Tour du Mont Blanc Camping Trek

15 days
from
$2,325 USD
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Traveller ratings
4.7 / 5 from 138 reviews >
Trip code: 
TWB
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Walking & Trekking
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–14

A point-to-point trek with 3 rest days to enjoy spectacular surroundings

Experience has taught us that 15 days is the perfect duration to fully appreciate this iconic circuit around Mont Blanc - 10 days of trekking complemented by three days of relaxation. Led by an experienced International Mountain Leader (IML) the circuit crosses three borders, climbs over six passes, traverses beneath huge glaciers, and meanders through beautiful alpine meadows and picture-book villages. To lighten our load our baggage is transported between each campsite by support vehicle, leaving us free to enjoy the inspiring scenery found only on this classic trek, hiking around Mont Blanc.

Highlights

  • Fully supported camping
  • Admire spectacular views of Mont Blanc
  • Enjoy 3 rest days to relax or sightsee

Key information

  • 14 nights camping, mostly in good campsites with hot showers
  • 10 days walking with vehicle support; 3 rest days
  • 8 days challenging and 2 days moderate walking
  • Altitude maximum 2537m, average 1525m

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches, 13 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

10

Days of Walking & Trekking
Pace:

Approximately 6-8hrs walking per day

Terrain:

Low altitude; good paths with some steep ascents

Day by day breakdown
Day 210.0km/6.0miles
Day 313.0km/8.0miles
Day 416.0km/10.0miles
Day 515.0km/9.0miles
Day 614.0km/9.0miles
Day 814.0km/9.0miles
Day 924.0km/15.0miles
Day 1017.0km/11.0miles
Day 1218.0km/11.0miles
Day 1311.0km/7.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start at Les Bossons, near Chamonix.

    Our start point is the campsite in Les Bossons, with wonderful views from the campsite of Mont Blanc and the dramatic crevassed Glacier des Bossons, especially at sunset. In the evening there is an introductory briefing by the trek crew.

    Campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, Le Bossons

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Follow the Grand Balcon Sud from Chamonix to les Frasserands.

    From Les Bossons (1012m – 3320ft) we have a short bus journey to Chamonix from where we take a gondola to Plan Praz (2000m – 6560ft). The trail today is named the 'Grand Balcon Sud' and is a must do trek for anyone visiting the area. The trail contours on the opposite side of the valley from Mont Blanc and has excellent views of the whole massif lying to the south. We walk from Plan Praz to Flegere (1,900m – 6230ft) and onwards to Les Frasserands (1371m - 4500ft) where we finish our day. If timings allow we will climb to the picturesque lac des Cheserys (2200m- 7220ft). This walk has been amended from our previously advertised walk that brought us up the cable car to Flegere from where we then walked to Lac Blanc. The Flegere cablecar is being renovated during summer 2019. This amended trek is a little longer than the original and is equally beautiful.

     8.5 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 380m – 1250ft up, 1050m – 3450ft down

    Campsite: Camping Pierre Semard, Les Frasserands

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    Cross over Col de Balme to Switzerland and camp at Trient.

    We begin by climbing steeply to the Aiguillette de Posettes (2201m – 7200ft), descend a little and then ascend towards the Col de Balme (2,191m – 7190ft) where we follow one of the paths across the border from France to Switzerland. Excellent views all morning of Aiguille d'Argentière and Aiguille du Tour and its glacier. After lunch we descend to the small hamlet of Trient (1296m – 4250ft). Good views of the Trient Glacier. 

    7.5 hours walking. 970m – 3200ft up, 1060m – 3466ft

    Campsite: Basic Camping, near Trient

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Cross Col de la Forclaz to Champex.

    We climb first to the Col de Forclaz (1527m – 5010ft) and then onwards from where we can look directly down into the Rhône Valley and the Swiss town of Martigny. We follow a historic path used to take the cows to summer grazing, the 'Bovine route' (2049m – 6720ft) that takes us through meadows and high alpine pastures before descending to the charming town of Champex (1486m – 4880ft) set beside a picturesque alpine lake.

