Pete's Trip Reports

Tour of Mont Blanc, Sep 2006

Pete and Jills Tour of Mont Blanc. Click on any picture below to get a bigger version.

EasyJet lost Jills rucksac, leaving us stuck in a hotel Les Houches while we waited for it to (hopefully) turn up. In the meantime we went into Chamonix and priced up a load of stuff, in case it didn't turn up. Not a particularly promising start! We finally got going a couple of days later.....

Day 1: Les Houches to Les Contamines

It was raining in the morning, and there was no sign of the missing rucksac. It finally arrived by courier at lunchtime. It looked a bit worse for wear. The main hip strap was half torn from the body, as was one of the shoulder straps, the buckle was broken, and the chest strap had disappeared altogether. We managed to get it into a usable state by tying some of the straps to each other. To try and recover some time, we took the cable car up to Bellevue, then a short walk down to Col de Voza to pick up the route. At least the rain seemed to be easing off a bit.

Lots of jeep track and road walking down from Col de Voza

At Les Contamines there was a short detour into the village, and there was a well stocked supermarket, where we bought quite a bit of food. The campsite was a bit further along the river, and it was fairly quiet. We piched up next to a gazebo covering a picnic table. It came in quite useful, as almost as soon as we had got the tent up, there was a burst of torrential rain and hail.

Day 2: Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

Day 3: Les Chapieux to Elisabetta Refuge

Day 4: Elisabetta Refuge to Courmayeur

Day 5: Courmayeur to Bonatti Refuge

Day 6: Bonatti Refuge to la Fouly

Day 7: La Fouly to Champex

Day 8: Champex to Col de la Forclaz

Day 9: Col de la Forclaz to Les Frasserands

Day 10: Les Frasserands to Lac Blanc

Day 11: Lac Blanc to Les Houches

The End

A day in Les Houches campsite to recover. Just to fully complete the circuit, as we took the cable car on our very rushed first day, we walked up to just below Col de Voza. But its a pretty uninspiring walk, through construction sites for new chalets sprawling up the hillside, then up wide steep dusty jeep track, with occasional construction trucks hurtling down, probably not worth the bother to be honest.

All in all, the TMB is a reasonably pleasant walk. Quite a lot of it is fairly pedestrian (and relies heavily on the views for interest), but there are also some more interesting and rugged bits too. The Cicerone guide by Kev Reynolds has good descriptions, and combined with the 'IGN 3630 OT', 'IGN 3531 ET' 1:25k maps should suffice. There is also a 1:50k map 'A1 Pays du Mont-Blanc' which is better for identifying distant peaks and glaciers.

Walk facts