Faithful to its myth, the Mont Blanc is no doubt one of the most beautiful massifs of the Alps. Our circuit will lead you from France to Italy and Switzerland in order to discover its various faces. The sceneries are stunning with innumerable alpine peaks and beautiful glaciers all around with the impressive Mont Blanc massif constantly in the background. This walk is reasonably demanding, but you only need to carry a light back each day and in the evening you will enjoy French and Italian cooking and Swiss hospitality in the traditional alpine villages you stay in.
♦ Tour du Mont Blanc - a Classic circuit of the Mont Blanc massif (with highest summit 4807 m a.s.l.) and "must-do" for every mountain hiker;
♦ Three countries, three cultures, three cuisines - all on one great trip;
♦ Among other areas you'll be hiking in Chamonix - one of Europe’s most aftersought hiking destinations - with views of spectacular peaks and glaciers.
Day 1. Les Contamines
Arrival in the charming, traditional village of Les Contamines. 1st walk possible depending on the arrival time. Overnight in a very nice 2* hotel.
Walking distance (optional walk): 0:45hrs; +300m/+600m
Day 2. Les Contamines - Notre Dame de la Gorge - Les Chapieux valley / France
A short transfer to Notre Dame de la Gorge. Climb over the Col du Bonhomme and the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme leading to the Chapieux valley. Splendid views over the Aiguille des Glaciers. Overnight in dormitory in a mountain lodge.
Walking distance: 6-7 hrs; +1200m/-900m
Day 3. Les Chaipeaux - Col de la Seigne - Courmayeur / Italy
Over the Col de la Seigne to the Italian side of the border. Panoramic descent with the Aiguilles de Peuterey and the Mont Blanc of Courmayeur in the background. Overnight at the refuge Elena in dormitory.
Walking distance: 7 hrs; +950m/-1000m
Day 4. Courmayeur - Val d’Arpette / Switzerland
Exceptional views over the massif of Combins in the East and on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Transfer by postal bus to Champex. The lodge-hotel in Val D’Arpette, Relais d’Arpette, is some 45 min. further by foot.
Overnight in dormitory.
Walking distance: 5 -6 hrs; +600m/-1000m
Day 5 Val d’Arpette – Trient / Switzerland
The highest point of the walk is reached today as you climb over the Fenêtre d’Arpette (2750 m). The views are tremendous while you go down alongside the Trient glacier. Walking distance: 7-9 hrs, +1050m/-1385m. In case of uncertain weather, we propose you a shorter itinerary by the Cold de Bovine pass. In this case walking distance is 5:30 hrs; + 800m/-1135m. Overnight in a lodge in dormitory.
Day 6. Trient – Le Tour / France
Over the Col de la Balme and back to France with fanstatic views on the Mont Blanc and Aiguille Verte ; 2 alternative routes for the descent to Tour. Overnight in the refuge CAF de Tour, in dormitory.
Walking distance: 6-7 hrs; +1000m/ -1050m.
Day 7. Le Tour – Chamonix / France
The wonderful Balcon des Aiguilles Rouges, before a climb to Lac Blanc. Just enjoy the scenery: Aiguille Verte, Les Drus, La Mer de glace, Aiguilles de Chamonix, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Aiguille du Goûter, and last but not least, Mont Blanc! Descent to Chamonix by Le Praz. You can also choose to take the cableway of La Flégère or even by bus (transfers not included in the price). Overnight in a 2* hotel in Chamonix (B&B).
Walking distance: 6 hrs; +900m/-1100m.
Day 8. Chamonix
Departure after breakfast
Practical information: ► Thin sleeping bags are required in the huts and a sheet or a sleeping bag sheet. It is usually best to leave early in the morning, thereby putting any mountain passes behind you before midday. This will help you to avoid any problems associated with stormy weather, leave you the afternoon to recover from your exertions, and ensure that you're in fine form to carry on the day after. Up until the 15th of July, we strongly advise you to include telescopic walking poles in your equipment. If there are névés (patches of snow of varying depths and dimensions) always approach these with extreme caution, especially if they are frozen hard. Wear mountain boots with good grips on the soles, long trousers and a pullover (no bare legs or arms on steep névés!). If you don't possess an ice axe, descend slowly using the 'steps' already made by someone who has. Avoid running or sliding, as a névé always ends up in a scree, and without an ice axe it's almost impossible to stop.The way marks everywhere are very good; signposts with tables are available on the biggest crossroads en-route. Although the uphill/downhill walks exceed normally 1000m per day, the paths are tourist-friendly – not very steep, making serpentines where needed in order to gain height as easier as possible.
How to get there:
From Geneva airport:
By train: Geneva airport -> Chamonix Mont Blanc (and back), www.sbb.ch, duration about 3 ½ hrs, via Martigny & Vallorcines.
Geneva airport -> St Gervais les Bains – Le Fayet (and back), www.sbb.ch , duration from 2 ½ to 4 hrs ; 2 transfers.
By bus: SAT Mont Blanc, www.sat-montlblanc.com; Tel. 33 (0) 4 50 78 05 33;
- From Geneva airport to Les Contamines (and back) with changing in Le Fayet ; about 45€ the way ; with reservation ; duration 2 ½ hrs.
- From Geneva airport to Chamonix or Le Fayet (and back), direct ; about 40€ the way ; with reservation ; duration 2 hrs.
Private transfer: www.airport-transfer-blueline.com or Taxi Besson www.taxi-montblanc.com; Tel 33 (04) 50 93 61 47 (Mini - Bus 8 or 6 seats also possible).
By car: Free parking can be organised in les Contamines.
At the end of the tour, to go from Chamonix to les Contamines : by Bus SAT Mont Blanc or with Taxi Besson (see above).
We recommend trip in the period: July - August