Tour du Mont Blanc Q&As from clients
What time is the airport transfer and planned briefing dinner schedule?
Don’t worry about the timing – the driver will be there to pick you up at whatever time is convenient to you. We just need the flight number and arrival time. We don’t do one group transfer on arrival. The same goes for when you fly home – just let us know what time your flight is and we will book your transfer accordingly.
The Guide will most likely do a group briefing around 6pm on 18 July and then head to dinner around 7pm. If you arrive later, he can brief you separately.
Is there a single supplement if book on my own?
We do not charge single supplements for solo travellers. You would be paired up to share a room with another female solo traveller.
Is it possible to do the laundry on the TMB?
You can do laundry on one hotel – in La Palud – where we have a rest-day mid-way along the trek.
When is the final balance due?
10% deposit on booking and final payment eight weeks before the trip starts.
How long will it take to confirm our reservation?
As soon as we receive your deposit we will process your booking.
On the guided tour do you get to hike at your own pace?
If you choose a guided tour, you are able to go at your own pace, but obviously mindful that there will be other hikers in the group who are likely to travel at a different pace. The Guides tend to walk at an average group speed and stop every 50-60 minutes for a rest that allows the slower ones to catch up. So long as the weather is fine, you can choose to hike ahead of or behind the Guide.
The guided TMB is a relaxed trek with plenty of opportunity to take photos, admire the view etc. Most of the days are not too strenuous or long (average is approximately 12-14 miles over 6-8 hours of hiking), hence the relatively relaxed pace. Much of the benefits of a guided trek is the camaraderie of the group, the Guide’s knowledge and that they take care of all the day-to-day logistics .
If you are very fast walkers it might be better to go self-guided. However, we have had very few people who find the pace too slow. The only memorable one I can recall in the past five years was part of the UK Olympic rowing team and she was so fast the Guide didn’t even bother to try to rein her in! She had, to be honest, booked the wrong holiday.
How do you get to the trail head on the self-guided trek?
If you go self-guided, it is very easy to get the trail head: the local transport is excellent and we provide route notes to help you.
Can you provide any references from the USA?
You can see lots of reviews on our website: these are all done independently by our past clients, many of whom are from the USA.
How safe is the Trek around Mt Blanc? Have there been any fatalities in your groups?
I can assure you that the TMB is a safe trek. As far as we know there has only been one death in the last five years and that was a man who fell off a cliff side on a section that we do not walk along. There are a number of ladders above Chamonix, but we only use one very short one (15-20 feet) on the descent from Lac Blanc. Our Walking Guides will offer a safety rope to anyone who wants reassurance.
I think you may have heard there are a lot of fatalities from people who climb the high alpine peaks in the Mont Blanc massif. These are Alpine mountaineers. We do not climb Mont Blanc or any other alpine mountain in the region – we just walk around the base of it. Obviously, there is an element of danger or risk in any outdoor activity, but the TMB can be regarded a pretty safe hike.
Can you recommend an insurance company in the USA?
I am not able to recommend an insurance company as you are based on the USA (and we are in the UK). However, the key things to cover are repatriation to your home country, medical cover, helicopter rescue in the Alps and that you are insured to hike to altitudes up to 2600m.
You may find your bank offers a reasonable policy, but call them to check the key things are covered.
How can we book a Refugio?
The information on this website will help you the most:
What is your deadline to cancel the tour if you do not meet the minimum number of passengers?
4-6 months. If it is not happening we will know by February / March. We have cancelled one trip in the last 5 years – and that was late June and there was too much old winter snow lying around at the high passes. It ceased to be a summer walking holiday and we moved our clients to a later date.
Do you have any departures early to mid-June?
We don’t run trips that early, chiefly because there is the risk of old winter snow still lying on the high passes if you go much earlier. If it is a heavy winter, it can be a real issue and can be dangerous: there are long run-outs if you were to slip and deep pot-holes in the snow which are easy to fall into.
accommodation on the self-guided trek?
We offer fixed departures throughout the summer and offer the self-guided TMB holiday as a complete inclusive package. I have attached a dossier about the trek that goes into greater detail.
Please see our website for more information:
Can we trek the TMB in the last week of March?
You could do it on skis in March! Otherwise you’ll need to wait until late June when most of the snow will have gone and you can safely trek.
Can we book a rest day in Courmayeur?
We already have a rest day built in to our trip: it is on day seven. You spend two nights in Courmayeur mid-way through the route
What are the pros and cons of trekking in the early TMB season v late season?
We would advise against doing the hike in the last week of August as Chamonix hosts the UTMB – a massive one week ultra marathon with thousands of people turning up!
Late June can be very nice as the snows should have retreated from the high passes and the flowers will be out. However, as you are coming from the USA, I suggest erring on the side of caution and coming from around 04 or 11 July and later. In 2013 the snows did not retreat until the end of the first week in July and it was not safe to hike earlier than this. I would point out this has only happened once to us since 2006, but it is worth considering. September is also very nice as the autumn colours are out and the trails are quieter.
