Camp Chaski: Alps

Trail Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a world-famous bucket-list trail for runners and hikers. Made infamous by the one-day Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc Race, our trip will cover the same 106 mile (170km) course,with 32,000 ft, (10,000m), of elevation change, as the race over six days, with the perfect balance of challenge, recovery, and relaxation.

 

Chaski has strong ties in the Chamonix region thanks to UIAGM mountain guide and world champion ski-mountaineer Javier Martin de Villa who has been working as a certified trail running, mountain climbing, and ski guide on the trails and mountains of the Alps for decades. Whether you’re preparing to run the UTMB race some day, or simply want to experience this epic route, your guides will help you have the adventure of a lifetime.

Aug. 30 - Sept. 8, 2021

(10 days)

Serious challenge

$4,900

Guided  6-day run or hike of the entire Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race course; sipping French wine, eating Swiss chocolate, feasting on Italian pizza

Details

  • Highlights: Guided  6-day run or hike of the entire Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race course; sipping French wine, eating Swiss chocolate, feasting on Italian pizza
     

  • Dates: August 30 - September 8, 2021
     

  • Trip Length: 10 days, 9 nights
     

  • Price

    • $4,900 (early-bird price until June 1)

    • $5,500 after June 1

    • Single supplement: $375 (if you want your own room)
       

  • Difficulty: Seriously challenging
     

  • Group Size: 6-12
     

  • Leaders: Two multilingual trip-leaders with years of experience in the region, UIAGM Mountain Guide Certification, available 24/7
     

  • Who should come? Any trail runner aged 13-70* or traveler who enjoys being active outdoors**
     

  • * Contact us if you’re over 70 and interested in coming or want to bring someone under 13.

  • ** Is this trip only for runners? Nope! We welcome hikers and general lovers of the outdoors. Each day on the UTMB portion of the trip, you’ll be able to run, hike, or ride in our private vehicle.

 
 

Trip Overview

The letters UTMB conjure up a certain mix of excitement and intimidation in the heart of every trail runner. The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB), home to the “Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc” (UTMB) race is rightfully one of the most famous trails on Earth. Spanning three countries and covering 106 miles (170 km) and climbing and descending almost 32,0000 ft. (10,000m), the TMB is both spectacular and challenging. 

 

Our adventure begins in the Swiss city of Geneva, where we’ll transfer to our home base in Chamonix, France, a small but vibrant town at the foot of Mont Blanc. We’ll have a day to prepare ourselves, go on a short jaunt through the valley, and then head off on our 6-day Tour du Mont Blanc.

 

Each day on our circumnavigation of this spectacular mountain, you’ll be guided along mostly smooth, runnable trails (only mildly technically) from town to town, carrying only your food and water for the day. The rest of your baggage will be taken by our private vehicle and will be waiting for you at our comfortable hotel at the end of each day.

 

The days’ distances range from 15-20 miles (24-32 km) with 5,000-8,000 ft. (1,500-2,500m) of elevation change. Don’t worry, though; we’ll take our time to make sure we can enjoy the incredible views of the Alps, take plenty of pictures, and maybe even stop in a cafe for a pick-me-up Italian cappuccino or gelato. 

 

In the afternoons and evenings, we’ll arrive at that day’s lodging, each set in a small mountain town with comfortable hotels, great food, and extremely friendly people. Grab a hot shower, have a delicious bowl of pasta or a glass of wine, and hit the bed early to get ready for the next day, where we’ll do it all again.

 

After six days, we’ll arrive back in Chamonix, where we’ll have one extra day in case of bad weather and/or for our group celebration. Finally, say goodbye to Chamonix and head back to Geneva for your flight home and tell everyone you meet along the way how amazing your Tour du Mont Blanc was.

Note - if you’re planning an extension for the Mt Blanc Summit climb or any other add-on, you’ll stay in Chamonix when the group leaves with your new guides.

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Did you know?

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in France but one of the things that makes it so spectacular is its prominence, i.e. the distance between the valley floor and it's summit, over 12,500 ft. (3,800m)

 

Okay, so, what do I get?

