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Booking Information

Trip Dates
 

July 14-23, 2018 (11 spots available)

July 25-Aug 3, 2018 (11 spots available)

 

Pricing
 

$5999/person

Book 2+ spots by Nov 30 and save $250/person!

 

Activities: Hiking
Difficulty: 3  

Experience some of the most magnificent scenery in the Alps as you hike around Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and culturally rich hiking tours in the world, our Tour Du Mont Blanc is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Set in the heart of the Alps, you will travel around Mont Blanc through France, Italy, and Switzerland. You will visit a number of cities and villages including Geneva, Chamonix, Courmayeur and Champex just to name a few. Combined with a European guide, your Backwoods Adventures host will be with you every step of the way.

You will travel by mini bus, chair lifts, and the power of your own two legs. From the abundance of wilderness to the rich history and culture of three separate European nations, it’s easy to see why this has become a Backwoods Adventures favorite. You will spend evenings at inns and lodges along the route. You will have breakfast and dinner at local eateries. Lunches will either be in small villages that we pass through or you will picnic with the Alps as your scenery.

    • Mont Blanc is the highest mountain the Alps and in Western Europe. The two most famous towns near Mont Blanc are Courmayeur, in Aosta Valley, Italy, and Chamonix, in Haute-Savoie France, the site of the first Winter Olympics.
    • The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on 8 August 1786 by Jacques Balmat and the doctor Michel Paccard. This climb traditionally marks the start of modern mountaineering. The first woman to reach the summit was Marie Paradis in 1808.
    • In 1891, Pierre Janssen, a scientific academic credited for discovering helium, envisaged the construction of an observatory at the summit of Mont Blanc. Gustave Eiffel, designer of the Eiffel tower, agreed to take on the project, provided he could find strong foundations. A Swiss surveyor dug down 15 m (49 ft) but found nothing solid, so Eiffel gave up. Despite this, the observatory was built in 1893. During the cold wave of January 1893 a temperature of −43 °C (−45.4 °F) was recorded on the Mount Blanc, being the lowest ever recorded there. Levers attached to the ice supported the observatory. This worked to some extent until 1906, when the building started leaning heavily. The movement of the levers corrected the lean slightly, but three years later (two years after Janssen’s death) a crevasse started opening under the observatory and it was abandoned. Eventually the building fell.
    • Begun in 1957 and completed in 1965, the 11.6 km (7¼ mi) Mont Blanc Tunnel runs beneath the mountain between these two countries and is one of the major trans-Alpine transport routes.
    • Since the French Revolution, the ownership of the summit has spurred many debates. Previously, the entire mountain had formed part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. In May 1796, the Sardinian king ceded the territories containing Mont Blanc to the French Republic. This act is even more confusing, because it states that the border should be visible from the town of Chamonix and Courmayeur. The summit is not visible from Courmayeur, because part of the mountain lower down obscures it. The convention of 7 March 1861 recognizes the border on the icecap of the Mont Blanc, and therefore makes it both French and Italian. Watershed analysis of modern topographic mapping not only places the main summit on the border, but also suggests that the border should follow a line northwards from the main summit towards Mont Maudit, leaving the south east ridge to Mont Blanc wholly within Italy. Despite the fact that the Franco-Italian border was redefined in both 1947 and 1963, the commission, made up of both Italians and French, ignored the Mont Blanc issue.
    • The summit of Mont Blanc is a thick, perennial ice and snow dome whose thickness varies, so no exact and permanent summit elevation can be determined. But accurate measurements have been made. For a long time its official elevation was 4,807 m (15,770 ft). Then in 2002, surveyors used GPS technology to measure the summit at 4,810.40 m (15,782 ft 2 in).
    • After the 2003 heatwave in Europe, a team of scientists re-measured the height at 4,808.45 m (15,775 ft 9 in), and the peak was 75 centimeters (30 in) away from where it had been in 2002.
    • After these results were published, more than 500 points were measured, to assess the effects of climate change, and the fluctuations in the height of the mountain at different points. From then on the elevation of the mountain has been measured every two years.
    • The interpretation that the heat wave had caused this fluctuation is disputed, because the heatwave is known not to have significantly affected the glaciers above 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The height and position of the summit could have been moved by general glacial forces. At this elevation, the temperatures rarely rise above 0 °C (32 °F).
    • The summit was measured again in 2005, and the results were published on 16 December 2005. The height was found to be 4,808.75 m (15,776 ft 9 in), 30 cm (12 in) more than the previous recorded height.

