Tour du Mont Blanc: How to Prepare for the Hike and What to Expect

Hiking Mont Blanc safely

Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most exciting and exhausting walking trails in the Alps. The walk starts in Les Houches, a small village about 15 km away from Chamonix. There’s a bus line between these two places. Since it’s a circular route, the trail finished either in Chamonix or Les Houches.

Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc

Chamonix Valley and Mont Blanc. Image provided by Robbie Shade

It’s good to know that the trail goes through three countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland. Since the first two countries are in the EU and Switzerland has a soft border with them here, there are no legal issues for walkers.

Before attempting a hike around Mont Blanc, it really is important to prepare properly and research well so that you know what to expect along the trail.

Tour du Mont Blanc: What you need to think about beforehand

 #1 The duration and accommodation

In comparison with some trekking trails in the Andes or the Himalayas, Tour du Mont Blanc has a fair number of facilities. So, you don’t have to be Bear Grylls to survive this route. Still, you need to be prepared to sleep in a tent, because a soft bed won’t always be available during this 11-day walk.

Camping Les Houches Mount Blanc hiking trails

Camping at Les Houches. Image provided by Jerome Bon.

There are numerous campsites along this trail, but there are also dozens of mountain huts and low-budget hostels. So, it’s possible to combine camp and refuge accommodation. Every mountaineer will have to make their own choice based on their budget and preferences.

The drawback of camping is the fact that climbers need to carry along the equipment. But if the weather is fine, camping the Tour du Mont Blanc gives you the real feel of a trekking adventure.

On the other hand, it’s nice to get a proper wash and a good night’s sleep in a hostel room during the trip.

 #2 The communication and orientation

Just like on any mountain, the internet connection might be poor, or there won’t be any signal in some parts of this trail. But the accommodation units along the way usually provide free WiFi to climbers. However, there’s no guarantee that these connections are safe. SO it would be best to use a VPN to access the internet (you can get one here). That way, you’ll be able to post your images to social media and communicate with your family.

When you’re on the internet, you can check the part of the trail you’re planning to conquer the following day. Planning the stages one or more days in advance helps climbers organize their meals and breaks.

Apart from that, it would be smart to get a pocket guide for the Tour du Mont Blanc. They’re available in different languages. Also, they contain valuable information about accommodation along the route. Finally, they provide some practical tips for each stage of the walk.

Trekkers are kind and open-minded people. Don’t hesitate to ask your fellow climbers a question if you’re not sure how to get to the next point of the trail.

directions around Mont Blanc

It’s important to know which direction you are heading in. Image provided by Koen.

#3 The hydration and nutrition

Unlike some other climbing destinations in the world, the Alps have numerous sources of drinking water. Therefore, climbers don’t have to carry gallons of water along the way.

Drinking water, staying healthy whilst travelling

Drinking plenty of water is essential for staying healthy when travelling (Image provided by Darwin Bell)

It’s enough to take a medium-sized bottle and hit the trail. You’ll be able to refill it at one of the stops.

When it comes to food, it’s necessary to put a fair amount of energy bars in your backpack. Trekkers burn from 2000 to 3000 calories a day on this route. Therefore, it’s useful to give yourself an energy shot from time to time.

As for the nutrition along the trail, the meals in the restaurants and family-run inns are mostly traditional dishes. Because of that, vegetarians and people with special dietary needs should check out all the restaurants in advance. That way, they’ll be able to plan their meals and get enough calories to walk through the day. You can find some of them in the Trip Advisor’s guide for vegetarians on the TMB trail.

 #5 The sun and rain protection

The best part of the year to set off on this trail is from June to September. It’s summer in Europe in this period, so it’s more comfortable to walk at the altitude of 2.500m then.

Weather can change quickly on Mont Blanc

The weather can change quickly on the mountain. Image provided by Jean-Raphaël Guillaumin

Still, the temperature can drop even in this season. Therefore, climbers need to bring different types of clothing, as well as spare items. In case of rain, it’s crucial to have waterproof boots and a raincoat, as well as a hat and gloves.

On the other hand, climbers should bring sunscreen and sunglasses to prevent getting sunburnt.

Would you hike around Mont Blanc?

Even though the Tour du Mont Blanc isn’t a difficult trail, it’s almost 170km long. What’s more, it lasts for 11 days. Because of that, it’s necessary to get properly equipped for different types of weather.

Also, climbers need to learn more about the route and the accommodation units along the way. Those who can’t eat everything should plan their menu in advance. Finally, it’s essential to find out more about communication and orientation to avoid getting lost.

Taking all these measures will ensure that everybody finishes this trekking route safe and satisfied.

Mont Blanc at night

Mont Blanc at night. Image provided by Roman Boed.

Have you hiked Mount Blanc? We would love to hear more about your adventures up into the Alps and how you prepared for it.

Did you enjoy this article? Then why not PIN it for later…Follow this guide by @tbookjunkie for hiking Mont Blanc safely.  We remind you about all the things you need to think about during your planning stages and what to be mindful of when on the trail.

 

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