With your payment, you get:

  • 24 hour support and access from your bi-lingual trip leaders on-the-ground and USA-based support crew

  • Private transportation from the moment you arrive in Geneva to the end of your trip

  • Local, high-end and high-quality food, three meals per day

  • 9 nights lodging (double occupancy)

  • Guided runs and hikes during the entire trip, regardless of your level

  • Meet and greet with local professional athletes and/or coaches

  • All entry fees associated with group activities (National Parks, museums, etc.)

  • Help from your leaders to organize any free time activities/excursions

  • Support from Chaski staff ahead of your trip including training advice, packing lists, and more

  • Chaski merch item of your choice - up to $79 value

  • Free access to one year of Chaski Community Membership - $199 value

  • Discounts on future Chaski Programs and partner brands

What else do I have to pay for?

  • International flights to/from Geneva, Switzerland (Airport code: GVA)

  • Visa charges (there aren’t any for most countries), overweight baggage fees

  • Personal travel insurance (required) 

  • Personal souvenirs

  • Activities outside the groups’ itinerary

  • Tips for your drivers, leaders, or anyone else outside of restaurants

  • Alcoholic drinks and food/drinks outside of meals, including energy gels/drink mix/etc for the long days on the TMB

  • Single occupancy (i.e. if you’d like a room to yourself)

  • Optional 10th night of lodging if your flight departs on the morning of day 11.

  • Optional add-ons to the trip, like the Mountain Summit Adventure

Extend Your Adventure

Optional Add-ons

Got a little more time? I mean, you’ve come this far already. You may never be back in Ecuador.

 

Check this out.

With 2-3 days - Mont Blanc Summit Climb - Challenge yourself with a summit climb to the top of one of France’s highest peaks, Mont Blanc at 15,780 ft. (4,809m). Chaski works exclusively with UIAGM Mountain Guides, the most well-respected and highly-certified climbing guides in the world to help get you safely to the summit of your dreams. You do not need previous mountain climbing experience, but you should be in good shape and ready for a challenge.

With 5 days - Want to learn and challenge yourself in the mountains? Take an extra 5-7 days and climb multiple summits, learn some high mountain travel and safety techniques, and test yourself on some more technical climbing routes. Again, we only work with UIAGM Mountain Guides who are the most well-respected and highly-certified guides on Earth. 

 

Sound great? Contact us for availability and pricing!

 
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Did you know?

The Chaski Tour du Mont Blanc is the week after the "Super Bowl of Trail-Running", the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race (et al.). You're welcome (and encouraged!) to arrive a few days early and take in some of the spectacle before we head off on our adventure!

Note: We’ll try to stick as closely as possible to this schedule but may have to move things slightly due to weather.

Day 1 - Welcome to the Alps!

 

Today is the day you’ll arrive in Geneva, Switzerland (most flights will leave the day prior) where your leaders will be waiting to welcome you and escort you via private transfer to our home base in Chamonix. Depending on the timing of your arrival, there may be time for a short shakeout run on some of the spectacular valley trails before dinner.

Sleep: Chalet Hotel Les Campanules, Les Houches, Chamonix (or similar)

Max Altitude: 3,400 ft. (1,035m)

Run: At home before you leave, or, optional run on smooth valley trails upon arrival, depending on timing.

 

Day 2 - Chamonix, Bossons Glacier 

 

Welcome to the Alps! Our first day will include a lovely breakfast at our hotel before your guides will review the plan for the remainder of the trip. In the late morning, we’ll take a light acclimatization hike up to Bossons Glacier, a spectacular snow and ice field where we’ll be able to test ourselves and begin to see some of the spectacular scenery we have in store for the next 7 days.

Sleep: Les Houches, Chamonix (or similar)

Max Altitude: 8,500 ft. (2,600m) 

Run/Hike: 9 miles (15 km), 4,000 ft. (1,500m) elevation

 

Day 3 - Chamonix to Les Contamines

 

Our adventure begins! We’ll leave our home base in Chamonix early in the morning and take the first gently rolling trail towards Les Houche. From there, we’ll hit the first climb through a beautiful forest toward Le Deleveret, before heading down back through the trees and then alongside classic alpine farms and meadows. We’ll make a final much more gradual climb to our last stop at Les Contamines, where we’ll high-five and celebrate a successful first day!

