Self-guided Tour Mont Blanc 2018
Choose your own TMB trek timescale and route
FREE GPX FILE FOR THE WHOLE ROUTE
Clients booking this trip are provided a GPX file, to download this to a GPS unit, to assist with navigation

I am certain words nor pictures will ever accurately represent this experience. It was, from start to finish the best adventure I have ever experienced and having shared it with my daughter is beyond explanation. Once we reached the trail heading towards the Himalayan bridge things got interesting and from there on out the beauty of the Alps, the comfort of our Huts and Refuges, the fellow hikers on the trail, the meals shared with people from around the globe all contributed to a once in a life time experience.

Eleanor C , Self-guided TMB 2017

We returned home to Seattle and I want to let you know that we had a wonderful time. Trekking the TMB with our family was without a doubt the best vacation we have had on so many levels. All of the arrangements went smoothly and we were happy with the mix of fancy and rustic. About half the time we had accommodations to ourselves, otherwise we shared. It was a great experience for the kids, the trail was well marked and the weather perfect. Thanks for helping to make the trek unforgettable.

Kathy H, Self-guided TMB 2017
Select the timescale and self-guided TMB itinerary that suits you best...
The complete 'walk every inch' TMB treks
 
Demi (half) TMB treks
10 day full TMB
7 day full TMB
4d UTMB recce
4 day TMB West
6 day TMB East
       

Prices
£299 for 1-3 people
£399 for 4-6 people
POA for 6+ people

Total group price, NOT per person

Prices
£299 for 1-3 people
£399 for 4-6 people
POA for 6+ people

Total group price, NOT per person
Prices
£149 for 1-3 people
£199 for 4-6 people
POA for 6+ people
Total group price, NOT per person
Prices
£149 for 1-3 people
£199 for 4-6 people
POA for 6+ people
Total group price, NOT per person
 
Prices
£199 for 1-3 people
£249 for 4-6 people
POA for 6+ people
Total group price, NOT per person
Length: 167km
Average day:
16.7km & +1000m height gain
 
Length: 167km
Average day:
23.9km & +1430m height gain
 
Length: 167km
Average day:
41.8km & +2500m height gain
 
Length: 69km
Average day:
17.2km & +1100m height gain
 
Length: 98km
Average day:
16.3km & +930m height gain

Itinerary

Day 1
- Travel to Chamonix to arrive for full briefings on kit and huts. Night spent in Chamonix.

Day 2
- 20km, +700m, -1200m. Les Houches to Col de Voza, to Contamines. Night in Contamines / Borrant area.

Day 3 - 14km, +1400m, -100m. Cross the Col du Bonhomme. Night in Croix du Bonhomme or Chapieux area.

Day 4 - 20km, +1000m, -1500m. Croix du Bonhomme to Col du Fours and Seigne reach the Elizabetta area for night.

Day 5 - 15km, +500m, -1300m. Pass Lac Combal and after Col Checroui descend to Courmayeur area for night.

Day 6 - 12km, +1000m, -100m. Ascend to Bertoni hut, and Mont de la Saxe to reach the Bonatti / Arnuva area.

Day 7 - 19km, +1000m, -1400m. Trek past Elena, over Grand Col Ferret. Night spent in La Fouly village.

Day 8 - 14km, +600m, -700m. Today is a little easier as you trek along the Val Ferret, to Champex.

Day 9 - 16km, +800m, -800m. Trek from Champex on the classic Bovine trail to Col du Forclaz, and Trient.

Day 10 - 18km, +1500m, -800m. Trek over the Col du Balme, and ascend to the Lac Blanc / Flegere area for night.

Day 11 - 19km, +700m, -1700m. Today is your last day of the trek, to reach Les Houches. Night in Chamonix.

Day 12 - Breakfast & depart

Itinerary

Day 1
- Travel to Chamonix to arrive for full briefings on kit and huts. Night spent in Chamonix.

Day 2
- 24km, +1750m, -1300m. Les Houches to Col de Voza, to Contamines. Night in Contamines / Borrant area.

