take your time – the planning isn’t easy
There are several different ways to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. Guided, self guided assisted and self guided independent. Once you’ve decided to hike this epic trail, this is the first decision you will need to make.
The Tour du Mont Blanc trail is very well marked. It’s almost impossible to get lost apart from in bad weather. If you have an adventurous spirit, can read a map, use a compass, GPS device (or app) and take suggested safety precautions before and during the trek, then my advice would be to trek self guided independently.
If you would prefer a guided tour, perhaps you’re trekking solo and want the company of a group, or the invaluable knowledge of the area that a local guide can bring, and have the budget, then there are plenty of excellent tour companies offering the guided TMB experience.
The third option of self guided assisted tours is relatively new. These packages take the stress out of planning your self guided tour but do still come with a slightly higher price. As well as being able to plan & discuss your itinerary, the company books all your accommodation and plans your trip but you will still walk solo on the trek. Extras such as meeting up in Chamonix upon arrival, having 24hr contact during the trek, detailed hiking notes plus fat map GPX files & being able to booking hiking poles, airport & baggage transfers can make this a much easier option. My self guided itineraries are now available to book with Adventure Base, a local Chamonix based company who I work with exclusively for readers that want to take the ease out of planning and booking the Tour du Mont Blanc.
We discuss all the options of the advantages and disadvantages of hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc self guided (solo or assisted) or guided in our article here. Read this if you are still unsure which way you’d prefer to trek.
If you plan to hike the trail self guided independently then read on.
Planning your self guided Tour du Mont Blanc
Planning the Tour du Mont Blanc is no easy feat. Factoring in so many unknown aspects makes it extremely difficult for first timers to plan a self guided route. It was for me.
To get a better understanding of the route I hand drew the entire route out on a huge roll of IKEA paper, added all the stages, worked out the distances, elevation and passes and added comments and advice garnered from a million different blog posts. I was trekking with kids so it was vital I tried to piece together the information before setting off to make sure it was safe & doable for all of us.
Questions I pained over, such as how long each stage would take? How much would a full backpack slow me down, hamper the experience and should I get a luggage transfer? How much water would I need to carry each day? What were the best views – were there any rubbish sections I could skip?
Hopefully the sheer number of posts I’ve written below will help you plan your self guided Tour du Mont Blanc adventure a lot easier than it was for me and many other hikers in the past. Of course, there are plenty of guided tours if you don’t feel confident to tread out on the trail solo or there are also lots of self guided tours you can book that organise your itinerary and book your accommodation for you which is another great option. Having said that both obviously add to the cost of trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc. If you have an ounce of adventure in your bones and know how to read a map, it’s easy to trek the well marked Tour du Mont Blanc yourself.
REFUGES & ACCOMMODATION
PREPARING MENTALLY & PHYSICALLY
general tips & advice
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PACKING FOR THE TMB
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