Travel Tour Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Blanc or TMB is one of the most popular long-distance walks in Europe. It circles the Mont Blanc massif, covering a distance of roughly 170 kilometres (110 mi) with 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) of ascent/descent and passes through parts of Switzerland, Italy and France.
It is considered one of the classic long-distance hiking trails. The circular route is normally walked in an anti-clockwise direction in 11 days. It is also the route of an annual mountain marathon in which the winner normally covers the entire distance in less than 24 hours. Usual start points are Les Houches in the Chamonixvalley or Les Contamines in the Montjoie valley (in France),Courmayeur from the Italian side, and either Champex or a point near Martigny in Switzerland. The route passes through seven valleys around the Mont-Blanc massif, an anti-clockwise start in Chamonix would lead through the Chamonix (or Arve) valley, thenMontjoie, Vallee des Glaciers, Italian Val Veni, Val Ferret, Swiss Val Ferret, and either the Arpette or Trient valley in Switzerland, dependent on the route.
Following breakfast, we usually hit the trail by 8:30 AM. Most days began with a climb high into the mountains. Fortunately we would often come upon a refuge just below a col (i.e. a pass) several hours into the hike, where we would stop for espresso, tea, or hot chocolate. After climbing over one or more cols, we would then drop into a valley and descend for several hours until we reached the small town or village where we were staying. Once we had arrived at our hotel, we would shower, do laundry in the sink (socks and underwear), and procure lunch for the next day.
TMB is approximately 105 miles long and gains over 30,000 feet in elevation during its course around the Mont Blanc massif. Compared to many of the trails that I have hiked out West, the TMB is often steeper and rockier. It is not uncommon to gain 3,000 or 4,000 feet in a stretch. A good section of trail that gained 1,000 feet in a mile via switchback as “relatively gentle with zig zags,” while even more challenging sections might earn the description “quite steep and a bit tricky.”
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 120 mile loop that circles the Mont Blanc Mastiff and passes through Swiss, French and Italian Alps. Each country’s section has its own personality. The trail is well-maintained and dotted with colorful “TMB” markers. You’ll find plenty of other people on this trail, all hiking for different reasons. It’s usually impossible to tell how long someone has been hiking because the trail is a loop with technically no starting or ending point. You’ll find thru-hikers with large packs doing the entire loop, day hikers, gondola tourists, trail runners, mountain bikers, families with dogs and locals taking their morning stroll. You pass tiny villages hidden in the mountains and large bustling cities filled with tourists. The trail is dotted with Refugios and campsites where you can eat, drink and sleep.