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Hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc with my dad

Kat Davis had always had a dream to hike with her dad somewhere in the world. However, the logistics were always tricky; he was retired and lived in Australia while Kat lived in England. So, when he said yes to hiking the Tour of Mont Blanc together, she 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.

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 thought he was getting ‘too old’ to hike, but as you’ll see from the video, he’s anything but! Sadly this was to be the only hike they did together, as Kat died suddenly two years later.

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 and the huts through 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.