Day 3 - 15km, +1300m, -900m. Cross the Col du Bonhomme. Night in Les Mottets area.

Day 4 - 24km, +1100m, -1700m.
Cross Col de Seigne and Col Checroui to reach the Courmayeur area for night.

Day 5 -
16km, +1600m, -700m. Ascend to Bertoni hut, and Mont de la Saxe to reach the Arnuva / Elena area.

Day 6 - 33km, +1600m, -2100m.
Trek over Grand Col Ferret, and down past Praz de Fort and Issert to reach Champex Lac for the night.

Day 7 - 31km, +1850m, -2000m. Trek from Champex on the classic Bovine trail to Col du Forclaz, and Trient, and over Col de Balme to the Montroc area.

Day 8 - 25km, +1500m, -1800m. Trek over the length of the Aiguilles Rouges, past Flegere and Brevent to reach Les Houches. Night in Chamonix.

Day 9 - Breakfast & depart

Itinerary

Day 1
- Travel to Chamonix to arrive for full briefings on kit and huts. Night spent in Chamonix.

Day 2
- D+ 1577m, D- 1434m, 31.5km. Start in Chamonix, and run to Les Houches, then ascend Col de Voza, and down to Saint Gervais, then river tracks to reach Contamines.

Day 3 - D+ 2387m, D- 2755m, 46.9km. Run up Col Bonhomme & descend to Chapieux. Then over Col de la Seigne, down to Combal, before the last climb to Checroui, and the steep descent into Courmayeur.

Day 4
- D+ 3247m, D- 2928m, 41.7km. Ascend to Bertoni and Mont Saxe to Bonatti, over Grand Col Ferret into Switzerland, via La Fouly and Issert, then up to Champex.

Day 5 - D+ 2559m, D- 2653m, 42.9km. Ascend to Bovine, down to Trient, then over Col de Balme, down to Vallorcine, up to Tete aux Vents, then descend from Flegere to Chamonix.

Day 6 - Breakfast & depart

Itinerary

Day 1
- Travel to Chamonix to arrive for full briefings on kit and huts. Night spent in Chamonix.

Day 2
- Les Houches to Col de Voza, to Contamines. Night in Contamines / Borrant area.

Day 3 - Cross the Col du Bonhomme. Night in Croix du Bonhomme or Chapieux area.

Day 4 - Croix du Bonhomme to Col du Fours and Seigne reach the Elizabetta area for night.

Day 5 - Pass Lac Combal and after Col Checroui descend to Courmayeur. Return by bus to Chamonix area for night.

Day 6 - Breakfast & depart

 

Itinerary

Day 1
- Travel to Chamonix to arrive for full briefings on kit and huts. Night spent in Chamonix.

Day 2
- 12km, +1000m, -100m. Ascend to Bertoni hut, and Mont de la Saxe to reach the Bonatti / Arnuva area.

Day 3 - 19km, +1000m, -1400m. Trek past Elena, over Grand Col Ferret. Night spent in La Fouly village.

Day 4 - 14km, +600m, -700m. Today is a little easier as you trek along the Val Ferret, to Champex.

Day 5 - 16km, +800m, -800m. Trek from Champex on the classic Bovine trail to Col du Forclaz, and Trient.

Day 6 - 18km, +1500m, -800m. Trek over the Col du Balme, and ascend to the Lac Blanc / Flegere area for night.

Day 7 - 19km, +700m, -1700m. Today is your last day of the trek, to reach Les Houches. Night in Chamonix.

Day 8 - Breakfast & depart

Notes...

Trek itineraries - All itineraries developed and written by UIMLA trekking guides.

Upgrades - Small or private rooms in huts may be possible on some of the nights, if requested at time of booking. Once on the trek, you can ask upon arrival at each hut any day if there is space to upgrade on any night you wish.

Bag storage - If your Chamonix accommodation is booked through us, it will have a secure storage room, in which you can leave 1 bag per person for the duration of your trek, so that you have fresh clothes on your return. This baggage storage is free in Chamonix, for up to one 60 litre bag / small suitcase per person, with maximum dimensions of 60cm x 40cm x 30cm. You cannot store larger items.

