You will be transported from Geneva airport to Chamonix, home of the first winter Olympics. Following an afternoon briefing, you will have a chance to acquaint yourself with this beautiful town before we gather for dinner.
With a short transport, we will start our pilgrimage in Les Houches, traditional starting point of the Tour du Mont Blanc. We will take the gondolas up part of the mountains and then hit the trail. Passing the Glacier du Bionnassay glacier, we will crest the Col de Tricot before descending towards Les Contamines, our destination for the night.
With a short transport, we will start our day at Notre Dame De La Gorge, a traditional Baroque chapel which has for centuries welcomed pilgrims who travelled this road towards Rome. Leaving the old Roman road, we climb towards the first col of the day, Col du Bonhomme. The weather and the state of our legs will determine our next course of action: descending towards the hamlet of Les Champieux or climbing higher to one of the highest points on the Tour before finishing at a mountain refuge.
From the Refuge des Mottets, we climb to the Col de la Seigne for beautiful scenery and cross into Italy. A gentle descend past glacial lakes and a short transport will bring us to Courmayeur, the Italian and less commercial counterpart to Chamonix.
Rest day in Courmayeur. Several options are available including taking the gondola across the glacier to France and the observation deck of the Aiguille du Midi at 11,000 ft, hiking scenic Mont Saxe, or enjoying a relaxing day discovering the stores and gelato stands of this wonderful town.
We leave Courmayeur on our way to Champex. A short transport up Val Ferret takes us to the trailhead. In the shadows of the Grandes Jorasses, we cross into Switzerland hiking through Alpine pastures and chalets. A short transport takes us to the hanging valley of Champex.
Day 7 Today’s hike is very weather dependent. A more strenuous and exposed route takes us by way of the Fenetre D’Arpette. The rewarding view of the Trient glacier and the valley make the climb worth it. The less exposed route takes us along the Bovine route with beautiful views of the Martigny valley.
From Trient, the trail will take us over Col de Balme back to France. Overlooking the Chamonix valley we descend into Argentiere and the L’Arve Valley.
Several options are available for our last day of hiking. From Argentiere, we can take the ladders up to Tete du Vents before taking the gondola back down to Chamonix or a short transport can take us to Chamonix where the rest of the afternoon options include riding the cable car to I’Aiguille du Midi at 11,000 ft, riding the tram to the Mer de Glace to explore a glacier or simply recovering while browsing the shops and cafes in Chamonix.
A very early morning departure from Chamonix will get everyone to the Geneva aiport in time to catch their flight back to the States.
For a more detailed, day-by-day itinerary, you can download it here.
Note: This schedule is tentative. Weather, group ability, and unforeseen changes will dictate our final schedule.