OVERVIEW

Trek the southern section of the Tour du Mont Blanc, hiking from Chamonix in France to the Italian mountain town of Courmayeur. The walk starts with the epic walk from Les Flegeres (Chamonix) via Les Houches and then continues with the trek below the Bionnassay Glacier to the enchanting Refuge de Miage and onto the delightful town of Les Contamines in the Haute Savoie region.

Continue over the Col du Bonhomme to the small village of Les Chapieux. Then head over the Italian border via the Col de la Seigne to be presented with dramatic, jagged peaks of the southern Mont Blanc Massif before descending into Courmayeur. The last day of walking above the Val Ferret features astounding vistas of tumbling glaciers, snowy summits, and forested valleys.

Please note: additional transfer fees may apply if our regular accommodation providers have no availability for your preferred departure date. Should this occur, the cost will be communicated to you prior to confirming the booking. If you choose to cancel as a result, your deposit will of course be refunded in full.

Highlights

  • Hike the best sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc including the epic days from Tre le Champ all the way to Les Houches
  • Explore the adventure capital of the Alps, Chamonix
  • Walk over the Col du Bonhomme and enjoy far-reaching views of Lac de Roseland
  • Trek from France into Italy via the Col de la Seigne
  • Trek the Val Ferret with majestic views of Mont Blanc and Grandes Jorasses
  • Stay in family-run comfortable accommodation in private rooms with ensuites

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
9 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Challenging

Grade 5 - Challenging

Longer, tougher, steeper hill sections, rough surfaces and many steps. Active lifestyle, good fitness and walking experience required.

PRICE FROM
$ 2995

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 865

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of a room when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9

DAY 1
Arrive Chamonix

Bustling with outdoor enthusiasts, the French Alpine town of Chamonix is only a 90-minute transfer from Geneva Airport. Please supply your flight details as soon as you can if you are arriving via Geneva (see the How to get there section on the website for the conditions).

Relax in the garden of your hotel under the incredible Mont Blanc massif before exploring the streets, pavement cafes and bars of this famous alpine town.

Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet
Run by the Durban sisters, Agnes and Veronique’s 3* hotel is a typical timber alpine chalet located in the heart of Chamonix. From their spacious garden, relax poolside with exceptional views of the Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

Meals included: None

DAY 2
TreleChamp to La Flegere (with options for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)

A spectacular day of mountain walking. Begin with an ascent up forested slopes to the foot of a short section of fixed ladders. Continue upwards on steeper ground with a good chance of spotting small herds of agile Ibex (“bouquetin”). Deep into the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve at the Tete-aux-Ventes track junction, we recommend taking the trail up to the idyllic Lac Blanc where a charming refuge overlooks the cobalt waters of this much-photographed lake. From here there is the option of a short there-and-back walk to see the stunning high alpine lake, Lac Perseverance. Continue on rocky trails to follow the famous “Grand Balcon Sud” path with its astounding vistas across the Chamonix valley to the Mont Blanc Range to the La Flegere cable car station. Descend by cable car to your hotel in Chamonix.

Distance: 8.5km (Add 3km for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)
Ascent: 730m
Descent: 270m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 3
Le Flegere to Les Houches

The first day of trekking starts by making your way to Plan Praz by cable car. When you join the trail, you have several options, which include hiking up to the Col du Brevent and onto Le Brevent (2525m). At the mountaintop restaurant, snow-capped peaks and glaciers seem within touching distance. From here, if you prefer to take the day a little easier, descend to Chamonix on the Brevent cable car. Alternatively, continue by foot, descending into alpine woodland and the village of Les Houches. Return to Chamonix via the mountain train (or bus). With an abundance of traditional and global dining options, Chamonix is a great place to spend an extra night.

Distance: 18.5km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 1700m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet

DAY 4
Les Houches to Les Contamines

The traditional start of the TMB is in the village of Les Houches. We suggest taking the cable car up to Bellevue (1802m) to start your walk. From Bellevue you have a choice of two routes to Les Contamines. Either take the high route over the Col du Tricot (2102m)  under the shadow of the Bionnassay Glacier to the picture-postcard Refuge de Miage (famed for their blueberry tart). Alternatively, take the low route through alpine pastures and enchanting woodlands via the hamlets of Bionnassay and Le Champel.

