Tour du Mount Blanc is OPEN for the Season!
Tour Du Mont Blanc Season is underway in the Alps!
Its hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since we completed the tour. It was the grandest – and hardest – thing either of us have ever done.
We began our hike in Les Houches, France, in mid-July of last year, in sweltering heat and amidst of an ongoing labor dispute that threatened to shut down French Railways. Despite this, we began and completed our hike on schedule, walking every step of the way through some 110 odd miles and three countries…no cheating. It was one of our BucketList adventures!
Our favorite memories of the trek? Undoubtedly it would be the Italian Section, including the Refugios Elisabetta and Bonati. We loved the Italian city of Courmayeur.
Other highlights: The Col du Fors and the magnificent Grand Balcon Sud – the sections above Chamonix near the end of the trip – and the cable car trip on a rest day to Punta Hellbronner.
Our least favorite part? The initial ascent out of Les Houches and the final descent back into it, probably. We weren’t prepared for the former and were too worn out by the time we tackled the latter. But even with that said, the hike had continual challenges and rewards. No part of it was entirely bad.
If there is any regret we have, it might be avoiding the Fenetre d’Arpette (the highlight of the Swiss section) due to impending bad weather. However, we’ll a get a chance to do that over when we attempt the Swiss Haute Route in the future (which we have every intention of doing.)
For those still planning to do the tour (it’s late in the game, but still possible to wing it) or for those whose adventures are already planned, we have a lot of great resources on the Tour du Mont Blanc. We made some mistakes and we did other things spot on. But mostly, we muddled and cursed and soldiered through. You can too! We invite you to learn from us.
Also, check out our highlight reel video of the trip.
The Kev Reynold’s guide, a European Wall Adapter and preferably some sense of direction, plus a sense of adventure, will be required on the TMB!
We’ve been tracking some of the early hikers via the #tourdumontblanc hashtag on Instagram. From what I can see there is still quite a bit of snow in the high passes, but it may be a lesser snow year than last year in general. We’ll post some blog links with trip reports and pictures as things go along.
The snow has apparently melted enough to allow hikers to complete the circuit without special equipment. Note that in the Alps, snow can remain in some high passes all year long. We crossed several snowfields as late as August.
We’ll also be watching in August when the Ultra Tour Du Mont Blanc, one of the world’s most grueling marathons, gets underway.
Good luck to everyone who is attempting the trip this year!