Author Topic: Advice on tour du mont blanc?  (Read 2063 times)

The Wondering Wanderer

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Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« on: 10:07:48, 21/02/19 »
I've got my plane tickets booked for the TMB in september and had a couple of questions for anyone who's been there before?


When booking my flights I noticed it says you can't take gas canisters on the flight. Is there anywhere in Chamonix/ Les Houches where I could get one when I arrive?


What's a good daily budget to go for? I'd heard about 50 euros a day would do nicely.


And finally how often do you pass somewhere you can resupply on food/water? It looks like there's only 1 stretch where I'll need about 2 days worth. That seems to be the maximum.


I'm planning on camping all the way round so am not relying on refuges for food.


Any and all advice welcome.


Thanks.
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.

astaman

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #1 on: 10:24:17, 21/02/19 »
I don't have a direct answer to your questions having never done this trip but, if you scroll to the bottom of the Walking Forum - Index there is section and international walking. A search through there might answer your questions and offer a few trip reports for information and inspiration. Good luck with your trip, it sounds fantastic.

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #2 on: 11:36:28, 21/02/19 »
Thanks for the idea. I checked it out and found Bricams TR and a video.
I really can't wait to go.
Especially after seeing all the scenery in his video
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.

Maggot

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #3 on: 12:09:44, 21/02/19 »
Chamonix is well stocked with outdoorsy shops.


It's tourist season in the playground of the rich and famous, your budget should do, but be prepared.


The Alps in the summer get way hotter than you expect, take 2 Camelbaks and fill them at every opportunity.  There is a reason why the Tour de France riders all look 1/2 dead after a day in the Alps.



gunwharfman

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #4 on: 13:40:57, 21/02/19 »
I've done the TMB and if you're planning to hike the route anticlockwise (which I think is the best way to do it) I would suggest that you start at Les Houche. If you decide to start at Chamonix you will either have to walk UP to the walk, (a zig zag slog) or catch a cable car and then going the anticlockwise way around you will then have to walk DOWN to Les Houche. Personally I'm glad I did this down route to Leas Houche on my last day because it finishes at the train station. Then, to get back to Chamonix you can walk (very easy) or go by train, equally very easy.

I've walked the TMB both ways round, preferred the anticlockwise. Luckily I had really good weather both times.

You will have to make one important decision on your way around, but not until you get to Champex. Do you hike over the Fenetre d'Arpette varient route, or take the more northerly official route? Both to me are equaly good but they are different as well. The varient is over a mountain, the northly route is more footpath and green, with a Refuge en route just in case you need a beer by then! If it was me and doing it for the first time I'd hike the official route.

En route I found that I could often, when high up, could drink the water straight out of the streams or out of pipes, some are marked as OK. Although I carried about 2.5L each day I was never worried about finding water. I would also suggest that you do stay one night in a Refuge, I think they are great fun! Everyone starts the meal at the same time, turned into a great boozy and entertaining evening. I think its the most international of routes, I met people from 'everywhere!' I stayed once in the Rifugio Bonatti, a really great setting. Mont Blanc is at this point 'in your face' the bulk of it in front of you  is stunning! If you want to wild camp as I did the second time, but just have the meal, there is plenty of flat grass areas about 200 - 500yds before you get to the Refuge.

Innominate Man

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #5 on: 14:01:19, 21/02/19 »
Is your trip entirely within September or do you overlap into October ?
Only asking because we once made the mistake of getting into Chamonix the first week of Oct and a lot of the shops (in fact a lot of everything) were shut. Not everything closes but generally it's the end of their season and they shut up & head off for a well earned rest.

Only a hill but all of life to me, up there between the sunset and the sea. 
Geoffrey Winthrop Young

pdstsp

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #6 on: 15:00:28, 21/02/19 »
In addition to IM's comments - best to check which refuges are open as some close mid September onwards in other parts of the alps (not sure about TMB ones).  You might be glad of one.

dank86

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #7 on: 19:21:59, 21/02/19 »
I'm planning g on doing it in July with a tent. I'm spending the night before I start in Chamonix and will get my gas etc there to then get the train times houches.

