under the starting arch of the Ultra-Trail
du Mont Blanc (UTMB) is terrifying,
elating, humbling, and emmotional all
at the same moment. Will you get to
the finish? How much will it hurt? Can
you cope? We have developed these UTMB
full recce weeks to help answer your
questions before you race.
will be guided by a UTMB finisher, who
is also a UIMLA guide. It doesn't matter
if you ever plan to run the actual UTMB
race, though some use the week as a
detailed race recce. This is the enjoyable
way to run it, in the daylight hours,
where you can savour the views, and
recover well after each day of running.
plan to recce the route at a steady
race pace, not pushing too hard, as
we strive to enable you to complete
the sections just within cut off times,
with the minimum of impact on your body,
to ensure that your physical recovery
is as quick as possible. Five days of
guided trail running, with fast-hiking
the steep hills.
weeks also are very popular with those
who never want to run the race, but
want to enjoy running the route in the
daylight, to revel in the spectacular
views, and to enjoy a very express version
of the TMB. We reiterate that these
recce weeks are run at a very steady
pace. It's not a race week! Enjoy
the week, you'll have the opportunity
to fine tune what equipment and clothing
to take, as well as to work out your
pacing plans, and hydration and food
ideas for the long trail runs. On the
nights out on the route, you stay half
board in mountain huts, so are well
fed, have showers, and have a nice warm
are led & coached by a Personal
Trainer, who is also an International
Mountain Leader. Most importantly they
will be a passionate trail runner who
has competed in plenty of Alpine ultra
running races, including the legendary
Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc. You are led
by a genuine expert in ultra-trail running.
you've got any queries about this course,
then please get in touch, and speak
with one of our team who actually has
done the UTMB. There's not many companies
who have staff on their team, who can
promote that - in fact we can't think
of any others at all.
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
Course Itinerary The
design of our week is to build in a day of contingency
to the itinerary, to allow both for weather and
conditions as well as your recuperation and rest,
to really make this objective happen. There's a
few itineraries out there that encourage dreamers,
whereas this is expertly designed to maximise your
experience and to help you finish. As you are led
by a UTMB finisher, who is also a UIMLA guide, you
couldn't be in better hands. Our week is tough,
but it is not elitist, and we are very aware that
the tortoise always beats the hare! You need to
be fit, but not exceptionally so. Determination,
and the ability to keep on plodding count for a
huge amount on this route.
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00
check-in followed by and course safety and
itinerary briefings. There is time for kit
checks or rental of equipment (see inclusions
below for what you are provided as part of
the course price). Briefings are over by 18:00
and the Chamonix hosts accompany the group
to pre-dinner drinks. Some clients opt to
travel out a day or two early to get their
hill legs back and to explore the town. Night
the morning there's a last minute equipment
check, then you set off running down the valley
to Les Houches, before the first climb over
Col de Voza and down to St Gervais. Here you
take a rest before running up the valley to
Les Contamines, and up past the baroque church
of Notre Dame de la Gorge, to reach the mountain
hut where you stay for the night. Today doesn't
have too much vertical, and allows for a steady
acclimatisation. Night in hut.
the focus is to reach Courmayeur, which is
roughly the half way point on the route. You
pass the Col de Bonhomme, and descend to Les
Chapieux, before crossing the Col de la Seigne
into Italy. After the Col des Pyramides Calcaires,
there's a great section over Arete Mont Favre,
and across into the Courmayeur ski area, and
down into the town. Take a transfer / bus
back to Chamonix for the night, to change
kit, recuperate / physio, and good rest.
is the contingency day in the itinerary, to
allow flexibility in case or poor weather.
Some people may well need to change their
shoes, or rest their legs, so any guiding
is optional or far shorter to allow you plenty
of time to prepare for the second leg of the
Mont Blanc Ultra Trail. Some groups opt for
a short technical route, such as running the
Chamonix Vertical Kilometre race to Planpraz,
and catching the cable car down. Night in
the first transfer / bus back to Courmayeur,
to start the second section, climbing up to
the Bertone hut, and across past Bonatti to
Arnuva and the climb to the Grand Col Ferret.
There follows the long easy descent to Peule,
and then follow the trails down the Swiss
Val Ferret past La Fouly to Issert, where
you climb up to the village of Champex-Lac
on the Sentier des Champignons. Night in a
mountain hut in Champex.
last day to complete this amazing loop, as
you cross the Bovine alpage, before the long
descent into Trient, followed by the climb
to Catogne and the drop into Vallorcine, then
it's the last climb of the route up to Tete
aux Vents, before the traverse to La Flegere
and the final descent into Chamonix to cross
the finish line. In the evening, the group
meets up for some celebratory drinks, to talk
about the adventures of the past week.
then the accommodation check out is by 10:00.
Most arrange their airport transfers to leave
around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva
Depart for home.
