The Route

The author Kev Reynolds describes the Tour of Mont Blanc (TMB) as "justifiably well known and generally considered to be one of the finest walking routes of its kind in Europe. Without question the scenery enjoyed each day is of the highest quality, and if visual stimulation be the sole criterion by which to judge a walk, then the TMB would certainly qualify as one of the greatest routes of the world, let alone Europe."

The TMB circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif, linking seven valleys, in about eleven days and passes through France, Italy and Switzerland. The total ascent/descent for the route is 10,000m or 33,500ft. There are several variants on the main route, with the high level options dependent on weather.

The route traditionally starts at Les Houches in the Chamonix valley, passing through the towns/villages of Les Contamines-Montjoie, Les Chapieux, Courmayeur and Champex. The cols crossed are Col de la Forclaz (1526m), Col du Balme (into France, 2191m), Col du Brevent (2368m), Col de Tricot (2120m), Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2479m), Col de la Seigne (into Italy, 2516m), Col Checroui (1956m), Grand Col Ferret (into Switzerland, 2537m), Col de la Breya (2401m) and Fenetre d'Arpette (2665m).

The route will be described as we walked it in September 2000. Due to excellent weather, the high level options were possible.

Day 1
Col de la Forclaz - Col du Balme - summit of l'Aiguillettes des Posettes - Montroc
Day 2
Montroc - Balcon Sud - La Flegere - diversion to Lac Blanc - La Flegere
Day 3
La Flegere - Plan Praz - Col du Brevent - Le Brevent summit - Les Houches
Day 4
Excursion to Aiguille du Midi - path to Montenvers - train to Chamonix! - Les Houches
Day 5
Les Houches - col deVoza - Col de Tricot - Refuge du Miage
Day 6
Refuge du Miage - Les Contamines - La Balme - Col de la Croix du Bonhomme - Refuge
Day 7
Refuge - Col de Fours - Ville des Glaciers - Col de la Seigne - Refuge Elisabetta
Day 8
Refuge Elisabetta - Col Checrouit - Dolonne - Courmayeur
Day 9
Courmayeur - Refuge Bertone - Mont de la Saxe - Refugio W Bonatti
Day 10
Refugio W Bonatti - Elena Refuge - Grand Col Ferret - La Fouly
Day 11
La Fouly - Cabane d'Orny
Day 12
Cabane d'Orny - Col de la Breya - Fenetre d'Arpette - Col de la Forclaz
Day 13
Col de la Forclaz - Bovine route - Champex d'en haut - Champex

Maps Guidebooks Getting there What to take When to go Weather Insurance Diary extracts Photogallery Useful links