If you would like to book, I suggest getting in early. The TMB is very popular these days and it is worth getting your preferred dates as soon as possible.
How much should I budget for dinner when it’s not included? Do you have any recommendations of where to eat?
Dinner for the other nights: approx. 25 euros per dinner. The Guide will recommend where to eat.
Is there hot water every day to shower?
Yes there is.
What is the age range on your treks?
We have people booked who are mid 20’s to mid 70’s – and the older clients tend to be fitter!
Can you book refuges and/or campgrounds for the TMB?
We do offer fixed date departures staying in hotels. We don’t offer treks with camping or using refuges.
However, you can see our trip here:
Can you cater for Halal / Kosher diets?
Regarding diet – the hotels do not offer kosher menus, but they do offer many dishes without pork – so this is not a problem for your diet. There is plenty of chicken, fish and vegetarian meals.
Do you have any departures in October?
I am afraid that we do not run TMBs into October. Some of the hotels at key night-stops shut and so there is nowhere to stay.
Can I book as a solo traveller?
Assuming you are interested in a guided trek on the Tour du Mont Blanc, solo travelers are very welcome. Around 50% of our trekkers are solo travellers.
We don’t charge a single supplement: you would just be paired up with another single female traveller.
Can we bring our children on the TMB? Can we add in days to make it easier for children?
We would not be able to tailor make a trip for you as the operations and luggage transfers we run don’t allow this. However, if your son is over 12 and enjoys hiking he will do fine. I would not recommend it to anyone younger. We have three outdoorsy kids and lived in Chamonix for 7 years. Inclement weather and some long days means the trek is not good for younger children.
I hope this helps.
Can we book a triple room?
We can book triple rooms for you, but the cost saving is not much. The hotels on the TMB don’t give much away!
What are the picnics like?
The Guide will buy a picnic, which will include local cheese, bread, cold meats, salad etc and you will either make it on the hill or, if the weather is looking poor, you will make sandwiches before you leave the hotel in the morning.
Where do we re-fill water bottles?
Some days you will be able to fill up on the way, other days not. The Guidewill advise you. We suggest you bring 2 one-litre bottles.
Can we use a credit card in shops on the TMB?
Some do, but not all. Best to carry some cash. You can get money out of an ATM in Argentiere, Courmayeur and Les Contamines.
How much time is spent transferring versus hiking?
There are many transfers. Obviously you need to get between Geneva Airport to the Chamonix Valley, which is 80 minutes each way on Days 1 and 11. There is a 15 minute bus ride on Day 2 to Flegere, the option of a 20 minute bus ride on Day 6 to La Palud (it is a very long 22 mile day and some clients prefer to take the bus for the last 6 miles), bus on day 8, approx. 30 mins to get to the road-head at Val Veny. Bus at the end of the trek to get back to hotel for 30 minutes.
What is the grade of the TMB trek?
The trek is challenging: we cover between 10 and 15 miles each day and you will ascend and descend 3000 feet on five of the eight walking days. We do have a day off half-way through the trek in Courmayeur so you can re-charge your batteries. However, it is not a race and we go at a reasonable speed – we do not go fast.
Is there an age limit?
Age is definitely no barrier – we have had a 14-year old and a 74 year-old on our trips. The average age of our clients is around 55. The main thing is fitness – and if you are confident of your fitness you will be fine.
How soon do you confirm departures?
We confirm departures as soon as we have six or more people booked –the status on our website will then say ‘Guaranteed to run’.
Can you cater for a Vegan on the TMB?
Being vegan on the TMB is tough as the hotels are not able to deliver individ>ual meals – they provide a fixed three-course meal to everyone at the same time. In some places this can be for 25 trekkers, in others, up to 80 trekkers (at Les Chapieux they have two sittings – one at 7pm and another at 8:30pm).
The hotels on the TMB offer vegetarian meals. They are small mountain establishments and, until very recently, would feed guests on lots of cheese and meats. They have, however, got better in recent years but the evening meals tends to be an omelette or a plate of cheese with salad. Breakfast and lunch is a lot easier to control. The Leader for your trek would be able to buy the picnic lunches and so you can help him with some ideas for you.
We have had two vegan trekkers in the past, but they chose to modify their diet during the trek as they felt their energy levels were slipping and it was affecting their enjoyment of the trek. This included eating eggs, cheese, milk and chocolate. Obviously this was their choice and we had no play in this is.
I would be very happy for you to join one of our treks, but we will not be able to offer vegan meals.
How soon do I need to book?
We have seen a flood of bookings this year and most of our trips were full or almost full by October. In the past this has not tended to happen until the following April, so it has taken us by surprise. I have also spoken to a couple of hotels who have said a similar thing is happening with other trekking companies. Clearly the Alps are very popular this year.
