Tour du Mont Blanc
Kev Reynolds on one of the all-time classic alpine treks…
Ten passes, seven valleys and three countries makes a crude summary of one of the world’s most famous mountain treks.
The popularity of this wonderful multi-day tour endures not because of numbers, but through the ever-evolving grandeur of the scenes along the trail. With Chamonix below its north flank and Courmayeur to the south, the highest mountain in western Europe makes a giant hub around which the Tour of Mont Blanc (TMB) pays homage not only to Mont Blanc, but to the entourage of granite aiguilles, graceful snow domes, chaotic glaciers, screes, moraines and fragrant meadows that lie at its feet. Whether tackled in a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction (as on the standard tour), this is a trek to savour. It has its challenges, its demanding cols, its long days and never-ending descents, but every step is one to cherish.
The TMB serves as a perfect introduction to Alpine trekking and is rewarding whether on your first or tenth time on the route. Its trails are mostly well-defined and waymarked, some tracing balconies from which the finest views are gained and as accommodation is both plentiful and varied there’s no need for trekkers to be burdened with a heavy rucksack.
Where: The Massif du Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie
Start/finish: Les Houches
Duration: 10 – 12 days
Max altitude: 2,665m
Accommodation: Hotels, gîtes and mountain refuges
Guide book: Tour of Mont Blanc by Kev Reynolds (Cicerone Press, 2nd edition, 2009)