Self Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc: Pre Trip Info - Adventure Base
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Self Guided Tour Du Mont Blanc: Pre Trip Info

27-10-23

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Thanks for choosing Adventure Base for YOUR adventure. In this page you will find everything you need in order to better understand your trip. We hope this is the start of a wonderful experience in the mountains.

Charlie, Olly, Virginia, Harriet, Estelle and Beth – The Adventure Base Team.

WHAT NOW?

PRE ADVENTURE

We’re so pleased you have chosen Adventure Base for your Tour du Mont Blanc trek. From now until you arrive at the foot of Mont Blanc we’re here to help you prepare so that you get the most out of your experience.

We highly recommend you download the mobile app called Vamoos, which has lots of useful information about the Tour du Mont Blanc. You will be able to login using the following details:

  • Username: AdventureBase
  • Password: Your Order Number

In due course we will send through your full trip itinerary within the mobile app Vamoos. This will be sent once we are able to confirm your accommodations on the trek. Your itinerary will contain the detailed information required to navigate the route from start to finish. But for now we know there are a lot of questions you’d like answers to before starting your adventure. Using Vamoos and reading all the readily available information on the app will help put your mind at ease.

ADVENTURE

With your bags packed and trekking boots on it’s time to get on the trails.

We welcome all our self guided trekkers to come and drop by our Chamonix Base Camp (located in Apartment President) on the morning of your first days trekking anytime between the hours of 8am-10am to pick up your welcome pack. The welcome pack includes a tote bag, a Tour du Mont Blanc map, an Adventure Base buff and an emergency blanket. You can also then ask any last minute questions you may have before setting off.

Apartment President, 78 Imp. des Primevères, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc. 

If you have rented trekking poles from us in advance you will be able to pick these up from the same location.

Please note: This doesn’t apply to you if your trip doesn’t start in Chamonix, we will arrange for your welcome pack to be in your starting location.

POST ADVENTURE

Please make sure you return your rental poles to our Chamonix Base Camp (located in Apartment President).

Apartment President, 78 Imp. des Primevères, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc.

When you finish your trek it’s time to put your feet up and enjoy reflecting on the experience you just had. Time to rest and recover and perhaps enjoy a few extra days enjoying the Alps before you depart.

MORE INFO

VAMOOS

Introducing Vamoos, the app that’s got your back! We’ve done some collaborating to make your Tour du Mont Blanc trek a breeze. It’s like having your own personal travel guide, offering easy access to everything you need, from itineraries and track details to water/food stops and useful information. With Vamoos, all your trip essentials are just a tap away, so you can focus on making the most of your time away and having an awesome adventure. You can log in via Desktop here or through downloading the app here. FYI – Please note that the desktop version won’t give you access to the ‘notifications’ and ‘messaging’ functions.

FATMAP

As part of your trip we provide you with pre-populated gpx routes that can be followed using FatMap. FatMap is an app that allows you to plan and track your routes in the mountains, as well as pin-point your location while in the field. You can learn more about the app and how to use it as well as grab a one month subscription for free here. FYI – Please note that it is a free 30 day trial so don’t subscribe more than 30 days before the end date of your trip if you’re not interested in purchasing the app.

COMMUNICATION 

Here are the three ways to get in touch with us:

Phone: for urgent issues, please call our Chamonix office team (PHONE +33 7497 767 71)
Vamoos in-App messages: for non-urgent issue you can contact us through the Vamoos app’s messaging service during the hours of 9am-5pm.
Email: you can also send an email to hello@adventurebase.com; our typical response-time is within 24 hours

LUGGAGE TRANSFERS

There are two ways of managing your luggage on the trip. You can opt to be self-sufficient and carry everything yourself, or you can add luggage transfers to your trip. Luggage transfers means that you have someone deliver your overnight bag to to your refuge or hotel each night (sometime before 18:00). This allows you to carry a day pack but still provides you access to any other items you might want. Win!

However, there are some consideration you need to understand if you opt for this option. Firstly, not all refuges have vehicle access and therefore there may be some nights where you won’t get your luggage (you will be reconnected with your luggage at the next location where access is available). Secondly, you are allowed a maximum of 15kg per bag (a soft duffel-style bag is required – not a hard shell suitcase). If you are trekking in a group you can double up on a bag to save on the cost. The cost of luggage delivery is €35 per bag, per night where luggage delivery is available. Note: no food/water, valuables, or fragile items in luggage transfers please.

If you are staying in an Air Bnb, the luggage transfer company will not be able to collect your bags from your Air Bnb. You will need to bring your bags to a central location in Chamonix. 

If you are departing on the final day of your trek and don’t have accommodation booked for that night, you will also have to pick up from a central location in Chamonix but please note that it may not be delivered until 6pm.

Please get in touch with us on hello@adventurebase.com if you would like to add this to your booking or discuss in more detail.

RENTAL EQUIPMENT

‘Trekking poles or no trekking poles, that is the question!’ A famous William Shakespeare quote… sort of! Trekking poles are not essential but we do recommend them. On a long trek like this having poles to help with effort and balance/stabilisation on both the ascents as well as the descents is a big bonus.

If you do want to use poles or perhaps try them for the first time we rent poles for €25 for the whole duration of your trip. Please get in touch at hello@adventurebase.com. Your knees will thank you for it!

INSURANCE

Let’s face it, these types of trips don’t come risk free. We’re putting ourselves in amazing environments but these also carry an element of risk with them. In order to protect yourself adequately you will need a specialist travel insurance that caters for the types of activities you will be undertaking. It is a condition of our agreement that you are covered by adequate travel insurance for your arrangements. Click here to understand which one is right for you (highest point on the TMB is 2665m elevation).

