Self Guided TMB Turbo 4 Days
This self-guided version of the full Tour du Mont Blanc route for expert trekkers only with a high level of fitness.
3 Nights, 4 Days
Les Houches, Chamonix
June - September
- + 9
FRANCE, SWITZERLAND & ITALY / 3 NIGHTS / 4 DAYS
This 3 night / 4 day version of the Tour du Mont Blanc trek is an incredible opportunity to completely immerse yourself in the mountains and enjoy the natural beauty of the valleys that surround western Europe’s highest mountain. The trek offers an unusual variety of spectacular scenery and varied walks and you are sure to come away from this trek refreshed and invigorated, if a little creaky at the joints.
The route crosses three borders (France, Italy and Switzerland) over 4 days, traversing beneath huge glaciers, and meandering through beautiful alpine meadows and picture-book villages. That's right, this is a truly memorable journey and one of worlds classic long-distance hiking routes.
This self-guided version specifically avoids the more popular places to stay and keeps you off the beaten track staying in fairly remote refuges. One for the wild ones. . You will experience the full version of the Tour du Mont Blanc independently and fully self-guided.
Not sure whether you're ready? No problem. Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test or join us on our Tour du Mont Blanc guided trips:
Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test
YOUR ADVENTURE STARTS HERE
WHO IS THIS FOR?
This version of the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek is only suited to very fit hillwalkers, capable of trekking for multiple days carrying a reasonably heavy rucksack for long distances. You follow footpaths each day and the terrain is very hilly. You can expect to do up to and over 2000m ascent and descent per day. You stay in a mixture of mountain refuges, gites and auberges during the trek, which all provide basic but comfortable lodging and good food. This helps keep your packs fairly light carrying only snacks, clothing and essentials.
It might seem like a lot to take in so if you're not sure if you're ready.. No problem. Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test or join us on one of our Tour du Mont Blanc guided trips: Take our Tour du Mont Blanc Trek 'Readiness' test
3 Nights, 4 Days
Les Houches, Chamonix
June - September
You have a fair amount of experience climbing, hiking or skiing more technical terrain. You’re comfortable on sustained adventures and you call yourself a ‘hardened’ adventurer. You're not quite George Mallory but you subscribe to his 'because it there' attitude.
See real footage of previous expeditions
The Tour du Mont Blanc Trek02:21
Stunning views and great memories. This is the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek.
What is Self Guided Trekking?01:27
Olly and Charlie discuss what a self guided trip looks like.
Beginner Hikes Tour Du Mont Blanc25:55
Dave’s experience on the Tour du Mont Blanc with us.
A snapshot at Omar’s experience on the trails with us.
Meet The Team01:48
Introducing our crack squad of mountain lovers and adventure junkies. We spend most of our days plotting, planning and building some of the very best trips out there for you all to enjoy.
EQUIPMENT REQUIRED FOR THIS TRIP
Please note this is a guide and you may be required to rent or purchase last minute equipment on arrival dependent on the weather and changes in itinerary.
For the full downloadable Tour Du Mont Blanc Trek kit list please click here.
Mountaineering-specific 35-40L backpack
Foldable or telescopic poles are best
Hiking shoes / Trail Shoes
Good grip and ankle support is recommended
Light technical jacket, ideally with a hood.
Something light and thin.
Keep them light and thin.
Highly breathable, lightweight synthetic technical t-shirt.
Keep them light and thin.
Stretch, durable mountaineering trousers.
Ideally thin and single layered so it can fit under the helmet.
Choose your hat of choice as long as it shields you from the sun.
Side-leg zippers are helpful
Good walking socks are required
Good to have for approaches to the mountain huts especially in warmer temperatures
Fleece windproof gloves
Factor 30-50 High Mountain sunscreen
You must be able to carry at least 2L of water in your backpack
Sleeping bag silk liner
You don’t need a sleeping bag itself, as blankets are provided in the huts
Don't forget to pack spare batteries. They're essential
ID and documents
Passport / Driver's license, Visa, Insurance
Cash / credit card
For extra costs such as drinks and snacks
First aid kit
Blister kit, paracetamol, etc
Bandana / Buff
Highly recommended for the mountain huts
YOUR ADVENTURE PACKAGE
The trek begins in Les Houches at the Bellevue cable car in the Chamonix valley. Typically people will arrive the night before and overnight either in Les Houches or overnight in Chamonix and take the train from Chamonix to Les Houches in the morning to start the hike. If you would like us to book your accommodation for the first night please ask.
- 3 Nights accommodation
- 3 Breakfasts
- 3 Dinners
- Planning and reservations
- Virtual briefing with an Adventure Base representative
- Welcome pack
- First aid kit
- A detailed itinerary
- 24/7 Support communication with our team in Chamonix
What's not Included?