Price - Note that if you book any accommodation directly (e.g. hotel in Chamonix or Courmayeur, or even a specific hut), there is no reduction in our fixed prices, and we cannot offer any baggage storage for you.

Flexibility - We have carefully researched this trek and do not offer any bespoke options on it, apart from the option of an extra rest day in Courmayeur.
Icicle Classic Tour du Mont Blanc TMB profile
Key recommended reading and maps for the TMB...
The items recommended below are all available to purchase online from our Windermere mountain store. All orders over £30 get FREE postage to a UK address, and all course clients can apply their discount code at checkout!
Your luxury chalet in Chamonix for a night at each end of the trek
Why so many people choose Icicle for self-guided TMB trips...
Other itineraries have far more nights in the valley as they often include the price of the huts / hotels in the quote, so are limited to accommodation that they can pay for from a distance. Higher mountain huts have no card machines, which is why we do not include the cost of the accommodation, just the logistics of booking you in to the best places, so as to enjoy the best trekking and spectacular locations!
We are the only operator with a logistics and guiding team in Chamonix, whom will brief you in person the evening before your trek starts. This is a highly personalised service, which is unique to Icicle, as you are briefed by a professional guide, who will typically have trekked the TMB route over 50 times. You have the security of knowing you are backed up by a local resort team of qualified professionals.
On each night of the trek you are booked into mountain accommodation, which we also use for our guided groups. These vary from chalet style, to gites, mountain huts, and lodges. Each day you should easily be able to complete the trek by mid afternoon, to minimise the risk of being caught in any afternoon convention storms. If you ever are likely to arrive after 5pm, call ahead to ensure your reservation is kept.
At each end of the trek you spend a night in Chamonix in accommodation of your choice. There are options to suit all budgets, from bunkhouses to appartments, chalets to 5* hotels. When you check in to your Chamonix accommodation, ensure you are provided a Carte d'Hote (tourist card), as this gives you free transport on the bus and train to the start of the trek in Les Houches, a journey of c.20 minutes.
Col du Balme & Mont Blanc
When is the best time of year to travel for the Tour du Mont Blanc
The huts on the Tour du Mont Blanc are open from mid June until mid September, usually around the 15th of each month, so the trek is only possible during this three month period. In the first few weeks of the season, there is a greater chance of extensive snow patches on the high passes.
July and August period is generally the best for conditions, but you have to counter that by pointing out that it is also the busiest due to holidays. Also in the key two months it can be hot, and afternoon convection thunder storms are more frequent, but generally in June and September it is slightly cooler.
If your snow skills are good then consider dates in June, otherwise July to mid September is better. If you are worried about the conditions, we really stress that you should opt for a guided TMB, as we have never had a guided group to date that has failed to complete the route due to weather or conditions.
We have a very detailed questions & answers page. Just click on the link, and the page will open in a new window for you. However, note that this page is for self-guided groups, and we expect a good level of self sufficiency from these groups. If any questions ring alarm bells, we will let you know!
Stream crossing near the Croix du Bonhomme refuge on the TMB
Accommodation bookings on the TMB
We vary the exact choice of accommodation that week book for different groups, to cater for the likely weather and mountain conditions, as well as for any preferences that were made at the time of booking such as accommodation where smaller rooms may be available.
For these reasons, we do not provide any details of the accommodation that we have booked for you, until your full briefing on the evening before you depart. This enables us to adapt any bookings in reaction to things such as unexpected snowfalls on the high passes, or other objective risks.
Another logistical reason for not providing accommodation details up front, is that in each area, there are generally several accommodation (mountain hut / gite / lodge / hotel) options, from which we can select, depending on their suitability and availability. Our great local contacts, and highly detailed knowledge of the TMB route and all its variations, enable us to select for each booking, the best options for you.
Note that once you have started on your trek, any accommodation that has been booked cannot be altered or cancelled, and if any changes are made / you do not arrive, you will be billed for the stay anyway. By booking, you accept this, and will sign authorisation at the briefing for your card to be charged for any no-show or cancellation. This is to protect your bookings without paying up-front deposits.
Will the self-guided TMB option suit you?
We ask is that you feel confident in the following points. If you are unsure at all about any of these points, then you should consider a guided TMB
.
Navigation in poor visibility, such as dense cloud / snow, or the dark.
Language skills in case of an emergency, or communications.
Security on steep / loose ground and on snow patches for trekkers.
First aid training and medical awareness of common injuries.
If you aren't sure about any of these skills listed above, as a guided option can often work out a very similar budget anyway, and then you have the peace of mind that you are led by a fully qualified and highly experienced UIMLA International Mountain Leader. As well as showing you the route, they make all the mountain safety decisions, and offer added value in that they can tell you a lot about the local region. Opting for a guided trek doesn't mean that you couldn't do have done the trek it self-guided, but that you want to share the experience with others, make friends, and learn a lot more about the mountains, routes, customs, guided by an expert.
Views from the Lac Blanc on the TMB, across to Mont Blanc
Chamonix accommodation & bag storage
If you require accommodation in Chamonix at either end of your trek, we work with a few partner chalets and lodges, to offer very reasonably priced rooms on a B&B basis. The accommodation we frequently use is a 15 minute walk from the centre of town, situated in a traditional and quiet area of the town. It is a 'posh hostel', where typically we put people in private double / twin rooms. There are also triple and quad rooms available. There is an on site baggage storage room, where you can leave any luggage that you are not taking on the TMB trek. Photos below give an impression of what this accommodation is like. Note that if you book your own accommodation in Chamonix, you must ensure that it will store your bags during the trek, which many hotels are reluctant to do, and certainly Air BnB rents cannot offer. All items left in baggage storage are at your own risk. Take valuables on the trek with you, and ensure that all bags left in storage are securely locked, to safeguard your belongings.
Alternative self-guided trips

