Super hiking plans for Super Sunday!

Pre-Super Bowl update on our Tour du Mont Blanc planning…

If IS official, Brian & Sylvia re going to attempt (no, FINISH!) the Tour Du Mont Blanc…the 110 mile walking circuit around the Mont Blanc Massif, the highest mount in the Alps and all of western Europe. On the way the route passes through France, Italy, Switzerland, and back into France again. The circuit is generally accomplished by hut to hut or village to village walking, no technical skills or mountaineering experience is required. You just have to walk. Through terrain like this…

Photo courtesy the Lac Blanc Refuge. We  plan to stay in the spot on the last day of the TMB.

…But it’s not easy. Though we’ll be hiking with light packs compared to a full-fledged backpacking expedition, it’s still a LOT of walking…about eleven days of it, averaging ten miles a day. A lot of up and down. For myself, it will be double the length of the longest trek I have ever attempted.

One thing we won ‘t have to worry about so much is elevation. The TMB avoids the highest peaks and stays mostly on the high slopes of alpine valleys, rarely breaking above 8,000 feet and never approaching 10,000 (unless you take an excursion by cable car up the mountain.)

We have been busy at the complex task of booking our accommodations. No easy task…there are dozens of small hotels and mountain refuges (refugios) and no common booking system. Some of them have online booking, some do not. Some speak English, some do not. Most speak French, and some Italian…We are about 90% but still pending one confirmation. The plan is like so…

  • Fly into Paris on day 1
  • Go by train to the mountain ski village on Chamonix, and stay there day 2
  • Day 3 begin the hike
  • The next 13 days – eleven hiking days and two rest days – we are on  the trail
  • Finish up in Chamonix again.
  • Travel back to Paris on Day 17 and spend a few days there, sightseeing in the City of Light
  • Returnez-vous the US on day 21

…All the above this summer. The trek is only possible as a walk between June-September. The rest of the year, you would probably need skis for many sections. Oh…and as a prelude I am supposed to ‘brush up’ on my non-existent Francais while Sylvia jump-starts her long dormant Italiano.

The TMB route at a glance. Looks easy when reduced to that size huh? Map Courtesy the Lac Blanc Refuge.

We’ll post the full itinerary as it is finalized. My one worry…what if we are forced to take extra rest days due to, say, a minor injury? This could force us to re-book almost everything that comes after. We hope to avoid this by having a couple of mandatory rest days built in.

IMG_1661

More to come soon!

(Top photo By Nicolas Sanchez, edit by Digon3 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2794929)

One thought on “Super hiking plans for Super Sunday!

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