Tour of Mont Blanc
Complete two-way trekking guide
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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.
- early July to mid-September is best for weather and facilities; busiest mid-July to end August
- Chamonix, Courmayeur, Champex, Les Contamines, Les Houches, La Fouly
- suitable for fit hikers; no technical mountaineering skills needed; waymarkings; 170km (105 miles); total height gain 10,000m
- Must See
- views of the Mont Blanc range and its glaciers; mountain huts; views from Le Brévent; Mont Blanc tramway; Chamonix
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.
The Tour of Mont Blanc
Clockwise or Anti-Clockwise?
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 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.
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.
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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.
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 www.lepeclet.fr or you can email [email protected] or call +33 6 84 18 45 55.
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: [email protected])
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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.View Articles and Books by Kev Reynolds
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