Trek via the Col du Tricot: 19km
Ascent: 1540m
Descent: 1390m

Trek via Bionnassay & Le Champel: 18km
Ascent: 1040m
Descent: 880m

By using the cable from Bellevue both route options are reduced by approx. 2 hours (6kms) and around 650m of ascent.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Gai Soleil
Built by a local farmer in 1823, the Hotel Gai Soleil became a family-run hotel around 1920. With a surge in climbers visiting the region, the Gai Soleil became a firm favourite with keen alpinists. Run by Valerie and David, they take immense pride in serving dishes created with local produce. In the warm summer evenings, dinner is often served in their peaceful garden.

DAY 5
Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Begin the day by walking south from Les Contamines along the River Bonnant to the 17th-century church of Notre-Dame de la Gorge, which marks the start of the mountain path to Col du Bonhomme (2329m). The road gives way to a steep and roughly paved track, which climbs to Refuge de la Balme (a very well-timed rest!). From here the steep rocky path climbs over the Col du Bonhomme (2383m) and contours around to pass over the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443m). Descend to the small village of Les Chapieux and your accommodation for the night.

Trek to Les Chapieux: 20km
Ascent: 1340m
Descent: 950m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Le Chambres du Soleil
A friendly auberge run by Celine and Pierre Arpin who always provide a warm welcome to hikers. Serving up simple and delicious dishes, this accommodation offers comfortable private rooms with ensuites. On arrival, it’s worth grabbing a refreshing beverage and kicking back on the sunny terrace before dinner.

DAY 6
Les Chapieux to La Visaille (Val Veny)

Start gently from Les Chapieux to reach the village of La Ville des Glaciers. Then it’s a steady uphill on a winding track to Col de la Seigne (2513m). At the pass, straddle the border between France and Italy. Soak up views of the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif with its dramatic, jagged peaks. Descend through the Vallon de la Lee Blanche to Rifugio Elisabetta, a fantastic spot for a rest break. Continue on under tumbling glaciers to enter the Val Veny. From here you will leave the main TMB route for a few km to reach La Visaille for bus access to Courmayeur.

Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1130m
Descent: 1010m
The distance can be reduced by 5km by taking the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon
Run by the Grivel Di Addario family, this 3* hotel is located in a quiet street just a few minutes walk from the main centre. With a long heritage of mountaineers in the family, the hotel is well equipped to look after weary trekkers. A comfortable lounge, fireplace, a garden terrace and modest en-suite rooms all make for an enjoyable stay.

DAY 7
La Visaille (Val Veny) to Courmayeur

From La Visaille, rejoin the TMB near the Cabane du Combal. Follow the magnificent balcony trail to Rifugio Maison Vieille with many vantage points to soak up the stunning views over the Val Veny. Why not relax with a picnic lunch and look for marmots?  A long, steep descent to Courmayeur follows but you can save your knees by making use of the chairlifts and cable cars.

Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 850m
Descent: 1310m
Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 8
Courmayeur to Val Ferret

Leave Courmayeur town on foot and ascend onto the steep forested slopes of La Montagne de la Saxe. After arriving at Rifugio Bertone, follow the ‘Balcony Route’, which gives incredible unbroken views across Val Ferret to Mont Blanc and Grand Jorasses. The high route is challenging, but it provides some of the most epic views on the walk. On reaching Rifugio Walter Bonatti, the picnic terrace is great for sampling the famous Bonatti hot chocolate and taking in the majesty of the mountains around you.

Distance: 14km or 17km
Ascent: 1080m or 1730m
Descent: 580m or 1250m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 9
Onward Travel

Depending on your onward travel plans, you may have time to further explore the town of Courmayeur. Should you need to return to Chamonix, there is a regular bus service right outside the hotel. From here we can transfer you back to Chamonix.

Meals included: Breakfast

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • Extra walk from Chamonix to Les Houches plus the southern TMB
  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation arranged for you
  • 8 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • Transfer from Geneva airport – see more information section
  • Itineraries can be flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Rest days can be added if you would like to explore the region further
  • Enjoy worry-free navigation with Auswalk’s authored comprehensive track notes, maps, and GPX tracks
  • 8 nights accommodation in private rooms with ensuites 
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

During this tour, you will stay in 3* hotels or auberges (small simple hotels). All the accommodations are accustomed to welcoming trekkers and are very well equipped to make your stay comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. Typically, rooms are simple but very comfortable. As many of the overnight stays are in small villages or towns, on occasion, we may have to book alternative accommodation of equal standard in off-track towns. We will discuss these options with you during the booking process.

