Doing the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom is a good way to do the TMB in autonomy and appeals to all hikers and trekkers who prefer to walk alone. While a trekking agency necessarily proposes fixed itineraries to its clients, the free trekker will be able to entirely choose his own itinerary. This type of trek is therefore a trip full of freedom … provided that it is well prepared.
How to do the Tour du Mont Blanc by yourself? In this article, we offer you 5 tips to do the Tour du Mont Blanc by yourself, but not necessarily alone 😉
1. Create the itinerary of your own Tour du Mont Blanc
The first step in the preparation of a Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom is the creation of the itinerary. How long will it take? Which route? Which direction? There are many possibilities, here are some explanations.
The full Tour du Mont Blanc, the Classic
The classic route of the Tour du Mont Blanc is a 10 to 11 day itinerary that goes around the Mont Blanc massif, straddling three countries. It is about 170 kilometers long and has a 10,000 meters difference in altitude. Starting from Chamonix or from the village of Les Houches, the route is done in a counter-clockwise direction, passing through Italy and Switzerland and returning to the French side. However, you can decide to do the Tour du Mont Blanc clockwise. In this case, you will not follow the groups as you will cross them.
The full Tour du Mont Blanc is the itinerary that does not skip any of the points of interest on the route. It passes through numerous passes and often takes beautiful balcony trails from which the panoramic view is breathtaking. Doing the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom according to this itinerary allows you to immerse yourself for more than a week in the Mont Blanc region and to take the time to discover it in full autonomy.
Do the Tour du Mont Blanc in 7 days
Doing the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom in seven days allows trekkers who do not necessarily have enough time during their holidays to do a trek with a change of scenery. Indeed, in the space of a week, it is quite possible to cover the most beautiful stages of the TMB to offer a diversified stay between the French, Italian and Swiss sides.
Many of the Tour du Mont Blanc agencies offer seven day tours with bus and lift transfers included. There are many transfer options and by doing the 7 day Tour du Mont Blanc you are free to choose where you take a bus. The villages on the TMB are very well served so you can easily build your own week-long itinerary.
Doing the Tour du Mont Blanc on your own for a week gives you the opportunity to select the stages you want to cover on a personalized itinerary. In order not to leave anything out, you can also choose to do the first part of the Tour du Mont Blanc and complete it the following year!
The Tour du Mont Blanc is not a single loop around the Mont Blanc massif. It is rather a main route often interspersed with variants that are more or less frequented. They will certainly delight you if you want to go through higher and more alpine trails, if you are looking for more technical paths and if you want to increase your chances to meet animals while staying away from the crowds. Here are some of them:
- The Miage chalets and the breathtaking view of the Dômes du Miage glaciers.
- The Col des Fours, the highest point of the Tour du Mont Blanc (2,665 m, like the Fenêtre d’Arpette) and the beautiful descent through the mountain pastures afterwards.
- The variant via the Bertone refuge and the Col Sapin for a day’s walk and a breathtaking panorama of the high snowy peaks throughout the day.
2. Find information on how to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom
Where to find information to prepare your Tour du Mont Blanc? Here are our tips for choosing the right documents and finding the right places to get all the information you need to prepare your trek.
French IGN maps, old but gold
To do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom, you will need a way to orient yourself. The IGN TOP 25 maps are timeless and always as precise, up-to-date and detailed. They will allow you to easily locate your itinerary, the important points (refuges, villages, water points…) through which it passes or those that are nearby.
During the preparation of your Tour du Mont Blanc, the maps will allow you to easily visualize the itinerary you plan to take and to refine it if necessary.
IGN maps to do the Tour du Mont Blanc :
- Chamonix Massif du Mont Blanc Top25 3630OT
- Saint-Gervais-les-Bains Massif du Mont Blanc Top25 3531ET
The topo-guide, your guide to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom
In order to prepare your Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom, the official topo-guide of the Fédération Française de Randonnée (FFR) is a must-have. It will give you a lot of interesting information about the history of the TMB, the Mont Blanc region and details all the stages and variants. While the IGN maps will allow you to visualize the whole itinerary, the topo-guide will allow you to know the details of each day’s walk and notably the possible technical passages.
The Internet is a rich source of information about the Tour du Mont Blanc. There are many travel, trekking and adventure blogs about it. They will be very useful to glean information about a particular passage, access other people’s experience of the TMB and you can ask them questions in the comments.
The forums specialized in trekking can also be useful if you want to ask questions for which you do not find answers.
To prepare your Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom, you can also visit the websites of the tourist offices of Chamonix or Haute-Savoie, for example. Finally, on the websites of specialized agencies, you can find information and the possibility to contact a trekking guide to ask specific questions. Trekking Mont Blanc guides can answer all your questions about the TMB!
3. Choose the right equipment to do the Tour du Mont Blanc
To avoid any problems during your Tour du Mont Blanc, you must be properly equipped! Both in terms of clothing and hiking gear, make sure you take and wear what you need, no more, no less.
In order to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom, be sure to bring clothes suitable for hiking over several days. The temperature can vary greatly on the TMB, especially due to changes in altitude. You are also not safe from rain during your trek.
