Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Tour du Mont Blanc Route Planning


I have been scrutinising the various options for us to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc in August, in particular, how far we will be walking each day, what the ascent and descent will be each day and where we will be stopping each night. We're looking at 11 days and nights before we get back to our start point, Les Houches. In summary form, here it is and time taken for each section is probably a touch generous but does not include breaks:

Day 1 - Les Houches to Les Contamines
Distance: 16km
Ascent: 646m
Descent: 633m
High point: Col de Voza 1653m
Time: 6hrs
Sleeping: Various

Day 2 - Les Contamines to R. de la Croix du Bonhomme
Distance: 18km
Ascent: 1316m
Descent: 929m
High point: Col des Fours 2665m
Time: 6hrs
Sleeping: R. de la Croix du Bonhomme

Day 3 - R.. de la Croix du Bonhomme to R. Elisabetta
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 1004m
Descent: 258m
High point: Col de la Seigne 2516m
Time: 5hrs
Sleeping: Refugio Elisabetta

Day 4 - R. Elisabetta to Courmayeur
Distance: 18km
Ascent: 460m
Descent: 1560m
High point: Mont Favre Spur 2430m
Time: 6hrs
Sleeping: various at Courmayeur
Day 5: Cormayeur to R. Bonatti
Distance: 12km
Ascent: 860m
Descent: 698m
High Point: Tête de la Tronche 2584m
Time: 5hrs
Sleeping: R. Bonatti
Day 6: R. Bonatti to La Fouly
Distance: 20km
Ascent: 895m
Descent: 1410m
High Point: Grand Col Ferret 2537m
Time: 7hrs
Sleeping: La Fouly hotel
Day 7: La Fouly to Champex
Distance: 15km
Ascent: 420m
Descent: 565m
High Point: Champex 1466m
Time: 5hrs
Sleeping: Champex hotel
Day 8: Champex to Col de la Forclaz
Distance: 14km
Ascent: 1199m
Descent: 1139m
High Point: Fenêtre d'Arpette 2665m
Time: 7hrsSleeping: Col de la Forclaz
Sleeping: Col de la Forclaz dortoir

Day 9: Col de la Forclaz to Tré-le-Champ
Distance: 13km
Ascent: 1069m
Descent: 1178m
High Point: Aiguillette Des Posettes 2201m
Time: 6hrs
Sleeping: Tré-le-Champ Auberge
Day 10: Tré-le-Champ to La Flégère
Distance: 8km
Ascent: 733m
Descent: 257m
High Point: Tête aux Vents 2132m
Time: 4hrs
Sleeping: La Flégère (private hostel)
Day 11: La Flégère to Les Houches
Distance: 17km
Ascent: 772m
Descent: 1546m
High Point: Le Brevent 2526m
Time: 7hrs
Sleeping: Les Houches and the back to the UK.



I need to start looking at flights and buses but with our kit largely sorted out, all I want to do now is get a map and start getting a clearer idea of the terrain. I am currently taking the view that my Scarpa boots will be on my feet. This will be rocky, mountainous terrain and I am not satisfied whether the path will be easy going or poorly maintained in places. From some of my research it seems to vary from tarred roads to craggy, demanding terrain. I am comfortable and reasonably fast and nimble wearing those boots so there is currently no good reason to change. There is every chance there will be snow in places, even in August, so I am convinced they are the way to go.

My kit list is on the Gear Page, and I'll review it nearer the time and after testing some more kit on our next weekend overnighter, probably in July in Snowdonia. As usual, I am happy to invite comments!

14 comments:

  1. Sounds fantastic. I would take a pair of light trail shoes as well for hot days and hotels/huts.

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  2. I did think about it, but my feet are a size 12 so they take up a lot of room - I was thinking of Integral Designs Hot Socks for huts as they have a 500 denier cordura sole as well as being likely warm enough at night. They'll look rather silly though...

