How fit should I be?
The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a tough through hike with considerable vertical gain and drop each day. You should already be an experienced hiker looking for a challenge. If your present lifestyle keeps you from venturing into the mountains on a regular basis, we recommend walking any hilly terrain in your area as well as cardiovascular exercise on a regular basis for at least 6 months prior to your trip to the Mont Blanc Range. If you have a gym near home or work, any personal trainer should be able to design the right training program for you.
Which airport should I fly into?
Geneva International Airport (GVA) is the closest airport to Chamonix. It serves major cities throughout Europe and around the world.
How far in advance do I need to book my trip?
We recommend that you book your trip as soon as you finalize your plans. This is a very popular through hike with a short season. You will find up-to-date availability on our website, and we will always do our best to accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need to bring?
You will need good hiking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable clothes to hike in, a waterproof jacket and pants, a sleep sack, a daypack, a beanie/hat or cap/gloves, etc. A detailed list of recommended gear for your kit is included in the information pack we send you. While we provide maps, apps, and guides, there is also local information available.
How do baggage transfers work?
What is the best time of year to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)?
The season for the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) runs from mid-June to mid-September. The trail is sometimes closed through the last week of June due to snow, in which case your tour will either be rescheduled or canceled.
Do I need a sleep sack and towel for the mountain huts?
Sleep sacks are required, and we recommend that you bring a small travel towel. Some but not all huts rent or sell them.
Will I need to bring crampons?
In general, you will not need specialized gear for the TMB, but there have been years where crampons were essential early in the season (in June). Even in a low-snow year, there will always be sections of snow to cross. As your travel date approaches we recommend that you keep an eye on the forecast for temperatures and conditions, and use your own judgment. If temperatures above 2000m are low or more snow falls (yes, snowstorms in the summer are not unusual), you can make the decision bring crampons. If you do not own a pair (or if conditions change when you arrive) you can easily rent them locally. You will need hiking poles.
Are there ATMs?
Yes, there are ATMs / cash machines at the Geneva airport and in bigger towns like Chamonix and Les Houches. Do take cash in Euros to mountain huts as most do not accept credit/debit cards. Bring some Swiss Francs for the Swiss sections.
Can I drink water from streams?
We recommend that you fill up your water bottle at your hotel or hut (or you can, of course, buy bottled water in towns). There are springs and water fountains here and there along the trail. Make sure the sign reads “eau potable," which means drinking water (if it says "eau non-potable" it usually means that the water is not safe or filtered for drinking).
What are mountain huts like?
The mountain huts (“refuge” in French and “rifugio” in Italian) offer relatively basic accommodations. Most along the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) do have washing facilities and electricity. You can read more about “Mountain huts in the Alps” on our website.
What are the dormitories like?
The dorms in huts or guest houses vary, and can sleep anywhere from 4 to 20 people. They are all very clean and comfortable and offer the chance to interact and share experiences with like-minded people in a great atmosphere. The dorms are always simple but comfortable.
Is there cell phone coverage and/or Wi-Fi?
There is a decent amount of cell coverage all along the trail. There areas with no reception – you are after all in the mountains - but you can almost always make emergency phone calls if the need arises. While of your hotels will have Wi-Fi, the mountain huts will not.
You can read more about “electrical sockets, Wi-Fi, and mobile phone networks” on our website.
Can I charge my devices in the mountain huts?
The short answer is yes. That written, remember that you will be sharing the huts with many other people who will also want to charge their mobile devices. Be respectful and if your phone really needs to be charged at all times, make sure you bring a rechargeable battery pack with you.
What happens if the weather is so bad one day that we have to stay put?
It is very difficult to add extra nights if you cannot hike one day. We provide a list of alternative transportation if a given day’s hike is just not possible. You would simply have to skip a stage of the TMB.
Where can I find information about bus transfers?
All of this information is provided in your information pack, which we will send to you well before your departure date.
Are there any sections with sheer drops?
There is a 5 rung ladder just above Chamonix, which is a little steep. This is the only section with ladders, but there are ways around should you be uncomfortable with heights.
How secure are the baggage transfers?
They are incredibly secure. We work closely with the baggage handlers and place our full trust in them. However, we discourage packing anything fragile or that can break, since we cannot guarantee that everything will arrive in one piece. Baggage transfers means hiking every day with a really light pack.
Do the mountain huts provide bedding?
Yes, they do. However, we recommended (and they often require) that you bring a thin silk sleep sack/liner to sleep in.
Where on the trail are there bathrooms?
Restaurants and gondola bottom/top stations all have bathrooms and allow access. However, if you are far from a bathroom along the hike, you are allowed to poop behind a bush (please pack out your toilet paper).
What should I do about lunches?
Most accommodations will be able to provide a packed lunch. In larger villages or towns, you should find what you need at a bakery or grocery store before hitting the trail, so it is always wise to stock up on snacks.
Should we tip people on this trip?
It is not necessary to tip at restaurants and bars. However, if you would like to tip, 10% is a good starting point.
Can I wash my clothes during the trip?
Only Courmayeur and Chamonix have self-service laundries.