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Hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc with my dad

My dad’s a keen hiker and it has always been a dream of mine for us to hike together somewhere in the world. However, the logistics were always tricky; he lives in Australia and has only recently retired and I live in England. So, when he said yes to hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc together this year, I was over the moon (and nervous)!

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a 170km hiking circuit around Mont Blanc (4807m), the highest mountain in Western Europe. The trail passes through alpine scenery in Switzerland, Italy and France, with an accumulated ascent and descent of approximately 10,000m. As a circuit, it’s possible to hike in either direction, although anti-clockwise is the most popular.

My dad’s a keen hiker and it has always been a dream of mine for us to hike together somewhere in the world. However, the logistics were always tricky; he lives in Australia and has only recently retired and I live in England. So, when he said yes to hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc together this year, I was over the moon (and nervous)!

I had never had such high hopes riding on a hike, but dad was flying all the way from Australia. It had to be perfect! And it couldn’t have gone smoother or been more fun. I thought for sure that I would slip into the ‘daughter’ role and dad the ‘father’ and we would end up arguing, but it was more like travelling with a very good friend who was always up for everything. We shared meals, ordered every cake, talked non-stop and laughed a lot. The TMB was a stunningly beautiful and challenging hike and was more than I could have hoped for.

Sadly, at 69 years old, dad thinks he’s getting ‘too old’ to hike, but as you’ll see from the video, he’s anything but, and I’m confident this is only the beginning of our hiking career together. Stay tuned!

Hoping for a quieter experience, we hiked clockwise and used Cicerone’s Trekking the Tour of Mont Blanc guide by Kev Reynolds, which has full route descriptions for both directions. We booked the trip independently and started looking at accommodation options in February (for our mid-August hike), surprised to see some of the refuges had already sold out! I booked the hotels through www.booking.com and the huts through www.autourdumontblanc.com and our itinerary was as follows:

  • Day 1: Champex to La Fouly
  • Day 2: La Fouly to Rifugio Bonatti
  • Day 3: Rifugio Bonatti to Courmayeur
  • Day 4: Courmayeur to Refuge des Mottets
  • Day 5: Refuge des Mottets to Les Contamines
  • Day 6: Les Contamines to Les Houches
  • Day 7: Les Houches to Planpraz (Chamonix)
  • Day 8: Planpraz (Chamonix) to Argentiere
  • Day 9: Argentiere to Trient
  • Day 10: Trient to Champex

With hindsight, we would change days four and five as these were quite long.

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