It’s a really hot day in the Italian Alps. Even yesterday it snowed but within 24 hours I am sweating in the heat. In fact, every day brings with it a bunch of surprise here on Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), the 105 mile long popular long distance hike in Europe.
Over 10,000 people from all corners engage in this fascinating trek every year. The TMB is in fact, the ultimate summer adventure for the trekkers and adventurers. The mission features a 10-day long circular walk that begins and concludes in France and passes through several parts of Italy and Switzerland. The trek route includes 11 mountain passes, exploration of 30,000 feet of altitudinal gain and loss as well as about a dozen nights in remote mountain cottages. Trekking the Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe (15,771 feet), in a nutshell, is the perfect way to experience the spectacular Alps.
Mont Blanc’s attraction does not lie only in its enormity but also in its rugged alpine terrain that comprises nearly 400 summits, 40 glaciers, seven valleys, and three countries.
About Mont Blanc trek:
Although the circuit runs through three countries, it is mainly dominated by all things French. French is the trek’s unofficial language. One will often encounter French songs being sung while refreshing at a mountain hut.
The TMB circuit usually follows an anti-clock route and the trek begins near the French mountain resort of Chamonix. All types of hikers, be independent or guided, begin their mission from Chamonix from where they embark upon the real part of the adventure that continues for four miles down the valley area into the village of Les Houches. From here, the hikers start for a stiff 3,000 foot ascent to reach the first pass called Col de Voza, from where one can get the first high altitude glimpse of the mighty Mont Blanc.
The next two weeks is real fun. The experience contains challenge, amazement and also excitement. It is surely not a cakewalk but at the same time, anyone who follows a moderate fitness regime, would be able to keep up the pace. I even found people in their 60s or even in the 10s who have come all the way to taste the exciting TMB trek. Those who are less confident of ending the trip on the right note independently, they can opt for a guided tour.
For those seeking guides:
There are some good guided service providers, like:
Alpinehikers (trip in July)
Mountain Travel Sobek (13-day trek in June through September)
Ryder-Walker Alpine Adventures (10-day trek from July 7-16)
REI Adventures (14-day treks in June through September)
Backroads (nine-day trek in July, August, and September)
Geneva is the closest airport. Chimonix is easily accessible from any place in Europe. Transatlantic airfare shoots up during the summer.
Best time to visit:
Early July and early September are the ideal times to engage in the Mont Blanc trek.
The Skier’s Lodge
Résidence Pierre & Vacances Le Belmont
Hotel Bouton d’Or