Are you fit enough to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc?

Are you fit enough to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc?

The Tour du Mont Blanc is one of the world’s most epic mountain journeys. Crossing three countries along 90 miles of mountain trails with 25,383.86 feet of ascent and 22,769.03 feet of descent – you had better be prepared!

It’s a strenuous and challenging adventure, but achievable for any fit and motivated hiker! To find out whether you are fit enough to take on the Tour du Mont Blanc, use our check list below:

Have you hiked in the mountains before?

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a strenuous mountain hike along rocky trails which can be exposed in places. If you are not used to walking on mountain trails, then you will want to get some long-distance day hikes under your belt to get used to moving on mountain trails. Getting involved in your local hiking club is a great way to get started and meet training buddies!

Read our Tour du Mont Blanc Itinerary

Tour du mont blanc hikers
Age is just a number: At 74, Heather is the oldest person to join me on a Tour Du Mont Blanc and also one of the fittest! Here she is with assistant guide, Sophie, on the final day of the Tour du Mont Blanc after crushing 4200ft of ascent up to Lac Blanc. Not only did she complete the entire trip but she did so just 4 months after a full knee replacement! What’s her secret? Hiking, hiking, hiking! Heather lives in Colorado and to get fit for the trip she went out hiking with her local club 3 times a week! Now that’s dedication!

Have you done multi-day hikes before?

An average day on the Tour Du Mont Blanc covers 10 miles with up to 4200ft of ascent and descent. Whilst this may sound achievable, are you fit enough to do this every day for up to 5 consecutive days? Our itinerary for the Tour du Mont Blanc has 3 hiking days, 1 rest day and then 5 consecutive hiking days. Multi day hiking is a vital part of training for the Tour du Mont Blanc and will ensure you have the endurance to enjoy the trip.

Are you able to hike at the following speeds?

  • 3 miles/hour on the flat.
  • 1200 feet of ascent per hour.
  • 2000 feet of descent per hour.

If the answer is no, then you will need to put in some more training to get up to speed. On the Tour du Mont Blanc there are no easy alternatives as we need to cross high mountain cols to reach our destination each day. There are few escape routes and every member of the team needs to be fit enough to keep a good pace so we can avoid afternoon storms.

Do you have any joint problems?

If you have serious joint problems, particularly knee pain, then the Tour du Mont Blanc is inadvisable. The trails on the Tour du Mont Blanc are very steep in places and each day involves an average of 3000ft of ascent and descent which can leave even the youngest knees feeling sore (speak to any mountain guide after a season of hiking and they will agree!)

Read 5 tips for injury free trekking

Have you got a head for heights?

The trails on the Tour Du Mont Blanc are mostly wide and well-groomed, however the terrain can be steep and exposed in some places. There are also a few days when we take gondolas to shorten our ascents and descents. For the average fit hiker, the trails will feel safe and easy under-foot, but if you have a serious fear of heights/gondola rides then the Tour Du Mont Blanc may not be for you.

Hiker on ladders to lac blanc on the tour du mont blanc
One of our wonderful guests Mary Lee topping out of the ladder section up to Lac Blanc, Chamonix. She was a little nervous before starting up but with some encouragement she cruised to the top laughing and smiling! One of my favourite parts of being a mountain guide is pushing people out of their comfort zone and helping them to realise they are so much more capable than they realise!

Still not sure if you’re fit enough for the Tour du Mont Blanc?

If you’re still not sure whether you are fit enough to take on the challenge, then please feel free to get in touch with us. You will be able to speak to one of our team members who have hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc and discuss your experience with them. They will be able to advise you whether the Tour du Mont Blanc is the right hike for you or whether you may enjoy one of our other adventures more.

Find out more about the Tour du Mont Blanc

Check out our list of trip dates for next year

Read about the Alpenwild Tour du Mont Blanc

Jennifer Stretton

About Jennifer Stretton

Jen grew up about as far from the mountains and nature as you can get—in Birmingham, UK. When she first visited the Alps on a university climbing trip, she immediately fell in love with the place. After graduating with a degree in Geography, Jennifer spent the next few years travelling the world, volunteering with conservation charities and freelance marketing to fund her adventures. In 2015 she settled full time in the Chamonix Valley and began training to become an international mountain leader. An avid climber and environmentalist, Jen’s passion for the mountains and the natural world is contagious. When she’s not guiding, Jennifer spends her free time climbing, skiing, travelling and trying to keep up with her dog on trail runs. Sociable, caring and always smiling, Jen is the perfect guide to keep you laughing and motivated on your journey. She looks forward to meeting you next summer!

5 Replies to “Are you fit enough to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc?”

  1. AvatarMarisa says:

    Do you really need to hike 5mph to do the TMB? I’m signed up for the July trek. I don’t think I’ve ever gone 5 mph in my best days, and do not know if I will be able to get there by July, or ever.

    I see that the site has changed….Courmayeur to Lavachey has changed from 10 miles to 12.5 and elevation gain has changed from 1500 to 4015.

    I got the email telling us how to train….even if I faithfully follow it….I don’t know if 5mph will be achievable for me. Time to back out? Or time to reconcile myself to van rides? Or is 5mph a typo?

    • Jennifer StrettonJennifer Stretton says:

      Hi Marisa,

      Thanks for your message. Apologies for that it’s a typo on my behalf. A good pace for the flat is 5 kilometers per hour, not miles per hour. I would also struggle to maintain that! Around 3mph is a good pace for the flat to go on – I’ve just changed it now, thank you for pointing it out.

      When I’m working out timings for hikes, a good pace averaged over the day is 2 – 2.5mph.

      The reason the distances for the hike from Courmayeur to Lavachey has changed is that those distances given were for the valley walk. We now stay in accommodation a bit further along the valley and a more interesting variant on the walk is the balcony trail which involves more ascent but has much better views. It a really amazing hike and infact my favourite day on the TMB.

      The TMB is a wonderful hike and more than achievable for any fit hiker so please don’t worry.

      Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      Kind regards

      Jen

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