- Flights and transfers
- Lunches, snacks and drinks on the trek
- Luggage transfers
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE ACCOMMODATION
We know the importance of having comfortable accommodation on this trip. After a long day of trekking it's vital to have a comfortable bed and good food to enjoy in a scenic location. We've handpicked refuges and other mountain accommodation along the way that we're sure you're going to love. (A single room supplement is available where possible, please request this far in advance)
- + 4
ON THE TREK
The majority of the accommodation on the trip will be in dormitories and / or small shared rooms. You can upgrade in some of the accommodation options if requested in advance and based on availability.
3 Breakfasts + 3 Dinners
Immerse yourself in Nature
Here you'll find the full itinerary including distances (KM) ascents and descents each day and a rough estimate of how long it will take.
Start point: Les Houches
End point: Chamonix
Length: 4 days
Whilst you will try and stick to the tried and tested itinerary below, availability in some of the locations may not always be available. In this instance we will provide a suitable alternative and make sure you're aware of any changes.
Bellevue - Croix du Bonhomme
This itinerary takes the Bellevue cable car from Les Houches to the Bellevue Plateau & picks up the path for the Col du Tricot. After the Himalayan suspension bridge the route begins to gently climb until the spectacular Bionnassay glacier comes into full view. From here you can see the top of the Col du Tricot and it’s a steady climb up to the grassy saddle. Spend some time here to admire the views over the Miage Valley and far off the Col du Bonhomme. The descent down is STEEP! Take it easy and use your poles. Reaching the valley floor follow the signs to reach Refuge Miage in just 5 minutes. After an initial short climb from the Miage Valley up and over to Auberge du Truc. From here it’s a long steady descent through the forest into Les Contamines. From the valley you can choose to walk along the river to Notre Dame de la Gorge or pick up the free shuttle bus (navette) outside the Tourist Office to Notre Dame de la Gorge where the trail heads out into the wild once more. Take a moment to visit the beautiful Notre Dame de la Gorge chapel next to the gushing water before setting out on the well marked path. Warning – the trail is VERY steep here along an ancient slabbed Roman road to Refuge Nant Borrant but pleasantly flanks the bubbling racing gorge for much of the ascent. After reaching Refuge Nant Borrant press for almost a further 3kms before reaching Refuge Le Balme. From here you’ll start climbing the Col du Bonhomme and then the Col du Croix du Bonhomme, an ancient route across these mountains. From the top of the Col du Bonhomme the route skirts around for a further hour before reaching your bed for the night at the cavernous Refuge du Croix du Bonhomme.
25.2km / 2030m up /1240m down / 8 - 10 hours trekking
Croix du Bonhomme - Courmayeur
Today you’ll trek from France over the Col de la Seigne into Italy. Ciao! If the weather is fine take the alternative route via the Col des Fours. The trail can be picked up just before Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme so you’ll need to double back on yourself for a couple of minutes to head via this route. The Col des Fours is a spectacular variant leading over a lunar landscape before dropping into the Vallée des Glaciers picking up the traditional route at Ville des Glacier. Note this route cuts out the hamlet of Les Chapieux. Never attempt this variant route if the weather is nothing short of perfect. If you’re continuing along the normal TMB route the well marked trail will descend all the way to the valley of to Les Chapieux, where you can stop for a welcome refreshment at the friendly Auberge de la Nova and carry on a further hour up the trail via Ville des Glaciers. Note: there is a navette (shuttle bus) from Les Chapieux to Ville des Glaciers which can shave a good hour off your timings. We have included this navette in our timings for this schedule. From Ville des Glaciers it’s a steady ascent past the converted dairy farm, Refuge les Mottets (a good place for lunch) up the Col de la Seigne – the frontière between France and Italy. In good weather this is your chance to see Mont Blanc again. The views here are spectacular as the Italian Val Veny lays before you. The descent is easy enough before hitting the U shape valley floor. You’ll pass the infamous Refuge Elisabetta reaching the arrow straight roman road to Lac Combal. The trail ascends from the emerald lac climbing steadily up to the highest point on stage 4, a spur from Mont Favre. Looking back you can see the monstrous moraine of Glacier Miage dwarfing Cabane Combal and on a clear day all the way back to Col de la Seigne. From here you’ll trace the contours of the south flank of the Val Veny, following the rise and fall of the mountain side with jaw dropping views of sawtooth peaks and Monte Bianco opposite. From Refugio Maison Vielle (during peak season Aug & Sept) take the chair lift and connecting cable car down to Dolonne which is a 10 minute saunter into Courmayeur. The descent from Maison Vielle is brutal and so we have included the chairlift / cable car down in this itinerary timings (29.9km 7hr 30) Note: taking the Les Chapieux shuttle AND the From Refugio Maison Vielle chairlift/Dolonne cable car reduces this day to 25.3km / 6.5 – 7 hours. The delightful Italian town of Courmayeur is your home for the night.
