Tour du Mont Blanc

Trekking around the Mont Blanc massif: the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is justifiably one of the best-known treks in the Alps.

Mont Blanc from Lac Blanc
Mont Blanc from Lac Blanc

Hiking all around the Mont Blanc massif: The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is rightly one of the most famous trekking routes in the Alps. It goes in 10 days through three countries around several 4000-metre peaks, with around 10000 metres in altitude over a distance of 170 km. In short, it alternates high-altitude trails with extremely spectacular views and relatively boring stages.

Lac Blanc and Mont Blanc
Lac Blanc and Mont Blanc

I chose Col de la Forclaz (bus from Martigny) as the starting point. One pass further on, the most beautiful section begins with the first views of the Aiguille Verte, Mont Blanc and the Chamonix valley. Over a mountain ridge, the route descends into the valley and then, on the side of the Aiguilles Rouges, immediately ascends again to the wonderful Lac Blanc. On this day I had more than 30 °C in the shade, a sharp contrast to the autumnal summer I had in Berlin before.

Aiguille Verte, Grandes Jorasses and Mer du Glace from Lac Blanc
Aiguille Verte, Grandes Jorasses and Mer du Glace from Lac Blanc

The next morning it rained and there was no sign of the mountain giants opposite. So I decided to wait a day. In the afternoon it got better and I made a detour to the Aiguille Crochues. From here, it is nice to see that at the neighbouring Aiguille du Belvédère, sediments still lie on the basement rocks of the Aiguilles Rouges massif.

Aiguille Belvedere
Aiguille Belvedere: Here, a cap of sedimentary cover still lies on the bedrock of the Aiguilles Rouges massif

The next day, in good weather, I enjoyed the view of the jagged granite peaks opposite, through which the huge valley glacier Mer du Glace winds. I hiked with great views (and together with many day-trippers) via Flégère, Planpraz, Col du Brévent and le Brévent to Refuge de Bel Lachat.

Chamonix from Bel Lachat with Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille du Chardonnet, Aiguille d’Argentinière, Aiguille Vert, Aiguille du Plan
Blue hour, Chamonix from Bel Lachat with Aiguille du Tour, Aiguille du Chardonnet, Aiguille d’Argentinière, Aiguille Vert, Aiguille du Plan

A day later I went down to les Houches and then cheated and took the cable car to Bellevue. Now came the most boring part of the hike, down into the valley and all the way along the ski resort of Contamines. It’s crazy: there’s a loudspeaker on every streetlamp, playing department stores’ music. So I hurry up the valley as far as possible! At Col des Fours I can finally see Mont Blanc again.

Mont Blanc and Val Veny from Col de la Seigne
Mont Blanc and Val Veny from Col de la Seigne

One pass further on, at the Col de la Seigne, things get spectacular again: rock pyramids of limestone and granite tower above the Val Veny, a few small turquoise lakes are hidden in the moraine of the Glacier du Miage, and above it all, Mont Blanc.

Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, Lac de Combal (Val Veny)
Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, Lac de Combal (Val Veny)

After looking over the moraine of the Glacier du Miage, which is covered with rock debris, I hike upwards along a trail on the opposite side of the valley.

Mont Blanc (Val Veny)
Mont Blanc (Val Veny)

Soon the path winds down to Courmayeur in the Aosta Valley and up again on the other side. There, the view goes across the Val Ferret to the Grandes Jorasses and back to Mont Blanc.

Grandes Jorasses (from Mont de la Saxe)
Grandes Jorasses (from Mont de la Saxe)

Over a pass, I return to Switzerland in the valley also called Val Ferret. The long section to Champex is more of a nice walk, without great views. On the last stretch to the Col de la Forclaz, there are still nice views of the Rhone valley and the Dents de Morcles, the destination of my next hike.

Map of the Tour du Mont Blanc


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