacular Fenêtre d’Arpette (2,665 m / 8,711 ft), where, you can enjoy fabulous views of the Trient Glacier. Afterward, descend to the Chalet des Glaciers for a well-earned drink, before another, more relaxed descent through the woods to your base for the night in Trient.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Auberge/guest house
      Walking: 9-10 hours
      Distance: 13 miles (21 km)
      Elevation: +3,346 ft / -8,202 ft (+1,020 m / -2,500 m)

      Trient village, situated along the Tour du Mont Blanc, seen during sunset, there is a church and a huge glacier in the distance.
    • There are a few options for different routes today, and the guide will make a decision depending on the conditions on the day. A less-traveled trail leads up through Tseppes to the Col de Balme, at the top of the Chamonix Valley. Take in the dazzling Mont Blanc views as while descending to the Col des Posettes, followed by a relatively easy ascent of the Aiguille des Posettes; a small ridge with, again, epic views of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille Rouge mountain ranges. Afterward, descend into Argentière and back to your chalet, where we will be based for the next 2 nights.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Chalet
      Walking: 8 hours
      Distance: 12 miles (19 km)
      Elevation: +4,265 ft / -4,430 ft (+1,300 m / -1,350 m)

      A series of snow-capped peaks forming a mountain range seen along the Tour du Mont Blanc.
    • Today is another great day, with stunning views of the highest peak in Western Europe and some interesting technical sections. Your group will take a route from Argentière that climbs steadily up through the larch and spruce trees and to the cliffs of the Chéserys. At the Aiguillette d’Argentière, there is an easy Via Ferrata section with short ladders and cables. Later, take a meandering path to the hidden lakes beneath the Aiguilles des Chamois. A final short ladder brings your group to Lac Blanc; a beautiful mountain lake with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Descend back to our chalet via a different route.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Chalet
      Walking: 7 hours
      Distance: 8,7 miles (14 km)
      Elevation: +3,937 ft / -3,937 ft (+1,200 m / -1,200 m)

      The Blanc lake near Chamonix, reflecting mighty Alpine peaks surrounding it.
    • Your trekking today starts at the end point of the previous day’s hike, using the cable car to get back up to Flégère. Take a great trail up to the Col de Brévent, and on to the summit of Brévent (2,525 m / 8,284 ft). Savor the incredible vistas of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley once again. The following descent will take you to les Houches, via Merlet. From here, get transferred back to your chalet for the last dinner with your guide and fellow hikers. Party mode one—it’s time to celebrate your achievements—the adventure ends tomorrow.
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Accommodation: Chalet
      Walking: 7 hours
      Distance: 10,6 miles (17 km)
      Elevation: +2,854 ft / -5,840 ft (+870 m / -1,780 m)

      A hiker finds a sense of freedom on the top of the Chamonix Valley surrounded by snow-capped mountain ranges.
    • Your ultimate Tour du Mont Blanc guided trip comes to an end after breakfast. Say goodbye to fellow hikers, your guide, and to the Alps—or continue touring on your own!
      Meals: Breakfast and dinner

      Chamonix valley floor with typical mountain houses, conifers and mighty peaks framing it.
    • What you get on this adventure:

        • An experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
        • A 12-day Tour du Mont Blanc trekking adventure adapted for advanced hikers
        • Accommodation in hotels (3 nights), chalets (3 nights), mountain huts (3 nights), and a guest house (1 night)
        • Daily luggage delivery (except for two days)
        • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
        • All cable cars and other transport mentioned in the itinerary