So, I guess the thing would be to get in as soon as possible.
Do the guides speak multiple languages?
Our Guides generally come from the UK and most speak reasonable to good French.
Why do you go in a clockwise direction when most companies offer anti-clockwise?
If you trek anti-clockwise you have the three toughest days at the beginning of the trip. We run the trip in a clock-wise direction. This means the first half of the trip is gentler and the second half – after Courmayeur – entails three tough days over big passes. It means that, you acclimatise and get used to the walking in the first five days and then, after a rest-day in Courmayeur, you are much fitter and so the tougher days are less tiring.
Is it possible to access the main luggage every night?
No, It is prohibitively expensive to transfer luggage every night, this would increase the cost of the trip significantly. We also feel it would be particularly environmentally unfriendly. For 4 nights you do not have access to your main luggage. Therefore you have to do light-back packing for two nights over two separate sections of the TMB. You will need to carry a little bit more equipment – normally spare underwear, socks and a toothbrush.
you don’t need to carry much more because the hotels provide all bedding and towels.
Are you offering a climbing tour of Mont Blanc?
We don’t offer climbs of Mont Blanc. We run the trekking Tour du Mont Blanc.
Is it possible to hike certain legs of the trail and to be driven to the next accommodation on other days?
Yes. It is easy for him to join and re-join the trek. This is not unusual and a number of clients have done it very easily in the past. He can use the public transport system which is pretty good.
Does the guide meet us at Geneva Airport, or do we need to find transportation to Chamonix?
Normally the Guide will meet the group when they arrive at Geneva Airport mid-afternoon. However, if you have an earlier or later flight, we can send a driver to meet you and bring you to the hotel. You will then meet the Guide.
Why is the cost of your TMB much lower than most American companies?
We have noticed this too! I think that the American market is very different from the UK market which is highly competitive and also British people are always looking for a bargain! Our hotels are very good (the same or similar to most other companies), we use the same quality of Guides, same transfers etc. To be honest, I think the US companies are making a fortune. We see a lot of American and Canadian clients booking with us as they see the large difference.
What are the day by day hiking lengths and elevation gain/loss?
Please look at our detailed trip dossiers where you will find all this information.
Do I need to order picnics in advance?
Picnics can be bought as you go along: either at a local shop or from the hotel. You don’t need to order hotel picnics earlier than the night before.
How does one receive the detailed route notes?
Detailed route notes, hotel information etc is sent once you have made your final payment.
Can I team up with other self-guiders?
We have had a significant number of solo self-guided clients who have booked with us in the past. Often you will find that their trip has coincided with other self-guided parties or even one of our guided groups. This means that although you trek alone during the day you can socialise with other people who have booked with us in the evening. Also, there will be many other trekkers on the route and at the hotels.
Am I fit enough for the TMB trek?
That’s a really difficult question to answer – as only you really know how fit you are. We have had clients who range from 18 to 72 years in the past few years and all get round the trek comfortably. Our average age is around 55.
Most clients are avid weekend walkers, who are used to walking 4-6 hours a day. We walk at a fairly gentle pace: 3-4 hours in the morning and then 2-3 hours in the afternoon with built-in stops. There are several 1000m ascents and descents.
Can we book a Guide only?
I can’t help you with a Guide only. Your best bet is to go to the BAIML website and book a guide direct or contact the Compagnie des Guides in Chamonix.
Can we book a guide for part of the self-guided trip?
Most Guides would only really work out of Chamonix on a daily basis and so this would restrict you hiring them for the first 2 days of the trek, which are not hard days and have relatively easy route-finding.
If you are comfortable walking in the UK hills with a map and compass I don’t think you would need a Guide, even for the longer days. Route finding is pretty simple and as long as the weather is fine you should be fine.
Could you recommend a transfer company?
We use Mountain Drop Offs for all our transfers.
Can I book for 2019?
Gosh that’s forward planning! In theory we could take a provisional booking now but we would not be able to confirm the final price or dates until Sept 2018. Are you just looking for 1 place or is there a group of you? If it’s just for you I wouldn’t worry at all, we can contact you nearer the time to discuss dates etc. If however you can put together a private group of between 8-14 people we can look at dates sooner and offer you a price once you have paid the deposit (although this would be subject to change dependent on exchange rates).
If we travelled to Chamonix by car, where can we leave the car while on trek?
Your joining hotel has an outdoor and underground car park where you can leave your car.
Do you offer a luggage transfer service for independent travellers?
We don’t offer the annotation luggage transfers on their own. We offer a full service with hotel booking, luggage transfers, routen> notes and back-up in Chamonix.
If we drive can you deduct the flight and airport transfers costs?
Our prices do not include flights. Our packages start and finish as Geneva airport. If you do not need the transfer from the airport we can offer you a discount of £20 per person.