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Last updated 7/8/2000

Tour du Mont Blanc 7/98

The TMB (Tour du Mont Blanc) is a 100 mile hiking route through the lower elevations and towns that surround a mountain in the French Alps called Mont Blanc (15,551').
The route goes through France, Italy and Switzerland.
This trip was hosted by Wilderness Travel.

7K
Symbol, along the trail, for the TMB.

Click an image to see it  full size!

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335 Degrees

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 150 degrees

 107K
 220 degrees, col de la Seigne, 2516m (8255'), border between France/Italy, Looking east at Italy, down val Veny

 104K
250 degrees

  68K 
190 degrees

11 days of van supported hiking on mountain trails; 6-11 miles daily, with average ascents and descents from 3,500' per day (maximum elevation: 9,000')
11 nights in small inns (some with shared bath), 1 night in alpine refuge (dormitory accommodations)

The classic circuit trek around Mont Blanc (15,551')--the highest peak in western Europe--takes us through an ever-changing panorama of glaciers, peaks, wildflowers, and lovely meadows in alpine France, Switzerland, and Italy. We set out from Chamonix, crossing a succession of passes and descending into the seven valleys which radiate from Mont Blanc--each with its own culture and cuisine. Overnighting in village inns and two dramatically sited alpine huts, we'll have time to savor the alpine setting while meeting hikers from around the world.

Days 1-3    Geneva/Chamonix, France Arrive in Chamonix on Day 2, with a warm-up hike the next day in the Aiguille Rouge for spectacular views of Chamonix Valley and the Mont Blanc massif.

Days 4-5    Val Montjoie, France As the circuit begins, we cross the Col de Vosa and hike into Val Montjoie. Overnight in Les Contamines, once a town of chamois hunters and smugglers. Next day, we hike from the chapel of Notre Dame de la Gorge, an old pilgrimage site, over the Col de la Croix de Bonhomme, passing through rich pastures to the summer village of Chapieux. Overnight in a charming inn.

Day 6    Vallee des Glaciers/Val Veni, Italy We hike across the Col de la Seigne (8,200') into the Val Veni and Italy. The views from the pass are stunning, taking in the Aiguille Noir and the southern face of Mont Blanc. We'll overnight at the vivacious Elisabetta Refuge beneath the Aiguille Blanche.

Day 7    Val Veni, Italy Passing Miage Glacier, we climb to L'Arp Vielle Superieure for breathtaking views of the entire southern face of the Mont Blanc massif. From the ridge a cable car transports us down to the lively resort of Courmayeur.

Days 8-9    Val Ferret: Italy & Switzerland We hike over the Grande Saxe to the Rifugio Elena, high in the Val Ferret. Next day we pass Pre de Bar Glacier, enjoying lush alpine meadows as we climb towards the Col Ferret (8,300') and the Swiss border. The Swiss Val Ferret offers a gentle landscape, with fantastic head-high fields of wildflowers.

Days 10-11    Champex, Switzerland Easy hiking through traditional Swiss villages with wooden chalets and hay lofts. Overnight in the small resort town of Champex (4,808'), with its romantic blue lake and fine views of the Grand Combin (14,000'). Next day free to rest or for exploration on your own.

Day 12    Val Trient, Switzerland A rugged hike up the Val d'Arpette, an isolated moraine-filled glacial valley, to the Fenetre d'Arpette, a narrow col overlooking the Trient Glacier. The scenic descent to Trient follows the glacier, leading to a comfortable inn.

Day 13    to Chamonix Cross the Col du Balme (7,200') between Switzerland and France, returning to the Chamonix Valley--a magnificent day with the glory of the Mont Blanc massif before us. Farewell Dinner and hotel overnight in Chamonix.

Day 14    Return to U.S. 


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