Dates: June 20-28, 2020
Duration:9 days/8 nights
Prices: EUROS 1995
You will pay a deposit of 10% to secure your spot. Once confirmed, your tour operator will charge the remaining amount.
Terrain: Predominantly trail running
Average daily running distance:25km/day of hiking/running, including dramatic elevation gain and loss over the course of the trip with one rest day included.
Longest running distance in a day: 28 km
Group size: up to 14 participants
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What level of running is this trip suitable for?
This retreat adventure is open to ages 15 and up of any pace. Must be able to complete 25 km/day of hiking/running. Shorter options are available on several of the days (contact the tour organizer). Optional 12-week training package available from an experienced running coach to ensure you’re trained and ready to go for this adventure of a lifetime!
Are there any alternatives for non-runners?
Shared accommodation is included in a combination of 3-star hotels and mountain huts along the TMB.
DAY 1 | Chamonix Meet and Greet
Our trip will start the afternoon of Day 1 with a meet-and-greet and orientation meeting to meet the guides and go over the logistics and itinerary of the upcoming week! We recommend that you arrive in Chamonix early to adjust to the time change and explore the fabulous markets, trails, and atmosphere of Chamonix.
DAY 2 | Chamonix to Les Contamines
After breakfast, we’ll get an early start on the road to our Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) adventure. We’ll hit the trail early for one of our longest days on the trail to Les Contamines. On the way we’ll pass farms selling goat cheese, old chapels, and amazing views contrasting green hills contrasted against the Bionnassay Glacier. Our comfortable 3-star hotel for the evening has a charming shady terraces, lounge chairs, and amazing wine and charcuterie.
DAY 3 | To La Valle Des Glaciers
After an early breakfast we’ll head out the door of our hotel and back up into the mountains. Today we’ll cover around 14 miles with 5,700 feet of elevation gain and cross over the highest point of the Tour du Mont Blanc. On the way we’ll run through the Reserve Naturelle des Contamines-Montjoie, crossing streams and meadows before starting our climb up to the Col du Bonhomme and the higher Col de la Coix du Bonhomme. On clear days views are visible to Val Montjoie to the north and Vallon de la Gittaz to the southwest. Tonight is our night of the Runcation spent in a traditional TMB mountain refuge in a peaceful green valley with marmots, donkeys, and quirky mountain decor.
DAY 4 | From France to Italy
Today we’ll cross the border from France to Italy at the spectacular crossing of the Col de la Seigne. We’ll enjoy more views of the snowcapped peaks of the Col de la Seigne before stopping for coffee and lunch at a rifugio which sits on a spur overlooking the Vallon de la Lée Blanche. We stop for a break at one of the most colorful rifugios on the tour before descending into the chic mountain town of Courmayeur to our comfortable hotel for the evening.
DAY 5 | Rest Day Brags
Today you’re free to rest and relax in the lively mountain town of Courmayeur, Italy. Enjoy an aperol spritz, gelato, go for a swim, take a hike, get a massage, spend the day running, or all of the above! the famous Italian mountain town of Courmayeur!
DAY 6 | Spectacular Singletrack
After a delicious breakfast, we’ll head out for our longest day on the trails, but the views of today are a highlight of the TMB. We’ll leave Courmayeur behind before making our entrance into Switzerland, first by passing through the famous Val Ferret before crossing the Italian-Swiss border up the climb of the Grand Col Ferret. We’ll cover 18 miles before we arrive to our next stop on the tour, the sleepy Swiss town of La Fouly (shorter options available–please contact the organizer for details).
DAY 7 | To the Lake!
Today is our shortest day on the trail, and our destination is a relaxing lakeside town! As we descend from high mountains into forested valleys, we’ll start to enter the flower-laden chalets and barns of Les Arches before descending into Champex, Switzerland.
DAY 8 | Into the Mountains Again
After breakfast, we’ll hit the trails towards the Col de la Forclaz by way of the Val d’Arpette, a remote valley with alpine meadows and wildflowers. The writer Frison-Roche wrote of the valley, “This is scenery straight from a geograhy atlas, showing in one picture the habitat, the fauna, the flora and the mountain-formation…The Val d’Arpettaz is so satisfying; there you can still breathe the gentle air of solitude.” After a long day’s journey we’ll pass the town of Tré-le-Champ before reaching our hotel serving traditional Savoyard cuisine and sitting at 4,600 feet at the gateway to the upper Chamonix Valley.
DAY 9 | Completing the TMB
For our final full day on the trails, we’ll enjoy an early breakfast and coffee at our refuge before setting off for the final 10-12 miles of the route. On this day we’ll use the impressive path of the Grand Balcon Sud, which provides one of the most spectacular views of the Mont Blanc range along the way. We’ll continue with some of the most impressive views of the tour finishing our epic circumnavigation of the TMB with a steep and winding descent to our original starting point. We’ll reach Chamonix by evening where we say our goodbyes over a celebratory lunch with new friends and tons of memories.
What’s Included in the Price?
- Roundtrip transportation from Cortina d’Ampezzo at the start to Venice at the end
- All transport and lodging covered starting and ending in Chamonix, France
- Trip logistics of route planning, lodging, and transportation reservations
- A 8:1 ratio of guide to participants
- Lodging at comfortable hotels in mountain towns for 7-nights, and one evening at a traditional TMB mountain refuge
- One rest day in Courmayeur, Italy (to rest or run and explore!)
- Full breakfast spreads included daily
- Baggage transport from mountain hut to mountain hut
- Knowledgable guide and running coach along the entire route
What’s NOT Included in the Price?
- International airfare
- Alcoholic beverages and dinners
- Travel Insurance
- Everything else not mentioned in “What’s included in the price?”