Tour of Mont Blanc

Complete two-way trekking guide

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7 Nov 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm

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An essential guidebook for walking the Tour of Mont Blanc. The 170km route typically takes 11 days to trek around the Mont Blanc massif. The TMB is recognised as one of the world's classic treks. The book describes both anti-clockwise and clockwise directions, with variants and information about huts, refuges and facilities en route.

Seasons Seasons
early July to mid-September is best for weather and facilities; busiest mid-July to end August
Centres Centres
Chamonix, Courmayeur, Champex, Les Contamines, Les Houches, La Fouly
Difficulty Difficulty
suitable for fit hikers; no technical mountaineering skills needed; waymarkings; 170km (105 miles); total height gain 10,000m
Must See Must See
views of the Mont Blanc range and its glaciers; mountain huts; views from Le Brévent; Mont Blanc tramway; Chamonix
7 Nov 2017
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.4cm
  • Overview

    The essential guidebook to the 105-mile Tour of Mont Blanc trek in the Alps. One of the best of the world's classic walks, which circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif in about eleven days through France, Switzerland and Italy.

    The walk has all the excitement of the high mountains yet none of the worry of altitude sickness. It crosses numerous cols with stunning views of spectacular snow and rock peaks and accommodation along the route is plentiful. The 'official' Tour du Mont Blanc follows an established route around the main block of mountains containing not only Mont Blanc but its principal allied summits such as Verte, Chardonnet, Gouter, Géant, Jorasses, d'Argentière, Dolent and numerous others. The author describes the tour both in the traditional 'anti-clockwise' direction and the 'clockwise' direction. There are several alternative routes that subsequently link, and these are also described. The routes have been created to give the very best perspective and appreciation of the whole region. At every opportunity recommendations are made that will bring the walker into closer contact with the area.

    This guide is in full colour, with points of interest, accommodation details and overview maps for every stage, along with details of the natural and cultural history of the region. There are also routes around Courmayeur and Arnuva and to Lac Blanc as well as essential practical information on travel to and around the Mont Blanc Massif, mountain safety, languages, currency and more. The result is an ideal companion to take on one of the world's greatest mountain adventures.

  • Contents

    The Tour of Mont Blanc
    The Route
    Clockwise or Anti-Clockwise?
    Suggested Itineraries
    How to Get There
    When to Go
    Maps and Waymarks
    Notes for Walkers
    Safety in the Mountains
    Using this Guide
    Information at a Glance
    The Tour of Mont Blanc – Anti-Clockwise
    Stage 1 Les Houches – Bionnassay – Les Contamines
    Alt Stage 1 Les Houches – Refuge de Miage – Les Contamines
    Stage 2 Les Contamines – Croix du Bonhomme – Les Chapieux
    Stage 3 Les Chapieux – Col de la Seigne – Rifugio Elisabetta
    Stage 4 Rifugio Elisabetta – Courmayeur
    Stage 5 Courmayeur – Rifugio Bonatti
    Stage 6 Rifugio Bonatti – Grand Col Ferret – La Fouly
    Stage 7 La Fouly – Champex
    Stage 8 Champex – Alp Bovine – Col de la Forclaz
    Alt Stage 8 Champex – Fenêtre d’Arpette – Col de la Forclaz
    Stage 9 Col de la Forclaz – Col de Balme – Tré-le-Champ
    Alt Stage 9 Col de la Forclaz – Refuge les Grands – Tré-le-Champ
    Stage 10 Tré-le-Champ – Refuge La Flégère
    Stage 11 Refuge La Flégère – Le Brévent – Les Houches
    The Tour of Mont Blanc – Clockwise
    Stage 1 Champex – Ferret
    Stage 2 Ferret – Grand Col Ferret – Rifugio Bonatti
    Stage 3 Rifugio Bonatti – Courmayeur
    Stage 4 Courmayeur – Rifugio Elisabetta
    Stage 5 Rifugio Elisabetta – Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme
    Stage 6 Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme – Les Contamines
    Stage 7 Les Contamines – Bionnassay – Les Houches
    Alt Stage 7 Les Contamines – Refuge de Miage – Les Houches
    Stage 8 Les Houches – Le Brévent – La Flégère
    Stage 9 La Flégère – Col de Balme – Trient
    Stage 10 Trient – Alp Bovine – Champex
    Alt Stage 10 Refuge les Grands – Fenêtre d’Arpette – Champex