 

​Run/Hike: 19.5 miles (31 km),  5,200 ft. (1,580m up), 4,800 ft. (1,460m) down -- approximately 4-6 hours

Highest altitude: 6,000 ft., 1,850 meters 

 

Day 4 - Les Contamines to Les Chapieux

 

Our first destination will be the church, Notre Dame de la Gorge, which we’ll reach by a gently climbing riverside singletrack trail. From there, we have one of the longer and steeper climbs on the course, bringing us to Col du Bonhomme. This is one of the highest points on the course at 8,000 ft. (2,440m) and it’s possible we might even find a bit of snow! The views here are truly spectacular and we can enjoy them all the way down a nice runnable trail to Les Chapeiux, where we’ll stop for the night.

 

Run/hike: 15 miles (24 km), 5,400 ft. (1,650m) up, 3000 ft. (940m) down -- approximately 6-8 hours

Highest altitude: 8,000 ft. (2,440m)


 

Day 5 - Les Chapieux to Courmayeur

 

Today we’ll enter our second country as we  leave France and enter Italy! We’ll start the day heading along the back (southern) side of Mt. Blanc, with a long, steep climb up to Col de la Seigne, where we’ll have spectacular views of the French and Italian countryside. These views will continue down into the Italian Val Veny, often covered with spectacular wildflowers and views of the back side of the Mt. Blanc glacier. A short climb will take us towards the ridge on Mont Favre before we finally get sight of Courmayeur, our resting place for the night. We’ll arrive in time for a great Italian pizza or pasta to refuel for tomorrow’s adventure!

 

Run/hike: 15.5 miles (25 km), 4,200 ft. (1,270m) up, 6,200 ft. (1,900m) down -- approximately 6-7 hours

Highest Altitude: 8,200 ft. (2,500) meters


 

Day 6 - Courmayeur to La Fouly

 

With some great food from the night before, we’ll start with a steep climb towards Rifugio Bertone. It’s worth it for the views, and we’re rewarded afterward with one of the flattest sections on the course towards Rifugio Bonatti, before heading to high point on our journey, Gran Col Ferret at 2,525m. Enjoy the moment! It’s a special one as we’re now entering our third country, Switzerland. We’ll end the day with a spectacular single-track descent to La Fouly, where we’ll spend the night.

 

Run/hike: 18 miles (29 km), 6,400 ft. (1,960m up), 5,700 ft. (1,750m) down -- approximately 6-8 hours

Highest Altitude: 8,284 ft. (2,525m) -- our high point!

 

 

 

Day 7 -  La Fouly to Trient

 

Our first day and only full day in Switzerland will take us to the 1000-year-old village of Praz de Fort before beginning the famous climb to Champex Lac and La Giete. With amazing views above the lake looking down into the valley below, we’ll begin our last descent of the day towards Col de la Forclaz and beyond to the famous “Pink Church” in Trient, the final town where we’ll spend the night on our adventure. and continue our descent to the last Swiss village and its iconic pink church in Trient.


 

Run/hike: 19.5 miles (31 km), 4,850 ft. (1,480m) up, 5,600 ft. (1,700m) down -- approximately 3-5 hours

Highest Altitude: 4,800 ft. (1,470m) 


 

Day 8 - Trient - Chamonix -- Celebration!

 

The final day of our TMB adventure! We’ll start off with incredible views of Mont Blanc and Aiguilles Rouges as we climb up toward Catonge, re-enter France, and descend toward Vallorcine. One final steep climb brings us to Tete Aux Vents and then it’s all downhill to the finish line, the famous turn to the Church in downtown Chamonix.

And with that, we’ve done it! 106 miles (170 km) and 32,000 ft (10,000m) of elevation gain! An incredible accomplishment worth of celebration. We’ll dine at a great restaurant in Chamonix and even have time for option massages or other spa treatments before enjoying a long, restful night’s sleep.

