The Tour du Mont Blanc consists of a cumulative 10,000 metres of ascent and the same of descent, and approximately 45 hours and 130 kilometres of hiking along steep and, at points, quite difficult terrain.
After 2 days of independent hiking on the trails around the town of Chamonix, I moved from the Gîte Chamoniard-Volant (where I was staying on my own), to Hotel Le Chamonix (where I stayed as part of the G Adventures tour) to meet the group and guide with whom I’d be doing the Tour du Mont Blanc. In the common room of Hotel Le Chamonix, we introduced ourselves and then received a rundown of the several strenuous days that we had ahead of us.
I’m not going to lie, I was intimidated. Since booking a spot in the group more than 8 months ago, I’d understood the gist of what the hike would entail but, unaware of the specifics I, until then, felt very confident about my ability to complete it. However, sitting in a room surrounded by at least 8 other people who had far more hiking experience than I, hearing the specifics of the hike that actually had, several days later, proven to be many times more difficult than the Inca Trail (the only hike I’d ever completed that’s even comparable in difficulty), I really questioned my ability to complete this one, and I wondered what I’d gotten myself into.
We began at the Bellevue look-off in the Chamonix Valley and followed the TMB trail up and down mountain peaks from France, to Italy, to Switzerland, then back to France. Carrying approximately 15 pounds of an assortment of essentials (clothing, first aid, snacks and water), we trekked together through the alps along the route on the map below. Several days later, we’d emerged from the TMB trail, about to close the massive loop we’d made from Chamonix to Chamonix around the Mont Blanc massif.
Though the trek wasn’t quite as challenging as I’d envisioned during our introductory meeting on the first night at Hotel Le Chamonix, it was, by far, the hardest physical challenge I’d ever accomplished and was, by no means easy. And considering the fact that I’d initially doubted my ability to complete it, I’d proven myself wrong.