    Places and Items of Interest on the TMB
    The Story of Mont Blanc
    Appendix A Accommodation
    Appendix B Useful contacts
    Appendix C Further reading
    Appendix D French–English glossary

  • Maps
    Maps and Waymarks

    The complete route of the TMB is contained on a single sheet at 1:50,000 scale. Published by Rando Éditions in conjunction with IGN (the Institut Géographique National), the number is A1, and has the title Pays du Mont Blanc. The route is clearly outlined in red, with huts and campsites also marked and the sheet is GPS compatible. There are also two 1:25,000 IGN maps covering the route.

    Another one-sheet coverage of the TMB route is to be found on a 1:60,000 map published by Éditions Libris with IGN cartography, and assistance from the Association Grande Traversée des Alpes: number 02 Mont Blanc. Swiss and Italian maps also show the route but the French maps are clearer.

    The route has been waymarked with varying degrees of enthusiasm and efficiency, and is either in the form of red–white bands painted on rocks, trees or buildings; or a yellow diamond outlined in black bearing the letters TMB. Sometimes an accompanying arrow indicates the direction of travel.


    Typical Swiss signposting in the Val Ferret (top) and TMB waymark on a boulder

    In the Swiss section metal signposts are used at major trail junctions, and the TMB route will be indicated on the finger post, usually with an indication of the length of time expected to reach the next named location.

    As is often the case in mountain regions, waymarks are most prolific where the route is obvious, while on awkward terrain (where signs would be welcome) waymarking is sometimes annoyingly absent. That having been said, route-finding should not cause any undue problems.

  • Updates
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    July 2017

    Please note that a footpath alternative to the long road walk north of Les Chapieux (Stage 3 Anti-clockwise/Stage 5 Clockwise) has now been created. It begins less than 1km north of Les Chapieux (p58) and is signed on the right of the road. A narrow path, it climbs above the road and crosses the river on a fine bridge, eventually joining the original route at Les Ville des Glaciers.

    For those following the tour in a clockwise direction, do not cross the Torrent des Glaciers below Refuge des Mottets (p178), but keep ahead on a footpath that remains on the left bank of the river until shortly before arriving at Les Chapieux.

    With thanks to reader Harris Keillar for this information.

    April 2016

    There is a new gite, 'Le Peclet' in Le Champel, situated between Bionnassay and Les Contamines. Open between June and September, Patrick and Marie Helene offer Bed and Breakfast and also an evening meal. Prices from 30€ per person for bed and breakfast. More information on their website or you can email or call +33 6 84 18 45 55.

    September 2015

    Good news for trekkers tackling the TMB – a new privately-owned gite/refuge has been opened near Lac Combal (45 mins below Rifugio Elisabetta) in Val Veni. Cabane du Combal has 23 places in 3-4 bedded rooms, and is open from June to September (tel: 01 65 17 56 421 email:


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Kev Reynolds

Kev Reynolds is a freelance writer, photojournalist and lecturer. A prolific compiler of guidebooks, his first title for Cicerone Press (Walks & Climbs in the Pyrenees) appeared in 1978; he has since produced many more titles for the same publisher, with others in the pipeline. A member of the Outdoor Writers' Guild, the Alpine Club and Austrian Alpine Club, his passion for mountains and the countryside remains undiminished after a lifetime's activity, and he regularly travels throughout Britain to share that enthusiasm through his lectures.

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