Dining
You will be provided with 8 breakfasts and 2 dinners. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please let us know at the time of booking so we can let your hosts know. Should you have severe food allergies, it’s always worth bringing a few of your own snacks with you, especially as ingredients and supplies can be hard to obtain in the mountains.

You will find in many of the smaller accommodations, dining is often at communal tables with set mealtimes. This enables small kitchen teams to ensure everyone is fed on time and nobody is left hungry after a long day of trekking! Lunches can be purchased locally which is a great part of the experience. The towns and villages you pass through are renowned for their speciality cheeses and meats (many of which continue to be produced by hand). If you’re lucky enough to encounter a local farmers’ market, the choice and range of local foods are staggering. Some of your accommodations can also make a picnic lunch for you. A staff favourite is the Beaufort Cheese from La Vallee des Glaciers which you can purchase fresh from the farm. Within your daily walk notes, there are detailed suggestions of where to buy lunch each day.

  • NIGHT 1, 2 & 3

  • NIGHT 4

  • NIGHT 5

  • NIGHTS 6, 7 & 8

FITNESS GUIDE

It’s well worth investing some time and effort preparing for your walking holiday. The graph shows the average daily distance, elevation and terrain difficulty for your hike. The dotted line indicates the average across all our walks, which will give you a feel for how challenging your walk is compared to all – and the recommended type, and amount, of preparation needed.  Of course, you can adapt this according to your existing fitness levels and lifestyle.

The graph and the information below can be used in conjunction with the fitness guide to help you prepare for your walking adventure. Across all walks, average daily distance is 16.8km, average daily elevation is 448m, average terrain difficulty is 5/10.

ngraph

DISTANCE - ~AVERAGE

Distance training is undoubtedly a consideration in your overall training program, so take every opportunity you can to walk. As you progress, incorporate longer walks into your training plan. Schedule one or two long walks each week, gradually increasing the distance until you can comfortably cover 16km in a single day. Additionally, also include back-to-back walks to simulate walking on consecutive days. This helps your body adapt to the demands of walking for multiple days in a row. Ensure you can comfortably walk the average distance per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

ELEVATION - ABOVE AVERAGE

Elevation training is a major consideration in your overall training program. You must include walks with serious hill climbs. If you do not have access to hills, it it essential to replicate the elevation level you will be undertaking in any way possible via a treadmill or stair climber. Prioritizing resistance training assumes heightened significance in this context, emphasizing the incorporation of stair climbing whenever feasible. Walking up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand, or up and down small hills, boring as that sounds, is incredibly useful. Elevation is the chief walk killer, not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles. If high altitude is a factor, incorporate sessions at a higher altitude to acclimatise your body to reduced oxygen levels ( this may not be possible). Ensure you can comfortably walk the average elevation per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN

As terrain associated with Mountain climbs is often somewhat uneven and or rocky balancing and core exercises are vital. Try to also include some form of elevation in more than 50% of your walking and prioritise resistance training, whilst incorporating stairs anytime you can. Walking up mountains or hills or up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand or up and down small hills, boring as that sounds, is incredibly useful. Elevation is often the chief walk killer, not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles. So concentrate on doing lots of squats and lunges to build your glute muscles.

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

This walk is available from early July through to late September.
In early July it is possible the trail might remain closed due to heavy snowfall. Should this happen we would do our very best to reschedule the tour for a later date (on occasion it is possible the tour might even be cancelled, but this is rare). Up until late July, some of the higher passes may still have snow on them (with the possibility of them being closed). Should this happen, you will be provided with comprehensive information about taking an alternative route and/or local transport. In the event of any major route closures, we will contact you prior to travel and discuss the alternative walk options with you.

Towards the end of the season (early September) some transport options will have stopped operating. You should therefore be prepared to walk the full distance every day. There is always the option of using a local taxi if necessary. Within your travel notes, advice will be given for all transport options to shorten or skip the walking for that specific day.

