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Tour De Mont Blanc

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Junglegirl 21 Feb 2008
Hi, It's my first time posting here and I thought some of you might be able to advise me. I'm going to do the TMB starting walking on 21st June. The guide books say allow 12 -14 days but I wondered if it is possible to complete the proper walk in 9 days? (obviously no cable-car-ing, lol) Hopefully there will be no days where weather would prevent walking and I'm not factoring in any rest days.
Has anyone got any advice for the trip and if anyone has done it, how did it go?
Anything much appreciated and many thanks.

Linda
 Alyson 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl: I'm doing it later this summer too and like you, I'm planning to get round in 9 days. I've done enough walking in mountainous areas to have a good idea of how many miles I can cover in a day so I think this is pretty feasible.
 billy.grant 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl: you'd want to be doing about 10-12 miles a day but should be very doable given that the runners can do it in around 20hrs.
 Mike Bradford 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Alyson: Yes 9 days is fine, I do guided trips and do it with 2 rest days and take 13 days, so if you have a reasonable level of fitness 9 will be fine. Enjoy it, it's a great walk!
jaypee 21 Feb 2008
Hi Linda,

I did the traditional anti-clockwise route in 9 days last year, doing 2 stages a day for 2 days the latter half of the route to fit it into 9 days. Was quite heavy going though as did it solo carrying all camping gear as started about 6th June before refuges open.

Would also have been nice to walk "light" and stayed in refuges, can heartily recommend the Col du Bonhomme refuge for friendly staff where I had lunch and the lovely Bonatti hut for sheer location.

If you fancy a day or two's rest in a fab campsite with amazing location in the Val Veni, Courmayeur, with great kitchen and BBQ facilities, small bar and shop and lovely friendly people try www.campinglasorgente.net

Got pics of tour at:

http://www.grumpybeard.smugmug.com/gallery/3881356_tqjgo#225319845

Feel free to mail if you have any more questions, enjoy it was fab experience!

Jon-Paul.
 Xav 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl:

i completed the walk with my family last summer, it was amazing! we did it with refuges over 11 days although there were definitely some days that you could double up to bring it down to 9 days. enjoy it

-xav
 Y Gribin 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl:

I did it in ten days with energy to spare. Nine days would have been fine, any less, a bit of an effort for 'an average walker' ! I second the Bonatti hut recommendation....in fact I would strongly recommend using huts 100% of the time. The backpackers I saw always seemed to be enjoying it fractionally less than I was! The best advise I can give is the most obvious: cut down your weight, it makes such a difference. If you want any specific advise on places to say/kit to carry, feel free to email.

(and if you haven't already, buy the Kev Reynolds Cicerone book)
 Trangia 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Mike Bradford:
> (In reply to Alyson) Yes 9 days is fine, I do guided trips and do it with 2 rest days and take 13 days, so if you have a reasonable level of fitness 9 will be fine. Enjoy it, it's a great walk!

Can you camp by most of the huts, but eat in them? I've considered doing it, but don't enjoy the crowded environment of Alpine huts and much prefer lightweight camping to get a decent night's sleep.

jaypee 21 Feb 2008
There are signs about saying no camping, but I did as love being under canvas and went by rules of tent up late as possible and taken down first thing. And carried all rubbish with me until next "bin" to dispose. The time I did the tour it was v quiet anyway.

I believe the gaurdians of refuges are open to query about camping next to them if you eat there but best to confirm I guess.

Although a great sense of inependance it was murder sometimes carrying all the gear to be honest. Left a copy of "White Spider" behind for some lucky soul to find at a bus stop in village somewhere, and ice axe/crampons in Courmayeur as unnecessary weight was killing me (didnt need them anyhow).

Unless you really really want to be in a tent stay in the refuges and enjoy!
 Big Steve 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl: I done it solo, camping all the way going in the opposite direction to everybody else. There was only one night where i had to camp wild. I would like to do it again, but next time I would probably use the refugees and gites. I think I done it in 8 days, although I had two very long days to get some where to camp.
 Y Gribin 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl:

Most of the huts are a notch up from 'mountain huts' in the Alps. You can pay a wee bit more for dortoirs of four people, or go for bunks. Some also have showers that you can buy a token for.

 Han_3 21 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl:

Last year a friend and I completed the TMB in 8 days - very do able providing you are adequately fit!

The weather was really unsettled in the area so it's worth saving the weight of a tent and taking some extra layers (IMO). We went at a similar time to you state in your plans and dealt with snow above 1800m!!?!

The huts and hut guardians were all fantastic... I can recommend a stay at Les Mottets.

Enjoy x
 edmitchell 23 Feb 2008
In reply to Junglegirl:

Done it three times. 9 days is very doable; as someone pointed out, it can be run in 24 hrs!

Using the huts is great, and maybe a hotel in Champex (dortoir accomodation if on a budget - if not, sky's the limit!)

