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Rugged TMB - high passes & huts
9 days holiday, 7 days UIMLA guided trekking 2018
Ascending to the Tete Nord du Fours on the TMB
Course overview

Walk every step of the TMB, staying in mountain huts each night of the trek. There are 7 days of trekking, so this is the tough original trek, which will appeal to regular hill walkers, who want to complete the tour in a week. It's the connoisseurs choice, and will really appeal to those who believe in the ethics of completing every inch of the tour, and tackling all the high passes and variants, so this is the most challenging option too.
Don't confuse this trek with 'highlights' or 'express' options offered by other operators. We walk every step in a week, and take in all the high passes. Other companies take buses on some sections, or take easier routes over some sections. Ours is the most challenging commercial TMB trek in the market.
On the way around, your leader will discuss any variations of the route that you could undertake each day, to make it easier or even more challenging for you. That's one of the delights of the TMB, in that it has so many options and variations for you to trek along each day.
There is so much history and information about the local area that our leaders have to share with you, as well as showing you the amazing scenery, and you have the added experience of staying in traditional mountain huts for two nights set high in the mountains, away from the valley villages.
During the week you pass through France, Italy and Switzerland, so can enjoy the different cultures, architecture, and the food of each country over the week. The treks are guaranteed to be led by a qualified International Mountain Leader, to ensure your safety and the highest levels of mountain leadership.
All our scheduled dates are guaranteed to run with 2 or more people, for your peace of mind. We cap numbers at 8 people in a group, so you have great access to your leader. This is a high standard, as other operators have up to an eyewatering 16 clients per leader.
The full TMB trek involves roughly 168km, and 10,000m of ascent. With 7 days guiding, this equates to an average of 24km trekking with c.1500m altitude gain (and loss) each day. This isn't one of the countless gentle commercial bimbles around the TMB - it's a tough and challenging trek, with long stages each day.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.
Iciclee Classic Tour du Mont Blanc TMB profile

Brief Course Itinerary
The itinerary below is designed to give you a flavour of exactly where you will trek to each day, but one of the great things about the Tour du Mont Blanc, is that there are many variations on certain sections, so you can select more challenging routes or even some summits. These options could even affect where you stay each night, but do mean that you can tailor the route a little on most days to suit how you are feeling, the weather and conditions. Your guide will have a massive local knowledge and experience, and will discuss the options with you en-route.
Saturday
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in followed by a course safety and itinerary briefing. These are really useful, as you discuss the exact current weather and conditions, and get tips on what to carry in your pack. You will meet your guide, and be able to ask them any queries, and are shown the route on a map, to talk through the plans for the week. There is time for kit checks and to pick up any last minute supplies. Briefings are over by 18:00 and the Chamonix hosts accompany you for a drink to answer any last minute questions. The group usually goes out for dinner and drinks. Night in Chamonix on B&B basis.

Sunday - Distance: 24km, Ascent: +1750m, Descent: -1300m
Les Houches, Col de Voza, Col de Tricot. Night in Nant Borrant
After a short transfer / train to Les Houches you trek up the rocky track to the Col du Voza (or ascend using the Bellevue cable car) where there is a great view of the Bionassay Glacier and back into Chamonix valley. The trek leads through forest to the exhilarating river crossing of the Bionassay suspension bridge, then up to the Col du Tricot (2119m). Descend past the huts of Chalets de Miage, then trek up over Mont Truc (1814m). Descend through the woods to Les Contamines, and onwards past Notre Dame de la Gorge, to reach the Nant Borrant refuge.

Monday - Distance: 15km, Ascent: +1300m, Descent: -900m
Cross the Col du Bonhomme, Col des Fours. Night in Les Mottets
The route winds slowly upwards through woods and alpages with stunning mountain views, past the Refuge La Balme, and up to the high Col du Bonhomme. Here you traverse across rocky ground to reach the Col de la Croix du Bonhomme, then turn upwards to the remote Col des Fours, and summit of Tete Nord des Fours 2756m, the high point of today (photo to left). Here you get an unforgettable panorama of the massif. A steep descent brings you down the wild upper Tuffs valley to reach the farm buildings at the Ville des Glaciers. Night in Les Mottets.
Tuesday - Distance: 24km, Ascent: +1100m, Descent: -1700m
Cross Col de Seigne, Arete Mont Favre, Col Checroui, Courmayeur area
From the mountain hut of Les Mottets, you ascend steeply at first, before the trail eases its gradient to lead upwards to the Col de la Seigne (2513m), and into Italy. This is the Val Veni, a beautiful region, with great views of the huge Brenva face of Mont Blanc. There is a short descent to the Elizabetta Soldini hut, which is famous for its cakes. After passing Lac Combal you ascend over the exposed Arete Mont Favre, then across to Col Checroui and down to the old cobbled streets of Dolonne to reach the bustling town of Courmayeur, and it's labyrinth streets and shops. Night in Courmayeur.

Wednesday - Distance: 16km, Ascent: +1600m, Descent: -700m
Ascend to Bertoni, Mont de la Saxe, Pas Entre Deux Sauts, Bonatti / Elena
After ascending steeply to the Bertone hut you gain the ridge crest of the Mont de la Saxe (2346m). At the far end, you traverse the slopes of Testa Bernarda to reach the top of the Tete de la Tronche (2584m). There are a few steep sections on the ascent, but your guide is there to help, and the views of the Italian side of Mont Blanc and Grands Jorasses are amazing. You then descend to Col Sapin and up again over Pas Entre Deux Sauts (2521m). Descend the Malatra valley to reach the spectacularly located Bonatti hut, where you spend the night.

