Expeditions
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Mont Blanc TMB Half Circuit

Background

A fantastic TMB booked through No Roads. Our guide amazing, the Hotels charming, the food so much better than ever imagined. Every minute of every day was perfect. Would happily travel with them again Sophie Scott-Young Australia

An amazing experience would thoroughly recommend. Having done several other No Roads trips, this one was a luxury in many respects, no tents & the pleasure of a hot shower & glass of wine at the end of each day!  Terrel Taylor Australia

Highlights

  • Trek one of the most spectacular classic hiking paths through the European Alps even if short on time
  • Visit 3 countries in one trip (France, Italy, and Switzerland)
  • Experience different cultures, food (cheeses) and wines as we trek into remote valleys
  • Stay in cozy family-run hotels perched on the Mont Blanc massif
  • Trek quiet mountain passes, glacial valleys, dine in Europe's highest restaurant and more....

Overview

"I had the most awesome time. The whole trip was so much fun. The countryside was beautiful, trekking challenging, food divine, guide was gorgeous and people were lots of fun. Thank you so much for the experience". Carol Hill Australia. 

Breathtaking views, winding paths, green forests and rolling meadows are just a few of the majestic sights you will see on your 08-day trek. Of course, the big attraction is Western Europe's highest mountain, Mont Blanc, with its snowfields and hanging glaciers. Once you see these, you'll understand how the mountain got its name.

Our Half Circuit Trek of the Tour Du Mont Blanc is perfect for all who would like to treat themselves to walk the legendary Tour Du Mont Blanc and experience the great vistas but do not have much time on hand.

The Half TMB Circuit will take you through some intense valleys and mountain passes that cover all kinds of terrain. You'll hike for at least 5-6 hours per day, taking in the pristine mountain views at every turn. The trip encompasses a trek halfway around the mountain that includes visiting three different countries: Italy, Switzerland, and France. You will get a look at the very best each has to offer while experiencing the trip of a lifetime and getting to know people from all over the world. Each day of your trek begins and ends with great views, great food, and great people.

Mont Blanc's massif has several valleys that flow into Italy, Switzerland and France, each with its own culture, architecture and landscapes. Together, along with your guide, we will explore the best of these valleys, hiking up the ridges, and down into the valleys below. You will have plenty of time to explore the gems of nature, including the snow-capped peaks, green mountain meadows, and beautiful glaciers. This trek will give you a new appreciation of nature and all it has to offer. The Mont Blanc Circuit offers some of the most breathtaking views in the world. Perhaps that is why it remains one of the most popular treks among hikers and adventurers.

Your Half Tour of Mont Blanc begins in Switzerland, where you will be transported by coach from Geneva to the lovely commune of Courmayeur, the Italian answer to Chamonix. Here you will have some time to explore this unique and charming town. There are several activities to choose from, such as the newly built Skyway, a cable car which brings you almost all the way up to Mont Blanc. Once you ascend to the top, you can enjoy a fabulous lunch or drink and take in the breathtaking views of Mont-Blanc. Or, you can choose to stroll the coble stone streets, visit the boutique-style shops, have Gelatti or delicious Cappucino and start your trip in a leisurely way.

The next morning we head off onto one of the best stretches on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Our daily walks along the TMB lead you through steep terrain and will take you approximately 1200 m up and down each day. You will have peace of mind, though, knowing that this is a supported trip. You will be accompanied by an experienced and accomplished tour guide. You will also be glad to know that all you have to carry with you throughout the day is a day pack. At the end of each day, your luggage and belongings will await you at your hotel.

After your trek, you will stay for one night in Chamonix, one of the oldest Ski Resorts in France, where you will enjoy a celebration dinner in one of the great restaurants in town together with your group. On your last day, you will be transferred back to Geneva by coach where you can start the next leg of your adventure or choose to return home. Once you experience our Half Circuit Tour du Mont Blanc, we know you will want to come back every year.

