Tour of Mt Blanc

  • Mt From Aiguilles Rouges, early light - © William Mackesy
  • Mt Blanc From Lac Blanc, sunset - © William Mackesy
  • Ibex at Lac Blanc - © William Mackesy
  • Mt Blanc From Aiguilles Rouges, across Chamonix valley - © William Mackesy
  • Mt Blanc From Lac Blanc, early light - © William Mackesy
  • Mt Blanc From Col de Brevent - © Dick Everard
  • Suspension bridge on climb to Col de Trichot - © Dick Everard
  • Refuge de Miage, looking back to Col du Trichot - © Dick Everard
  • Refuge des Mottets and Col des Fours on ascent to Col de la Seigne - © Dick Everard
  • Looking North East From Col de la Seigne - © Dick Everard
  • Climbing From Courmayeur to Rigugio Bertone - © Dick Everard
  • Path between Rifugio Bertone and Rifugio Bonatti - © Dick Everard
  • Looking back towards Col de la Seigne From path beyond Rifugio Bonatti - © Dick Everard
  • Looking north east From path between Rifugio Bonatti and Rifugio Elena - © Dick Everard
  • On contour path below Alp Bovine - © Dick Everard
  • The church at Trient From the Relais du Mont Blanc - © Dick Everard
  • Mont Blanc From the Col de Balme - © Dick Everard
  • Mont Blanc From the Col de Balme - © Dick Everard
  • Looking west towards Le Brevent and the Aiguiles Rouge From Col de Balme - © Dick Everard
  • Chamois above path on route to Refuge de Lac Blanc - © Dick Everard
  • On ladder section on Aiguilette d"Argentiere climbing up to Tete aux Vents - © Dick Everard
  • On final ascent to Tete aux Vents - © Dick Everard
  • Mont Blanc From lake below Lac Blanc - © Dick Everard
  • Climbing up to the Col du Vallon - © Christopher MacRae
  • Crags above Refuge du Thabor - © Christopher MacRae
  • First sight of Utelle, perched above the Vesubie Valley - © Christopher MacRae
  • Last view of Lac Leman From Col de Bise - © Christopher MacRae
  • Le Lac de Roseland - © Christopher MacRae
  • Les Dents du Midi From Les Portes l"Hiver - © Christopher MacRae
  • View From the Refuge de la Balme - © Christopher MacRae
  • Wild country in the Vanoise seen From Col de la Leisse - © Christopher MacRae
  • Aiguilles Rouges - © Jeff Black
  • Aiguilles Rouges - © Jeff Black
  • Aiguilles Rouges - © Jeff Black
  • Aiguilles Rouges - © Jeff Black

Key information: Tour of Mt Blanc

  • Famous circuit round the Mont Blanc massif.
  • Outstanding views up to the Great Peak, Western Europe's highest at 4,810m, and out across the dramatic peaks, glaciers, and deep green valleys of the high Alps.
  • Cross a series of high ridges (with a lot of ascent/descent); enjoy beautiful valleys and civilized evenings in three different countries.
  • This is a demanding walk in serious mountains. Come prepared.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating92
  • Beauty36
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest6
  • Charisma35
  • Negative points1
  • Total rating92
  • Note: Neg: popularity

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Around 180km
  • 7-8 days
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,665m
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Mt Blanc From Lac Blanc, sunset - © William Mackesy


One of the world's most famous walks - and over-popular at times as a result - the TMB circles the huge (25km long), impenetrable heavily eroded granite mass that is Mont Blanc, complete with western Europe's highest mountain (at 4,810m-15,781ft) and a bristling regement of spear-like peaks and spires, ice fields, glaciers (40 of them, apparently) in their deeply gouged clefts and canyons, meadows and streams.

Much of the TMB is on lovely (and always well marked) paths, often hugging coutours, with some stiff climbs and descents in between, with six or more high passes to cross and 7 deep main valleys. The circuit can take up to 11 days, although most people complete it in 7 or 8. Not all of the TMB is remote, though - it meanders though fully occupied, almost suburban, farmland in places. You will pass though three countries en route, and sample their differing approaches to life in their valleys and villages. Throughout, your world will be dominated by the great white mountain and its satellites, and the drama of their cliffs and famously jagged spires. One of the finest sections - and a personal favourite - is the Grand Balcon Sud, a lengthy traverse of the south-eastern flanks of the Aiguilles Rouges with extraordinary views into the heart of the Mt Blanc mass, especially from the rightly but sadly popular Lac Blanc with its refuge perched by a small, pale lake, which looks straight up the enormous Mer de Glace glacier. (A bit of a shame about urban Chamonix far below, but you can blot it out.)

Animal life includes chamois, which are surprisingly unfazed until you think about how many harmless idiots they meet. You will pass through some forest and meadow, but much of the trail is on hillsides which are bright with wild flowers and azaleas at the right time.

Crowding at peak times is the price you pay for all that renown, so don't expect to be alone at high season; you will need to book space in refuges well ahead, although you can drop down to villages and towns for a civilized break in various places.

You can start anywhere, although Chamonix (and nearly Les Houches in particular) are the commonest starting points, not least because they have cable cars to get you out of the deep valley. Most people walk the TMB anti-clockwise, ending with a pop up the Acquilles Rouges peak of Le Brevant for a final mind-blow of beauty and scenic glamour.

See our Mont Blanc Area page for more general information.




This is the diary of Dick Everard who walked the TMB from Les Houches to Chamonix in an anti-clockwise direction, between 5th and 15th September 2011, with his son Thomas, his friends Richard and Ray, and joined for the first four days by Richard’s son Chris. We were 63, 35, 67, 66 and 42 years old respectively.

The elder members of the party had spent some time getting into condition before attempting the walk. Training included doing some longish distance walks of 18 miles, walks of around 6 or 7 miles on a regular basis twice a week. We carried rucksacks weighing between 10 and 15kg for most of the training walks. In the last month, we did some regular (daily) uphill walks of varying lengths but not less than 30 minutes.

On the walk, I carried about 10kg including water plus our lunch or lunches which consisted of bread, saucisson, cheese, dates, dried apricots and dark chocolate. We sometimes had to carry enough for two days although the bread would not really last this long. We found enough places along the route to replenish our supplies every two or three days. We stayed in mountain refuges, gîtes and hotels.

All of us carried walking poles, although Tom and Chris only ever used one pole. We didn’t carry sleeping bags but carried lightweight silk sleeping bag liners (which were fine). Tom did carry a sleeping bag on the basis that someone might need one if an accident should occur, but these are really unnecessary; a sleeping bag liner would have been sufficient (except obviously in an emergency, and we all carried survival bags anyway). As much of our clothing as possible was lightweight and quick drying, stuff that wicks moisture away, keeping.....


Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.


Name: Peter
Posted on: 27/01/2009
This walk is a very beautiful alpine walk, for the physically fit. The walk is usually 10 days in duration, however this may be extended depending on the number of rest days. Over the 10 days your ascent and descent distance will be about 12 kilometers! Accommodation is readily available on the walk. The trip is highly recommended, and should be rated higher than its showing on this site.

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.

Mt Blanc From Aiguilles Rouges, across Chamonix valley - ©William Mackesy

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Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Mt Blanc From Lac Blanc, early light - ©William Mackesy...

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