MONEY

There are two types of currencies used while on the trip: Euros and the Swiss Franc, though most if not all Swiss refuges on the TMB will accept Euros (€1=1CHF). You will need to carry some cash on the trip as not all businesses accept credit card (especially the remote refuges). Along the route you will find ATM’s in Les Contamines, Courmayeur, Champex and Chamonix, but we recommend planning ahead in case these are out of order. You can expect to spend anywhere from €15-€50 per day, depending on what you order.

CULTURE

You will experience the French, Italian and Swiss cultures on this trip. Think wine and croissants in France, coffee and pizza in Italy, and cheese and chocolate in Switzerland. Although separated only by mountain peaks, you can see the different distinct nuances of each country.

You are also likely to encounter many different nationalities enjoying the TMB alongside you, which is also what makes this trip so special.

LANGUAGE

The French speak French. The Italians speak Italian and the Swiss speak… errr, everything but mainly French in this region! While we encourage you to try to speak the language of the country if you can, don’t worry most places you come across will also speak English.

French:

Hello: Bonjour (pronounced: bon-zhoor)
How are you: Comment ça va ? (pronounced: koh-mah sah vah ?)
Goodbye: Au revoir (pronounced: oh reh-vwahr)

Italian:

Hello: Ciao (pronounced: chow)
How are you: Come stai ? (informal) / Come sta ? (formal) (pronounced: koh-meh stai? / koh-meh stah?)
Goodbye: Arrivederci (pronounced: ah-ree-veh-dehr-chee)

ACCOMMODATION

The accommodation you will be staying in is often a mix of hotels and refuges. No one refuge is the same so expect a mix of service, comfort and charm. All the refuges are warm and comfortable but please remember that these are not 5* hotels so don’t expect the same service. Some of the refuges are hard to get to and often the staff working there have been there all summer with no breaks. Embrace the charm and remind yourself that the people working there are working hard to allow us to enjoy these trips.

The huts and refuges provide basic amenities they offer a unique experience in the heart of the mountains with breathtaking scenery. In contrast, the towns along the route offer more comfortable hotel and guesthouse options.

FOOD & WATER

When in the huts you will be treated to a three-course meal, often sharing a table with the other guests. The meal usually consists of a starter like soup, a main course of meat and pasta and some sort of dessert.  If you have a specific dietary request please let us know in advance so that we can notify the huts; please note that while vegetarian food is readily available, we cannot guarantee that more uncommon dietary requests will be able to be catered for.

Make sure you carry enough food and water to last you for the day. You can request a packed lunch for the next day from your refuge the night before (at a fee). While there are lots of places to refill a water bottle or grab a snack, you can’t always rely on it. We recommend carrying at least 2 litres and enough food to see you though to dinner if lunch is not available en route.

While you’re out and about on your trek, there are some neat spots to grab a meal. You’ve got refuges, huts, and charming little towns that offer all sorts of lunch options. If you want to plan your stops, just check out the Vamoos app for all the Points of Interest. You’ll find a bunch of huts, restaurants, and food markets listed. Oh, and they’ve also got places where you can top up your water bottle. And in case you’re wondering, you’ll spot extra water fountains nicely marked on the map for your convenience. So, whether you’re hungry or thirsty, you’re covered!

WIFI / SERVICE

Not all lodges will have WiFi but most will, especially in the bigger towns like Chamonix, Courmayeur and Champex. You get phone service for the majority of the trip but there are pockets where you don’t get anything. For example, in Les Chapieux, France you are unlikely to have any cell service and no WiFi service.

ITINERARY CHANGES

All accommodation has been booked in advance and we don’t have the ability to change it at short notice. Refuges are nearly always fully booked so you will need to stick to your itinerary. In the unlikely event that you’re not able to continue to your next accommodation due to injury or weather then you will need to arrange for alternative transportation. That might include a bus or a taxi to get you to where you need to be. Please get in touch with us (see “COMMUNICATION”) in order to discuss with us the best next steps. There are various stages of the trek that can be done via a cable car or a short bus journey. It is worth noting that this would be payable directly by you on site. Cable cars can always be paid by credit card but it’s worth having spare cash to pay for any buses you might need. Any changes to your itinerary while out on the trip are at your own expense.

TOP TIPS

Set off as early as you can in the mornings in order to give yourself enough time to get to your destination. It is easy to underestimate how long the journey can take and it is better to have ‘too much’ time than arrive late and miss dinner (dinner is served at a set time, usually around 18:00 or 18:30).

Make sure you’ve got plenty of blister plasters. Although your boots might be worn-in and comfortable, multiple consecutive days of trekking can still give you blisters and these can ruin a trip.

Bring enough cash. Credit cards are accepted in most places but not everywhere so having some cash on hand is important. We recommend budgeting around €15-50 per day for snacks, drinks, and other items you may need. Better to have slightly over what you may need, to make sure you can treat yourself to a Tarte Myrtille after a long day of hiking.

It’s worth booking pre/post trip accommodation in Chamonix rather than Les Houches, there are a lot more restaurant and accommodation options. The bus going to Les Houches and the official TMB trail head is very simple and easy.

FITNESS

This is a truly wonderful trek. However, it is also a challenging trek with big ascents and big descents. Please do not underestimate the fitness required to not only complete your trek but also enjoy it.

You don’t need be a Mo Farah but we do advise doing some training and making sure that you arrive in good physical shape for this type of adventure to ensure that you have a great time.

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