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to Chamonix Valley
        • Airport transfers — we recommend Mountain Drop-Offs
        • Lunches
        • Any personal expenses
        • Any transport, accommodation or additional expenses due to a participant being unable to complete the itinerary
        • Trip and mountain rescue insurance — it can be arranged with the help of your guide
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • To participate in this Tour du Mont Blanc guided adventure which focuses on more off-the-beaten-path routes, you need to be in excellent physical shape. You’ll be trekking 10 days in a row for up to 10 hours each day—crossing between 10 and 15 miles (16-24 km) with an elevation gain of up to +5,000 ft (1,720 m). You should have strong experience of hiking in hilly and mountainous terrain and good stamina. We suggest you adopt a training regiment in the weeks leading up to the trip, with long daily hikes in hilly terrain, as well as activities like jogging, swimming, playing squash, or circuit training. However, you won’t be expected to walk at a fast pace, you will be taking multiple breaks each day, and there will sometimes also be an option to shorten your hiking and take a gondola.

      If you are looking for a hiking adventure in the Alps suitable for beginners, check out the Mont Blanc hiking tour from Chamonix and the hiking adventure in the Julian Alps.

    • Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:

        • Waterproof hiking boots with ankle support and a good sole
        • Hiking trainers — optional
        • Walking poles
        • Lightweight waterproof jacket and trousers (ensure that you do not need to remove your walking boots in order to put on your waterproof trousers)
        • Socks and underwear
        • Lightweight trekking trousers
        • Hiking shorts T-shirts
        • Mid layer — fleece jacket is good
        • Lightweight warm jacket – we recommend bringing a synthetic belay jacket – just in case it gets cold
        • Warm hat and a sunhat
        • Gloves – we recommend bringing 2-3 pairs (liner, waterproof, and warm ones)
        • Sunglasses
        • Suncream (small bottle), lip protection (with sun protection)
        • Lip protection (with sunscreen)
        • Water bottles (you should be able to carry 3L of water)
        • Sheet sleeping bag – only needed for the mountain refuges
        • Travel towel – only needed for the mountain refuges
        • Wash kit (toothbrush, travel-size toothpaste, mini contact lens solution, wet wipes, travel-size soap, antibacterial handwash)
        • Lightweight Head torch
        • Plastic bags / dry sacks
        • Basic first aid kit – containing plasters, blister treatment, painkillers, and diarrhea treatment
        • Thermal base layer — optional
        • Thermal leggings — optional
        • Buff – optional
        • Camera — optional
        • Lightweight sandals / flip flops — optional
        • Umbrella — optional
        • Earplugs — optional
        • Swimwear — optional
        • Boot dryers — optional
        • External battery pack – for charging your phone in a hut

      Keep in mind that the weather will most likely be warm and fairly stable, so there is a high chance that you’ll be able to hike in shorts and T-shirts and without using a lot of equipment and wearing any of the warm clothes. However, you must bring all the items which aren’t specified as being optional. There is always a possibility of unseasonal weather conditions with heavy rain, low temperatures and even snow. In short, being well-prepared is a prerequisite for a safe hiking experience during the Hidden Gems of TMB trekking trip.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • For this group adventure, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 10:1.
        • It takes a minimum of 4 people for this tour to operate.
        • The cost does not decrease as the group grows.

      Hiking along the Tour du Mont Blanc can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

      Min. age requirements:

        • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
    • To get to Chamonix, most people fly into Geneva International Airport (GVA), one hour away. Once you arrive, there are several ways to reach your destination, including public transport. Looking to make the airport transfers hassle-free? Check out Mountain Drop Offs—they provide door-to-door service in their comfy and spacious shuttles. Use the code 57HCHX to get a 5% discount!

      You will meet your Tour du Mont Blanc guide at your chalet in Argentière at 6pm. To get to Argentière (located in the northern part of the Chamonix valley), you can take a 20-minute train ride from Chamonix (there is a line operating on an hourly basis). Make sure to book a flight that will land in Geneva by 2-3pm so that you don’t miss the initial trip briefing with your guide.

    • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

      We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Mont Blanc areas in France, Switzerland, and Italy please refer to France Diplomacy’s advice for travelers and foreign nationals, Switzerland’s official COVID-19 travel guidelines, and Official Italian Tourism Website.

      Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!

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