Tour of Mount Blanc - should this be a problem in early June : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread


I intend to hike the TMB in the first 2 weeks of June and was wondering what exactly I should expect, in terms of conditions/climate. I figure that I will be doing a lot of snow walking, with crampons and ice axe but would also like to camp for the whole route.

Can anyone fill me in with some information



-- fergus creagh (, April 22, 1999


Hi Fergus ,

I assume you are planing a trip for June 2001 !

I completed the TMB last June (2000) during the first 2 weeks. It took 8 days starting and finishing in Les Houches.

It is considered 'out of season' with a vast majority of the huts closed. Except the Swiss and some parts of the French side. (More info. provided on request)

If my experiences are anything to go by you will experience lots of 'snow walking' in crampons with ice ax also a must.

Be carful not to carry too much - my sack was approx. 20 KG's and I only carried what I considered 'bare essentials' + Goretex bivvy bag. NO TENT ETC ETC !!

The trip is superb ! Highly recommended. I went on my own though after a few days I met up / teamed up with a Dutch guy and we completed the trip together. Most of the route you will hardly see anybody at this time of the year - which appealed to me in the first instance. As alternative accommodation - to that of camping -you will have to ascend into the valleys a chose Dortoirs or hotels. This shouldn't take you too far off the route though.

8 days was at a fairly brisk pace considering the conditions (heavy snow etc.) and route finding - though usually not a problem within season is much more demanding with snow covered paths !

Please feel free to reply and I will offer more info.

Best of luck,

Lee (0411 003665)

-- Lee Darbyshire (, February 02, 2001.

From my own experience, I would say that walking the TMB is not practicable in the winter months (November to March). However, it is possible to do this in late May/early June (this period is still 'out- of- season' when most of mountain hostels aren't yet open and there can be a great amount of snow and ice on the mountains at this time - but no two year's or two month's weather is the same, of course) - - A group from the company I work for (including myself) walked the TMB in 7 walking days (which included a half-day rest in Champex) in very early June 2002 -

As a matter of fact, we were lucky to complete the trek at this time without serious injury or worse - we experienced deep snow on all the 'big peaks' (Col du Bonhomme, Col du Grand Ferret, etc.) from the base-level all the way up to the top). Also torrential rain on 3 of the days. VERY DANGEROUS snow-covered ice slopes on the Col du Bonhomme. Danger from invisible snow-bridges over quite a few torrents. Of course, there are no hostels above the base-level of the mountains to 'escape' to. In May (and possibly earlier) there is a danger from avalanches.

So crampons and ice-axes are essential - and I would say a rope to rope everyone together for safety on the dangerous slopes.

One advantage of doing the TMB 'out-of-season' is that there is no one else up there at high altitudes so you don't get the 'bonjour', bonjour', 'bonjour' all day long as you do in July/August . .('out-of- season' you only get maybe a mountain-climber or two and possibly a group of the French Alpine troops on the French/Italian border). The local townspeople we spoke to thought we were mad for doing the TMB at this time but I'd like to repeat the experience because I found it more enjoyable than doing it 'in-season', when the landscape is less dramatic and not as challenging. I'll never forget the 'vision' of the huge white glistening 'Y' shape of the Chamonix glacier against the dark night sky . .

I hope this message helps to answer your question - if you find an experienced group willing to do the TMB out-of-season, let me know - I've had no success!

Regards, Paul Watkin London, UK

-- paul watkin (, November 16, 2003.

Conditions can vary wildly. In June 2001 there was plenty of snow in the upper val Ferret, and val Veny was impassable. In 2003 there was no snow at all.

As far as the Italian side goes, you should check conditions making a phone call to the Courmayeur guides office at +39 0165 842064. They will give you all the indications you need.

Again, as far as the Italian side goes, free camping is forbidden under 2700 mt. Actually it's tolerated in the most remote spots, but don't expect you can simply put a tent on a frequented spot.

Also, the area around Col De La Seigne and Col Ferret can be dangerous under heavy snow conditions, or limited visibiliy.


Luca Signorelli

-- Luca Signorelli (, November 22, 2003.

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