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Tour du Mont Blanc

Has anybody done it, and what did you think?

What is the shortest time a reasonably fit person could walk it in?

Posted by
10575 posts

Hi Ryan, we did this last month (August) as a guided hike with REI Adventures. It was a fantastic experience, but we did not walk every mile of the circuit; there were some van shuttles. A good thing, as the heavy rain caused slides on one portion of the trail between Italy and Switzerland) and the route was closed. So our guides took us on a alternative dayhike from Courmayeur and then we drove to the next stop in Switzerland ( Champex),

If you want to do it on your own and walk the whole way, it is a circuit of 110 miles. While that may sound like a 5-6 day hike, you need to consider the elevation changes and the lodging options. Most days we did 3000-4000 feet of up and down, and we ended at a hotel, sometimes with a van transfer at the end. If you are walking the whole way, you need to figure out the Refugio's and other lodging stops; those may determine the number of days you need for the walk. I am sure there are websites devoted to this hie that can help you figure it out.

All I can say this was one of our all time favorite trips, and we have done a lot of hiking in mountains in the American's ( North and South) , Europe, and NewnZealand.

Posted by
77 posts

This topic was recently covered on an episode of the "Join Us in France" podcast. It should provide useful information to you by someone who did the hiking. It is quite detailed.

Posted by
2 posts

Ryan, have you found the answer to your question? I am planning for summer 2019 and was wondering the same thing. I really would like to cut it down to like 9 days without transpo, but am wondering if thats ridiculous. We live in CO and hike all the time though...

Posted by
10575 posts

The length of the hike each day is determined by the spacing of lodging, in Refugios or inns. It takes careful and detailed planning. A good option is to have a knowledgeable company create an itinerary for you, make the lodging reservations ( absolutely necessary, as space is quite limited in some places), and provide maps and directions for a self-guided trip.

A friend of ours used this company and was very pleased. If you used the suggested itinerary, I highly recommend including Refugio Bonatti, which is offered as an option.

https://www.distantjourneys.com/destinations/france/tour-du-mont-blanc-self-guided/

Posted by
24 posts

My husband, friends and I used Mac's Adventures out of Glasgow to plan our self-guided Tour du Mont Blanc. It's a great way to go because they move your luggage for you every night, provide accommodations (simple hotels and refugios) and maps. We did it in 11 or 12 days--can't remember exactly because we took a rest day in Courmayeur. I have hiked a lot and run marathons, but this was my most difficult and best achievement. The scenery is amazing, and there is great cameraderie amongst the hikers, because we'd see each other every day. Don't discount the elevation gains and losses, because your body takes a pounding. I would have added an additional rest day just to give my body a break. Enjoy!

Posted by
207 posts

I too hiked the TMB via a "self-guided tour" planned by Macs. 10 walking days and a extra day in Courmayer (day #4) and by all means take the gondolas to the top! The self-guided tours also offer luggage carry options that I found useful. The first three days were rough due to the steep ascents and descents (living in metro Philly, I did not training sufficiently for the climbs (on a previous hike on the Camino Frances - my training was spot on). From day #5 on the hiking became much easier as my legs toughened. The weather is no small factor when calculating time required between refugios or villages. A shower down on the valley floor can result in several inches of slippery snow cover at 3Km; on the downhill slopes crampons were often used but slowed the pace.
I believe the record for completing the TMB is 19 hours! We met a young couple for Belfast who were in the midst of a 4 day hike/run. Good luck and let know what itinerary you finally decide upon.
BTW, you are welcome to PM me for additional info/experiences.