Mont Blanc Highlight
Chamonix to Chamonix
Beautiful alpine walking on the best of the Mont Blanc Circuit
The circuit of Mont Blanc is one of the finest walking routes in the Alps. It is in reality a series of paths linking the seven valleys that surround the highest mountain in Western Europe, Mont Blanc. It normally takes a fortnight to complete the whole circuit, but for those with less time this one-week Exodus tour takes in the most outstanding sections with beautiful mountain highlights each day. Throughout this walking holiday we are based in the delightful chalet with dramatic views of Mont Blanc, and use a mix of private bus and local trains and buses to travel out each day to re-join the next stage of our walk covering beautiful sections of the famous circuit. At the end of each day we return home for afternoon tea, or for those who wish, a dip in the chalet’s bubbling Jacuzzi.
• Walk surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery • Stay in a comfortable chalet with outdoor hot tub • Walk with IML qualified Mountain Leader
• 5 days centre-based walking; 1 free day
• Travel by minibus, local train and cable car
• Altitude maximum 2352m, average 1525m
• Group normally 4 to 14, plus UK leader
• 7 nights in comfortable chalet, all rooms with private bathrooms
• Countries visited: Adventure Holidays in France, Italy, Switzerland
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Day 1: Start Chalet Chamonix or Chocolat.
Your holiday begins at your comfortable alpine chalet. Those making their own way to the chalet should aim to arrive early afternoon for introductions. There is plenty of time to walk into Chamonix in the afternoon before a pre-dinner briefing from the walking leader.
Days 2: Drive to the head of the Chamonix Valley; walking towards Switzerland via the trekking peak L'Aiguillette des Posettes and onto Col du Possettes and then descend back towards La Tour.
Our first walk of the week is on the slopes of the Col du Balme from where we will have stunning views back to Mont Blanc as well as into Switzerland. From the small hamlet of Montroc (1380m – 4400ft) we have a short warm-up walk before the trail turns uphill on a steady zigzag path. As the trees thin out, the views get ever better and by late morning we reach Aiguilette des Possettes (2200m – 7220 ft). This is a stunning peak from where we are rewarded with a superb panoramic view over the Chamonix Valley, the Aiguille Rouge national park and around to Switzerland. The path continues down to the Col du Possettes and then on a steady trail becoming ever more winding and finally down to La Tour. (1450m – 4750ft).
Day 3: Transfer above Les Houches; ascend to the Bel Lachat Refuge, before crossing the Carlaveyron Natural Reserve and summiting the Aiguillette des Houches and the Aiguillette du Brevent.
Today we have a spectacular walk from (1370m – 4450ft) up to the Bel Lachat refuge on the classic TMB and GR5 routes. Crossing the beautiful Carlaveyron Natural Reserve, we summit the Aiguillette des Houches (2285m – 7500ft) for one of the finest views in the Alps - looking directly across the Chamonix Valley to the Mont Blanc summit. Passing through alpine meadows we descend by a different route to La Flatière (1370m – 4500ft).
Day 4: Starting from the Les Contamines. Valley we cross the Col de Voza and continue towards Les Houches.
Approximately a 35-minute transfer from our chalet brings us to the les Contamines valley which is where we start our walk back towards the Chamonix Valley. The day starts on a valley path that narrows and steepens as we climb up towards the Passerelle de Bionnassay, a dramatic suspension bridge spanning a white-water stream that tumbles from the Bionnassay glacier a few 100 meters higher up. The route then brings us round to the Col de Voza (1653m – 5360ft) with an expansive view up the Chamonix Valley. During the afternoon we trek down to the valley floor although there is a cable car option (payable locally) for those with tired legs.
Day 5: Free day for optional walks, activities or sightseeing.
Today is a free day for optional walks or sightseeing. Your leader will be able to advise you of possible walking routes or you may choose to visit the bustling alpine resort town of Chamonix, which has numerous shops, bars, restaurants and cafés. There are several cablecar excursions you can make from Chamonix, of which the most spectacular is the ascent to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m - 12600ft), offering fantastic views of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks. It should also be possible to take the mountain train up to Montenvers for close up views of the glacier, Mer de Glace or if you are feeling adventurous you could enjoy a tandem Paragliding flight.
Day 6: Drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy; climb to Bonatti refuge and traverse high above the spectacular Ferret Valley to Courmayeur.
We drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy for a chance to soak up some Italian atmosphere! From Arp Nouva (1770m – 5805ft) we climb up and along to the Bonatti refuge. At just over (2000m – 6560ft), the view from here is one of the finest on the tour. Mont Blanc itself, the towering rocky peak of Grandes Jorasses and the glaciers that crowd the northern flank of Val Ferret are there to be admired. Following a dramatic traversing path we contour high above the valley before descending towards the valley floor. Time allowing, we head off to Courmayeur, the perfect spot for a well-deserved Italian ice-cream.
Day 7: Starting from Argentiere; walk up to and along the Grand Balcon Sud to Plan Praz then descend by cable car.
From Argentiere (1250m – 4100ft) we start our day following the petit Balcon Sud before changing tack and climbing to the Grand Balcon Sud that contours the Chamonix valley to Plan Praz (2000m – 6560ft) from where we descend by cable car back to Chamonix. The Grand Balcon Sud is a stunning must do walk in the valley and looks over to Mont Blanc and the Mont Blanc massif. The views of snowy peaks, soaring cliffs, fractured glaciers and lush green forests ensures this trek is not just a highlight in the valley but the whole of the Alps.
Spring and Autumn departures - The Plan Praz cablecar is open for trips starting between 15th June and 7th Sep. Outside of this time the cablecar is due to be closed and its cost is no longer included in the price of the holiday. If the timetable changes, and the lift is open, then the cable cost will be paid locally. Approx 20 euro. Alternatively we will follow a Spring and Autumn itinerary which is the same as above but instead of walking from Flegere to Plan Praz we will walk off the mountain from Flegere via the charming Chalet Floria where we will have time for a cup of tea. Due to the added decent this is a little harder that the summer itinerary but the views are equally stunning.
Day 8: End Chalet Chamonix or Chocolat.
Following breakfast we say our goodbyes.
Operated by Exodus Travels. Trip style: Self-Guided Walking with Moderate Activity Level.
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