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Duration
12 days
Activities
  • 12 day trip
  • 10 day guided alpine walk
Accommodation
  • 9 nights in mountain refuges/gîte-hostels
  • 2 nights hotel in Chamonix
Meals
  • 9 Dinners
  • 10 Lunches
  • 9 Breakfasts

Price

USD

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Overview

Trip Code: SOG5509

Trip highlights


  • Circumnavigation of Mont Blanc
  • Experiencing the exhilaration of trekking in the European Alps
  • Traversing high passes and walking through three countries
  • Enjoying the culinary specialties such as Raclette
  • Sharing your walking day with a group of like minded travellers

There is something unique about a circumnavigation of the Mont Blanc massif on foot. Perhaps it is a feeling of exhilaration from being immersed in some of the most beautiful mountain scenery on earth while a quaint village is only a few hours away. Or perhaps it’s the daytime forays where you and your companions tough it out over a glacial pass to descend to your evening accommodation for a nice quiet ‘local red’ to reflect on the days adventures. This is trekking at its most civilized! The route is always inspiring, ambling through flowering meadows, dipping into old oak forests and breaking out above the tree line into high alpine pastures which showcase the snowy peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif. The finishing touch... the opportunity to sample the warm mountain hospitality of the French, Swiss and Italian villages along the way.

Trip Grading

moderate to challenging

More info about grading system

On arrival in Chamonix you will be need to make your own way to the group hotel. This evening you are free to explore Chamonix at your own leisure. Overnight - hotel

Meals:  Nil

This morning you'll need to make your way to Les Houches. Here you will meet your guide and have a briefing before commencing the ‘Tour du Mont Blanc’, the official name for our 10 day walk. The route begins with an ascent to the Voza passage (1653m) and then across the Bionnassay glacier in order to join up with the “knitting pass”, or Col de Tricot (2120m). As we descend into this high mountain pasture area, which is a mesh of fields, we find ourselves in a truly fabulous setting – face to face with the stunning domes of the Miage. Overnight Refuge with shower.

Meals:  L,D

Today we will pass by the chalets of Truc and then the pretty village of Contamines-Montjoie. Our route continues along the ancient Roman road that leads us into the beautiful Nature Reserve of Contamines. We make our way through the “Bonhomme” mountain passage and have some fun making our way around Beaufortin and Tyrol, two mountains which form part of the French Alps. Overnight Refuge with shower

Meals:  B,L,D

Descending through luscious pastures, there may be opportunities to buy Beaufort cheese from the shepherds. We later pass through the City of the Glaciers (La Ville des Glaciers) – a magnificent place where the green of the pasture is covered-up by the ice. Following a steady ascent we reach the Seigne passage (2516m) where the ruins of a customs hut remind us that we are crossing into Italy. Here there is a first glimpse of the Mont Blanc massif from the southern perspective, and descending to the Vallon de la Lée Blanche, there are good views of the fabulous limestone and snow pyramid of the Grand Combin and the Estelette and Lée Blanche glaciers. In the afternoon we will enter a rocky landscape in stark contrast to the lush pastures of this morning ........welcome to the Mineral Kingdom! Overnight Refuge with shower.

Meals:  B,L,D

In the enchanted valley of Veni, the enormous Miage glacier flows down into the beautiful Lake Combal. This is the Italian side of Mont-Blanc that is offered to you from a truly beautiful standpoint and is perhaps the most enjoyable on the route. The trail continues along the flat valley floor overlooked by the serrated rock pinnacle of Aiguille Noire de Peuterey (3773m). There are some steep climbs, rewarded by magnificent alpine views, before we arrive in the town of Courmayeur, where you should definitely make the most of the amazingly delicious Italian Gelato (ice cream). Before arriving at the Berthone refuge (1970m) for the nights accommodation, we have a tough but rewarding 2-3 hour ascent. Overnight Refuge with shower.

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we have a major but scenic crossing to make, with great views over the 'Grandes Jorasses' . We begin by ascending to the flanks of Mont de la Saxe, followed by a steep ascent to a col immediately below the summit of Tete de la Tranche (2584m). From here the southern face of Mont-Blanc is really quite spectacular. We will pass through the high mountain pastures of Arminal, Malatra and Arnuva, before climbing up to Elena refuge where there are excellent views to the glacier and mountains beyond. Overnight refuge with shower.

Meals:  B,L,D

The sight of the Pré de Bar glacier, (a glacier that boasts a perfect tongue formation), is with us all the way as we make our way to the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), and the whole atmosphere is out of this world, and despite the climb is a very rewarding section of the walk. The col marks the border of Switzerland and Italy and the trail becomes wider and more defined on reaching the border. The ascent from the pass takes you to the valley floor and eventually the charming village of La Fouly. Overnight Hotel with shower.