Plenty of places to fill up with water from what I've seen so no need to carry more than 1 water bladder.

gunwharfman

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #8 on: 19:36:27, 21/02/19 »
The footpath from Chamonix to Les Houche is almost flat and so easy to walk. I was in camping on the Les Houche site at the time, I had a spare day, it was sunny and hot, so I walked to Chamonix, had a look around, had a meal and then walked back. The following morning I was so lucky, two young female campers gave me a lift in their car, all the way into central Paris.

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #9 on: 07:41:47, 22/02/19 »
Thanks everyone for all the replies.


I'm going for 2 weeks at the very start of september. I know the route doesn't take that long. I'm giving myself time for a day off or 2 en route and if I don't use them I'll bum about in chamonix for a couple days. Maybe take the cable car up to aguille du midi (should be an interesting trip as I'm petrified of heights).


I'm definitely starting to rethink not using the refuges. I'll still sleep in my tent but is bonatti one of the ones that lets you eat there even if you're not staying? It does sound fun.


I'm mostly using campsites I heard about on a blog by Anna Paxton. There only seems to be one stretch where I might have to wild camp for a night. But I might wild camp other nights just to save cash for other things.


For the first time around I'll be sticking to the official route. I'm already thinking about going again with my kids next time.


I have a filter so as long there's plenty of streams I should be ok. I'll take your advice though maggot and take an extra camelback but will only fill it if I need to.


I hadn't thought about going anticlockwise. I was just going to stick with the official route in the 'traditional' direction. Got a few possible changes to ponder now. Thanks again everyone.
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.

route2rock

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #10 on: 08:29:05, 22/02/19 »
I went anticlockwise last year and would recommend this direction, starting in Les houche.


There are lots of water fountains, and you don't have to filter this water as the sources are higher up and they run pipes down to the fountain. We stayed in refuges and carried 3lt bladders. We drank plenty as it was hot, and didn't run out. We just drank at each fountain then filled up again.


A lot of the refuges were open in the day for food and drinks as well, and worth stopping at some for a well earned rest (especially in the hottest parts of the day).


Courmayeur in Italy is a popular rest day. Large choice of accommodation/shops/food and it has a relaxed vibe. You can also get the cable car up from here which is 20 cheaper than the main chamonix one.


I also wish we had planned time to stop at lac combal, it was a sunny and hot day, and the lake looked very inviting with people swimming etc.
Find out what I've been up to @ http://www.instagram.com/route2rock :)

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #11 on: 09:35:38, 22/02/19 »
Courmayeur in Italy is a popular rest day. Large choice of accommodation/shops/food and it has a relaxed vibe. You can also get the cable car up from here which is 20 cheaper than the main chamonix one.


I also wish we had planned time to stop at lac combal, it was a sunny and hot day, and the lake looked very inviting with people swimming etc.


Both of those ideas sound good. I'll probably be going through my itinerary many times between now and september. All this advice will be getting factored in.
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.

route2rock

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #12 on: 10:05:00, 22/02/19 »

Both of those ideas sound good. I'll probably be going through my itinerary many times between now and september. All this advice will be getting factored in.


Just realised I meant Champex-lac as the town/lake we should have stayed longer at, that people were swimming in etc!


Although lac combal was very pretty as well ;)
Find out what I've been up to @ http://www.instagram.com/route2rock :)

gunwharfman

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #13 on: 16:29:30, 22/02/19 »
One of my best memories was on a camp site near to Cormayeur. I went in the campsite 'restaurant', a shed! They only had pizza so I ordered a veggie one. I thought the young man would just come from behind the bar and take a frozen one out of his freezer. It didn't happen that way! A door behind him opened and there was a middle aged lady (I found out a little later that she was his mum) with a large dollop of dough in her hand. She was dressed from head to toe in 'chefs whites' with a very stylish white hat on! She came to the middle of the floor and twirled and twirled the dough until its was nearly the size of a dustbin lid. We customers all applauded her! Her son then took quite a few more orders!

When my pizza arrived it was aubergine slices and peaches! Absolutely wonderful! I went to my tent drunk and happy. I left early the next morning and about 1km up the mountain I realized I'd left my hiking sticks propped up again a campsite tree. I never went back for them, too steep to do it all over again, so I just strolled on 'kicking myself!'

The Wondering Wanderer

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Re: Advice on tour du mont blanc?
« Reply #14 on: 19:03:28, 22/02/19 »
I love hearing everyones good memories from this trip. They're all great inspiration for things to do on my way around.
I'm wondering about wandering and wonder where I might wander if I wander while I wonder.