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
1) UIMLA guide for five days, 2) Chamonix
course hosts for logistics & briefings,
3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment
discount voucher for our UK shop, 5) Four
nights B&B accommodation in Chamonix (inc.
bedding & towels), and 2 nights half board
in mountain huts, 6) Free 36 page technical
Course Instruction Booklet, 7) Road / train
transport in Chamonix valley, and to / from
Courmayeur, 8) Logistics support and several
optional evening instruction sessions.
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Personal
laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening
meals, & any purchases in mountain huts
/ hotels / restaurants, 3) Cable cars and
mountain uplift, 4) Road transport outside
the Chamonix valley (not usually required),
5) Activities insurance, & excess baggage
We cap numbers, as this is an ultra-distance
event, to maximise group safety and allow
for more flexibility and a comfortable and
managable group pace that suits everyone in
the team. During the recce, we aim to run
at the race cut off pace as an absolute maximum,
for the comfort of everyone in the team.
In event of inclement weather or objective
risks (e.g. landslips, storms etc), reserve
the right to alter the course, exactly as
would occur in an actual race. In event of
excess fatigue or injury pf any partcipant,
we may adapt the route for their safety, to
reach public transport where they can miss
bespoke options, and alternatives The
UTMB race series has many events now; OCC (Orsierres,
Champex, Chamonix), CCC (Courmayeur, Champex, Chamonix),
TDS (Traces des Ducs de Savoie), UTMB (Ultra Trail du
Mont Blanc), and PTL (Petite Trotte a Leon). The UTMB
route is the only race route that we offer scheduled recces
off, to match you with partners, but we offer the following
bespoke guided options, as well as self-guided recces.
These recces are only available in July and August, as
there is too much snow on the high passes before early
July, to safely run them...
Two day guided recce. Day 1: Orsierres
to Trient, Day 2: Trient to Chamonix. The price
for 2 days guiding and 1 night half board in a hut
/ gite in Switzerland is £250pp (based on
4), or £400pp (based on 2). This can also
be run in one long day, for up to 4 people for £400
day guided recce. Day 1: Courmayeur to La Fouly,
Day 2: La Fouly to Trient, Day 3: Trient to Chamonix.
The price for 3 days guiding and 2 nights half board
in a hut / gite in Switzerland is £350pp (based
on 4), or £600 (based on 2).
day guided recce. Day 1: Courmayeur to Petit St
Bernard / Bourg, Day 2: Bourg to Col Joly area,
Day 3: Col Joly area to Chamonix. The price for
3 days guiding and 2 nights half board in a hut
/ gite in Switzerland is £400pp (based on
4), or £700pp (based on 2).
We offer self-guided recces of the
OCC, CCC, TDS & UTMB. For details and prices,
here. These prices include maps,
GPX files, briefings, and kit storage when you are
really appreciated you organising this
as a private trip for me and Stephen.
We learned a massive amount, and we
both are looking forward to the race Johnny
T , UTMB recce
whole experience was amazing, whatever
happens with the UTMB ballot next year.
I've got the photo of the finish line
as my screen saver at work Camilla
W , UTMB recce
I can give any feedback, it is that
you don't make enoughover how well you
know these mountains, and the race route.
Great beta Felicity
A , UTMB recce
wrote the book on it...
Published by Cicerone Press,
by Kingsley our head trail running guide &
40 routes inc UTMB, Vertical KM, Chamonix
Click to buy!
data for this trip
meeting point for this trip is in the Chamonix valley
in the French Alps.
Tips for UTMB recce
1) Carry a variety of food, to cater for your
appetite changing with altitude and the cumulative
2) A fresh pair of socks for each day will help
keep your feet blister free.
3) Don't carry too much water, as an extra litre
is an extra kilo of weight.
4) Stop off at mountain huts to grab a quick coffee
or a can of coke.
5) Take a sunhat, as the UV at altitude is strong,
even on cloudy days.
6) Use running poles, as this takes a huge load
off your legs and knees.
7) Speed walk the ups, and run the downs and traverses.
8) Carry a route profile, so you can add notes
to it on your race recce.
9) Take in the scenery of where you are! It's
not just about the running.
10) Don't forget to pack a sense of humour, as
over the miles you'll experience many highs and
much not! We also offer tailor made recces for people
wanting to run this route through the night, so
this week is relatively 'soft' to what we regularly
offer! The film and photos below were taken on a
recent overnight UTMB recce running from Chamonix
'just' a CCC recce?
problem - you can select to join in the second half of
the week, in which to run the section from Courmayeur,
via Champex to Chamonix. Get in contact to discuss which
elements of the course you need, e.g. numbers, days guiding,
and if accommodation is required, so we can quote for
you, subject to availability. Some ideas of pricing are
at the base of this page. Note that if you are joining
a UTMB recce to run the second half, you follow the UTMB
route from Courmayeur to Bertone, at which point the CCC
and UTMB routes follow the same trail.
Getting into trail running...
running is a fastgrowing sport, and
this podcast explains what it involves,
how to get into it, and also goes through
all of the equipment that is required.