The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular treks in Europe. It covers a distance of approximately 170 km and gains more than 10,000 meters of altitude. On this hike you are treated to pristine mountain scenery day after day for 8 to 10 days. Today’s post is about preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc.
The incredible thing about Tour du Mont Blanc is that you will hike through France, Italy, and Switzerland as you loop your way around the Mont Blanc Massif. Preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc is your first step to have an enjoyable trip.
Preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc AKA TMB
Revered around the world and widely recognized as one of the world’s greatest walks, I am so happy to say that I am trekking the 170km Tour du Mont Blanc hike! Every year, thousands of people complete this thrilling hike, and this year I’m going to be one of them! 🙂
I’m currently mentally and physically preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc trek because it will be a personal challenge for me. In addition to being physically demanding, I will be doing it as someone with Type 1 diabetes and with celiac disease (along with a long list of other food allergies). More to come on these topics in subsequent posts!
A great resource for preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc is “The Tour of Mont Blanc: Complete Two-way Trekking Guide” by Kev Reynolds. I got this book a few months ago and have been reading it every chance I get.
The TMB is said to be very scenic, navigating around Mont Blanc and passing through France, Italy and Switzerland. My trip starts and ends in the famous Chamonix Valley. Yes, that’s three countries! With 10,000 meters of undulating ascent and descent, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy sailing (or I guess hiking 🙂 ). That’s why I wanted to dedicate this quick post to the ways in which I’m preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc which is sure to be a once in a lifetime hike. I hope some of those who are thinking about doing this trek will find this information helpful.
Brave it Alone or Join a Group
You’re probably wondering how you should set out on this hike — alone, with one other person, or with a big group? There are a lot of resources available online to plan this trek on your own and also many options for guided treks, too. You just need to choose what is best for you.
I chose a fully supported guided tour for this adventure with G Adventures. G Adventures has two options for the Tour du Mont Blanc Trek to choose from. You get the expertise of professionals as well as a group morale that will spur you on through the hard parts, which I’m sure there will be PLENTY. Everything is organized for you so all you have to worry about is the very hike itself. With an itinerary already planned and meals and accommodation included in the price, I’ve been told that the group feels more personal and there’s lots of support and encouragement thrown around at all times, so this seemed like the best option for me.
TIP: For any travel overseas with a significant time change, arrive a few days prior so that your body gets through the jet lag phase before you start any hike.
The Stress of Packing
I must strip it back to the bare necessities, as they say no day pack should be over 10kg when trekking the TMB as you really just make it extra difficult for yourself. I hike frequently so I have most of what I need, the key will be to only carry the essentials. Another great thing about G Adventures is that they tell you all the details for what to pack, currency needed, etc. This definitely helps to take some of the stress out of trip preparation.
I am looking into options for a bag transfer (which G Adventures can help me book) since I need to make more food than the normal hiker due to my food allergies. As well, I need to have all my diabetes supplies (plus extras) to get me through at least 10 days.
You should also read Reasons Why You Should Hike the Tour du Mont Blanc, Guide to Machu Picchu, or 10 Hikes I did in Vancouver.
The TMB is full of diverse terrain, including wild forests, rocky ground, snowy peaks and luscious green valleys. Most of the route each day involves hiking up and over a mountain pass then ending by taking refuge in a hut or hotel for the night. This map illustrates the route in the simplest terms.
To give you a better idea of the difficultly of the terriain, refer to this altitude profile. Yikes! That is a lot of ascents and descents, which are both equally hard on the body.
Physically Preparing for the Tour du Mont Blanc
While you don’t necessarily need prior hiking experience, it is best to be fit and healthy to avoid any type of injury or strain. I’ve been sure to build up my cardio strength, so the hike doesn’t come as too much of a shock to the system.
I hope I am prepared for those 24 km daily distances! I would suggest training 3 months prior and stay diligent in building up your cardio and strength, along with practice hikes with all your gear.
More on my Trek to Come!
I can’t wait to experience the beauty of the Tour du Mont Blanc for myself and would highly recommend anyone thinking of doing this hike to take the plunge. Check back for posts about my experience… and wish me luck!