FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Your Questions, Answered

 

IS THE TRAIL WELL MARKED?

Generally yes. However, due to the route variants of trail it can be confusing. Also, the weather can cause issues with the signs and damaged. All our itineraries include a guide with the appropriate location devices and equipment for emergency services.

WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE ON THE TMB?

  • Not booking accommodation early enough

  • Setting off too late in the day

  • Not heeding to weather warnings or checking the weather in advance

  • Not taking appropriate equipment.

HOW DO I STAY SAFE TREKKING THE TOUR DU MONT BLANC?

There are a number of ways to make sure you stay safe whilst you trek the Tour du Mont Blanc. If you have a guide, they will keep you safe, however if you're on your own you should:

  • research the route well taking care to understand the difficulty and elevation of each stage – don’t underestimate how long it can take to cover the distance

  • always check the weather report and never set off on the trail if weather warnings have been issued

  • set off early every day so that you are not hiking in the dark if you have underestimated your day

  • put the local rescue services numbers in your phone for each country and make sure that every member of your group does likewise

  • take a basic medical kit

  • take a map and compass or an offline GPS map such as Gaia to pinpoint your position

  • download ‘these three words’ app to help you pinpoint your position to emergency services

  • never veer off the marked path and never go onto a glacier

  • always carry a torch and a whistle to sound the distress call

WHAT NUMBER DO I CALL IN AN EMERGENCY ON TMB?

  • Europe - 112 or text 114

  • Italy - 118

  • Switzerland - 1414

Mountain Rescue

Often it’s quicker to call mountain rescue directly rather than the emergency services. They will immediately get the helicopter out if immediate assistance is required. Put these numbers in your phone.

  • FRANCE – Chamonix Helicopter rescue (PGHM) +33 (0)4 50 53 16 89.

  • FRANCE – Bourg St Maurice rescue helicopter +33 (0) 4 79 07 01 10 (for the Contamines/Les Chapieux French sections)

  • ITALY – Aosta Valley helicopter +39 (0) 165 238 222

  • SWITZERLAND – REGA 1414

Other useful numbers in Chamonix are:

  • Chamonix Hospital: +33 (0)4 50 53 84 00

  • Compagnie des Guides: +33 (0)4 50 53 00 88

  • Office de Haute Montagne: +33 (0)4 50 53 22 08

  • Weather in English: 0892 70 03 30

WILL I GET A PHONE/CELL SIGNAL ON THE TRAIL OR THE REFUGES?

There is no doubt that phone signal has improved a lot over the years and it will likely continue to do so. However, despite what you might hear there are still spots along the trail, which doesn't have any. Specifically, the valley of Les Chapieux from Col du Bonhomme to Col de la Seigne. It's important that you have access to a means of communication here such as a satellite phone or an emergency walkie-talkie so that you can alert authorities in case of emergency. If you have a licensed guide, they should carry one at all times.

All refuges have landline phone's that you would be able to use if required. There isn't a point on the Tour du Mont Blanc, where refuges are more than 5km from one another.

WILL I NEED SPECIALIST INSURANCE TO TREK THE TOUR DU MONT BLANC?

Speak to an insurance specialist. We recommend checking that your policy is covered for Covid complications and that you have helicopter mountain rescue to your highest elevation point on the trail. 


The highest point on the classic trek is 2,584m. However, if you are planning to do some variants, ensure that you are covered for rescue up to 4,000m or 6,000m (if you’re planning to summit). You may be asked to pay a premium depending on your elevation.

WHERE TO FIND THE WEATHER REPORT?

HOW DO I FIND OUT ABOUT VISA REQUIREMENTS?

Speak with your local government consulate as this is different for each country.

DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE?

Technically, no. However, to come with Adventure Abroad it's a mandate that you have travel insurance.

THE TRAIL

WHAT IS THE TOUR DU MONT BLANC (TMB)?

