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 UIMLA trail running
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. Six 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
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 by a UIMLA guide who is a passionate trail runner who has competed
in plenty of Alpine ultra running races,
often including the legendary Ultra-Trail
du Mont Blanc itself. 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
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 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 often
led by a UTMB finisher, who is also a UIMLA guide,
you couldn't be in better hands. Our week is not
too tough, as it is spread over six days of running,
so it is not elitist, and we are very aware that
the tortoise always beats the hare! You need to
be quite fit, but really 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
Monday - Chamonix to Les Contamines, c.30km, +1550m,
the morning there's a last minute equipment
check, then you set off from in front of the
town hall in Chamonix, where the UTMB starts,
before running steadily down the valley to
Les Houches, before the first climb over Col
de Voza and Delivret, before the long descent
down to St Gervais. Here you take a rest before
running up the river trails along the valley
to reach the village of Les Contamines, where
you stay for the night. Night in hut / gite.
Tuesday - Les Contamines to Les Mottets, c.25km, +1700m,
The run passes the baroque church of Notre
Dame de la Gorge, to ascend an old Roman road.
You climb steadily to pass the Balme hut to
reach the high passes of Col
de Bonhomme, and Col de la Croix du Bonhomme,
before reaching a hut there where you take
a rest before starting the long descent to
Les Chapieux / Les Mottets, where you spend
the night. This day crosses a lot of remote
terrain, in spectacular scenery. Night in
Wednesday - Les Mottets to Courmayeur, c.25km, +1100m,
the focus is to reach Courmayeur, which is
roughly the half way point on the route. You
ascend the long incline to 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.
There's time to explore the cobbled streets
of town, to eat your body weight in gelato,
and you stay in a hotel / lodge in the old
Thursday - Courmayeur to La Fouly, c.32km, +2050m,
morning starts with a steep climb 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 into the Swiss
Val Ferret to reach the village of Ferret,
and onwards to La Fouly where you spend the
night. This day has varied scenery, and is
stunning running terrain, with great trails
to enjoy. Night in a hut / lodge / gite.
Friday - La Fouly to Trient, c.31km, +1300m, -1400m.
start to the day, following the valley to
Issert, where you climb up to the village
of Champex-Lac on the Sentier des Champignons. Then
you ascend through a remote section to cross
the Bovine alpage, high above the Martigny
and Rhone valley, before the long descent
into Trient. You pass huts on the Bovine alpage
and also a cafe at Col de Forclaz, where you
can stop for refreshments. Night in Trient
in a hut / lodge / gite.
Saturday - Trient to Chamonix, c.31km, +1750m, -2200m.
last day to complete this amazing loop, as
you climb up to the Catogne alpage, and cross
back into France, then 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.
Night in Chamonix.
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
1) UIMLA guide for up to six days, 2) Chamonix
course hosts for logistics & briefings,
3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment
discount voucher for our UK shop, 5) Two nights
B&B accommodation in Chamonix (inc. bedding
& towels), and 5 nights half board in
mountain huts / lodges / gites, 6) Free 36
page technical Course Instruction Booklet,
7) Local logistics support throughout the
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. The
group sizes for this trip are a minimum of
2 runners, and a maximum of 8 runners per
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, click
here. These prices include maps,
GPX files, briefings, and kit storage when you are
Course Dates UTMB recce
[5+] 11 - 18 Jul 2021
[5+] 25 Jul - 1 Aug 2021
[5+] 8 - 15 Aug 2021
This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are three who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
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 enough over 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 below was 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.