Thursday - Distance: 33km, Ascent: +1600m, Descent: -2100m
Trek Grand Col Ferret, Ferret, La Fouly, Praz de Fort, Issert, Champex Lac

An easy mountain track takes you on a traverse towards the Refugio Elena, famous for its hot chocolate. You then start the steady but long climb up to reach the Grand Col Ferret (2537m), where you pass into Switzerland. Descend past La Peule, then once on the river track, you pass the villages of Ferret, La Fouly, Praz de Fort, and Issert. Shortly after this, you climb up the last ascent of the day, on the Sentier des Champignons to reach Champex-Lac. You stay in a mountain hut / gite on the far side of the village, next to the trail. Night in Champex.

Friday - Distance: 31km, Ascent: +1850m, Descent: -2000m
Trek Fenetre d'Arpette to Trient, Col de Balme to Tre-le-Champ / Argentiere
Today begins with the trek up the wild Arpette valley, which becomes increasingly rocky as you climb towards the famous 'Fenetre d'Arpette' (2670m). This high mountain col gives fantastic views of the towering seracs of the Trient Glacier, and is the most technical section. Descend the steep hillside to reach the peaceful Swiss village of Trient, before hiking up over the Col de Balme to return to France. On the far side of the pass you traverse over the Aiguillette des Posettes to descend to Tre-le-Champ, where you spend the night. Occasionally you stay near Argentiere in high season.

Saturday - Distance: 25km, Ascent: +1500m, Descent: -1800m
Trek the length of the Aiguilles Rouges, Flegere, & Brevent to Les Houches
Trek up to Aiguillette d'Argentiere, then via a series of easy short ladders to Tete au Vents. There is a choice of routes across to Flégère, via Lac Blanc or Chalet de Cheserys. Afterwards you traverse to Planpraz, and up over Col du Brevent to reach Le Brevent 2525m. Beyond is a descent to the Bel Lachat mountain hut, where you start a long steep descent down to reach Les Houches, where you started the trek. You have now completed the full circuit of the Tour Mont Blanc! The group meets in the evening for celebratory drinks and dinner. Night in Chamonix.

Sunday
Breakfast in Chamonix, then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. You are free to depart at any time, but note that airport transfers leave the resort approximately three hours before your flight takes off. Most people aim for flights leaving in the early afternoon, so they have a little time in Chamonix before leaving for the airport, to allow a little time for buying any last minute souvenirs or presents.

ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionaly we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.
Col de la Seigne, the border of France and Italy on the TMB

Course Prices
Standard course
7 full days UIMLA guiding, 1:8 max ratio
9 days holiday in total, Saturday-Sunday
£899
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Inclusions: 1) UIMLA guide for seven days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics, bag storage, support and briefings, 3) Pre course detailed kit list and information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for UK shop, 5) 2 nights B&B accommodation in Chamonix (inc. bedding, linen & towels), 6) 7 nights mountain hut on a half board basis whilst on the trek (breakfast and dinner each day), 7) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 8) Client VIP discounts for reductions in local shops and restaurants in Chamonix.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Personal laundry, kit hire, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals in Chamonix, & any purchases in lodges / mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 3) Cable cars (none are included in this itinerary, as the aim is to walk every step of the trek), 4) Saturday pre-dinner drinks & final evening celebratory meal & drinks, 5) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Notes: It is possible to arrange a mid-week bag transfer (up to 30 litre rucksack in size) for a change of clothes, for the night you are based in Courmayeur. This only costs c.£50 in total, split amongst the group members who require this service. This is the only night you have guaranteed road access. Group sizes are a minimum 3, to maximum 8 clients, with 1 leader.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Rugged TMB trek
  • [ 4 ] 23 Jun - 1 Jul 2018
  • [ 4 ] 7 - 15 Jul 2018
  • [ 4 ] 28 Jul - 5 Aug 2018
  • [ 4 ] 25 Aug - 2 Sep 2018
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are four who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
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Price: £899 Book online

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See all TMB trek options...
click here to view page
Client feedback


This trek was truely superb, and it was an experience I will remember forever. I loved the night in the mountain hut, eating tartiflette whilst watching the sun set over the mountains

Linda P , Rugged TMB Trek

I'd like to thank your Chamonix team for all their help, and for the fantastic guiding we had on our tour. I highly recommend this trip to anyone, as it is one they will never forget, and is a big achievement to complete the full TMB

Rhian E , Rugged TMB Trek

The accommodation on the trek was of an excellent standard, and we were fed well each night, which was always a very sociable affair

Andras S , Rugged TMB Trek
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Location data for this trip
The trips all start in Chamonix valley in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ & CHF
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Trip photo gallery
View TMB Google Earth
Icicle Google Earth TMB Map

We have developed a Google Earth file with all the key features and places of interest marked on it. Click here for Google Earth file. If you do not already have Google Earth installed on your computer, click here. This is a totally free download, and the satellite images are constantly uploaded. You can alter the viewing angles to 'see' the TMB in 3D, and to explore the route.
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Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
So why choose us?
We are true specialists in the Alps. See our blog, by clicking on the logo.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather and conditions each day, so that you maximise the amount you can achieve each day.
Our prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling, to protect you from euro currency fluctuations, so that you can budget accurately.
We have a team of over 30 guides, and a resort support team, who all want you to have the best time possible! For more details on the guiding team and qualifications, please click here.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.
 


 
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