29.9km / 1470m up / 2740m down / 8 - 10 hours trekking
Courmayeur - Champex
You’ll cover a lot of ground today leaving Italy behind after crossing the Grand Col Ferret into Switzerland before catching a bus between Ferret or La Fouly onto Champex-Lac with a last push onto the next refuge the Relais D’Arpette. The day starts with a steep ascent up to Refuge Bertone and traverses along the gentle southern ridge of the Val Ferret valley today passing Refuge Bonatti before descending to Chalet Val Ferret. From here the trail climbs up past Refuge Elena and up and over the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), the border between Italy and Switzerland. Drink in the rugged peaks and icy glaciers before descending for Switzerland’s landscape changes here to gentle pastures and farm land. Passing the working dairy farm, the Gite Alpage de la Peule nestled into the mountain side on the other side of the Col, it’s an easy descent to the hamlet of Ferret where you can pick up the bus to Champex-Lac. Alternatively continue onwards to La Fouly where the bus also stops.
34km / 2210m up, 1730m down / 8 - 10 hours trekking
Champex - Le Tour
Today is the most technical day of the TMB and can only be done in good weather. Never attempt the Col du Fenêtre in anything less than perfect weather. You will need to return to Champex-Lac and continue on the traditional Bovine route if bad weather is predicted. The terrain on the ascent to the Col du Fenêtre is unlike the trail on the entire rest of the TMB circuit. The trail is not marked well and can easily be lost in bad weather. The boulder field just before the Col requires a lot of attention and trekkers need to be mindful of loose screw and rocks that dislodge easily and can be fatal to trekkers below. Set off super early though and you’ll be in for a treat. The descent from the Col du Fenêtre is nothing short of astounding. Hairpin bends wind down the rocky descent with the incredible Trient Glacier trailing down beside the trail. This huge hunk of ice will mesmorise you during your descent and will surely be one of your unforgettable memories of this incredible trek. Reaching the Buvette at the bottom of the descent you’ll turn left crossing the bridge and tackle the steep ascent to Refuge Les Grands (a cosy manned un-catered refuge). Watch out for the Tibetan style path cut steeply into the rock. You’ll soon see Refuge Col du Balme with it’s iconic red shutters – a tiny dot on the Col du Balme saddle – another frontiere marking the boundary between Switzerland and France. The gentle balcony walk contours around until you pass the refuge. Re-bonjour! You’ve come in a complete circle and once again the Chamonix Valley is in sight. Look to the far end of the valley to spot Les Houches where you set off. Our itinerary descends now to the valley floor just past the refuge via the chairlift and gondola to Le Tour. Taking this shortcut is included in today’s timings (21.5km / 7.5hrs). However please note that this chairlift and cable car is currently closed for the duration of summer 2022 so you will need to descend to the village of Le Tour on foot adding a further 1 hour to your itinerary. Catch the bus from Le Tour into Chamonix. Well done!
21km / 1830m up / 1910m down / 8 - 10 hours trekking
Are you ready?
Our adventures are attributed a difficulty level from A to E. This Mags: Self Guided TMB Turbo 4 Days trip is rated Level C, for accomplished adventurers We recommend you only book a trip that reflects your ability.
For beginners and newcomers
- You’re not quite sure where to start but you’re hungry for an adventure
- Little / no prior experience
- Shorter time duration
- No technical skills required but keen to learn
- Basic level of fitness
For those with some prior experience
- You have some previous experience in the outdoors, whether that’s hiking, skiing or climbing, and are keen to build on that
- You will either be starting to venture into more technical terrain or slightly more challenging environments
- Some basic skills
- Moderate fitness
For accomplished adventurers
- You enjoy challenging yourself physically and mentally
- You’re comfortable on multi-day adventures and you call yourself an avid adventurer
- You're not quite George Mallory but you subscribe to his 'because it is there' attitude
- Strong level of fitness
Think you've got this?
This trip is at this level
For the pros
- You're ready to test your skills on the next challenge
- You're comfortable in most types of alpine environments
- Some level of technical skills
- Strong level of fitness
For the experts
- You’ve been on multiple adventures and have built up a solid skillset to tackle most challenges out there
- Good technical skills and knowledge
- Experienced in alpine/mountains environments
- Very high level of fitness
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Spring & Autumn
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READY TO TREK THE TMB?
We hope you've found all the information you need above, but if not don't hesitate to get in touch. If you're ready to book, follow the link below.Deposit/Book Now