Tour du Mont Blanc

Friday 29 June, 2018

Tour du Mont Blanc - a classic mountain hike


Walking around Mont Blanc might sound like a daunting challenge, but the Tour du Mont Blanc, known by keen walkers as the TMB, remains one of Europe’s most popular multi-day hiking routes.

Walking in the high mountains is a magical experience – and circling Mont Blanc is an adventure which takes you through three countries: France, Italy and Switzerland. It’s the chance to explore the different terrain, culture, food and flora that distinguishes each section of the hike.

Normally starting in the Chamonix valley, the Tour du Mont Blanc covers 110 miles of trails with 6.2 miles of ascent/descent – that’s 170 kilometres and 10 kilometres of climb. If you are an experienced hiker, then there is nothing to stop you heading out on the TMB on a self-guided basis. For those with little or no experience, then there are a host of companies offering trips guided by an International Mountain Leader.

The route, when walked anti-clockwise moves through the Arve valley (Chamonix) then Montjoie, Vallee des Glaciers then into Italy and through Val Veny and Val Ferret before entering the Swiss Val Ferret and finally into Switzerland and the Arpette or Trient valley.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is normally a 7-10 walk depending on the route taken, but at the end of August every year, there’s a now icon trail race, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, which sees competitors run around this mythical mountain – with the winner generally crossing the finish line in less than 24 hours.

BlackRock Ski Lodge is perfectly positioned in the les Houches village of the Chamonix valley to act as a start or finish point – or as somewhere to rest your head enroute – and offers both bed and breakfast and half board options during the summer hiking season.

Set close to the TMB path, the chalet offers the perfect combination of majestic views of Mont Blanc and its glaciers combined with everything you need after a long day’s hiking including: swimming pool, Jacuzzi and sauna.

The beds are large and comfortable, and you can continue your Tour du Mont Blanc well rested after a great night’s sleep and a hearty, sustaining breakfast.

Other stops along the way include Les Contamines, Col de la Croix du Bonhomme refuge or Les Chapieux (depending on variant route taken), Elisabetta Soldini refuge, Courmayeur, Bonatti refuge or Elena refuge, Champex, Trient village, Argentiere, La Flegere refuge and finally back to Les Houches.

Whether you are walking with a guide or are planning a self-guided trip it’s always best to scope your itinerary and book your accommodation in plenty of time as during peak walking season, hotels and refuges tend to book up very quickly.

We know from personal experience that the mountains in the Mont Blanc Massif can be deceptive and the weather incredibly changeable. The route passes through high exposed mountain trails and the highest point in France and Switzerland – the Col des Fours and the Fenêtre d'Arpette – are both at an altitude of 2,665 m above sea level or 8,743 ft.

If you’d like to spend a night or two at BlackRock Ski Lodge as part of your Tour du Mont Blanc, then we’d be delighted to welcome you. You can contact us at blackrockskilodge@me.com.

Friday 29 June, 2018