Tour Du Mont Blanc! Yes that's in France, Italy, & Switzerland!

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Office de Tourisme

Rue du Mont-Blanc · les Houches

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• Join Moi for The Tour Du Mont Blanc

When looking for Summer adventures I happened upon the Tour Du Mont Blanc (MTB) and realized immediately I had to do it! In a nutshell it is a multi-day hike in the Alps circling Europe’s highest peak Mont Blanc @ 15770ft. You hike through 3 countries: France, Italy, and Switzerland! How cool is that?

It is[masked] miles total with 35000ft total gain/loss. I am doing it over 10-11 days to savor every moment.Everyone can take their time as we meet up again for lodging every night.

Check out this site for an overview (http://www.alpineexploratory.com/walking-guides/tourdumontblanc.html) .

While many people do tours I don’t. I am doing it myself and inviting you along! Thus a chunk of the research has been done. However, you are responsible for making all your own arrangements. I can only share info on what I have booked or plan to book for myself.

I purchased the famous guide (http://www.amazon.com/Tour-Mont-Blanc-Complete-trekking/dp/1852846720) for 10 bucks (kindle version) and have Googled a great deal to prepare. I suggest you do the same so you too are prepared as in no way can I cover all the details.

For starters here are some important facts:

1. The complete trek is[masked] miles. There are optional routes along the way that make the trip longer or harder. I will shoot for 9-12 miles a day with day 1 of hiking being August 29th. Start and end in Les Houches ,France and going (Anti- clockwise). The last day of hiking will either be the 7th or 8th of September.

2. The total gain/loss is 35000ft some days will have little gain other days more like 3500ft and the highest point will likely not cause altitude sickness (8700ft).

3. During the hike we will be sleeping and eating in the huts (refuges) along the way which are mostly mixed gender, dorm style. Some have more private rooms for higher cost. Hot showers, dinner and breakfast are included (Half board) Costs for this run 40-70 Euro a night. I have researched the reviews on these places and tried to choose the nicest ones a reasonable distance apart- which is more difficult than it sounds as there are contradictions between sites. They all boast local homemade cuisine and will even sell you lunch for the trail. Beer and wine are available too. The views are spectacular. Clothes washing is permitted at some of them.

4. You must have a Valid US Passport, and I recommend travelers health insurance.

5. France and Italy use the Euro and Switzerland the Swiss Franc. ATM cards work well in Europe (call your bank to be sure) and usually have good exchange rates. I cover all bases-I carry cash in their currency, a credit card, ATM card, and a couple hundred in traveler’s checks. The huts often only take cash in their currency.

6. There are ways to cheat on the trail-for example cable cars, buses and taxis can shave miles off if something happens. Some refuges are remote others not.

7. Your pack will consist of the 10 essentials +clothing for the trail, clothing for the refuges and your toiletries. Rain gear/protection is essential as are warm layers, gloves and warm hats and sun protective hats. Poles are recommended. We will likely wash cloths long the way. A light sleep sheet is required by some huts. A 10 kilo/22 lb pack should cover you.

8. As mentioned food and water and toilets are available along the route as there are huts pretty much every two hours. I suspect the tap water is free and being Europe safe to drink.

9. Geneva Switzerland has the closest international airport with transfers to Les Houches, France.

10. French is the official language of the trail-yeah I know it is a tough one. Try and learn a smattering of words especially “Please, Thank you, Where is the toilet or WC,” Do not say restroom or they will look confused, and “one beer please.” Learn about the 3 host countries and follow their customs. The guide book I referenced above has some French in it.

I am not collecting money for this or arranging anything other than my own flight, transfers, and lodging. I am utilizing LAX and arriving in Geneva on the 27th of August at 1010AM, and leaving on the 9th of September at Noon. I got a great deal on Air Canada with stops in Montreal. I use Kayak (http://www.Kayak.com) . The current prices for economy flights are[masked]US.

Once you have researched yourself, have everything you need, and purchased your flight we can plan a get together hike or meeting to discuss the route and refuges. The sooner you decide the better as certain places and flights may sell out and you will have no place to stay. A trip of this magnitude is a serious endeavor that takes great pre-planning, flexibility, and of course good fitness and attitude.

If someone wants to come for just part of the journey I am completely fine with that. Being that this is last minute for a two week trip I fully understand no one may be able to come. However, I have it on good authority that someone else may do this next year so you may get another chance.

***Due to time constraints I am unable to answer questions on email that I already took the time to explain here. So if you get no response in all likelihood it is because the answer is on this page. ***

I am not a professional guide, and I got an F in French. I, San Jacinto Hiking Group, and everyone associated with the group, including their cats and dogs, are in no way responsible for your arrangements, safety, weather, or enjoyment before, during or after this event.

***Think of this as just hiking with a friend in a magical place who happens to be already going.***