Circumnavigate the peak that launched modern mountaineering in this 105 mile trek.
Mont Blanc, the tallest peak in the Alps, is iconic. Rising an impressive 15,774 feet above sea level, Mont Blanc's first ascent in 1786 marked the birth of modern mountaineering.
Today, the ascent is still challenging...but there's a less technical adventure nearby that is one of the world's best trekking routes -- the 105 mile Tour du Mont Blanc, which circumnavigates the Mt Blanc massif.
To learn more about a trek around this iconic mountain, we checked in with our friends at MT Sobek. MT Sobek has been leading adventurous trips around the globe for 50 years, so they know a thing or two about an unforgettable journey in the Alps. Here's what they love about trekking to Mont Blanc.
Ease of Travel
The Tour du Mont Blanc isn't an easy hike, don't get us wrong, but there are things about the trek that simply make travel, well, easier.
The trail itself is exceptionally well-marked, making it easy to follow and decreasing the risk of getting lost. Because the trek is traveled by thousands of people each year — most in the high season of summer — there are always people and spots to rest nearby. You aren't going to be stuck alone for days on end in you need assistance.
You can tent camp on your trek, or book yourself into one of the refuges at night. Sleep under the stars or under a roof...the choice is yours.
No Climbing Required
The Tour du Mont Blanc isn't a technical undertaking. You don't need any climbing equipment, and rock climbing skills are not required. It's a walk, but not necessarily a walk in the park. You'll travel up many high alpine ridges, down difficult descents, and have over 35,000 feet of elevation gain (and loss).
Training before your trek is a must because you'll be hiking for 7-8 hours per day for up to ten days. Even though the climbing isn't technical, consider this: you'll ultimately ascend more vertical feet than Mount Everest when completing the whole tour.
It's a Country-Hop
The Tour du Mont Blanc takes you through three different countries on foot. While Italy and France split the ownership of the summit, you'll also travel through Switzerland as you make your way along the trail around the mountain.
You'll get to experience a slice of three different cultures while you're on your trek. Spend the morning saying "bonjour!" to fellow travelers at breakfast, and then eat handmade pasta in Italy by dinner. Where else do you have the chance to experience a slice of three different countries on a summit trek?
Language Lessons Not Needed
When you're pushing your body and mind to complete a trek of this magnitude, you may not have a lot of brainpower left at the end of the day to navigate multiple different languages. Good news! The European countries you'll explore on the Tour du Mont Blanc are very accommodating to English language speakers.
You should have no problem communicating with the majority of the people you meet along this trek through the Alps.
Oh, the People You'll Meet
Speaking of people, you're going to meet some great ones on this journey. The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the most popular hiking destinations on the planet, so in addition to the locals you meet in Italy, France, and Switzerland, you'll share the trail with other avid hikers from around the globe.
It's not uncommon to meet folks from all different ethnic and cultural backgrounds while you hike. If you choose to stay in the refuges along the trail, chances are you'll be spending some nights with other people who love hiking and the outdoors as much as you do.
The Villages and the Culture
When you are making your way around Mont Blanc, there's more to the experience than just the trek. Take Chamonix, France, for example. Chamonix is the traditional start and end to the Tour du Mont Blanc, and this lively mountain town is both charming and full of amenities like shopping options and local restaurants.
Halfway through your trek, you'll land in Courmayeur, Italy, where you can grab great food and take some time to relax in a cafe or hotel. In addition to Chamonix and Courmayeur, there is Champex, Switzerland, a sleepy lakeside village with the friendly Belvedere Hotel.
MT Sobek saved the best for last...the views. The views throughout the entire trek are spectacular. You'll hike through peaks and valleys and catch sight of glaciers and unique rock formations. While you travel, Mont Blanc will always be there, looming in the distance, just waiting for you to arrive.
The Tour du Mont Blanc is full of incredible people and culture, amazing views, and best of all, it's within reach for many people.
Are you ready to put the Tour du Mont Blanc on your bucket list? Any of MT Sobek's Alps adventures for 2020 can take care of logistics so you can focus on enjoying your trip.
All photos, including the cover image, courtesy of MT Sobek