THE WALKING

Moderate to Challenging – 118 km – Tracks and trails on this tour will have prolonged ascents and descents, through sections of rough surface and steps. Having an active lifestyle and being an experienced walker makes the journey enjoyable. We would suggest an exercise regime of 3 to 4 times a week in addition to your usual weekly walks.

You will be walking around 20km a day with up to 1500m of ascent and descent. Trails are well-defined, well waymarked and cover a variety of terrains which include; forest tracks, high alpine pastures, rocky mountain paths and mountain towns and villages. It is also possible you may have to cross some snowy patches on the ascent or descent of higher mountain passes, so good mountain footwear is required!

Although the route is well waymarked for each of your walks, you will be provided with comprehensive Auswalk authored walk notes, a summary of daily walks, maps (and GPX tracks if you require to use for your own device). Mountain weather can change quickly so it is essential that at least one of your trekking party is confident in using a map (should visibility drop). You should always be able to locate your whereabouts on a map.

HOW TO GET THERE AND AWAY

This walk starts in Chamonix. The closest airport to Chamonix is Geneva Airport. There is also a train station in Chamonix if you wish to arrive by train from Paris for example.

Geneva Airport to Chamonix
Included in your package is a transfer from Geneva Airport to Chamonix. Upon receipt of your booking confirmation, please advise your flight details as soon as possible. We can then book this transfer with our transfer company. Please note the courtesy transfers are only available between 10.00am and 7.30pm (Saturday to Wednesday) or 9.00pm ( Thursday and Friday nights only) – outside these times you will be responsible for your own transfer, we will reimburse you the cost of our included transfer only.

You could also arrive to Chamonix via train or car.

Onward Travel From Courmayeur
This walk finishes in Courmayeur, Italy. We have not included any transfers from the end point. If you wish to return to Chamonix for onward connections back to Geneva Airport there is a regular daily bus service from Courmayeur to Chamonix (the journey time is around 45 minutes). Please let us know if you need assistance getting back to Geneva airport from Chamonix. If you are travelling further south into Italy, a bus service connects Courmayeur to the town of Aosta where you can change for train services through to Milan and Turin.

Another useful planning tool for travel is Rome2Rio should you be travelling from or to other destinations.

LUGGAGE

Each morning it will be up to you to place your luggage at the designated luggage pick-up point within the hotel by 8.00 am. This generally will be at reception or where you pick up your luggage the night before. Please consult your hosts if any details. Bags must be less than 15kg (this is French legislation) and be Soft Bags (i.e. not hard cases).

Importantly, any excess kilos can be stored for free at the luggage transfer company.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate travel insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage.

For all trips that require international travel, you must have purchased travel insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage.

We also charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it to cover costs incurred from our suppliers and in the office.  See the FAQ section for more information.

MAP

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    PER PERSON
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jul 2024 - 5 Sep 2024
    AVAILABLE
    from

    $2995

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $865

    High-season surcharge may apply in August

SIMILAR TRIPS

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  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation arranged for you

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  • 8 breakfasts and 3 dinners
  • Maps, comprehensive Auswalk authored walk notes, GPX tracks and day-by-day summary
  • Itineraries can please flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)

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  • Maps, comprehensive Auswalk authored walk notes, GPX tracks and day-by-day summary
  • Transfers from Geneva airport – see General Information section
  • Itineraries can be flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)

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BACK
What's Included
  • Extra walk from Chamonix to Les Houches plus the southern TMB
  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation arranged for you
  • 7 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • Transfer from Geneva airport – see more information section
  • Itineraries can be flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Rest days can be added if you would like to explore the region further
  • Enjoy worry-free navigation with Auswalk’s authored comprehensive track notes, maps, and GPX tracks
  • 7 nights accommodation in private rooms with ensuites 
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)
Overview

OVERVIEW

Trek the southern section of the Tour du Mont Blanc, hiking from Chamonix in France to the Italian mountain town of Courmayeur. The walk starts with the epic walk from Les Flegeres (Chamonix) via Les Houches and then continues with the trek below the Bionnassay Glacier to the enchanting Refuge de Miage and onto the delightful town of Les Contamines in the Haute Savoie region.

