Mont Blanc breakdown – The main itineraries
Tour de Mont Blanc: Sometimes known as TMB, you can do this in one week or two weeks, depending on how challenging you want your Mont Blanc vacation to be. Either way, you get to marvel at the massif by circumnavigating its 170km at a lower level, using the trekking paths that link the seven main valleys surrounding the prestigious peak. Note: you do not climb to the summit on the TMB. Although many people start in the Chamonix Valley and go anti-clockwise, a great way to approach it is starting in Switzerland and go clockwise, as it is quieter. Either way, you will be traversing Mont Blanc’s mountainous tripartite terrain of France, Italy and Switzerland. The highest you climb on the TMB is 2,537m, staying in a variety of accommodation types according to your budget or comfort thresholds. Camping on a col is not for everyone, especially when you can have a hot tub with a view of one.
Climb to the summit: This is one of those challenges of a lifetime, with the pinnacle of this highest peak in the Alps standing strong at 4,810m. Covered in snow and ice all year round, you do need climbing experience to take this one on, as you will be using ice picks, crampons and a lot of courage to conquer the more elevated cols and glaciers. There are two options for getting to the summit: the Gouter Route, aka Voie Royale, or the more challenging Cosmiques Route aka ‘La Traversee’. The usual, and traditional, accommodation on the ascent is in mountain huts.
Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn: This route follows a classic ski touring route called the Haute Route, which are then used by hikers in summer. You spend two weeks hiking 100km through the valleys of the Haute Savoie in France to the Swiss Valais. Starting at the Chamonix valley floor, you ascend to start a journey which takes you beneath ten of the twelve highest mountains in the Alps. As you are way up there, you will sleep in mountain huts or in tents along the way.
Centre based trekking : this might be considered Mont Blanc ‘Light’ by the hardcore alpinists, but if they could come back to the hot tub overlooking their beloved beauteous beast of Mont Blanc every evening, with dinner and wine waiting, they might see this as Mont Blanc ‘Sorted’ instead. Taking on some of the mountain’s most celebrated hikes every day, such as Lac Blanc, Aiguillette des Houches and the Ferret Valley, you have the joy of minibuses to help with transits to and from your hike every day, for eight days. Hikes range from 9-15km a day.