How hard is trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc?

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The complete guide to the difficulty level of the Tour du Mont Blanc.

For us, mountain trekking is always a thrilling prospect, but it’s only fair to wonder “how hard is trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc?” – and that’s exactly why we’ve put this quick guide together. 

In a few minutes’ time, you’ll know the ins and outs of the rugged terrains, the weather challenges and the fitness levels required to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc. Buckle in, Bucketlister, things are about to get serious…

How far is the Tour du Mont Blanc? 

If you’re wondering how hard it is to trek the Tour du Mont Blanc, the distance has to come into the conversation – must consider those legs! The classic crowd-pleaser Tour du Mont Blanc spans 160 kilometres with around 10,000 meters of ascent over 9 to 11 days. No seriously technical acrobatics, just pure awe as you stroll through France, Italy, and Switzerland, soaking in panoramic views, charming villages, and diverse landscapes. Forests, meadows, crests – it’s a visual feast for your trail-hungry soul.

For the time-strapped or those easing into trekking, there’s also the 7-day option. Ideal for those who want to savour the essence without the full commitment, this route hits the best stages, leveraging bus transfers and lifts to navigate the terrain efficiently. You get the highlights without the extended hikeathon – nice (but no cigar in our opinion!).

Our Tour du Mont Blanc sees you trekking the full route in all its glory. It’s 9 days’ solid trekking (so not for the fainthearted!) and will require 6 days max annual leave – click here to check out the full itinerary. 

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How high is the Tour du Mont Blanc? 

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a high-altitude trek that reaches impressive elevations as it circumnavigates the Mont Blanc massif. The highest point on the classic route is the Col de la Seigne at approximately 2,516 meters (8,255 feet) above sea level. Throughout the trek, you can expect to encounter varying altitudes, with mountain passes and cols often surpassing 2,000 meters (6,562 feet).

Dealing with altitude on the Tour du Mont Blanc is crucial, and trekkers should be mindful of taking steps to combat altitude sickness:

  • Acclimatisation: Take it slow and allow your body time to acclimatise to higher elevations. The classic Tour du Mont Blanc route is designed with gradual ascents, aiding in the acclimatisation process.
  • Hydration: Proper hydration helps alleviate symptoms of altitude sickness, so drink plenty of water!
  • Rest: Ensure you get adequate rest and sleep, especially during the initial days at higher altitudes.
  • Nutrition: Maintain a balanced diet and consume enough calories to fuel your body for the physical demands of high-altitude trekking.
  • Medication: Consult with a healthcare professional before your trek and consider carrying medications for altitude sickness as a precaution.
  • Know the Signs: Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. If symptoms persist or worsen, it’s crucial to descend to a lower altitude.

How can the weather affect trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc? 

When you’re trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc, the weather can either be your adventure’s best companion or its most formidable foe… The cold is obviously a potential adversary, and even in the supposed warmth of summer, mountain weather can swiftly turn frosty. Be ready for unpredictable temperature swings even in July and August!

Storms have been known to catch even the most accomplished of mountain trekkers off guard on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Wet rocks post-storm become slippery hazards, and thunderstorms pose risks of slips and lightning. Vigilance really is crucial, and having sturdy hiking boots and walking sticks tailored for mountain terrain is a good defence too. If storms strike, find shelter, but steer clear of trees, waterways, and metal elements. Isolate yourself from the ground using non-conductive items like a backpack or rope.

Fog can compromise visibility and increase your risk of getting lost – especially if you’re going it alone (which we do not recommend!). Make sure you’ve got a compass, topographic map, altimeter and whistle in your pack and know how to use them ahead of time too!

On the other hand, when the Tour du Mont Blanc basks in sunlight, it’s truly a breathtaking spectacle. The warm sun brings out vibrant hues, turning the lush meadows into a sea of wildflowers. Visions of towering, snow-capped peaks and the majestic Mont Blanc in all their glory, plus the crisp, refreshing mountain air transport you as you trek. It’s just stunning. 

Whatever the weather on your Tour du Mont Blanc trek, planning is key — choose your season wisely, and equip yourself with lots of layers: a breathable first, insulating second, and a windproof, waterproof third layer. 

Our next trip is taking place in September, when the Tour du Mont Blanc weather’s usually pretty reliable. Click here to find out more about the itinerary.

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What is the terrain like on the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The Tour du Mont Blanc terrain is super varied – this is one of the best places to see the Earth flex its geological muscles after all! You’ll kick off your Tour du Mont Blanc trek on alpine meadows that are just the warm-up act for the main event. Then it’s a maze of rocky trails, where each step feels like a dance with the mountains themselves. 

As you ascend, the terrain throws challenges your way – snow patches flirting with the summer sun, demanding careful negotiation. And just when you’ve completed that level, you’re confronted with glaciers; colossal and unapologetically majestic. Your boots crunch on the icy ground, echoing the untamed spirit of the wilderness. Rugged mountain passes test your mettle, rewarding every triumph with panoramic views that scream, “You’ve earned this!”.

Bridges swing you over roaring rivers, each step a leap of faith into the heart of adventure. Villages appear like oases, offering a brief respite before you plunge back into the untamed beauty. The Tour du Mont Blanc is more than a trek; it’s a daring expedition, a rendezvous with the wild that leaves you breathless, and not just from the altitude. It goes without saying, that a lot of the Tour du Mont Blanc trekking is, d’uh, uphill too!

How fit do you need to be to trek the Tour du Mont Blanc? 

If you want to know how fit you need to be to trek the Tour du Mont Blanc, the truth is, it does require a solid level of physical fitness. 

It’s a challenging trek that covers diverse terrains and substantial elevation gains and you need to be prepared for daily hikes averaging around 6 hours, with ascents and descents over varied terrain. 

While technical mountaineering skills aren’t required, a good level of cardiovascular fitness, endurance, and strength is essential. Pre-trek training that includes aerobic exercises, strength training, and extended hikes will undoubtedly enhance your ability to tackle the demands of this iconic trail. Remember, the fitter you are, the more you’ll be able to relish the breathtaking scenery and unique challenges that trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc has to offer.

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Can you do the Tour du Mont Blanc without a guide? 

Considering doing the Tour du Mont Blanc without a guide? It’s an interesting question, and yes you definitely can conquer the trek without a guide (and enjoy all the thrill of navigating the trail on your own terms – an adventure in itself!). Armed with a good map, essential gear, and a sense of adventure, independent trekkers do blaze their trail through the stunning landscapes of France, Italy, and Switzerland.

But… Let’s be real – tackling this epic circuit demands careful planning, knowledge of the route, and a solid understanding of mountain safety. While the idea of solo exploration is undoubtedly alluring, opting for a reputable trekking company like The Bucket List Company can elevate your experience to a whole new level. 

Our seasoned guides not only provide invaluable local insights and navigation expertise but also ensure your safety, look out for the first signs of altitude sickness, and offer a camaraderie that enhances the overall journey a thousand times over. 

So while the adventurer in you may be tempted to go solo, consider the added value and peace of mind that a reputable trekking company brings to the table – because conquering the Tour du Mont Blanc isn’t just about the destination; it’s about the journey. Always better with a trusted companion like The Bucket List Company.

To find out more about our sensational Tour du Mont Blanc trek, click here and check out the itinerary. Ping any questions in our direction and get ready for the trek of your life – if you don’t book it now… Will you ever?

Click Here For More Info On Our Tour Du Mont Blanc Adventure!

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