Monday, 3 July 2017


Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco)
This season I am guiding on just one Tour du Mont Blanc which is unusual considering I lead at least three every summer season. It's one of the most popular treks in the world. Most groups and tour companies run the trek over 10 days. A fabulous 160Km hike around Western Europe's highest peak. Last week I was leading 10 folk all from USA on the TMB.  I was guiding for Mont Blanc Treks who are based in Les Houches.
The Mont Blanc massive from Brevent
 Our trek started off in scorching heat. Temperatures were over 30 degrees in the Chamonix Valley when we set off up the Brevent, one of the highest points on the entire trek at over 2600m asl. At least it was a tad cooler at this altitude. It's a long 1600m descent from this summit all the way down to Les Houches to end day 1.

Trient Glacier above Trient
Aiguille Verte & Les Drus with fresh snow, week 2
Being The Alps of course the temperatures can drop or rise very quickly. As we experienced on the second half of the trek. We had a fresh dusting of snow above 2500m on some days. Most of the time though it was t-shirt and shorts the order of the day.
The team on Monte de la Saxe
Ibex taking it easy in the sun
Mont Blanc & Aig. Rouge from Aguillete de Possettes
I love the early season on the trek. Snow lingering on the tops, beautiful wild flowers in abundance and much, much quieter than July & August if you like your trails quiet and accommodation not over crowded.

Alpine Buttercup
Monte Bianco & Val Veny
The two finest days on the TMB in my opinion are the days either side of Courmayeur. The section from Col de la Seigne over to Maison Ville and the route above Val Ferret, the Monte de la Saxe ridge. These two long days give magnificent views across to the Italian sides of Mont Blanc (Monte Bianco) and the Grandes Jorasses.
The team heading along the beautiful Monte de la Saxe with Grandes Jorasses in full view
Mont Blanc above Val Veny
The odd snow patch left
Mont Blanc reflections
The weather had changed once we were over the Grand Col Ferret and into Switzerland. Cooler, cloudier and some rain. When I say some rain, I mean a bit of drizzle for 20 minutes! We wore our waterproofs for a grand total of about 45 minutes over a 10 day period. Not bad going!
Aig. Verte & Mont Blanc from Col de Balme
A bit of drizzle on 'The Ladders' to spice it up
The tour comes to a grand finale on the route up to Lac Blanc. This fabulous view point looking across to the Mont Blanc massive  is a popular day trip for tourists. The finest way to get here on the TMB is via ' The Ladders' above Argentiere. This small section of a few steel ladders, cables, steps and handrails breeches the slabs of rock overlooking the Chamonix Valley on the Aiguille Rouge.
Young Ibex
This Nature Reserve is home to plenty of Ibex and of course Marmot. You have to be unlucky not to see them on this day! Unfortunately we never got any views of the mountains above 2000m on our final day but earlier in the morning there was a terrific weather window where a big hole of blue sky revealed Mont Blanc and it's satellite mountains which held fresh snow from the cooler days.
Aig. Charmoz 
Parapente enjoying views of Mont Blanc
So that was my only TMB for 2017. My Alpine trekking season doesn't end there. This year I am guiding 3 Haute Route Tours (Chamonix to Zermatt) and a long time favourite trek of mine, The Tour of the Matterhorn.

Mont Blanc from above Val Veny

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