Day 1: Travel from place of origin to Geneva, Switzerland. Group transfer from Geneva airport to Chamonix (please contact us to confirm shuttle time before booking flights). Meet with local guides for a welcome dinner and orientation. (Meals: D)

Day 2: We have a short transfer to the trail head before going up to the Col de Voza (5,500) where we’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Mont Blanc range. Continue hiking down below the tumbling Bionnassay Glacier, and then detour for a scenic lunch at the Chalets de Miage (5,115). After lunch, a short climb takes us up to Truc (5,942), then down through the thickly wooded hillside to the charming small town of Les Contamines (3,829).  9.5km/6.5 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 3: After a short drive, we hike up an old Roman road to the Plan des Dames, then make a long ascent to the Col du Bonhomme (7,641) and Croix du Bonhomme (8,100) for lunch. In the afternoon, we hike downhill on a grassy trail to the hamlet of Les Chapieux (5,500). Along the way we may see some chamois and lots of marmots and beautiful wildflowers. 14km/7 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 4: We transfer to the end of the Vallee des Glaciers, then enjoy a hike over the Col de la Seigne (8,245) and down into Italy to Lac Combal and Visaille. Transfer to the beautiful town of Courmayeur for the night. 13km/6-7 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 5: Today is a day to rest and enjoy Italian culture.  Courmayeur is spectacularly situated beneath the Grand Jorasses and Brenva Glacier.  We will spend the afternoon soaking our muscles at the magnificent Pre Saint Didier Spa.  The evening is yours to enjoy at you wish, and dinner is on your own accord in any one of the magnificent restaurants within walking distance of our hotel.  (Meals: B, L)

Day 6: Today is definitely one of the highlights of our journey around Mt Blanc! After a short transfer to Villair, we start on the beautiful trail up a larch forest leading to alpine grass and Bertone hut. Mont de la Saxe balcony trail looks over the Italian Val Ferret. Numerous great peaks of the Mont Blanc range rise straight up in front of our eyes. Tumbling glaciers and steep rocky faces are a marvel to the eyes! If the weather cooperates, you’ll have a magnificent view of the peaks on which many original legendary mountaineering adventures took place.  The balcony trail of Mont de la Saxe takes us right to our chalet hotel in Arnuva (5 940’) 11.5km/6 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 7: From the Italian Val Ferrer we hike up past the spectacular “Glacier de Pre-de-Bar” to reach Grand Col Ferrat (8,300′) and enter Switzerland just at the pass.  A scenic descent leads to the traditional Swill village of la Fouly (5,280′), located beneath the Glacier de l’A Neuve.  8km/6 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 8: We hike up to Bovine and experience a very Swiss “cow day”… Down below the pastures the upper Rhone valley reveals its surrounded ranges, with the wildstrubel and further in the distance the Oberland range. 9km/6 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 9: We return to France over Col de Balme, a.k.a “Smugglers pass”. At the top the view is purely outstanding: the Chamonix Aiguilles rise high above the eponymous valley, while Mont Blanc, crowns up the view magnificently! 5km/2 hours hiking. (Meals: B, L, D)

Day 10: Travel back through Geneva, Switzerland and on to your next destination.

Note: Itinerary is subject to change depending on weather, trail and course conditions, travel, health and well-being of the trip participants, and interests of the group. (Meals: B)

The best way to stay comfortable on any active adventure is going lightweight. Wearing the right versatile layers will insure a system with great ventilation and maximum protection in any conditions. The items on this list are just suggestions, however traveling with these items will give you the best chance for comfort and protection while in the Alps against any and all conditions. Your local Backwoods employee would be glad to help determine which product is right for you!

As with many high altitude mountain trips, the weather can change very quickly. During the daytime temperatures range between 60-80+ degrees, with cool evenings. Most days will be clear and enjoyable, however, cool and misty conditions are possible. Mountain passes can also bring the occasional snow or rain shower!

