Mont Blanc Taster [TMB] gives the cautiously adventurous the chance to fulfill a relative dream. For personal reasons, you have decided not to complete the whole Tour du Mont Blanc [TMB], or at least not at this particular juncture. However, you'd love to hike a bit of it, wouldn't you?
Walks in the Alps are Europe's best walks without a doubt, and Mont Blanc Taster [TMB] brings them within easy reach of anyone who is healthy and relatively fit. The section we have selected for you to hike is arguably unrivalled in the Alps, so you're seeing the best sights that are available. Moreover, we have arranged it so you do not have to walk too much on the first two days. Averaging three-and-a-half hours a day allows you to pace yourself into the tour, walk unhurried, enjoy the alpine fauna and flora, as well as the spectacular views along the way. Moreover, if the weather forecast is unfavourable, and the late afternoons can see some changeable weather in the Alps, then you can walk in the morning and enjoy your point of over-night stay to the full - and what contrasting fruits they are! In summary, you are under no pressure to get to a particular destination, but can 'chill out'. Admittedly you walk for about seven hours on Day Three, but it's your last day, so you are well into it by then and are sure to finish on a high.
Mont Blanc Taster [TMB] allows you to taste what it’s like to stay overnight in a mountain refuge. Well, you've always secretly wanted to experience it, haven’t you? But don't worry - it's only for one night, there are hot showers available, a restaurant and the bunk beds are conveniently arranged in alcoves of six to allow for greater privacy. There's no access by road, so you'll need to take your overnight essentials in your backpack just on this occasion. And of course there are real benefits to be gained from ‘staying up there for one night.’ Firstly, you don’t have to climb down from the alpine circuit at the day's end. Secondly, and most importantly, you get to savour one of the finest hiking locations anywhere in Europe, and share it with just a few other discerning overnighters once the day hikers have descended. We can assure you it’s worth every single minute.
Walks in the Alps is designed to be enjoyable and without the ‘slog factor.’ Your remaining three overnight stays are in comfortable hotels, with all your belongings thanks to luggage transfers, and you get to spend half a day in Chamonix just so you can say you’ve been there. Finally, we do not consider cable-cars and chair-lifts as cheating - you will use them to shorten two hiking days, save your knees and maximize time spent admiring the views (available June-Sept during daylight hours and not included in the tour fees).
Tour SummaryArrival day in Argentière.
The Mont Blanc Express train line is definitely the most eco-friendly option.
(Night in a comfortable 2-star hotel)
Day 1: Walk to Lac Blanc
via the route that avoids the Aiguillette de Argentiere trail with the vertigo-inducing ladders.
6 miles-9 kms, with 1100 m altitude gain.
(Comfortable chalet-refuge on the banks of the Lake)
Day 2: Walk to Chamonix.
6.5 miles-10 kms, with 1300 m descent; or 3 miles-4.5 kms, with 470 m descent plus cable car. Afternoon in Chamonix (Comfortable 2-star hotel).
Day 3: Walk to Les Houches via Brevent peak.
10 miles-14.5 kms, with 650 m altitude gain & 1500 m descent.
(Comfortable 2-star hotel).
Departure day. Breakfast & Bon Retour!
You bypass the metal ladders of the GR5 and take the 'Grand Balcon du Sud', arguably the finest stretch of trail in Europe. You lunch on the shores of Lake Cheserys before enjoying the fine views over the Mont Blanc Massif en route to your fabulous overnight location at Lac Blanc. You will delight in just being there.
Trail to Chamonix
You continue along the remarkable 'Grand Balcon du Sud,' across Le Massif des Aiguilles Rouges, and perhaps enjoy a drink or a light snack at La Flegere. From here, you can either opt for the cable car or take your time and enjoy the descent to Chamonix. The centrally-located Mineral Museum is well worth a visit.
Your last day’s hiking sees you avoiding the knee-crunching ascent back to La Flegere by taking the cable car. From there you continue your mini-trek along 'heaven's balcony' and through the 'Red Needles Natural Reserve,' where it would be unusual not to espy a family of marmottes at play or an Ibex armed with some impressively curved horns perched on an overhang.
After reaching the summit of Le Brevent (2525 m), the highest point of your mini-trek, you descend for a drink at La Refuge de Bel Lachat. Then you commence the final descent to Les Houches, tired but exhilarated and ready for that promised and well-deserved gourmet dinner.
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