Continue over the Col du Bonhomme to the small village of Les Chapieux. Then head over the Italian border via the Col de la Seigne to be presented with dramatic, jagged peaks of the southern Mont Blanc Massif before descending into Courmayeur. The last day of walking above the Val Ferret features astounding vistas of tumbling glaciers, snowy summits, and forested valleys.

Please note: additional transfer fees may apply if our regular accommodation providers have no availability for your preferred departure date. Should this occur, the cost will be communicated to you prior to confirming the booking. If you choose to cancel as a result, your deposit will of course be refunded in full.

Highlights

  • Hike the best sections of the Tour du Mont Blanc including the epic days from Tre le Champ all the way to Les Houches
  • Explore the adventure capital of the Alps, Chamonix
  • Walk over the Col du Bonhomme and enjoy far-reaching views of Lac de Roseland
  • Trek from France into Italy via the Col de la Seigne
  • Trek the Val Ferret with majestic views of Mont Blanc and Grandes Jorasses
  • Stay in family-run comfortable accommodation in private rooms with ensuites

WALK OVERVIEW

TYPE OF WALK
SELF GUIDED
TRIP LENGTH
9 DAYS
WALK GRADE
Challenging

Grade 5 - Challenging

Longer, tougher, steeper hill sections, rough surfaces and many steps. Active lifestyle, good fitness and walking experience required.

PRICE FROM
$ 2995

per person twin/double share

SINGLE OCCUPANCY
$ 865

Accommodations charge the same price per room regardless of whether there are one or two people occupying it. To cover the cost of the accommodation when occupied by one person we need to charge the single occupancy fee.

per person

Book now
Itinerary

ITINERARY

  • Day 1
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5
  • Day 6
  • Day 7
  • Day 8
  • Day 9

DAY 1
Arrive Chamonix

Bustling with outdoor enthusiasts, the French Alpine town of Chamonix is only a 90-minute transfer from Geneva Airport. Please supply your flight details as soon as you can if you are arriving via Geneva (see the How to get there section on the website for the conditions).

Relax in the garden of your hotel under the incredible Mont Blanc massif before exploring the streets, pavement cafes and bars of this famous alpine town.

Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet
Run by the Durban sisters, Agnes and Veronique’s 3* hotel is a typical timber alpine chalet located in the heart of Chamonix. From their spacious garden, relax poolside with exceptional views of the Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc.

Meals included: None

DAY 2
TreleChamp to La Flegere (with options for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)

A spectacular day of mountain walking. Begin with an ascent up forested slopes to the foot of a short section of fixed ladders. Continue upwards on steeper ground with a good chance of spotting small herds of agile Ibex (“bouquetin”). Deep into the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve at the Tete-aux-Ventes track junction, we recommend taking the trail up to the idyllic Lac Blanc where a charming refuge overlooks the cobalt waters of this much-photographed lake. From here there is the option of a short there-and-back walk to see the stunning high alpine lake, Lac Perseverance. Continue on rocky trails to follow the famous “Grand Balcon Sud” path with its astounding vistas across the Chamonix valley to the Mont Blanc Range to the La Flegere cable car station. Descend by cable car to your hotel in Chamonix.

Distance: 8.5km (Add 3km for Lac Blanc and Lac Perseverance)
Ascent: 730m
Descent: 270m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel L’Oustalet

DAY 3
Le Flegere to Les Houches

The first day of trekking starts by making your way to Plan Praz by cable car. When you join the trail, you have several options, which include hiking up to the Col du Brevent and onto Le Brevent (2525m). At the mountaintop restaurant, snow-capped peaks and glaciers seem within touching distance. From here, if you prefer to take the day a little easier, descend to Chamonix on the Brevent cable car. Alternatively, continue by foot, descending into alpine woodland and the village of Les Houches. Return to Chamonix via the mountain train (or bus). With an abundance of traditional and global dining options, Chamonix is a great place to spend an extra night.

Distance: 18.5km
Ascent: 900m
Descent: 1700m
Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Oustalet

DAY 4
Les Houches to Les Contamines

The traditional start of the TMB is in the village of Les Houches. We suggest taking the cable car up to Bellevue (1802m) to start your walk. From Bellevue you have a choice of two routes to Les Contamines. Either take the high route over the Col du Tricot (2102m)  under the shadow of the Bionnassay Glacier to the picture-postcard Refuge de Miage (famed for their blueberry tart). Alternatively, take the low route through alpine pastures and enchanting woodlands via the hamlets of Bionnassay and Le Champel.