    7 hours walking. 920m – 3017ft up, 720m – 3261ft down

    Campsite: Camping Les Rocailles, Champex Lac

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    Head up Val Ferret to La Fouly.

    Now on the east side of the main Mont Blanc massif we walk south, descending through woods to the Val Ferret and on to Issert (1,055m – 3460ft) and other pretty alpine farming villages. This is also quite a good day for flowers earlier in the season, including orchids. We continue up the valley to the remote village of La Fouly (1600m - 5250ft) which lies at the foot of Mont Dolent, whose summit marks the meeting point of France, Switzerland and Italy.

    6 hours walking, 440m – 1450ft down, 540m – 1780ft up

    Campsite: Camping les Glaciers, La Fouly

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 6

    Climb to Grand Col Ferret, the highest pass of the trek.

    Still following the same valley and the river 'La Drance', we climb to the 'Grand Col Ferret' (2537m – 8320ft), the highest pass of the tour. Now in Italy, the valley is also called 'Val Ferret'. The mountain views from the Col are stunning with Grandes Jorasses dominating the scene. We walk down the valley to Arp Nouva (1,770m – 5800ft) where we then take an optional bus to Planpincieux (1,600m – 5250ft). For the first and last trip of the season the bus may not be running and we may need to walk to camp.

    7.5 hours walking. 970m - 3180ft up, 800m – 2600ft down.

    Campsite: Camping Grands Jorasses, Val Ferret

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Rest day.

    The nearby ex-spa towns of Courmayeur and Entrèves have picturesque older sections, which are worth a visit, especially for the keen photographer. There is a cable car from La Palud to Point Helbronner (3461m – 11350ft) and on across the glacier to the Aiguille du Midi (and in fact on down to Chamonix). This is a splendid (optional) excursion, which gives close-up views of all the big peaks.

    Campsite: Camping Grands Jorasses, Val Ferret

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Climb to Bonatti refuge and traverse high above the spectacular Ferret Valley around Mont de la Saxe to Courmayeur and on to Val Veny.

    We start with a short bus ride to pick up the TMB and from the road (1675m – 5500ft ) climb up to the Bonatti refuge (2025m – 6640ft). Today we follow a beautiful contouring path around Mont de la Saxe to Courmayeur. The views of the south Mont Blanc massif are exceptional as are those of the towering, peaks of the 'Grandes Jorasses' and the glaciers which crowd the northern flank of the Val Ferret. In the afternoon we have a long, steep descent to Courmayeur (1230m – 4030m) (superb ice creams!) from where we take a short bus ride into the spectacular Val Veny (1530m – 5020ft).

    8 hours walking. 500m – 1640ft up, 900m 4400ft down

    Campsite: Camping Aiguille Noire, Val Veny

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 9

    Re-enter France across Col de la Seigne and through La Ville des Glaciers to Les Chapieux.

    The trail climbs gently along the Val Veny beneath the moraine of the massive glacier du Miage and passes Lac Combal before the gradient becomes steeper as we follow the old Roman road across today's pass, the 'Col de la Seigne' (2516m – 8250ft), marking our re-entry into France. A fairly steep descent brings us through La Ville des Glaciers (1,789m – 5870ft) and finally to Les Chapieux (1553m – 5090ft), a small hamlet which is only inhabited in the summer months. This is one of the longer walking days.

    8.5 hours walking. 990m – 3250ft up, 970m – 3180ft down

    Campsite: Basic Camping, Chapieux 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Climb to Col de la Croix du Bonhomme and contour around to Col du Bonhomme.

    We have now reached the southwest corner of the circuit and turn north to climb once again. Today is a longer day; first we make a steep climb to the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme (2478m – 8130ft) and then contour around to the Col du Bonhomme (2328m – 7640ft). We then descend (again on a Roman road) to our campsite in Les Contamines (1180m - 5900ft).

    8 hours walking. 930m – 3050ft up, 1375m – 4510ft

    Campsite: Camping le Pontet, Les Contamines

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Rest day.

    There are short and long optional walks in the area. Time can be spent visiting the half-day market in Les Contamines, or you can simply relax around town or in camp and recharge your batteries for the days ahead.

