Friends for over 20 Years after ‘Tour of Mont Blanc’ (TMB) trip in 1989 By Loyal Exodus client Osanna Whitehouse.

Twenty years ago, in August 1989, 16 people, together with two leaders joined an Exodus walking and camping Tour of Mont Blanc – evermore known as TMB. It was, initially, a ‘normal’ group, some couples, some singles, brought together by their common desire to walk in The Alps. 

Bonding on Mont Blanc

However, on the second day of their holiday, on an introductory walk, they were stuck high up the Aiguille du Midi, a mountain above Chamonix when the cable car generator system broke stranding over 1000 people for several hours. As a result, the 16 who had only met some 24 hours earlier, got to know each other better and faster than they would usually have done! 

Some were swinging in a cable car for an hour or more, some were marooned near the glacier, while others were in the lift station waiting and waiting and just talking – so when all were back at camp – some returning by torchlight for an extremely late 11.00pm supper, the wine flowed and bonding was complete.

Mont BlancMont Blanc

Ten years on

After all this, a great holiday was had by all. Since 1989, the group have remained firm friends, and continued meeting twice a year for walking weekends around the UK. 

Of the original 16, 13 have stayed loyal to the TMB’ers, with that number expanding over the years – 3 marriages, 4 children, and 12 grandchildren!  So during walking weekends, partners, husbands and wives as well as children and even a dog join in – all of whom have become honorary members of the TMB gang. 

Our biggest group was 20 for a weekend! Each member of the group volunteers to organise a weekend in turn, so we have walked all over the country from the Derbyshire Dales to the Lancashire Fells, the Malverns, Chilterns, South and North Downs, Wales, the Norfolk Coast and the New Forest.  

On the 10th Anniversary in 1999, the group booked an Exodus chalet in the Alps for a week and they very kindly sent us some champagne and T-shirts for which we were most grateful. To celebrate 20 years of walking together, the TMBers travelled to the Lake District on 19 September 2009 for a week and although a little older are still fit and keen walkers, but possibly not quite as speedy up and down hills as they used to be!!

The original film of the Tour of Mont Blanc was shown to remind everyone how young they looked!  The Exodus T-shirts and kit bags also appeared – much faded now, as are old and new photos of various holidays over the years – the tally of Exodus trips taken by the group during those 20 years has now reached 100.

So thank you Exodus for bringing us together for the trip around Mont Blanc; it started something really good for all of us!!

If you’d like to plan your own Mont Blanc adventure, see our trips below.