Preparatory trips
Chamonix self-guided


Alternatives
Bob Graham self-guided


Next trips
Haute Route self-guided
Why a self-guided TMB?
For those who have not come across the concept of self-guiding before, it couldn't be simpler. You guide yourself and all the logistics are arranged for you.
We organise all the boring bits so you don't have to; route information, maps, hut bookings etc. You get to walk with your friends, at your pace, rather than as part of a group.
We have a seasonal team in Chamonix, and you are given a briefing (c. 45 - 60 mins) by one of our guides, at a meeting point in central Chamonix.
Our UK office has a full time logistics team, so support our guides. This is an essential resource for you, in case we need to change hut bookings or any part of your itinerary.
Briefings are usually on the day of arrival at either 16:00 or 18:00, unless otherwise arranged at the time of booking. Before travel, we will contact you to book in a time for your briefing, at a meeting point in central Chamonix.

Bag storage is provided for FREE for all those who book their Chamonix accommodation through us, for either end of the trek. It is left in key code accessed storage. You can store up to one 60 litre bag / small suitcase per person.

We have a 24 hour emergency and local contact number, for urgent queries during the trek. This level of support is unique to us.
During your briefing in your Chamonix accommodation, you are given a new 1:50,000 scale map (for you to keep) of the whole TMB. We get the latest edition of the maps direct from our supplier for our Windermere shop.
At this time you are also provided with printed route trip notes for the trek. These help you plan your route each day.
The route notes have been meticulously researched and produced by our TMB guiding team. They are informative and also detail emergency escape routes, local numbers, and key information about the route.
We provide the route notes at the in resort briefing, as the questions are best answered by a guide in reaction to current conditions.
Note that the route notes used on self-guided treks are suggestions, and that should you opt to alter any section of the route, you would be operating outside the remit of the trip. Our treks are designed for you to walk the whole route, and we don't include minute detail on how to complete the tour by public transport, just escape routes.
You are totally responsible for your own safety on self-guided treks, as there is no guiding element to the package. One set of route notes, maps, etc is provided per group, in paper format (not as PDF).
It is a popular feature for self guided groups to opt to be guided for a day or two at the start of their trek (from £200 per day), so that the leader can advise them on the route, and ensure that their navigation skills and equipment selection is correct for the rest of the tour. This option is for those who need training beyond the scope of the briefing.
Our route notes follow the TMB, and in some cases a popular 'official' variation that we consider merits the extra distance or diversion.
Examples of these variations, that have fast become standard amongst most guiding companies, are to suggest you trek across the suspension bridge to Col du Tricot and the Miage valley, and the Col de Fours variation to avoid the road section from Chapieux to Ville des Glaciers.
Our itinerary can start on any day of the week that you choose, so decide when you would like to start your trek, and get in touch with us by e-mail. We upload a private self-guided trip onto our booking system, and then you can book and pay securely online. Please note that we only accept bookings up to two months before departure, to guarantee availability in mountain huts & accommodation.
