On 23rd July 2017 we met up in Les Houches for the start of our 2 week Tour of Mont Blanc trek. There was lots of excitement mixed in with a bit of nervousness about the trek to come. Over the next two weeks we had a bit of rain at the start, but fantastic weather, lots of fun and spectacular hiking for the rest of the trek.
This was one review from YR following the trek:
“I had such a good time during the Ben Nevis weekend earlier this year, that I couldn’t resist the Tour du Mont Blanc this July. The opportunity to hike through France, Italy and Switzerland is unique, and Kevin’s sense of humour and Yen’s kind encouragement made the trip extra special. Kevin is adept at pointing out marmots, ibex and eagles. Accommodation ranged from a plushy hotel in Les Houches to the quirky Refuge de la Boerne, where we had a merry evening on the vin de table and genepy! To top it all, we had a group of super people. “
There is nothing like starting a long distance hike in the rain. Unfortunately thats what we did as we headed out of Les Houches towards our first nights stay in Les Contamines.
So after a rather wet first day, we certainly enjoyed our hot and nourishing dinner at the refuge.
Spirits were still good as we started out from Les Contamines on Day 2, but the rivers were certainly an impressive sight after a bit more overnight rain.
Day 2 is one of the hardest days as we climb over the Col de la croix du Bonhomme and this time made even more difficult to due to some sleet and snow. The views from here are usually stunning and you can sometimes get your first glimpse of Mont Blanc itself, but not today.
The refuge du Mottets is always one of my favourites. Its in a stunning situation with views of the glacier, the accomodation is good and the food is always great in the old milking barn.
The rain stopped and amazingly the sun came out as we left France and entered Italy over the Col De La Seigne.
We had a brief stop at the Refugio Elisabetta for a coffee or beer and enjoy the views and we even got a brief glimpse of the summit of Mont Blanc itself. Oh and Alex got her hair dryer out, but I dont remember quite why.
Day 4 is a spectacular day and we were lucky enough to have our best day so far as we trek high above the Val Veni with stunning views of the Italian side of Mont Blanc.
Its a great place to stop and just wonder at the amazing views……and posing.
We usually stop at a great Auberge with views of the mountains and good food, before the descent into Courmayeur for our accomodation.
Day 5 of the Tour of Mont Blanc is a step climb up out of Courmayeur through woods. But there is a great Auberge waiting for us near the top and the view of the mountains and back down the valley are breathtaking.
After a break for coffee (we are in Italy after all) and a refill of our waterbottles we continue on until our lunchtime picnic spot for more great views and a nap.
After lunch before we reach the Refugio, we cross a bridge with thousands of butterflies. They are here each year and give us another excuse for a brief stop.
The refugio Bonatti is a fantastic place to stop for the night. Its quite a modern hut, with stunning views of the mountains, fantastic Italian dinners and of course Italian beer.
The next day we continue our traverse high up above the Val Ferret and we cross over the border into Switzerland about lunchtime.
Its then a long descent into La Fouly for our overnight stop in Switzerland.
The next two days are in Switzerland, so we have lots of lovely Swiss cottages to look at along with the grand mountain views.
The hike from La Fouly to Champex is the shortest day of the trek and can be taken as a complete rest day. However, it would be shame to miss as we pass through Swiss villages and then take a short climb up to the village of Champex. We arrive at lunch time, so we can take a proper break and enjoy the village and catch up with some washing after lunch.
From La Fouly to Trient is another great day as we climb up over the Bovine Alp (so called because the cattle grazing and pasture). Thanksfully the weather is still great and no more sign of the rain from the first couple of days. We arrive in Trient with its lovely church overlooking the village and great views of the Trient Glacier behind.
The following day we decide on another group photo as we leave Trient and begin the climb over the Col du Bonhomme and back into France.
As we arrive at the col and cross the border we are greeted with some of the best views of the Mont Blanc range since we left Italy. Which is a good enough reason for more celebrations and group pictures.
We then head down to take a lunch break at a great little Auberge at the Col des Posettes.
We have more great mountain views this afternoon as we head over the summit of the Aiguillette des Posettes.
Our accomodation at Refuge de la Boerne is always lots of fun. It has a lovely flower filled garden ideal for enjoying a beer, tons of character and great food. The accomodation however is quirky, uniquely alpine and decidedly cosy.
Our hike today starts with a long climb up through the Aiguille Rouge national park. We often see Ibex and Chamois through this area, but today we just have to make do with more stunning mountain views.
We continue climbing till we reach one of the most stunning areas in the whole of the Alps at Lac Blanc.
Our accomodation at Flegere is another typical alpine hut, with lots of history and its in an awesome position with amazing views of Chamonix and Mont Blanc.
The last day is another stunning days hiking. We traverse a great balcony route, with views of Mont Blanc getting closer all the time, then climb to a high point at Brevent.
Then we start our final descent back to Les Houches.
Its a long descent, which gives us great open views of the mountains at first and then through forest. We arrive back at our hotel in Les Houches for some very well deserved beers and refreshement.
After showers and a change into some clean clothes we head off out for a final celebration dinner in the village of Les Houches.
We had such a great trek and wonderful group, with so many memories and great friends.
If you would like details of our 2018 Tour du Mont Blanc trek, or to book, then click here to go to the trip page.
And this was one other review from Aimin after the trip:
“I had a most memorable hiking trip with Kevin & Yen for TMB 2017. I enjoyed this well guided trip immensely. Big thanks for Kevin & Yen’s professional advice before the trip & their very useful hiking tips during the journey. Because of their successful leadership & expertise, the whole group finished the TMB all together after we all faced different challenges. I definitely will recommend Mountain Hikes to my hiking friends & hope I can join their trips in the very near future.”