advice / tips

Responsible Hiking

lac blanc chamonix

The Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trail goes through some extremely fragile environments. Please be mindful about your presence in this incredibly beautiful area. Below we detail some of the issues to be aware of and things to keep in mind whilst you’re in this fragile glacial environment

No plastic bottles

This is fairly obvious and most hikers will be using either a camel bak hydration system or a reusable water bottle. Please do not bring any plastic bottles with you to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. Plastic bottles take a staggering 450 years to break down.

Choose a sustainable trek operator

If you want to join a guided trek of the Tour du Mont Blanc, do your homework and choose a local, sustainable trek operator. There are a multitude of companies that organise and arrange guided tours of the Tour du Mont Blanc. All are not equal. Read their websites carefully, call them up and ask them what their sustainability policy is and how that translates to real life practicalities. Are they locally owned so helping boost the local economy? Are they actively helping to reduce the pollution in Chamonix? Don’t feel like a fool. Every phone call you make to a trekking operator that could be doing better about their sustainable approach can only have a positive effect. As always money talks and where there is demand, others will follow.

Trek on the shoulder season

If you can, choosing to trek on the shoulder season of the Tour du Mont Blanc is of huge advantage, not to just you in that the trail is quieter, but on the effect of the flora and fauna, the infrastructure and the locals. The shoulder season for the Tour du Mont Blanc is June, early July and September. Choosing to trek the Tour du Mont Blanc during these times can help ease the congested trail through this fragile glacial environment. The high level of traffic on the trail during the peak summer holiday months takes a huge toll on the environment and can damage the trail. To reduce the impact of over tourism

Always stick to the trail – soil erosion is real

Please, please, please always stick to the trail. Untold damage is done to by countless trekkers veering off the well beaten trail. The consequence of one person bearing off the trail seems inconsequential but think about the sheer number of hikers thinking the exact same thing. Tens of thousands of hikers trek the Tour du Mont Blanc every summer – the consequences can be disastrous for the fragile local flora and fauna.

Soil erosion can have a big impact on the mountain sides of the Alps. The Tour du Mont Blanc is well worn obvious trail so you’d think that soil erosion wouldn’t come into play here. But consider how many times hikers take a short cut. It might be down to heavy traffic in peak season, trying to get ahead of the crowd but it only takes one person to start a secondary route. At first it’s tramping down the fauna, then it only takes a few more hikers to follow suit and you’ve got a short cut. Consider the impact of more channels for run off water. It’s something that many trekkers never think to consider. Please be aware of this and stick to the route. If heavy traffic is bound to grate on you, consider trekking the route on the quieter shoulder months and having the trail to yourself.

Try to stick the middle of the trail and if the trail isn’t wide enough stick to single file hiking. As much as you might want to chat side by side, please don’t. In most places on the tour, the trail isn’t wide enough to accommodate this. If you persist, the plants along the trail edge get destroyed and will never recover.

Litter & waste on the trail – leave no trace

Whilst my experience of litter on the trail in generally a pleasant one, human excrement is another. I get it, what do you do if you need to poo on the trail. Duck behind a rock right? If every hiker on the tour ducks behind a rock, you can imagine the tens of thousands of human shit building up. Yep you go the picture.

Please try to act responsibly. Never ever leave toilet paper behind, unless of course you’re digging a hole which we would totally recommend you do. Buy a portable poop hole scoop and you will massively earn hiking sustainably points. We recommend this one – it’s strong, super lightweight and can be attached to your backpack.

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