Itinerary

"It is hard to find the words that describe vistas you see while doing this trek, we walked into France, Italy, and Switzerland, with steep, snow-capped mountains towering over the valleys...And Ismael, our Guide, to say he is a wonderful guide and person is an understatement, his knowledge, and passion....made us all see it through his eyes as if he had not done this many time before." Jane McKenzie Australia

Day 1: Arrive in Courmayeur.
Day 2: Courmayeur to Val Ferret, 6 hrs. (B, L, D)
Day 3: Val Ferret across the Col de Grand Ferret into Switzerland to La Fouly, 6 hrs. (B, L, D)
Day 4: La Fouly trek to Champex, 4/5 hrs. (B, L, D)
Day 5: Champex across Bovine to Col de la Forclaz and then on to Martigny, 7 hrs. (B, L, D)
Day 6: Martigny across Col de Balme back into France to Argentiere, 6 hrs. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Argentiere to Chalet de la Flegere then down to Chamonix, 7 hrs. (B, L, D)
Day 8: Depart Chamonix to Geneva. (B)

Note: Trekking times are calculated including breaks (morning tea, lunch, short afternoon break) but might vary according to weather, group strength, etc.

WHAT DO OUR MONT BLANC EXPEDITIONS INCLUDE?

SERVICES OF AN EXPERIENCED MOUNTAIN GUIDE

Our lead guides are fully trained, registered and licensed IFMGA members who work for us regularly. All mountain lovers, they have skied, climbed and hiked many of the routes around the area and spend their days exploring more in the Mont Blanc range and the rest of the world.

WHY CHOOSE A GUIDED TOUR?

Walking with a Guide provides security and the possibility to discover the natural and historical heritage of the area you visit.
A professional guide will provide you with weather updates and trek conditions daily. Their great knowledge of the area gives him/her the ability to adapt the route according to weather conditions and group strength.

While you need to ensure to get into an adequate physical shape for the trek your guide will look after all the required preparation for trekking safely in the mountains while you enjoy an unforgettable experience.

SERVICES OF VEHICLES TO CARRY LUGGAGE AND EQUIPMENT

Throughout this expedition, we will be fully supported by our support vehicle. This vehicle will take all our luggage from one overnight stay to the next so all we need to carry is our day pack. This vehicle may be used to transport guests as well however this will be at the guests' expense.

ACCOMMODATION

This is one area that our trip DIFFERS from many others. 

The small hotels used are locally owned and run. They are very comfortable with a great warm feel and often serve up excellent homemade meals. In Chamonix, you will be residing in a boutique hotel right in the center of town.

MEALS WHILE ON EXPEDITION

No matter where we take you, food is an important component of any No Roads Expeditions trip. Europe is no exception.

All meals are outlined within the Itinerary. 

With our fully supported trips, our driver will supply us with fresh fruits and snacks every day. Breakfast is normally a European buffet style. For lunches we will be provided with delicious cheeses, meats, salads and more, all supplemented by our support team or hot meals at selected Rifugios along the way. Now that is trekking in style!

Breakfast: Coffee, tea, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, bread and conserves.

Lunch: Picnic style with bread, cheeses, meats, etc. However, on several days we will eat our lunches at wonderful Refuges along the way. These usually consist of local favourites.

Dinner: Generally consists of a first-course soup, salad or charcuterie, a main course of meat with one or two vegetables or rice or pasta, a dessert course.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WALK THE TMB?

The TMB is open between June and September each year. However, there are a few factors in play that will determine when to go.

The first is the weather. Usually, high passes can be snowed under even into mid to late June and the snow can return mid to late September. Thus mid-June to Mid September to finish the trek.

The second factor is European and in particular French holidays. These start late July early August. The trail can get very busy and accommodation is difficult to find at these times.

Thus the best times to go are late June to the end of July and mid-August to the first 2 weeks of September.

Routes

Day 1: Arrive in Courmayeur.
Today you will arrive in Courmayeur where you will check into the hotel and that evening meet your guide. You may also meet some of your trekking companions that are either starting from Courmayeur or have already walked from Chamonix.

DAY 2: Courmayeur to Arnuva (Val Ferret) 6 hrs.

After a relaxing breakfast, we set off up a path from Courmayeur crossing a torrent then climbing steeply through thick larch forests (some of the most beautiful on the trail) on a good path to the Rifugio Bertone (1989m). This is a great place for a cappuccino. From there, if the weather is good we can take the high route ascending the Mont de la Saxe ridge, a wide grassy ridge dotted with wildflowers which has superb views of the Italian side of Mont Blanc and the South Face of the Grandes Jorasses, before crossing the airy summits of la Tete Bernarda (2534m and la Tete de la Tronche 2584m). After three and a half hours, we reach Refuge Bonatti before heading down to the valley floor to Val Ferret. Low route alternative would be an easier option with less altitude gain, and also with a reduction of the final time (B, L, D)

DAY 3: Val Ferret to La Fouly 6 hrs.