    Campsite: Camping le Pontet, Les Contamines

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Cross Col de Tricot and Col de Voza to re-enter Chamonix Valley and descend to village of Les Houches.

    Another long day; we walk through Les Contamines, ascend to Chalets du Truc (1720m – 5614ft) and then descend to the Chalets de Miage (1,560m – 4120ft). From here we take the trail that climbs steeply to the Col de Tricot (2119m – 6950ft) before descending very close to the snout of the Glacier de Bionnassay where we will enjoy good views of the north side of the Mont Blanc massif. Eventually we make another short ascent to reach the Col de Voza (1652m – 5418ft) where we re-enter the Chamonix Valley and descend to the village of Les Houches (dependent on the time of year there is optional cable car descent from Bellevue to Les Houches). A short bus ride takes us to our camp in Les Bossons (1,012m – 3320ft).

    9 hours walking. 1200m – 3980ft up, 1370m – 4500ft down

    Campsite: Camping les Marmottes, Les Bossons

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Probably best views of Mont Blanc today on the long ascent to Brevent; descend to Plan Praz.

    We cross to the north side of the Chamonix Valley and climb through pine forest. The high point of the day is Brevent (2525m – 8290ft) from where there are panoramic views of the Mont Blanc Massif and the Chamonix Valley. We walk down to Plan Praz (1970m - 6460ft) and then descend by cable car to Chamonix and then on to our camp at Les Bossons (1012m - 3320ft). It is possible to take the cable car descent from the top (dependent on the time of the season), this extra journey will be payble locally should you choose not to walk. Our last day on the TMB circuit is long with a tough climb of over 1500m but affords the best views of Mont Blanc and its neighbours of the whole trek.

    7.5 hours walking. 1480m – 4850ft up, 520m – 1690ft down

    Campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, Les Bossons

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Free day at Les Bossons.

    Free day at Les Bossons (near Chamonix). There are several good walks in the Chamonix Valley. Chamonix itself is also a great place to spend a day. The most popular excursion, weather depending, would be the spectacular ascent by cable car to the Aiguille du Midi or the Montenvers cog railway.

    Campsite: Camping Les Marmottes, Les Bossons

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 15

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

No visa required for British passport holders.

Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Eating and Drinking

14 breakfasts, 10 picnic lunches and 13 dinners are included in the trip. On free days 7, 11, 14 and both transfer days, lunch is not provided. On the free day 7, dinner is also not included and needs to be bought locally. We take our evening meals in camp on eight nights, the other five in nearby local restaurants. The restaurant meals are usually arranged as a 'menu' for the whole group and as they are based on special negotiations made by us represent better value than eating independently. Please note that should the times of flights change to arrive earlier, or depart later, additional meals will not be included. No refund will be given for meals not taken or taken other than where designated.

Typical Meals

Breakfast: Will usually consist of coffee, tea, cereal, yoghurt, fresh fruit, bread, and conserves.

Lunch: Picnic style lunches will normally include bread, cold meat, cheese, sometimes boiled eggs or tinned fish, fresh salad vegetables and fresh fruit.

Evening meal: Whether in camp or in a nearby restaurant will consist of a first course of soup, salad or charcuterie, a main course of meat with one or two vegetables or rice or pasta and a dessert course.

Beer, wine, bottled water, coffee, tea or other drinks are not included in the price of evening meals taken in restaurants. Coffee and tea are included with the evening meal when we eat in camp and beer and wine are also available for purchase at a modest cost. Please be aware that, as this is a camping trek, cooking facilities are necessarily limited.

Vegetarians: We do make an effort to cater for vegetarian diets but you should not expect the variety of food that you may have at home. In Europe most hotels and restaurants are not geared up to provide separate vegetarian menus, especially smaller establishments in the mountains. Vegetarians will usually find that there is little difficulty, as long as they are prepared to be reasonably flexible.

