The Tour du Mont Blanc – Rick Steves’ Travel Blog


Earlier this fall, 4 of us — whole novices at long-distance treks — hiked round Europe’s highest mountain. (On the primary day, huge birds of prey circled excessive overhead. My hunch: They had been vultures simply ready for one in all us to drop.)

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 100-mile, ten-day hike — however we cheated a bit, climbing one of the best 60 miles in six days from mountain lodge to mountain lodge, catching native buses by the much less thrilling components, and letting a “sherpa service” shuttle our luggage every day by France, Italy, and Switzerland, from Chamonix to Chamonix.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 160 km (100 mile) circle round Europe’s tallest mountain. We did essentially the most rewarding 100 km (60 miles) connecting the segments with public buses.
I like the sherpa service supplied on Mont Blanc: You depart your huge bag within the resort foyer or at your mountain refuge and belief the shuttle bus to choose it up and ship it secure and sound to your subsequent lodging. Every day, our luggage had been ready fortunately for us at check-in.
An array of buses and mountain lifts can be found to hikers to assist them alongside, as they select, on the Tour du Mont Blanc. But the season is brief, and a lot of the lifts and buses had been shutting down by mid-September.

This was the primary time I’d loved a slice of Europe with my girlfriend Shelley, and we had been joined by Sue and David from Minnesota. (I’ve labored with David Preston for 20 years at TPT – Twin Cities PBS. In the general public tv world, he’s thought-about the “pledge drive guru.”)

It appears everybody hikes the Tour du Mont Blanc in a counter-clockwise course, ranging from the ceremonial begin level within the village of Les Houches, simply exterior Chamonix. And this arch is at all times good for a contented, pre-blister group shot.

Each day, we’d hike what the path indicators stated could be a five-hour hike — that took us six or seven.  Our mantra: “Take our time. This is why we’re here.” Generally, the day would begin at a 3,000-foot climb to a move (or “col”) 8,000 ft above sea stage. Each col was slightly triumph, with its cairn of rocks organized in a pile, dramatic climate blowing throughout, commanding views, and congratulatory selfies.

Part of our pre-trip coaching was taking steep hikes nearer to residence. As a typical day’s climb on the TMB is a thousand meters (or roughly 3,000 ft), I’d advocate selecting a apply hike with a 3,000-foot elevation achieve so you should utilize it as a reference level. Ours in Washington State was the Mount Si path. We even had a time period for a 3,000-foot altitude achieve: “a Mount Si.”

Every morning on Mont Blanc, we’d do our onerous work, typically climbing a 3,000-foot elevation achieve. It appeared to final perpetually…but it surely didn’t. And reaching the move (typically round 8,000 ft above sea stage) was at all times a lunchtime celebration.


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