25 Frequently Asked Questions on the Tour du Mont Blanc
Macs Adventure is the Tour du Mont Blanc, self-guided experts. We want to make sure that every customer travelling has all their questions answered before they go, so we have put together a compilation of the most frequently asked questions below. If you cannot find the answer to your question below, you can always get in touch with our specialists on firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be happy to help.
How fit do I need to be?
The Tour du Mont Blanc is a tough trek with considerable ascent and descent on each day. We would suggest that you are an experienced walker who is looking for a challenge. If you currently don’t enjoy an active lifestyle we suggest regular walking in hilly terrain supplemented by cardiovascular exercise for at least 6 months prior to your walk. A good gym or personal trainer will be able to draw up a personalised training programme. For more information take a look at our blog - How Fit Do I Need To Be for the TMB?
Which is the best airport to fly to?
The closest airport is Geneva which is served by flights from throughout Europe and around the world. You can find more details on our blog - Tour du Mont Blanc Travel Guide
How far in advance do I need to book?
We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised. This is a very popular hiking area with a short season. You will find up to date availability on our website and we will always try and accommodate your plans.
What personal equipment do I need?
You will need good walking shoes/boots (ideally waterproof), comfortable walking clothes, waterproof jacket and trousers, sleeping sheet, a daypack and hats/gloves etc. A detailed kit list is included in your information pack or you can read more on our blog - What to Pack for the TMB.
We provide maps, apps and guides, but there is also local info available.
How do the baggage transfers work?
Baggage transfer is included as standard, allowing you to enjoy the trek with just a light day bag on your back. We ask that you limit your baggage to one bag per person with a maximum weight of 15kg per person. On this particular itinerary, your bags cannot be transferred to Refugio Bonatti, due to the inaccessibility of the accommodation. You will need to carry your overnight things on these days and you will be reunited with your main bag the following day.
When is the best time of year?
The season for the Tour du Mont Blanc runs from mid-June to mid-September. The trail is sometimes closed until the last week of June due to snow, in which case your tour would need to be rescheduled or cancelled.
Do I need a sleeping sheet & towel for the mountain huts?
Sleeping sheets are required, and we'd suggest you bring a small travel towel. Some huts have them for use or hire, but not all.
Will I need to bring crampons?
In general, you won't need specialist equipment for the Tour du Mont Blanc, but in previous seasons it has been essential to use crampons early in the season (in June). This season there is much less snow, you will, however, need to cross some snow. The key is to keep an eye on the forecast for temperature and conditions as your travel date approaches and use your own judgement. If temperatures above 2000m are low or more snow falls, you can then decide to bring crampons, or should you not have any (or should conditions change on your arrival) you can easily hire them locally. We will be updating weather conditions closer to the time, so keep an eye on this page. You will need walking poles.
Are there ATMs?
Yes, there are ATMs / cash machines at Geneva airport and bigger towns like Chamonix & Les Houches. Do take cash in Euros to mountain huts as most don't accept cards, and take some Swiss Francs for the Swiss sections.
Can I drink water from streams?
We would suggest you fill up your water bottle from your hotel or hut (or you can, of course, buy bottled water in towns). Do look out for "eau potable" signs around the trail which are not infrequent and indicate drinking water (if it says "eau non-potable", however, avoid!)
What are the Mountain Huts like and will they have electricity/water?
The Refuges (mountain huts) are quite basic, but they do have washing facilities and electricity. You can read more about them on our blog - What is it like to stay in a mountain hut?
What are the dormitories like?
The dorms vary from rooms sleeping 4 people to those sleeping up to 20. They are all very clean and comfortable and it is nice to be surrounded by like-minded people in a great atmosphere.
The dorms are simple but comfortable.
Is there cell phone coverage?
There is a decent amount of coverage on the trip. There are a few black holes along the way, but you can always make emergency phone calls should you need to.
Is there wifi?
All of your hotels will have wifi. However, up in the Refuges, you will not have access to wifi.
Can I charge my devices in the mountain huts?
The short answer is yes, however, be aware that you will be sharing the huts with many other people who will all want to do the same. Be respectful and if you MUST have your phone charged at all times, then be sure to bring a rechargeable battery pack with you.
What happens if you can't walk one day because of the weather?
It is very difficult to add extra nights should you not be able to walk one day. We provide a list of alternative transport should you not be able to walk and you would simply skip that day's walking.
What is the food like and should I take some in advance?
We provide your evening meals with the exception of Courmayeur and Chamonix. In the mountain huts, the food is hearty but slightly restrictive. If you have any special dietary needs, it is recommended you pick up some supplies in Chamonix before you head up to the mountain huts. In the main towns, there is an abundance of choice. You can read more in our Guide to Food and Drink on the TMB.
Typical breakfast in a mountain refuge.
Where can I find information on bus transfers?
All of this information is contained in your information pack which you will receive prior to your departure.
Are there any sections with sheer drops?
There is a 5 rung ladder just above Chamonix, which is a little steep. This is the only section with ladders, but there are ways around should you not be comfortable with heights.
How safe are the baggage transfers?
They are incredibly safe. We work closely with the baggage handlers and fully trust them. However, it is not recommended to pack breakables as they cannot guarantee they will arrive in one piece.
Having your luggage transferred means pack free walking.
Do the mountain huts provide bedding?
Yes, they do. However, it is recommended that you bring a thin silk liner to sleep in.
Where on the trail can I access a bathroom?
Restaurants and Gondola stops all have bathrooms and will allow you access to them. If you are not walking past any of these, it is permissible to pop behind a bush!
What do I do about lunches?
Most accommodations will be able to provide a packed lunch. In the larger towns, you will be able to access shops before you head on the trail, so it is always wise to stock up on trail snacks.
Should we tip people on this trip?
It is not necessary to tip at restaurants and bars. However, should you feel that you would like to tip, 10% is a good starting point.
Can I wash my clothes on the trip?
Only in Courmayeur and Chamonix will you be able to access laundrettes.