Weather

From late June to early October fair weather is to be expected, but all mountain ranges create their own weather patterns and the Alps are no exception. It can and does rain and especially on the high passes it can be surprisingly cold at times. Expected daytime temperatures are in the range of 15 to 25ºC in the valleys (although it can sometimes reach 30ºC in July/August), 5 to 15ºC on the passes (though it will feel colder if wet and windy) and 5 to 15ºC in the valleys at night; possibly a little lower early and late in the season. There is always the possibility of lying snow, especially in the early season, and snowfall even in August and September when we may find new snow on the passes. Please note that on late season treks (September) the days are shorter and we will need to make early starts to make the most of the available daylight hours.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded Activity Level 4 (moderate/challenging) - it involves 10 days of walking; 2 days at a Moderate level and 8 days at a Challenging level. Most of the days are long, quite often involving an ascent of 900-1200m (or 3000 - 4000 feet), equivalent to 3 to 4 hours walking uphill, followed by a similar descent. Although the paths are well maintained there are sections that are rough underfoot. On day 2 there are 2 metal ladders to descend en route from Lac Blanc, these are secured against the rock, consist of approximately 12 steps and are not difficult to climb. The route throughout is non-technical however we will be walking mountain paths throughout and this trip is not advised for severe vertigo sufferers.

Please be aware on days 6 and 8 we take a short bus transfer to avoid trekking on busy roads.

Most people trek the TMB anti clockwise. From years of experience we have discovered that trekking the route clockwise allows for quieter trails and avoids a tough ascent of the first couple of days. The views and walks are still just as beautiful in this direction.

As this is a group holiday you need to be confident that your fitness will allow you to enjoyably walk at a consistent and steady pace that matches the group average, therefore allowing the group to finish the day at a reasonable time. You will also enjoy the trek a great deal more if your fitness allows you to walk the route in relative ease. A Challenging graded day would be equivalent to walking up Scafell Pike or Ben Nevis in the UK and take between 3 to 5 hours of walking up hill and up to 9 hours in total depending on the pace. We recommend that you make a special effort to get in good physical condition for the trip. 

If you are unable to walk during the itinerary and want to opt out of a day, please take note that this can sometimes be a little tricky dependent on where on the circuit you are. To reach the next point you will need to take a public bus (which run at limited times) or taxi (which can be expensive when in a more remote location). Our support vehicle is not suitable for taking passengers so please be aware of this when deciding to book this trip.

 You may find our Fitness Training Guide a useful reference:

http://www.exodus.co.uk/assets/pdf/Exodus_WT_Fitness_Training_Guide.pdf

All ascents, descents and walking distances listed below are approximates. We have decided the most accurate method is to map the routes carefully using google earth. That said it is impossible to obtain a completely true figure of the distances walked. Regarding GPS - due to the inherent inaccuracies of defining an exact waypoint with a GPS and the cumulative overall inaccuracy this causes, you may find that our distances and GPS distances you obtain on trek with your personal GPS/phone, may differ by quite a margin. Timings stated include lunch and photo stops and will vary depending on the pace of your group.

This trek is based on the 'supported camping' concept, with a vehicle doing all the hard work of transporting luggage, equipment and supplies. Whilst camping the support leader will erect your tent but in the morning you will be expected to pack away your own tent (these are modern pop up style tents that are very easy and quick to fold away and pack) and the whole group generally helps to load the support vehicle on the days when we move camp. On half of the nights we eat in camp, you should expect to help with the washing up. 

Please note: On this trip it is essential to have helicopter evacuation cover within your travel insurance.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Camping

You will spend 14 nights camping. This will mainly be at comfortable campsites with modern facilities, hot showers, electricity to recharge batteries etc. However you will have to camp at more basic sites on 2 occasions. Facilities at these basic camps are minimal with public toilets and cold running water only and no showers. Single tents available on request. Please note that the campsites listed in the trip notes can occasionally change from those stated.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed October 2018
    Mariana Kelemen

    Tour of Mont Blanc

    All went smoothly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing Mont Blanc from Punta Helbronner cable Car station.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Good judgement in all his decisions.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Read Exodus instructions carefully, follow them thoroughly.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    no
  • Reviewed October 2018
    christopher Spencer

