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UIMLA International
Mountain Leader

Tour du Mont Blanc Demi Tour North

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world’s great walks. On this demi tour of five days trekking you can enjoy half of the Tour du Mont Blanc’s classic itinerary from Courmayeur to Chamonix.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is famous as one of the world’s great walks and justifiably so. It is a magnificent circuit around the Mont Blanc massif which includes of course Mont Blanc itself, the highest peak in Western Europe at 4810m.

On good quality paths you will trek through varied landscape with breathtaking scenery traversing high, rugged cols such as the Grand Col Ferret 2537m then in contrast there are the alpine meadows with their rich abundance of alpine plant life. You will visit Italy, Switzerland and France on this tour each with their distinctive architecture, culture, local food and delicious wines. The average distance walked each day is 15km and the average height gain is about 900m per day. Expect to be walking for between 5-7 hours per day. Most clients find that the days can be taken at a comfortable pace with breaks and time to take photos.

For those who would enjoy them there are the options of big mountain walking days such as the day to the Rifugio Bonatti via Mont de la Saxe and then in contrast there are the alpine meadows with their rich abundance of alpine plant life and the mellow farmland of the Swiss Val Ferret.

Take a look at the Tour du Mont Blanc photo gallery>

Number of days trekking: five days trekking, at the demanding grade

Dates: from the end of June to the end of September so please get in touch if you have specific dates in mind. To see the greatest variety of alpine flowers the end of June and July are the best times to walk the Tour du Mont Blanc.

Group size: up to a maximum of eight, for groups larger than eight a second International Mountain Leader can be engaged.

Mountain Balance trip grading

Trip Grade: the demi Tour du Mont Blanc trek is graded as demanding. Click here for information on our trip gradings.

Start point: Courmayeur, Italy

Price: : I offer independent guided trekking. The price for my services as an International Mountain Leader per person for five days trekking (and help organising your trip) is 287.50€ per person plus expenses, based on a group of four people.

Full booking and pricing details here.

Accommodation choices: I realise that the choice of your accommodation is important for your enjoyment of your holiday so this is flexible: you choose your accommodation and the level of comfort you would like to suit your budget. Because you pay the provider directly for the accommodation there is complete clarity regarding these costs. I am happy to give information, an honest opinion and assistance to make bookings so that your accommodation is right for you.

There are different standards of accommodation available from mountain refuges (which often have small twin rooms available rather than dorms) and gites to four star hotels in places. Therefore it is possible to adapt the itinerary to suit your preferences and budget, for example it is possible to walk the TMB without staying in any refuges. When we discuss the specifics of your trip I will be able to give you accurate costings for the accommodation and any other expenses depending on your chosen itinerary.

Expect to pay something in the order of 38-46€ per person per night for half board in a mountain refuge dormitory and approximately 55€ per person per night for bed and breakfast in a three star family run hotel, based on two people sharing a twin room, this does vary throughout the Tour.

Further Options

Additional days or a shorter holiday

Many variations on the classic tour itinerary are easily arranged to suit the time you have available and your interests.

Baggage transfers

The mountain refuges are well equipped with bedding and duvets and picnics can be purchased en route so it is not necessary to carry a large rucsac on this tour. However, if you would prefer to hike on most days with only a day pack baggage transfers can be arranged, at an additional cost, between the overnight accommodation, except the Bonatti hut, or the itinerary adapted accordingly.

Terms and Conditions: please read the Terms and Conditions on our Small Print page carefully before booking your trek.

Kit list: please read the full list of items you'll need to enjoy our trek on our Kit list page.

The Tour du Mont Blanc - Demi Tour North - is from Courmayeur to Chamonix.

The evening before your trek starts we will meet in Courmayeur to chat about the trip and check your gear.

Day 1. Courmayeur to the Rifugio Walter Bonatti

We walk out of Courmayeur through Villair and up a very pretty zig zagging woodland path to emerge high above the valley at the Rifugio Bertone 1989m. From here there is a choice of two routes to the Rifugio Bonatti. Both routes have some of the most dramatic views on the whole of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

  • Main Tour du Mont Blanc route: For a somewhat easier first day, there is a short ascent to the main TMB path which takes an undulating traverse around the mountainside, which is covered in alpenrose and many other alpine flowers, to the Rifugio Bonatti at 2025m.
  • Mont de la Saxe option: This option makes for a superb, big day’s walk (almost 1600m of ascent). From the Bertone there is a further steep ascent onto a broad grassy ridge to the Testa Bernada and then by a narrower col to the Tete de la Tranche at 2584m. From here we descend before the final ascent of the day up to the Pas Entre Deux Sauts on then down to the Bonatti hut.

Day 2. Rifugio Bonatti to La Fouly.

From the Bonatti the path traverses and climbs continuing the dramatic views before descending to Arnuva. We continue on to the refuge Elena opposite the snout of the Pre de Barre glacier. The path then climbs steeply to reach the Swiss frontier at the Grand Col Ferret 2537m. We descend into Swiss Val Ferret and to La Fouly from where we take the bus to Champex Lac.

Day 3. Champex Lac to Col de la Forclaz

There are two options today:

  • Via the Bovine alpage: On the main TMB route we climb to the Alpage de Bovine 1987m. The path takes us through alpine meadows to a charming farm serving lunches, drinks and snacks. Their garden is a lovely place to sit and enjoy the big views into the Rhone valley and the Roman town of Martigny. From the high point 2049m the path descends through forest to the Col de Forclaz.
  • Fenetre d’Arpette 2671m: This high alternative is an option for good weather only. The route ascends the Arpette valley, up through a jumbled boulder field and then up a steep final scree slope to the Fenetre d’Arpette itself. This is an impressively set narrow gap in the rocky ridge between the Pointe des Ecandies and Le Genepi. Descending steeply from the Fenetre d’Arpette the path is initially rocky. It is worth pausing to admire the seracs of the Trient Glacier which are just to your left. A continually steep path brings you onto the old lateral moraine of the glacier and into trees before pleasant final kilometres beside the historic bisse or water channel to the Col de Forclaz.

Day 4. Col de Forclaz to Argentiere via the Col de Balme and Aiguillette des Posettes

There is an initial descent to Le Peuty before the path zig zags up through trees towards the Col de Balme 2191m. At the Col de Balme as we re-enter France we are rewarded with fabulous views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix peaks once more. From the Col we stay high crossing the ski area of le Tour and onto the Aiguillette des Posettes descending its broad ridge to Tre le Champs and on to Argentiere.

Day 5. Col des Montets to Chamonix via the Lac Blanc

From the Col des Montets we walk up to the high altitude lake the Lac Blanc 2352m and then down to the refuge at La Flegere. The refuge at the Lac Blanc, which features in many postcards, sits among smooth slabs of rock worn by the ancient glaciers with magnificent views of the Mer de Glace and Chamonix Aiguilles. We descend to Chamonix via La Flegere. There is the option of taking the telepherique down from La Flegere. We are quite likely to encounter bouqetin, or ibex, today and this stage includes some short sections of ladder.

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