You receive an immediate e-confirmation and equipment, as well as an Self-Guided TMB dossier. You receive your trip detailed itinerary and walking notes etc in Chamonix, at the trek briefing. Once the trip balance is paid, you can request to be sent the GPX files and notes, if you intend to use a GPS.
Read our full TMB article
Inclusions
Booking of the mountain huts and valley accommodation during the trek, made in your name.
A new map of the TMB, for you to keep even after your trek is finished.
The detailed Icicle route information notes, so you know where to go.
Language notes with key phrases, so you can communicate confidently during the trek.
Emergency procedure and mountain rescue notes, in case of an incident.
Local information sheets, with details about the region and key sights to take in on the route.
Briefing on arrival about the route and kit to take, from a UIMLA guide.
Baggage storage in Chamonix, if in accommodation booked through us, for the days you are trekking.
24 hour in-resort emergency contact and queries support throughout.
Discount voucher for use in our Windermere store / online purchases.
Exclusions
Travel to Chamonix, all accommodation / food / lodging costs (i.e. price of the half board stay in mountain hut or accommodation), activities & travel insurance, equipment hire, all other costs as required.
Cost notes
The accommodation in Chamonix at either end of the trek can be in accommodation of any style to suit your budget, from youth hostel / gite to a four star hotel. The cheapest accommodation is c.£40-60 pppn for B&B, and the more expensive hotels are c.£100 pppn. On the nights in mountain huts you should budget for c.£40-60 pppn for half board (evening meal and breakfast). The range of prices in huts is a factor or room size. Packed lunches can be ordered in huts for c.£5 per day. Cable cars, buses and taxis are not required for these itineraries, but if you choose to use them, then you need to budget accordingly.
Post-booking changes
Changes to the group size after booking will incur a price change if it alters the group size price bracket, and a £50 administration fee. If the group size change is made within 8 weeks of the trip, it will be treated as a new booking, and priced accordingly. All the huts will need to be contacted to alter the reservations. Transfers of dates on a self-guided TMB are treated as cancellations.
Self-guided upgrades
1) Select your mountain huts
Tailor make your trip, select specific huts, and have a tailor made trip dossier written for you. Bespoke trips must be booked at least 4 months in advance. We offer them on a 10 day trek timescale, and the price is £1000 in total (this is the total price for our logistics service, with the inclusions and exclusions as above, for up to 6 people in group).

2) Bespoke briefing times
These may be possible if booked at least 1 month in advance, where you cannot make either the 16:00 or 18:00 briefing slot. Bespoke briefings at times after 19:00 or before 09:00 cost £50, which can be added to your invoice.
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. 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, to ensure that you are prepared as possible.



As well as talking though your course, most clients have queries about the kit they will require, to avoid expensive mistakes, and we can show you some examples of that to consider. Others have training queries, about how to best prepare for your trip, and we will be able to steer you in the right direction. No question is too silly, and we'll have heard them all before! An integral part of booking is the ability to get good knowledgable advice, and a highly personal service. Unlike companies that only exist virtually in cyberspace, we are staffed by real people, in a real office, who offer real honest advice. Because we are tangible, we are accountable, and we take great pride in that and the service that we offer you. Get in touch to come in for a chat soon.
 
 

 
 
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