Although the Tour du Mont Blanc claims, it is not a particularly difficult hike. It’s just long, with lots of height gain and loss, and always pleasant. On my recent trek around the hill with three friends, it seemed like each of us had a weak spot: the knee, the toes or the lungs. For some, the challenge was uphill, and for others (including weak knees), it was downhill. We took it easy, with very short breaks.
For long climbs, steady, short steps are best. The trail can be really rocky, and I can’t imagine doing it without hiking poles. The road signs were great, and the apps made it easy to stay on the trail: just follow the blue dot. And I’ve got good use of a high-quality printed map. (I would spend the night before hiking and familiarize myself with the trail on the map.)
Although the weather forecast seemed awful, we hiked for six days (in September, the last week of the season) and fortunately, it rained for only an hour. Still, every day we packed rain gear, and we would add and close layers as we increased and lost altitude. Four days later, we sorted it out, and it came to us in the ranks of the newcomers, “We’re getting better at it.”
As we hiked in a large circle around a large mound of mountains and slept in the charming town every night, each day seemed to be on top of a terrifying mountain pass. One night treat was the stars walking under a milky blanket.
I will share more photos, stories and tips from Mont Blanc in the November 29 edition of Monday Night Travel. Want to come up with? Register now for this fun – and free! – Incidents.