    Spectacular adventure

    This was our first group travel expedition and it did not disappoint. We had been looking at this trip for a number of years through another tour company but we went with Exodus because of the supporting camping option which the other company did not offer (and a benefit that we thoroughly enjoyed). We found the entire experience to be very positive, professional and well organized with just the right amount of flexibility so that we didn't feel like we were micro-managed. Our mountain guide was experienced and did a very good job of watching over the group while allowing us to go at our own pace (within reason). The camp support leader was funny, helpful, and a fantastic cook. The near-perfect weather and jaw dropping views obviously played a big part in how much we enjoyed this trip but I definitely think that the quality of this trip was above the pack.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Every valley and every col had its own 'personality' and this made each day different. I loved turning a corner and discovering another fantastic view. It was also nice to be with a group so that the experience could be shared with others.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Shaun, our mountain leader was knowledgeable and experienced. He knew the route and the region well and provided very accurate introductions to each day's hiking. His pace was as steady as a metronome and perfect for the speed of our group. Once he understood our capabilities on an individual level he was good about letting us go on ahead or lag behind the pack if that's what we preferred. I definitely felt like I was in capable hands. Peter our camp support was so much fun and a delight to see at the end of each day because he has such a positive and warm personality. We arrived to a camp that was already set up which allowed us to chill out and relax as soon as we arrived. His cooking was fantastic and much better than the few restaurant dinners we had along the way. He was good about ensuring that each of the group members had what they needed for breakfasts and lunches.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be very honest with yourself when evaluating your abilities if you're considering this trip. Our group overall was comprised of fairly experienced hikers. I think that someone who's not able to maintain the group pace would risk not enjoying this trip themselves and also negatively impacting the group. Proper equipment is also a must. Weather can change quickly and being unprepared can make for a miserable and potential hazardous day.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I loved the supported camping option on this trip. I think the group had much more fun and bonded more than we would have had we stayed in hotels.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    Matt Walker

    Another one ticked off the bucket list!

    Fantastic experience with a great group! This is one of the great hikes in the world and a fantastic way to experience the Alps. The camping element added to the camaraderie of the group and saw us all bond quickly. Paul was an excellent leader, very knowledgeable on the mountains, nature and wildlife, his company and humor were very much appreciated! Kieron managed the camp to perfection with his excellent cooking and organisation, and always ready with an story to share. Don't expect to lose much weight on this trip!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The glacial lakes and passing over the highest point, the Grand Col Ferret.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Nigel Donovan

    Great walk

    Wonderful to get on this walk at the last minute. 11 other generous minded walkers. Lotte a talented leader and Pete a great cook and camp organiser.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each day was great.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Lotte Stuer was excellent. Talented in making people feel at ease. Thorough and funny in her pre walk briefings. She kept a quiet eye on us all but was ready to let is go at our own pace in appropriate places. An excellent leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Get a few good walks in to ensure the boots are broken in and know the challenge of a grade 4 week.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Both Lotte and Pete worked well together and worked well together.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Sara McDonagh

    I would do this again!

    This was an amazing adventure. I had never camped before nor had I ever trekked in the Alps, so lots of reasons to be a little nervous before I went. On reflection, any worry was unnecessary. The camping was fun and well managed. The scenery was amazing. And the trekking, although hard work at times, was entirely manageable and hugely rewarding. Incredible views. Wonderful people. If I could, I would do this all again. In fact I just might!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    How could you ever grow tired of looking at these mountains and trekking among them?
  • Reviewed August 2018

    Tour du Mont Blanc Camping Trek

    'It is what it says on the tin.'