For the top, adopt the classic three-layer technique:
- a breathable first layer that helps eliminate perspiration (t-shirt)
- a second insulating layer to keep your body warm (fleece, micro-fleece, soft-shell vest …)
- a third layer that is windproof and waterproof to protect you from the elements (Gore-Tex jacket)
For the evening, you can take a down jacket or another fleece to stay dry and warm. For your legs, a pair of classic hiking trousers will be suitable and trousers that can be converted into shorts will allow you to better modulate your body heat when it is hot.
The most important thing is to wear the right hiking boots! We recommend high shoes that protect your ankles from twisting and have a well-cushioned sole. Also remember to wear suitable socks to avoid blisters!
If you want to learn more, you can read our article on the art of layering hiking clothes.
The hiking equipment
Whether you are doing the Tour du Mont Blanc in a bivouac or in a refuge, you will need the right hiking gear. The first thing to check is your hiking bag. Is it big enough? Can you protect it from the rain? Is it designed to carry the load you will be carrying? If you are bivouacking, you will also need to bring specific trekking equipment (a tent, a sleeping bag, a stove, a sleeping bag, etc.) for which the weight will be of particular importance.
4. Choose your season to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom
When should I do the Tour du Mont Blanc?
The season to undertake this trek is from mid-June to mid-September but within this three month period, there are several choices.
Do the Tour du Mont Blanc from June
From mid-June to early July, the days are long and the temperatures, although cool, are good for trekking. In the mountains, the flowering is intense at this time of the year and the TMB trails are not yet too busy. However, snow may persist in some places, especially at the highest passes. You will have to think about your route and your equipment accordingly.
From July 15 to August 15: intensity on the mountain trails
From July 15 to August 15, the weather is often ideal for a trek like the Tour du Mont Blanc. Life in the villages, hamlets and refuges is intense. However, this is also the period that most trekkers choose and when most people have the opportunity to take a holiday. Logically, it is during these days that the paths are the most frequented. Perfect to meet French and international trekkers, but if you want to avoid the crowds at all costs, this will not be the perfect period for you.
What to do if you can only do the Tour du Mont Blanc at this time and you want to avoid groups? Here are two tips from the experience of our guides:
- Leave a little earlier than the other hikers and the hut groups. This way you won’t follow them and can enjoy the views and breaks at your leisure.
- If you want to do a free tour of Mont Blanc without too many people, do it in the opposite direction to the other groups. This way, you will only pass them rather than following them all day long.
End of the season, the best time to visit the TMB?
From August 15, the number of people on the Tour’s trails drops sharply. However, until mid-September, the temperatures are still favourable for a trek around Mont Blanc. The refuges are less busy and the snow has melted. It is therefore an ideal period to trek in a wild atmosphere.
However, bear in mind that some shops in the villages may be closed more frequently and the period of sunshine during the day is shorter than in early summer.
5. Use the services of an agency to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom
To prepare and do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom, you have the possibility to use a trekking agency specialized in TMB like Trekking Mont Blanc. Just because you are not going with a group does not mean you cannot benefit from the advice of an experienced guide!
Professional preparation and organization
You can organize your own Tour du Mont Blanc with the guides of our agency in order to take advantage of the advice and experience of our specialist Tour du Mont Blanc guides.
During the preparation phase of your stay, by exchanging with a trekking guide and by telling him all your wishes (start and end dates, level of difficulty, walking time, planned itinerary…), he creates for you a completely personalized itinerary. The guide will make several suggestions until he has decided on the itinerary that suits you best.
It prepares your custom road book detailing each stage of your own Tour du Mont Blanc. For each day of walking, he describes two possibilities: a normal stage and a more difficult stage. This way, you can choose every day between a sportive discovery or a more leisurely walk! We also trace your route on the corresponding IGN TOP 25 maps. You will receive at home your pack to do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom composed of:
- all the IGN maps you need
- a personalized and detailed road-book
- the official Tour du Mont Blanc guidebook
The guide also answers all your questions and offers advice on accommodation before and after the Tour du Mont Blanc. The aim is to offer you a personalised stay designed for freedom and discovery.
With Trekking Mont Blanc, you can do the Tour du Mont Blanc in freedom but you are not alone!
Valuable assistance during your trek
During your trek, our agency can also accompany you in different ways.
At the intervals you wish (morning and evening, only in the evening, every other day …) a dedicated trekking guide for your TMB will call you to make sure that everything is going well for you, to offer solutions to your eventual problems and to give you advice. He remains available 24 hours a day. This tailor-made telephone assistance allows you to enjoy total freedom on the trails without ever being alone.
Trekking Mont Blanc can also take care of the transfer of your luggage, as an option, between your different lodging places, if possible. Thus, you only carry your day bag during your walk.
We can also offer you home-made picnics and snacks from our chef! Depending on your preferences and diet, he will prepare your meals so that they are both tasty and restorative after a good effort.
To know more about the preparation of a Tour du Mont Blanc with our agency, go here :
We hope this article has been helpful in preparing for your next adventure! If you have a question, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment 🙂