TMB Days 7-9

The complete TMB, walking every mile, is about 110 miles (though this can vary a bit because there are alternate routes). With our guiding company (MT Sobek) we are doing roughly 90 miles. Most of the difference is short road walks that we van around. But the MT Sobek itinerary eliminates one “stage” of the traditional TMB, from La Fouly to Champex, a roughly 10 mile stretch. We were told this day has only so-so views and no good views of Mt Blanc.

Day 7: Champex to Trient (Martigny)

Another relatively easy day. Of course, this is the alps so there was still a relatively steep, 2500′ climb up to the ridge overlooking Martigny.

View looking north toward Martigny

Near the top of the climb we stopped at the Alpage de Bovine, a small restaurant, for lunch. Julien ordered several plates of Rosti for us to share and it was delicious. Basically potatoes and cheese so you can’t go wrong. And this was also one of our first stops on the Haute Route back in 2017.

Lunch a the Alpage de Bovine

From here it was a relatively gentle (by Alp standards) descent to the Col de Forclaz where Fabrizio was waiting to take us to our hotel in Martigny. We had an early day (at the hotel by 4:00) so some of us elected to go into town to see the Caillebotte exhibit.

Then we walked to a recommended italian restaurant, crossing over the Rhone river (it’s a lot smaller here!) on the way.

Rhone River in Martigny

Day 8: Trient to Argentiere

A big climb day but we are finally adapted to the altitude and feeling fit so this was a great day of hiking.

The day started along a steep, old smugglers path through the forest up to the Col du Balme (7,200′) and the border with France. Back in France!

Heading up to the Col du Balme. The Challet is visible at the top.
Over the Col du Balme! Looking south into France with Mt Blanc in the distance. We are back on the West side of the mountain.

From the Col de Balme we hiked up another couple hundred feet to the Tete de Balme.

View looking northeast from the Tete de Balme. Lac de Catogne in the foreground and the dam forming Lac d’Emasson across the valley in the back.

Then another three miles along the ridge to the Aiguilliette des Posettes (7,100′) for more stunning views of the Chamonix valley and Mt Blanc.

gAiguilliette des Posettes. Mt Blanc in the distance.

Then….. down, down, down 2,500′ to the Vallorcine Valley east of Chamonix and Argentière (4,100′) and our last hotel before Chamonix. And as we wind our way down we can see tomorrow’s start across the valley.

The zig-zag path across the valley is tomorrow’s start.

Day 9: Argentière to Chamonix

Last day! And we are feeling great! Beautiful weather and feeling a little sad that it will all soon be over. A very short, 6 mile day but… still 3,000′ of ascent over the first three mile. Ahhh…. Les Alpes.

The cool kids…. Fabrizio and Bert.

After a short transfer from our hotel to Le Col De Montets (4,800′) we began our hike…

Getting started – you can see the trail in the background.

2,500 feet up to Les Cheserys (7,130′) hiking past several alpine lakes in the last mile.

View of Mt Blanc on the way up.
Guide Julien, AKA Legalus.

It was very pretty but… it being Saturday and close to Chamonix, was very crowded compared to the other days on the trail. We stopped at one of the first lakes for lunch to avoid the crowd.

View from our lunch stop
Lunch at Lac de Chéserys

The climb to the final lakes involved ladders….

….. up to the last lake, Lac Blanc.

Lac Blanc, 7,750′
Crowds around Lac Blanc

Because of the number of people we did not stay long and headed down toward the gondola that would take us back to Chamonix.

Heading down.
On the gondola….. no more hiking!

Back to the hotel we started at nine days ago, Grand Hôtel des Alpes.

View of Mt Blanc from Chamonx
Celebratory cocktails.

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