 

Hike/run: 17.5 miles (28km), 5,740 ft. (1750m) up, 6,430 ft. (1,960m) down -- Approximately 5 - 6 hours

Highest Altitude: 6,775 ft. (2,065m)

 

Day 9 - Weather / Extra Day

 

We’ll keep one extra day on the schedule in case of bad weather if we need to postpone our TMB. Assuming everything goes smoothly, we’ll have an optional extra hike/run on this day based on the group’s desire. We’ll wrap up with a final farewell dinner and celebration of our amazing accomplishment!

 

Hike/run: TBD

Highest Altitude: TBD

 

Day 10 - Au revoir!

 

We’ll be up early to say goodbye to those that have early flights out of Geneva. For those flying out later in the day, we can enjoy a relaxing breakfast and last hike or run around the trails. Finally, our private car will take you back to the airport for your trip home. Make sure you tell everyone you meet how amazing your adventure was!

Hike/run: TBD

Highest Altitude: TBD

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You’ve got Questions.

 

Did you know?

The UTMB course climbs approximately 10,000 meters in total in its circumnavigation of Mt. Blanc. That's the equivalent of running up Mt. Everest from Sea Level -- and then some!

Frequently asked questions

What about COVID-19?


All participants will be required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination at least two weeks before departure from your home country. There are no exceptions to this requirement. As of this writing, there are no travel restrictions in place for vaccinated individuals inside France, Switzerland, or Italy, though masks are still required in many public spaces.




Do I need to be super fit/an elite athlete? Am I too fit/fast for this trip?


You do not need to be an elite athlete to join this adventure. That said, the six days of the TMB require 15-20 miles miles of running/hiking with significant elevation change, at altitudes of up to 8,200 ft (2,525m). You will be able to move at your own pace (we’ll have a guide at the front and back of the group, so you’ll never be alone) and you’ll also be able to skip a day and ride in our private vehicle if you need. Our trip leaders are accustomed to working with athletes of all abilities, ages and experience levels. If you are super fit and want to push yourself, well, don’t you worry about that. We’ve got you covered.




Can I bring my partner if they aren’t a runner?


Yes, however, the days on the TMB are long and shorter, partial hiking days are generally not possible. That said, There are still options to do hikes from the town where we’ll be based each night and relax in these lovely hamlets, so if that sounds like something your non-running partner would be into, by all means, they’re welcome!




Do I have to carry all my stuff during the TMB sections?


Nope! You’ll only need to carry whatever you want for that day’s hike/run. We’d recommend going light, with a phone/camera, water bottles, snacks/gels/etc, and maybe an extra layer or two as weather can change. The rest of your luggage will be transferred by our private vehicle and will be waiting for you when you arrive in the next town.




What are the accommodations like?


Hotels and lodges will feature comfortable private rooms -- think European ski lodge. Hotels in the Alps are often family run establishments with extremely warm service and delicious food, whether in France, Switzerland, or Italy. You can expect to feel like you’re being taken care of by your grandparents or old friends each night.




I’m a vegetarian/gluten free/vegan/etc., can I come on this trip? What’s the food like?


Yes! Vegetarian options will always be accessible both at restaurants, hotels, and for any packed meals we take on our TMB days. We’ve had plenty of veggies, vegans, and others with food restrictions come to the Alps without issue. In general, the food in the Alps is delicious, locally sourced, and plentiful. In Italy, you can get some of the best pizza and pasta you’ll ever have. In France/Switzerland, a hot soup with a hunk of fresh baguette is the classic way to start any meal. And all around, the gelato, coffee, and wine are spectacular. You can’t go wrong!




Do I have to do everything with the group?


Yes and no. During the TMB, you do have to get from Point A to Point B. That said, you’re welcome to take a day of traveling in our private vehicle if you want a rest day from running and take the day to yourself. In terms of meals and free time, you’re always welcome to take an afternoon or a meal for yourself. Our staff are here to help make your experience as awesome as possible. Note, any meals or activities done on your own will be at your expense, though.




Can Chaski book my flights for me?


Absolutely! We’ve been doing this for a long time and know the best routes and airlines and are happy to help you select the right routing and get you set up.