Trek via the Col du Tricot: 19km
Ascent: 1540m
Descent: 1390m

Trek via Bionnassay & Le Champel: 18km
Ascent: 1040m
Descent: 880m

By using the cable from Bellevue both route options are reduced by approx. 2 hours (6kms) and around 650m of ascent.

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Hotel Gai Soleil
Built by a local farmer in 1823, the Hotel Gai Soleil became a family-run hotel around 1920. With a surge in climbers visiting the region, the Gai Soleil became a firm favourite with keen alpinists. Run by Valerie and David, they take immense pride in serving dishes created with local produce. In the warm summer evenings, dinner is often served in their peaceful garden.

DAY 5
Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Begin the day by walking south from Les Contamines along the River Bonnant to the 17th-century church of Notre-Dame de la Gorge, which marks the start of the mountain path to Col du Bonhomme (2329m). The road gives way to a steep and roughly paved track, which climbs to Refuge de la Balme (a very well-timed rest!). From here the steep rocky path climbs over the Col du Bonhomme (2383m) and contours around to pass over the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2443m). Descend to the small village of Les Chapieux and your accommodation for the night.

Trek to Les Chapieux: 20km
Ascent: 1340m
Descent: 950m

Meals included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Le Chambres du Soleil
A friendly auberge run by Celine and Pierre Arpin who always provide a warm welcome to hikers. Serving up simple and delicious dishes, this accommodation offers comfortable private rooms with ensuites. On arrival, it’s worth grabbing a refreshing beverage and kicking back on the sunny terrace before dinner.

DAY 6
Les Chapieux to La Visaille (Val Veny)

Start gently from Les Chapieux to reach the village of La Ville des Glaciers. Then it’s a steady uphill on a winding track to Col de la Seigne (2513m). At the pass, straddle the border between France and Italy. Soak up views of the southern side of the Mont Blanc massif with its dramatic, jagged peaks. Descend through the Vallon de la Lee Blanche to Rifugio Elisabetta, a fantastic spot for a rest break. Continue on under tumbling glaciers to enter the Val Veny. From here you will leave the main TMB route for a few km to reach La Visaille for bus access to Courmayeur.

Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1130m
Descent: 1010m
The distance can be reduced by 5km by taking the shuttle bus from Les Chapieux.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon
Run by the Grivel Di Addario family, this 3* hotel is located in a quiet street just a few minutes walk from the main centre. With a long heritage of mountaineers in the family, the hotel is well equipped to look after weary trekkers. A comfortable lounge, fireplace, a garden terrace and modest en-suite rooms all make for an enjoyable stay.

DAY 7
La Visaille (Val Veny) to Courmayeur

From La Visaille, rejoin the TMB near the Cabane du Combal. Follow the magnificent balcony trail to Rifugio Maison Vieille with many vantage points to soak up the stunning views over the Val Veny. Why not relax with a picnic lunch and look for marmots?  A long, steep descent to Courmayeur follows but you can save your knees by making use of the chairlifts and cable cars.

Distance: 15.5km
Ascent: 850m
Descent: 1310m
Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 8
Courmayeur to Val Ferret

Leave Courmayeur town on foot and ascend onto the steep forested slopes of La Montagne de la Saxe. After arriving at Rifugio Bertone, follow the ‘Balcony Route’, which gives incredible unbroken views across Val Ferret to Mont Blanc and Grand Jorasses. The high route is challenging, but it provides some of the most epic views on the walk. On reaching Rifugio Walter Bonatti, the picnic terrace is great for sampling the famous Bonatti hot chocolate and taking in the majesty of the mountains around you.

Distance: 14km or 17km
Ascent: 1080m or 1730m
Descent: 580m or 1250m
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Hotel Crampon

DAY 9
Onward Travel

Depending on your onward travel plans, you may have time to further explore the town of Courmayeur. Should you need to return to Chamonix, there is a regular bus service right outside the hotel. From here we can transfer you back to Chamonix.

