Hiking Tour du Mont Blanc: To Guide or Not To Guide?

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A quick rundown of the pros and cons of having a guide on your Tour du Mont Blanc trek.

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is one of the most famous hiking excursions in the world, landing on many people’s’ list of “must-do” hikes. Renowned for its endless picturesque views and village-sprinkled mountainsides, it’s no wonder that thousands of people make the journey every year.

There is no one trail to trek Mont Blanc. The route itself covers 170 kilometers. There are various routes to trek the famed Tour du Mont Blanc trail. When deciding to do the Tour du Mont Blanc, one of the most important decisions will be whether to hire a guide, or to strike out on your own.

When deciding to do a self-guided tour, there is no shortage of guide books available. You could visit your local library or bookstore, or you could purchase one online. Most guidebooks come with maps. However, they may or may not be accurate or updated.

On the other hand, hiking with a guide comes with more pros than cons. To start off, the only major con is that you’d have to shell out for a guide. But even if you’re on a shoestring budget, booking a licensed guide is well worth it. How much is your safety worth? And ask yourself, do you really think a book will help you during a white out or emergency?

The Union of International Mountain Leader Associations (UIMLA) is an international association that produces and licenses International Mountain Leaders, or IMLs. The UIMLA is one of only two organizations that accredits internationally recognized mountain guides. The other is the IFMGA, or the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations.

An IML can massively improve the quality of your TMB experience. Not only are licensed guides extensively trained in navigation, mountaineering, and first aid, they are also required to be comprehensively knowledgeable in areas such as meteorology, mountain rescue, and a locale’s flora, fauna, history, and culture.

Having an IML with you can not only greatly enrich your TMB experience, but they can also make the going much easier on you. An IML can adjust the difficulty of the trek according to your needs, whether you want an easier going or a much more challenging hike. They can also customize your route according to your wishes. Want to swim in a mountain lake? An IML can take you there. Want to roll around in a field of wildflowers? An IML can take you there. Want to play in the snow? An IML can definitely take you there!

The advantages of an IML far outweighs its disadvantages. Expert local knowledge is paramount to having an incredible adventure experience.

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