My top tip is to get the bus up the valley from Courmayeur towards the Refuge Elena. It saves a bit of a slog if you take the road, the views aren't the best if you take the high route and it gives you a bit of a rest day and may help make up a bit of time in case of bad weather.

Have fun!
In reply to edmitchell:
> (In reply to Junglegirl)
>
>>
> My top tip is to get the bus up the valley from Courmayeur towards the Refuge Elena. It saves a bit of a slog if you take the road, the views aren't the best if you take the high route and it gives you a bit of a rest day and may help make up a bit of time in case of bad weather.


Sorry, but I've to strongly object to this, as the views on the "high route" (means Courmayeur -> Ref. Bertone -> La Saxe -> Col Sapin -> Col D'Entre Deux Sauts -> Ref. Bonatti - Ref. Elena) are possibly the best of the tour (ok, if the weather is good!)

I know that this may sound partial, but you may judge by yourself

http://www.zainoinspalla.it/images/panorami/bonatti.Il%20massiccio%20del%20Bianco%20dai%20monti%20de...

http://www.vdaoutdoor.it/img_mtb/fer_08.jpg

http://www.summitpost.org/images/large/221775.JPG

Skipping this part of the tour is a bit like skipping the Gioconda while you're at the Louvre
In reply to Junglegirl: 15 JUL 07 - The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®

From the 24th to the 26th August 2007

Tour du Mont-Blanc
3 countries - 163 km - positive altitude change 8900 m - 46 hours max - 2200 competitors.

Oh you did say complete the WALK!
jaypee 24 Feb 2008
In reply to edmitchell: I thought the Val Veni and Val Foret (sp?) were the most stunning places on the walk, imho.

I personally was stunned at the beautiful lush Val Foret looking over at the Granddes Jorasses, Aiguille de Triolet and Mont Dolent.

Isnt catching a bus cheating?
roybutt 17 Mar 2008
In reply to RichardBennett: Just researching the TMB for my first long-distance hiking this summer. Just would like to ask: HOW LIGHT IS LIGHT?
I HATE carrying a big pack on my back (especially uphill!) and l like to travel as light as possible but so far all my hikes have been single day ones. Can you really do the TMB with a really light load (under 7 kilos) and do you really need (in AUGUST) loads of cold weather gear? I know there's always a chance of poor weather but I don't want to be lugging loads of unnecessary equipment about. (I plan to stay in refuges).
Thanks for any help.
Regards
Roy.
roybutt 17 Mar 2008
In reply to RichardBennett: Sorry - just one other point. Do you find you can get into Refuges without booking if you get there for about 4pm? I don't particularly want to plan much in advance.
Thanks.
 Morgan Woods 17 Mar 2008
In reply to roybutt:
> and do you really need (in AUGUST) loads of cold weather gear?

i had a few spare days in cham in August 2004 so thought i'd walk around to Courmayer....unfortunately i wore shorts and t-shirt and only packed a light waterproof. Spent a freezing but very friendly night in the Chalet la Balme then got over the col de Seigne the next day in the freezing rain and decided to turn back at the next refuge. So yes....proper warm clothes are recommended.
 ksneds 18 Mar 2008
In reply to Alyson:

If you are looking for someone to join you then I know a girl who is thinking of doing this in late July and is looking for someone to hook up with.

Let me know if your interested and I will give you her e mail.

Cheers
 Tobias at Home 27 Mar 2008
In reply to Luca Signorelli: have got to agree with luca. the section from courmayeur is glorious.
ThereAndBack 28 Mar 2008
In reply to Junglegirl: Can you get into the Refuges without booking but just calling ahead? was also thinking about doing this in July, but concerned about huts being full at this time of year.
Junglegirl 30 Mar 2008
In reply to ThereAndBack:
I think from reading the guide books that whichever refuge you're in one night, will phone ahead to the intended one for the following night. So I'm led to believe anyway. I'm only booking my first night near Chamonix.
I'm taking an ultralight tent and sleeping bag and will prob camp most nights and stay in some refuges towards the end.
I'm not taking any cooking stove as I hope to camp near the refuges and buy supper in there. Travelling as light as possible
brucebruce 06 Apr 2008
In reply to Junglegirl:
Hi, we did the walk in 2007 - and consequently published http://www.walkingthetmb.com - if you look on the links page you'll see that there are picture journals of folks who did the trek in anything from 2 days upwards - all depends on your level of fitness and what sort of trek you want.
In reply to Junglegirl:

This all sounds good as I am only allowing 7 days to do it when I go out mid June.
 diggers 08 Apr 2008
I'm just starting to think about doing the TMB, but i would like to camp ( as I'm cheap) just wondering if there was a problem doing this.

Happy to stay in campsites where appropriate, but I have heard stories about camping being difficult on the tour - is this really the case?

can anyone affer any insight to camping your way around the TMB? did you camp near refuges or did you camp wild, are there campsites??

sorry for all the question, just starting to look in to this really.

thanks

Diggs

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