Meals included: Breakfast

What’s Included

WHAT’S INCLUDED

  • Pack-free walking

  • 25+ years experience

  • Customised

  • Eco Travel

  • Extra walk from Chamonix to Les Houches plus the southern TMB
  • Walk pack free with luggage transfers from accommodation to accommodation arranged for you
  • 8 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • Transfer from Geneva airport – see more information section
  • Itineraries can be flexible to account for weather conditions
  • Rest days can be added if you would like to explore the region further
  • Enjoy worry-free navigation with Auswalk’s authored comprehensive track notes, maps, and GPX tracks
  • 8 nights accommodation in private rooms with ensuites 
  • Daily luggage transfers – access to your main luggage every evening (not possible in mountain huts)
  • No need to carry a sleep sheet or towel (required for mountain huts)
Accommodation & Dining

ACCOMMODATION & DINING

OVERVIEW

During this tour, you will stay in 3* hotels or auberges (small simple hotels). All the accommodations are accustomed to welcoming trekkers and are very well equipped to make your stay comfortable regardless of the weather conditions. Typically, rooms are simple but very comfortable. As many of the overnight stays are in small villages or towns, on occasion, we may have to book alternative accommodation of equal standard in off-track towns. We will discuss these options with you during the booking process.

Dining
You will be provided with 8 breakfasts and 2 dinners. If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please let us know at the time of booking so we can let your hosts know. Should you have severe food allergies, it’s always worth bringing a few of your own snacks with you, especially as ingredients and supplies can be hard to obtain in the mountains.

You will find in many of the smaller accommodations, dining is often at communal tables with set mealtimes. This enables small kitchen teams to ensure everyone is fed on time and nobody is left hungry after a long day of trekking! Lunches can be purchased locally which is a great part of the experience. The towns and villages you pass through are renowned for their speciality cheeses and meats (many of which continue to be produced by hand). If you’re lucky enough to encounter a local farmers’ market, the choice and range of local foods are staggering. Some of your accommodations can also make a picnic lunch for you. A staff favourite is the Beaufort Cheese from La Vallee des Glaciers which you can purchase fresh from the farm. Within your daily walk notes, there are detailed suggestions of where to buy lunch each day.

  • NIGHT 1, 2 & 3

  • NIGHT 4

  • NIGHT 5

  • NIGHTS 6, 7 & 8

Fitness Guide

FITNESS GUIDE

It’s well worth investing some time and effort preparing for your walking holiday. The graph shows the average daily distance, elevation and terrain difficulty for your hike. The dotted line indicates the average across all our walks, which will give you a feel for how challenging your walk is compared to all – and the recommended type, and amount, of preparation needed.  Of course, you can adapt this according to your existing fitness levels and lifestyle.

The graph and the information below can be used in conjunction with the fitness guide to help you prepare for your walking adventure. Across all walks, average daily distance is 16.8km, average daily elevation is 448m, average terrain difficulty is 5/10.

ngraph

DISTANCE - ~AVERAGE

Distance training is undoubtedly a consideration in your overall training program, so take every opportunity you can to walk. As you progress, incorporate longer walks into your training plan. Schedule one or two long walks each week, gradually increasing the distance until you can comfortably cover 16km in a single day. Additionally, also include back-to-back walks to simulate walking on consecutive days. This helps your body adapt to the demands of walking for multiple days in a row. Ensure you can comfortably walk the average distance per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

ELEVATION - ABOVE AVERAGE

Elevation training is a major consideration in your overall training program. You must include walks with serious hill climbs. If you do not have access to hills, it it essential to replicate the elevation level you will be undertaking in any way possible via a treadmill or stair climber. Prioritizing resistance training assumes heightened significance in this context, emphasizing the incorporation of stair climbing whenever feasible. Walking up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand, or up and down small hills, boring as that sounds, is incredibly useful. Elevation is the chief walk killer, not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles. If high altitude is a factor, incorporate sessions at a higher altitude to acclimatise your body to reduced oxygen levels ( this may not be possible). Ensure you can comfortably walk the average elevation per day displayed in the graph, at least one month before you undertake your hike.

MOUNTAINOUS TERRAIN

As terrain associated with Mountain climbs is often somewhat uneven and or rocky balancing and core exercises are vital. Try to also include some form of elevation in more than 50% of your walking and prioritise resistance training, whilst incorporating stairs anytime you can. Walking up mountains or hills or up and down stairs at work, at a local oval with a grandstand or up and down small hills, boring as that sounds, is incredibly useful. Elevation is often the chief walk killer, not distance, as it uses an entirely different set of muscles. So concentrate on doing lots of squats and lunges to build your glute muscles.