Baggage
✓ Day pack – 2,000-3,000 cu. in
✓ Large duffle bag
✓ Luggage tags and luggage locks
✓ Passport pouch or money pouch

Travel
✓ Casual Clothing and lightweight, comfortable items for travel.
✓ Valid passport.
✓ Airline tickets
✓ Electrical adapter plug
✓ Earplugs
✓ Travel pillow

Clothing
✓ Waterproof Breathable Jacket
✓ Waterproof Breathable pants, should be able to slip on and off easily over boots
✓ Midweight fleece pants or tights
✓ Long-sleeved shirts
✓ Hiking pants or shorts
✓ Lightweight synthetic long underwear top
✓ Lightweight synthetic long underwear bottom
✓ T-shirts synthetic

Clothing Accessories
✓ Sun hat
✓ Ski hat
✓ Gloves mid-weight windstopper

Footwear
✓ Hiking boots – waterproof, lightweight, broken-in, aggressive tread
✓ Tennis shoes, a break from your boots
✓ Gaiters
✓ Hiking socks.
✓ Warm socks
✓ Sock liners

Others
✓ Sleeping Sheet
✓ Water bottles and / or Hydration Resevoir (2-3).
✓ Headlamp and/or flashlight.
✓ Sunglasses
✓ Bandanas
✓ Money ($800-$1,000 in cash including some small US bills or Euros)
✓ Hiking staff or trekking poles
✓ Pack cover
✓ Headlamp or flashlight
✓ Camera, film, tripod
✓ Batteries – extra for headlamp and camera
✓ Small binoculars
✓ Notebook, journal, pencil and pen
✓ Pocket knife or multi-tool
✓ Energy bars, hard candy, snacks and comfort foods
✓ Personal first-aid kit
✓ Watch with alarm
✓ Several Ziploc plastic bags
✓ Heavy duty trash bag

Toiletries
✓ Toilet paper (and baggie to put used paper while on trail).
✓ Small towel
✓ Soap
✓ Toothbrush and toothpaste
✓ Handi-wipes (moist towels for cleaning)
✓ Hand sanitizer
✓ Personal toiletry items
✓ Sun block and lip balm

Trip FAQs

What's included?

  • 8 days/7 nights trekking through France, Italy, and Switzerland around Mont Blanc
  • 10-nights accommodations in hotels, B&B’s, and mountain huts along the way
  • All meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • 1 Rest/Spa day in Courmayeur, Italy
  • Entrance to the Pre Saint Didier Thermal Spa in Courmayeur
  • Transfers to and from Geneva International Airport (2:00pm incoming transfer on Day 0, 7:30am outgoing transfer on Day 11)
  • Expert Local Mountain Guides and Backwoods Adventures Trip Host
  • Luggage transfer services
  • 3 group conference calls with BWA Trip Host to help prepare you for the trip

What's not included?

  • Airfare to and from Geneva
  • Personal gear and clothing
  • Alcoholic drinks, extra drinks and extra snacks
  • Gratuities
  • Extras; laundry, massage, internet, etc.
  • Travel Insurance

Meals

At Backwoods Adventures we know that well fed travelers are happy travelers. We aim to please your palate. Since we will be staying at huts or lodges on the entire trip we will have our breakfast and dinner at local restaurants or cafes. Lunches will either be in small towns or villages that we pass through or we will grab some light fare to take with us and enjoy our lunch picnic-style with the Alps to gaze at while we eat.

Accommodations

Our accommodations will vary based on our location. However, all hotels and lodges are among the highest rated in the country both for location and amenities. Most hotels will provide single rooms (double occupancy), however there is the possibility of dormitory arrangements in a couple of locations along the circuit, depending on availability.

Health

The Tour du Mont Blanc is commonly referred to as the most luxurious trek in the world, which sometimes gives people a false sense of security.  While it is true that you do not have to camp in a tent and you get to have nice meals and enjoy delicious wine each evening, do not forget that this is a strenuous trek – each hiking day covers more than 10 miles.  There will be long days with steep descents and ascents, so physical preparation is very important.

Some of the activities that you may choose to participate in while on the Tour Du Mont Blanc are strenuous and should not be undertaken if you have any health conditions which may put you at risk. You will be required to consult your physician for a thorough medical check-up and clearance before attempting the trip. Any medical conditions must be disclosed on your registration forms. If you are over 50 years old, talk to your doctor about doing a “stress EKG”. Should you require any medication whatsoever, you must provide your own and be able to administer it yourself.

Visa Requirement

No Visa is required for travel while in Europe. You should carry a photocopy of your passport, insurance information and emergency contact numbers with you at all times. You should leave a copy of this information with a friend or relative at home.

FROM OUR TRAVELERS