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    One member initially nearly keeling over due to a lack of electrolytes, to go on to be as strong or stronger than the rest of us.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Severely competent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes. (See below.)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Random comments on the TWB trip transpiring 7/7/17 to 7/21/18: Participants: Seven, plus guide and support driver/cook. All Brits, except for one US (me). The weather was exceptionally good. During the day, it sputtered a couple of times, but no heavy rain at all. Clouds had only a minor impact on views. Periods of rain on a couple of nights. All in all, far better than I expected. Only one morning I would call cold. (And I get cold easily.) Nothing approaching freezing, AFAIK. Photos here: https://len5742.smugmug.com/Len/2018-Tour-du-Mont-Blanc/ Campgrounds: Les Marmottes campground is said to be three-star rated. You will spend four of your fourteen nights here. - No toilet paper. No toilet seats. (Not a hole-in-the-ground squat toilet, just no toilet seat.) But you do have toilets! Bring a roll of TP. - Couple of the sinks have liquid hand-washing soap dispensers. Bring a bar of soap. - Crowded, at least at the Exodus-designated area, next to the toilet/shower building. (See photos.) Expect a fair amount of noise and kids running around until about 11pm. I arrived early from the US, and stayed at an auberge in Les Houches, before moving to the campground. After we finished the hiking and returned again to Les Marmottes, I bailed back to the auberge instead of spending the last two nights in the campground. I highly recommend moving to more peaceful accommodation for the last one or two nights, if you can afford it. All of the campgrounds had toilets, even the so-called wild camps. Some even had TP and toilet seats. There was at least one with squat toilets. Showers, when available, were at least adequately warm. We went to a refuge-prepared dinner at at least one of the two wild camps, can't remember about the other. 'Wild camp' = lack of showers and wifi? Certainly there was no lack of other campers. Showers: Some are free and as long as you want, a couple are pay-to-play. Protip: Note that for one shower we were given a card to use (for a fixed number of minutes), without further explanation. Turns out, you hold the card up next to sensor box that's in the shower, thus activating. Wifi: worked pretty well most of the time. I think I remember one camp where it didn't. Of course, each has its own connection ritual. At one place, you had to pay a euro or two. Food: Breakfast: - Tea and coffee. Also, orange juice and milk. I asked for hot chocolate mix, supplied w/no problem, but then I realized water plus mix tastes like hot chocolate water, so I gave that up. (Needed powdered milk.) - Muesli, all the way down. This particular mix was primarily uncooked oats, plus some unchewable things I think were raisons or similar. And a few clumps of not-oats. Mixing thoroughly with yogurt saves the day. Should do better here. Lunch: After you wolf down breakfast, you race to prepare your pack lunch. What I would call, in my lack of sophistication, 'French bread' (not sliced bread), is the base for make-your-own sandwiches. Sliced ham plus various cheeses, plus lettuce, onions, mayonaisse, etc. (Peanut butter and sliced bread available for US-passport-carrying participants only.) Also, bananas, oranges, apples, etc. Dinner: Either prepared by our support driver, or taken at a refuge/restaurant. The dinners prepared by the support driver I rate as pretty good to great. A couple of the refuge meals were just meh, otherwise good enough. One special note: The pizza we ordered out at an Italian campground was unequivocally the worst I've ever seen or eaten. Protip: Bring Clif bars or similar. My stomach was off the entire trip. It was suggested that it might have been due to the excessive consumption of dairy products. Something to keep in mind. Tent: The tent Exodus uses appears to be a Quechua '2 Seconds XL Air'. Never heard of this brand before, but saw a fair number of their tents and backpacks on the hike. The tents have what is, to me, a novel design. The trip instructions tell you you're gonna have to pack up your tent. I envisioned just extracting some collapsible poles and rolling up the canopy, shoving in a stuff sack. Wrong. You need to watch and study this last 20 seconds of this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAtckY8Vejs&list=PLIZaXMUrOOZcqXogjXImTYrpSsSvZsSSJ&index=233 The Exodus tents are an older version of the tent in the video, I think. In any case, you get to gather up, wrestle the tent into a figure 8, and fold up, without any assistance from straps shown in the video. But the video does give you a general idea what to expect. I'd guess on average it took three-four morning rituals to become adequately proficient in packing the tent. Protip: For the first couple of days, work with a partner to wrestle with this thing. Protip 2: If the tent is really wet, wear rain gear during the wrestling match. Typical Trekking day: 7-7:30 Individual packup 7:30-8 Breakfast, lunch prep 8-8:30 Wash dishes, pack support van 8:30-16:30 Walk Includes 'second breakfast' and lunch breaks, and a few other rests, combined or separate from two or more breaks at refuges. >16:30 Teatime? 