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  3. Have you thought about Nike Mayflies? They weigh 250g (size 9) and fold flat. They are robust enough to walk in (although you wouldn't want to be too rough with them). The major disadvantage is the colour! They are cheap though. Much better than Crocs as a second shoe http://www.prodirectrunning.com/products/Nike-Running-Shoes-Nike-Mayfly-Mens-Running-Trainers-Industrial-Orange-Black-White-374.aspx?AFFID=078

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  4. Had a look - what a colour! Will consider them but in the end, I only want something for huts really as I can let my feet breathe on the trail if it gets that hot. I also have Montane Terra shorts so I suspect my thermoregulation will be ok. Also, I'm trying to keep the bulk of my kit down and shoes on a size 12 foot will be big no matter what.

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  5. Hi Maz, I'm interested in looking into a trip or two to the Alps. During your research and planning have you come across any decent web-sites or resources you can point me at? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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  6. My interest was first piqued by an article in Adventure Travel magazine about the Alps Haute Route. I can scan and email to you if you'd like. I then had a look at that but rather stumbled into the TMB through that. For whatever reason, I felt the TMB was more what we were looking for.

    The websites I used for the Alps HR were:

    http://www.mcnab.co.uk/trek/hrt.php
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute_Route
    http://www.pardoe.net/climbing/whauter.htm (they also did the TMB twice)
    http://www.greatwalks.net/itineraries/32_walkers_haute.html

    For the TMB:

    Kev Reynolds Giuode published by Cicerone is superb and the following websites are good:

    http://www.pardoes.com/climbing/tmb99.htm
    http://www.walkingthetmb.com/

    And this lad camped it:

    http://www.fogma.co.uk/foggylog/archive/366.html

    Really, it was Google searches, various magazines and the Cicerone Guide, which is comprehensive.

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  7. Thanks for the info, I'll have a good trawl! I'm also looking into a course with someone like ISM or Icicle this summer as I''m interested in some more technical mountaineering training, with the aim of summitting Mont Blanc next year.

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  8. My aim is to get my QMD's together over the next 12 months & take the Mountain Leader course which I'll eventually detail on here. Good luck with yours - sounds extremely interesting. Will you post about the course on your site when you do it?

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  9. I ought to say that Nigel did indeed do a Summits and Skills Course with Icicle Mountaineering and that can be found here:

    http://amountainhigh.blogspot.com/2010/09/summits-and-skills-4000m.html

    It's certainly worth a read.

    ReplyDelete
  10. My interest was first piqued by an article in Adventure Travel magazine about the Alps Haute Route. I can scan and email to you if you'd like. I then had a look at that but rather stumbled into the TMB through that. For whatever reason, I felt the TMB was more what we were looking for.

    The websites I used for the Alps HR were:

    http://www.mcnab.co.uk/trek/hrt.php
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haute_Route
    http://www.pardoe.net/climbing/whauter.htm (they also did the TMB twice)
    http://www.greatwalks.net/itineraries/32_walkers_haute.html

    For the TMB:

    Kev Reynolds Giuode published by Cicerone is superb and the following websites are good:

    http://www.pardoes.com/climbing/tmb99.htm
    http://www.walkingthetmb.com/

    And this lad camped it:

    http://www.fogma.co.uk/foggylog/archive/366.html

    Really, it was Google searches, various magazines and the Cicerone Guide, which is comprehensive.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Andrew, I am planning roughly the same route this coming August. Wondering if you booked all the huts/accommodations in advance of your departure or were you able to do so from the trail. I'm tempted to do the Icicle Self Guided tour as they will book all the huts in advance.  Is this necessary or a good idea in your opinion? Or can I save the $ and book along the way? Thanks for any advice.

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  12. Book en route. Get the details from the Tourist Information Office in Les Contamines in advance - they'll email it to you. This has all the contact details but you can make a list yourself from the online details. I found that booking 1-2 days in advance was enough, but be more careful at weekends and book perhaps 2-3 days in advance. Always book Elisabetta Soldini in advance as there is nothing nearby and it's popular. Don't waste your money on a self-guided tour - read the posts on this blog and that's most of what you'll need. Comment again if you need anything else.

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  13. Thanks! We are headed out next week. Weather looks a little chillier than here in the Sawtooths of Idaho. We'll plan accordingly.

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  14. I hope you have a great trip. Come back and tell us about it!

    ReplyDelete