Meals:  B,L,D

Although this is most definitely a quieter day, it is also one that brings you into contact with some scenes of amazing natural beauty. Dry meadows, pools of cold, fresh water and chalets that are as black as the small Heren cows that roam about, and are surrounded by flower filled gardens. Swiss village life is all about us and whilst the dramatic scenery of previous days is not as apparent today, it is a chance to experience the wonderful “Valais des homes”. Overnight gîte with shower.

Meals:  B,L,D

Our group takes the “Fenêtre d'Arpette” (2665m) route, which is a variant on the Tour du Mont Blanc and quite a challenge. The morning’s hike is almost completely uphill and the trail is not as well defined as on previous days but as with many pass crossings on this route, the rewards on a good weather day are extraordinary views, this time across to the Trient Glacier. This ascent will be one of the most memorable moments of the trek! From the pass there is an initially steep ascent before the gradient levels out to the Trient Valley. This evening will be spent in a gîte in Trient with shower.

Meals:  B,L,D

We make our way up the Balme mountain passage. You should have your cameras at the ready as you are afforded a fabulous view out over the Mont Blanc chain: you will be able to take some impressive pictures of “La Verte”, the Drus and the Needles of Chamonix. Crossing the “Grand Balcon” by the “Aiguilles Rouges”, (or the Red Needles), one is afforded different views out over the Mont-Blanc massif. Some sections of the trail today are on ladders and handrails are located on the steeper sections. A steep ascent and descent brings us to the Lac Blanc (the White Lake), a renowned beauty spot that has featured on many postcards and made the Chamonix valley famous. Overnight refuge.

Meals:  B,L,D

In order to reach the Chamonix valley, we take the 'Balcon' path, which looks out onto Mont Blanc. Our mules really come into their own at this point: prepare yourselves to come across many different nationalities here...the linguists amongst you will definitely appreciate it! You will encounter day walkers from Chamonix who have ascended to the path from the Brévent cablecar. The views continue to be inspiring and we will encounter many downhill ski runs as descend into the valley. We plan to arrive in Chamonix by 2:30pm. Overnight hotel.

Meals:  B,L

Your trip concludes today.

Meals:  Nil


Inclusions

  • 9 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 9 dinners (does not include drinks) – continental breakfasts are served and usually consist of breads, jams, coffee, tea and juices. Lunch is picnic style. Dinner will consist of 2 or 3 courses which include regional specialities.
  • 9 nights accommodation in mountain refuges/gîte hostels on a dormitory share basis.
  • Luggage transfer by mule (max 7kgs - early and late season departures use luggage van for transfer)
  • Experienced mountain guide
  • Internal transfers by cable car and local bus
  • 2 nights accommodation in a hotel in Chamonix
  • Edwina Parsons to accompany you on the walk

  • Travel to Les Houches and from Chamonix
  • Drinks
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Storage of luggage
  • Transfers
  • Travel insurance

About Your Leader

Edwina Parsons has been involved in the outdoor industry for over thirty years. Until 2014 she was Coordinator of Outdoor Education at Cranbrook School directing Cranbrook in the Field, their four-year compulsory program. She also held the key pastoral role of Housemaster. Edwina was on the Board of Outward Bound Australia from 2005 to 2016; during her tenure she was chair of the Safety Advisory Committee and the Board Safety Committee. She has trekked extensively in Australia and New Zealand with World Expeditions and has led overseas trips to Kenya, Nepal, Bhutan and more recently a walking adventure in Japan. In 2016 she walked the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain to raise funds for research for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and in 2018 the Larapinta Track for the Katrina Dawson Foundation. Edwina holds a BA in Visual Arts. She has been the recipient of a number of scholarships including the Art Gallery of New South Wales Travelling Scholarship and the Dyason Bequest. She taught HSC Visual Arts at Cranbrook. Her knowledge of and enthusiasm for the arts adds another dimension to her expertise. Her other interests include the theatre, tennis, meditation and yoga. She is a member of the Meditation Association of Australia.


Accommodation


Grading

moderate to challenging  

MODERATE to CHALLENGING – GRADE 4 The walking is moderate to challenging (4) grade with daily guided walks of around 5-9 hours, between 8 and 15km and maximum ascents / descents of 1700 metres per day. There are some challenging stages during the walk with steep uphills, descents, and many sections of the trail which require care. The accent is on keeping a steady pace to with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a good level of fitness to participate fully in this adventure. It is considered suitable for experienced walkers only. Early in the season (June) you may encounter snow on the passes which may be quite deep and alter the grading of the trip to challenging. At any time during summer, weather conditions may be variable and you should be prepared for all conditions including snow, ice, strong sun and extreme winds.


Departure dates


Want to organise a private group?

Fundraising events, sporting groups, family treats; learn how you can organise a Private Group from just 6 travellers.

Total Priceper person from

USD


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We offer different levels of accommodation and comfort so that even the most budget conscious can treat themselves to active holidays on Europe's most celebrated tracks and trails. Our trips are great value for money because you only pay for what you want.  

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