19:00 or 19:30 Dinner, then wash dishes if not dining out The trail: Busy, busy, busy, busy. The trail tread itself is not that rough. I wore trail runners. Worked just fine. Heavy boots and their 'ankle support' not needed. Because the trip notes said otherwise, I asked for special dispensation for my footwear, and was allowed to proceed at my own risk. The last three days do have some steep climbs. The views/scenery: Nice enough. Spectacular? Hmm...For me, Val Farret col was the only place that came close to a knock-your-socks-off view. You never really get high enough to get a layers-and-layers type of mountain views. I rode up to Aguille du Midi before the start of the trek, and the views from up there kind of deflated the hiking views, at least for a while. I guess the repeated combination of strenuous hiking for a few hours, followed by sitting a refuge deck and drink lattes while enjoying mountain scenery makes for an enjoyable experience. Do not find Mont Blanc itself aesthetically appealing. I am reminded of a combination of the Michelin Man and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Extra credit activities: Ride up to Aguille du Midi makes for great views. Also enjoyed Montenvers train to the glacier. Personnel: Driver/cook: Very friendly, good sense of humor (laughed at my jokes). Perpared generally great meals. Guide: Very knowledgeable about flora/fauna, geology, etc. Set a reasonable hiking pace. She said at the beginning we didn't have to hike in a cheek-by-jowl configuration, but the majority seemed to prefer that. I generally hung back in my own space, as did a couple others. It seemed to work OK. Note re: The guide vs. the itinerary. The two descending cable car rides on the last two hiking days listed as optional (you have to pay for them) are really 'optional'. That is, particularly for the one on the second-to-last hiking day, you will be verbally brow-beaten into submitting to riding the cable car down. 'I don't know why anyone would want to walk.'...'will absolutely ruin your day'...'terrible trail tread'...worst of all...'takes two hours'. The whole group was sort of shocked at the level of vehemence. The excoriation of this particular section of trail was so over the top, I asked to walk down. Just had to see this awful no good really really bad section of trail. One other guy who had also initially expressed an interest in walking rather than riding first gave in, but then when I persisted, joined in again. So the guide and us two descended by foot, while the others rode down. It turned out to be a decent enough hike, with terrific views up and down the Chamonix valley initially, and then dropped into a cool (temp-wise) downhill walk in the forest. The trail tread was well-maintained. There was a short steep bit that required a minor amount of care, but was not at all outside the realm of prior experience on this trail. As it was of moderate downhill grade, could easily jog parts of it. Best of all, WE WALKED FOR AN HOUR AND SAW ONLY A COUPLE OTHER HIKERS. An absolute impossibility anywhere else on this trail. We finished in an hour. There was also another place earlier in the trek where the guide said 'I don't know why anyone would walk here', and yet some of us did walk, and enjoyed it. You will ride enough buses and cable cars as an aleady-fixed part of the itinerary, why add to it? I can sympathize with the guide getting bored after several years of guiding multiple groups each year, and wanting it to be overas quick as possible. But for the rest of us, this is a one-time experience. Maybe pick a new trek to guide? Random last thoughts: Bring electrolyte tabs, especially if you don't have a lot of experience full-day, strenuous, warm weather hiking. Bring a pee bottle if you're old like me. The tents have zipable windows on the side which make it easy to dump out. Bring shock cord or similar to rig a drying line for your always-wet towel.
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Alison Sefton

    A classic route

    A great route, planned well with rest days in the right place. The walking leader, John was knowledgable on the area and gave lots of information on the history of mountaineering in the Mont Blanc massif. We were very lucky with the weather and got stunning views every day. All campsites were as described in the trip notes and, with the exception of the two wild camps had all required facilities. Great food every night either cooked by Kieron or in a local restaurant. All in all a great trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring earplugs!
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Matthew Craft

    Fantastic holiday

    One of the best treks I have ever done well organised, food fantastic and stunning Mountains. Great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning views
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Matthew Craft

    Fantastic holiday

    One of the best treks I have ever done well organised, food fantastic and stunning Mountains. Great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning views
  • Reviewed July 2018
    Matthew Craft

    Fantastic holiday

    One of the best treks I have ever done well organised, food fantastic and stunning Mountains. Great group.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Stunning views

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