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a 170km/105mi trek that circumnavigates the highest peak in Western Europe – Mont Blanc (4809m/15777ft). Trekkers cross into three countries, starting in France, then walking over mountain passes into Italy and Switzerland. Typically, trekkers take between 9 and 14 days to complete the circuit with the opportunity to do all or part of the trail. The scenery along the trail is awe-inspiring. With a backdrop of Mont Blanc and the Mont Blanc Massif, the actual trail is well marked, however, can often be covered with snow and ice depending on the time of the year. Generally speaking, you can see Mont Blanc and other rugged mountains for the entirety of the hike.

HOW FAR IS THE TOUR DU MONT BLANC?

The full Tour du Mont Blanc circuit is 105 miles or 170km, which is broken into 11 stages. You have the choice of how many stages you want to do or if you want to do multiple stages at one time.

WHAT COUNTRIES DOES THE TMB GO THROUGH?

The Tour du Mont Blanc trail route goes through France, Italy and Switzerland. This region is known as Savoie, which at one time wanted to be its own country. Typically, your itinerary starts at Chamonix or Courmayeur and you can choose to go clockwise or anti clockwise.

HOW DIFFICULT IS THE TOUR DU MONT BLANC?

We give Tour du Mont Blanc a 3/5 in terms of difficulty. Don't be fooled by the comforts that surround you such as the comfy beds, cheeses and wine. However, it's nice knowing that you do have that to go back to when you're slogging it up a hill. This trip is incomparable to the likes of Everest Base Camp or Kilimanjaro, it's much more comfortable, and we believe so long as you're fit and active then you have a pretty good chance of getting through unscathed. Tour du Mont Blanc does not require any mountaineering skills, just a good attitude.

 

There are lots of refuges where you can stop and relax along the way, grab a bite to eat or have a coffee and prepare for the next part of your day.

We believe it's important to treat yourself to a rest day throughout the circuit: Courmayeur or Champex are great options. Not only are they amazing villages to visit and explore, but it also gives your body and mind a chance to recover.

WHERE IS THE START POINT OF THE TMB TRAIL?

Most people use Chamonix as a base for Tour du Mont Blanc. Chamonix gives you the option of going clockwise and anti-clockwise.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO TREK TMB?

The Tour du Mont Blanc officially has 11 ‘stages’ and most people do 1 stage per day. We recommend adding an additional rest day in your tour, so can take up to 12-days of hiking.

It's a great tour because it allows flexibility and choice. Some people like to do it quickly over around 1 week and they'll utilise public transport or transfers to get between stages. Others like to split their tour up and do it over multiple seasons.

SHOULD I HAVE A GUIDE OR CAN I DO IT NON-GUIDED?

Theoretically, you can do this trek on your own.  However, all Adventure Abroad experiences contract guides who are licensed through (IML) International Mountain Leaders Association and are members of (UIMLA) Union of International Mountain Leaders Association. They are all trained with the appropriate accreditation and insurance for operations in the European Alps.

CAN I TAKE PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO SHORTEN THE STAGES?

Yes. There are lots of public transport options to shorten stages or to save weary legs. It’s possible to take cable cars and chair lifts up and down mountains, to take buses along some of the valley roads and there are also a number of small shuttles (navettes) that operate during the peak season. In a worse case scenario, you can always catch a taxi to your next destination. Adventure Abroad organises all your transfers for you.

CAN WE HIKE TOUR DU MONT BLANC WITH KIDS?

Yes, you can. However, we don't recommend taking people under the age of 14. This is totally up to you but can certainly be accommodated.

DO I NEED TO BE FIT TO HIKE TMB?

The reality is, this is a comfortably hike and it can be tailored on an individual basis so that you can manage. You can do this hike in 6 days hiking 12-14 hours, or you can take your time.

We recommend consulting a fitness professional with your itinerary so that you can build up your fitness base to match.

WHAT SHOULD I PACK?

You can download our packing list here