General Info

GENERAL INFO

AVAILABILITY

This walk is available from early July through to late September.
In early July it is possible the trail might remain closed due to heavy snowfall. Should this happen we would do our very best to reschedule the tour for a later date (on occasion it is possible the tour might even be cancelled, but this is rare). Up until late July, some of the higher passes may still have snow on them (with the possibility of them being closed). Should this happen, you will be provided with comprehensive information about taking an alternative route and/or local transport. In the event of any major route closures, we will contact you prior to travel and discuss the alternative walk options with you.

Towards the end of the season (early September) some transport options will have stopped operating. You should therefore be prepared to walk the full distance every day. There is always the option of using a local taxi if necessary. Within your travel notes, advice will be given for all transport options to shorten or skip the walking for that specific day.

THE WALKING

Moderate to Challenging – 118 km – Tracks and trails on this tour will have prolonged ascents and descents, through sections of rough surface and steps. Having an active lifestyle and being an experienced walker makes the journey enjoyable. We would suggest an exercise regime of 3 to 4 times a week in addition to your usual weekly walks.

You will be walking around 20km a day with up to 1500m of ascent and descent. Trails are well-defined, well waymarked and cover a variety of terrains which include; forest tracks, high alpine pastures, rocky mountain paths and mountain towns and villages. It is also possible you may have to cross some snowy patches on the ascent or descent of higher mountain passes, so good mountain footwear is required!

Although the route is well waymarked for each of your walks, you will be provided with comprehensive Auswalk authored walk notes, a summary of daily walks, maps (and GPX tracks if you require to use for your own device). Mountain weather can change quickly so it is essential that at least one of your trekking party is confident in using a map (should visibility drop). You should always be able to locate your whereabouts on a map.

HOW TO GET THERE AND AWAY

This walk starts in Chamonix. The closest airport to Chamonix is Geneva Airport. There is also a train station in Chamonix if you wish to arrive by train from Paris for example.

Geneva Airport to Chamonix
Included in your package is a transfer from Geneva Airport to Chamonix. Upon receipt of your booking confirmation, please advise your flight details as soon as possible. We can then book this transfer with our transfer company. Please note the courtesy transfers are only available between 10.00am and 7.30pm (Saturday to Wednesday) or 9.00pm ( Thursday and Friday nights only) – outside these times you will be responsible for your own transfer, we will reimburse you the cost of our included transfer only.

You could also arrive to Chamonix via train or car.

Onward Travel From Courmayeur
This walk finishes in Courmayeur, Italy. We have not included any transfers from the end point. If you wish to return to Chamonix for onward connections back to Geneva Airport there is a regular daily bus service from Courmayeur to Chamonix (the journey time is around 45 minutes). Please let us know if you need assistance getting back to Geneva airport from Chamonix. If you are travelling further south into Italy, a bus service connects Courmayeur to the town of Aosta where you can change for train services through to Milan and Turin.

Another useful planning tool for travel is Rome2Rio should you be travelling from or to other destinations.

LUGGAGE

Each morning it will be up to you to place your luggage at the designated luggage pick-up point within the hotel by 8.00 am. This generally will be at reception or where you pick up your luggage the night before. Please consult your hosts if any details. Bags must be less than 15kg (this is French legislation) and be Soft Bags (i.e. not hard cases).

Importantly, any excess kilos can be stored for free at the luggage transfer company.

INSURANCE

We require that you have adequate travel insurance against potential losses, damage or injury, including cancellation costs and loss of luggage.

For all trips that require international travel, you must have purchased travel insurance that also includes medical evacuation coverage.

We also charge a cancellation fee if you cancel your walking holiday after we have confirmed it to cover costs incurred from our suppliers and in the office.  See the FAQ section for more information.

Map

MAP

Departure Dates

DEPARTURE DATES

  • DATES
    AVAILABILITY
    PRICE
    PER PERSON
    Single Occupancy
    DETAILS
  • 1 Jul 2024 - 5 Sep 2024
    AVAILABLE
    Details
    from

    $2995

    SINGLE OCCUPANCY
    $865
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