While we try and stick to the tried and tested itinerary below, the mountain and the weather sometimes has other ideas. We will always remain as flexible as possible, which is why we only work with experienced and knowledgeable guides, to make sure we can change any plans if required.
This is a proposed itinerary and where you stay is subject to change based on how far in advance you book your trip. There is limited availability on this trek so we highly recommend booking in advance.
Arrival in Chamonix
There are no plans on the arrival day other than getting to Chamonix, France and checking in to the accommodation we’ve provided. You will meet with your guide and Adventure Base representative in the morning over breakfast where you will have an opportunity to ask any last minute questions as well as share your pre trip excitement with your group. If you do arrive early and need more equipment, Chamonix has a huge number of outdoor shops with a large choice of kit, so it’s a great place to top up your supplies. Overnight in a centrally located hotel.
Les Houches to Les Contamines
We start by taking a short train ride to Les Houches, followed by a cable car ride on the Bellevue lift. We then cross the spectacular suspension bridge at the foot of the Bionnassay glacier, and we have several route choices to get us to Les Contamines – we usually go over the Col de Tricot to make sure we stop at the Chalet de Miages for a coffee, looking up at the Dome de Miages, but if the weather is bad we can take a lower, easier route. Tonight we stay in a comfortable family-run hotel in Les Contamines.
11km / 850m up / 1400m down / 6 hours trekking
Les Contamines to Les Chapieux
We start the day by heading up the old Roman road to the pretty chapel at Notre Dame de la Gorge. From here it’s uphill, past the Chalet de Barme and up to the Col de Bonhomme (2328m) for a well-earned lunch stop. We then we have a gentle climb up to the Col de la Croix de Bonhomme (2478m). There are magnificent views of the Vanoise mountains and Mont Pourri from here. We then have a fairly steep walk down to the remote commune of Les Chapieux where we briefly lose phone signal. Overnight in a cosy Auberge.
18km 1350m up / 950m down / 7-8 hours trekking
Les Chapieux to Courmayeur
We walk up the road for an hour to reach the Refuge des Mottets, from where we start the climb up to the Col de la Seigne (2516m). From here the scenery really changes – you’ve reached Italy! We have fantastic views down into the Val Veny and over to the Val Ferret, and you start to see the other side of Mont Blanc and the other Chamonix giants. A descent past the Elisabetta hut (first Italian coffee of the trip!) takes us to La Visaille, where we take a bus down to the traditional Italian town of Courmayeur. Overnight in a family-run hotel.
20km / 870m up / 1015m down / 6 hours trekking
Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti
The trek starts with a push up to the Bertone hut for a late morning Italian coffee. Here, if the weather is good, we can take the variant to incorporate an extra peak: it takes a bit longer but it really is a stunning day – not many people, breathtaking scenery, and avoids the crowds in the Val Ferret. We spend tonight at the delightful Rifugio Bonatti hut, from where you can watch the beautiful sunset behind Mont Blanc.
19km / 1500m up / 750m down / 7 hours trekking
Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly
Today we trek over the Grand Col Ferret (one of the highest cols on the trip at 2530m). We are rewarded with stunning views of the Grandes Jorasses, the Grand Combin and the Mont Dolent (whose summit is the border of France, Switzerland and Italy). At the top of the col we cross over into Switzerland, where the scenery changes yet again. We continue to La Fouly, an alpine village with traditional Swiss “chocolate box” chalets. Here we take a short transfer to the beautiful alpine resort of Champex, where we overnight in a cosy auberge.
17km / 1130m up / 1450m down / 6 – 7 hours trekking
Champex to Trient
Today if we’re feeling fit and the weather is good we will take the Fenêtre d’Arpette route, the highest col on the TMB. If we want to be a little more relaxed, we can take the route via Bovine to the Col de la Forclaz. Both routes offer spectacular scenery. From the Col de la Forclaz we descend to the picture perfect sleepy Swiss village of Trient for the night and overnight in a nice family-run auberge.
14km / 1200m up / 1650m down / 7 hours trekking
Trient to Chamonix
We leave Trient early and hike over the Col de Balme back into France. It’s a lovely winding trail that leads us back to the sunny side and we are greeted by the panoramic views of Mont Blanc. From here we descend to Le Tour and transfer back to Chamonix to end the trip around 13:00. From here you can either transfer to Geneva for an evening flight or continue your visit by staying on in Chamonix. Let us know and we can help you planning.
15km / 1100m up / 1300m down / 7 hours trekking