This morning we head up to the Grand Col Ferret the frontier between Italy and Switzerland. Along the way, we will stop at Refuge Elena for a morning tea or coffee. There are spectacular views towards Mont Dolent whose summit divides three countries, Italy, France and Switzerland. From there we head down to la Peule which is a great place for lunch. Here we will have our picnic lunch made of local produce such as cheeses, cold cuts and bread (delicious). From here it is another 2 hours through wildflower meadows along sinuous streams to the village of La Fouly where we will check into the delightful Hotel Edelweiss (B, L, D)

DAY 4: La Fouly to Champex 4/5 hrs.

A small mountain road comes up the Swiss Val Ferret to La Fouly from Champex but we are able to walk on the opposite side of the valley on a path which meanders through pleasant pine forests. We pass through the village of Praz de Fort and to the well-preserved village of Issert. We hike along the narrow street between old chalets and grain stores in their original condition. This day is notable for the beautiful old Alpine buildings that we pass.

The trail then branches off the main valley and climbs gradually around the hillside, traversing above the pretty village of Champex with its deep blue lake. (For those who wish to shorten this day it is possible to take a local bus from La Fouly to Champex.) We continue along the lakeshore and finally climb 200 meters to the hotel Splendide (1627m). (B, L, D)

DAY 5: Champex to Martigny 7 hrs

One of the best mountain days on the whole trek takes us across the Fenetre d'Arpette (2665m). This high Col lies at the head of the Val d'Arpette and the crossing is one of the finest variants on the TMB circuit. The ground is fairly rough but never technical and when we reach the pass we are rewarded with a fantastic view down to the Trient Glacier and across into the glacial bowl of the Plateau du Trient with the Aiguille du Tour (3544m) rising above (Crossing the plateau de Bovine is an easier or bad weather alternative).

From Col de Forclaz we will transfer down to Martigny, a Swiss town with Roman roots in the Rhone Valley. (B, L, D
 
DAY 6: Martigny to Argentiere 6 hrs.

Transfer to Col de la Forclaz. The second last big climb of the TMB sees us ascending 900 meters to reach the Col de Balme (2200m). This ancient pass forms the border between Switzerland and France and as we descend down towards the village of Le Tour on the French side a spectacular panorama opens up across the entire Mont Blanc range and we find ourselves gazing down the valley towards Chamonix

Our accommodation for the night is in Argentiere that serves up excellent meals and a great bed to rest in. (B, L, D)

Day 7: Argentiere to Chamonix 7 hrs.

From Argentiere, we transfer to the Col des Montets and ascend via Cheserys lakes into the Aiguilles Rouge on a spectacularly high-level path known as the Grand Balcon Sud. In this elevated position, we can gaze across the valley towards huge Argentiere Glacier and the tremendous Aiguille Verte (4122m). At Cheserys we can make a detour to Lac Blanc (2352m), a famously photogenic spot where the Chamonix Needles can sometimes be wonderfully reflected in its still waters. After lunch, we continue on for another 3 hours to Planpraz cable car that will take us directly into Chamonix. That night we will enjoy a celebration dinner together with the group. (B, L, D)

Day 8: Depart Chamonix to Geneva

Return transfer this morning from Chamonix to Geneva airport. (B)

Note: Trekking times are calculated including breaks (morning tea, lunch, short afternoon break) but might vary according to weather, group strength, etc.

Additional Day in Chamonix: There is an option of adding a day in Chamonix after the trek. Please contact our office for more information.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There are variations to this itinerary due to weather and the fitness of the group. While we try and stick to the plan sometimes things need to be changed. This adjustment may alter the exact distance walked in a day so the above itinerary should be used as an indication of overnight stops/ distances. The accommodation outlined in the itinerary might change slightly. In this case, hotels of the same standard will be used.

Inclusions

  • Pick up transfers from Geneva airport to Courmayeur
  • Pick up transfers from Chamonix to Geneva airport
  • 1 night in Courmayeur hotel with 1 breakfast
  • 1 Night in Chamonix hotel with 1 breakfast & 1 dinner
  • Qualified Mountain Leader 
  • Luggage transportation throughout 
  • Any fees and permits
  • 5 nights accommodation in cosy hotels along the trail (twin-share)
  • All meals as noted (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Picnic lunches and lunches in mountain Refuges

Exclusions

  • International airfares
  • Insurance

Note: This tour requires a minimum of 2 participants and is based on twin sharing. For booking inquiries please contact our office directly on 03 95988581 or email Irene at irene@noroads.com.au.

Maps

Extensions

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