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Mont Blanc Ultra Trail 2017
Run the full UTMB over a week, with 2 nights in comfy mountain huts
Course overview

Running 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.
You 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.
We plan to recce the route at a steady race pace, not pushing too hard, as we strive to enable you to complete the section in a good time, but 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.
These 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 it.
During 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 bed.
You 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.

If 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.
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.
UTMB start line

Brief 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.
Sunday
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 in Chamonix.
Monday
In 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.
  Tuesday
Today 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.
  Wednesday
Today 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 the day of guiding is shorter to allow you plenty of time to prepare for the second leg of the Mont Blanc Ultra Trail. Typically the groups opt for a technical route, such as running the Chamonix Vertical Kilometre race to Planpraz, and jogging down through the forest trails. Night in Chamonix.
  Thursday
Take 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.
  Friday
The 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.
  Saturday
Breakfast 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 about midday. 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 will attempt.
Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days UIMLA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
£999
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 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.
Exclusions: 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 charges.

Notes: 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.
Upgrades, 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...

OCC 55km guided
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 £200pp (based on 4), or £350pp (based on 2). This can also be run in one long day, for up to 4 people for £300 total.
 
CCC 101km guided
Three 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 £325pp (based on 4), or £550 (based on 2).
 
TDS 119km guided
Three 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 £350pp (based on 4), or £600pp (based on 2).
 
Self-guided recces
We offer self-guided recces of the OCC, CCC, TDS & UTMB. For details and prices, click here. These prices include maps, GPX files, briefings, and kit storage when you are in Chamonix.
Current course availability

Course Dates
UTMB recce
  • [ 0 ] 2 - 8 Jul 2017
  • [ 3 ] 16 - 22 Jul 2017
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Price: £999 Book online

Alternative courses
Alps summer trail running
Alps winter trail running

UK fell running weekend
Personal training sessions

As featured in the Summit mag...
click here to view
Client feedback

I 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

The 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

If 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
Testimonials
Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
We wrote the book on it...
Published by Cicerone Press,
by Kingsley our head trail running guide & trainer


40 routes inc UTMB, Vertical KM, Chamonix 80km, CCC

Click to buy!
An amuse bouche?
Very 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 to Courmayeur...
Location data for this trip
The meeting point for this trip is in the Chamonix valley in the French Alps.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Fancy 'just' a CCC recce?
No 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.
Free resources


FREE Podcast
Getting into trail running...

Trail 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
.
Download podcast (3.76 MB)
See all the Icicle podcasts


FREE Resource
Alps trail running kit list...
If you are planning on attending one of our trail running courses, you can see a kit check list of the clothing and equipment that we recommend you take.
Trail running kit advice page
Download the kit list here
UTMB food station
Suggested reading and kit
Why choose our trips?
The photo above sums it up. All of these finisher jackets of the UTMB race series belong to our head running leader. We genuinely think that there is no other operator out there who is more credible!
There are several other operators who also offer trail running camps, and we aren't afraid to advertise that fact. Please look at their itineraries to see how they differ from ours.
We don't offer talks from 'celebrity' runners, or go in for the chardonnay in a hot tub 'lifestyle', or quasi-scientific courses. Ours are run by people who do it, not talk the talk.
The effect on our prices is that we can offer you great value. We genuinely believe that you'll spend more time actually running and in the mountains on our courses, than with anyone else.
Anyone who is leading you will be a finisher of one of the iconic trail races, such as the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Tor du Geants or Leadville or WS100.
UTMB running to the finish line
 
Author signed!
'Trail Running Chamonix and
the Mont Blanc region' link
...or the NEW book...
'Trail and Fell Running in the
Lake District'
buy a copy
by Kingsley Jones. Cicerone Press

£14.95 each
Each book has 40 trail running
routes, each with height profiles,
and full colour mapping

Features how to adapt your
running in the mountains, and
an index of where to stay

Includes famous races in each
region, e.g. UTMB, Langdale
Horseshoe and Chamonix VKM

To purchase a copy, click here
 

 
 
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