A Year of Turning 50 and Hiking 100 miles in the Alps — the Tour du Mont Blanc

Miles so Far: Zero

Days for Start of Trek:  2 to go! 

The Tour du Mont Blanc — three countries, France, Switzerland and Italy, 110 miles in length, 30,000+ in elevation change, 7-12 days.   What better way to celebrate 50 times around the Sun.

In February, I turned the big 5-0 and decided that I needed to cross off a serious item during this year from my bucket list.  I also decided I needed something to motivate me to get into much better shape.  I’m an environmental attorney, Dad of 2, husband of local politician, and outdoor lover (hiking, backpacking, rafting, nordic and alpine skiing) in Spokane, Washington.   We are constant travelers and love the opportunity to do something different.

After reading an old New York Times article on the Tour Du Mont Blanc (or “TMB”) titled, “100 Miles, 10 Days, Three Countries and a Lot of Cheese, ” my wife, Kitty, and I decided that the TMB was for us.  Cheese, French and Italian food, good wine, accommodations in towns and classic refugio, and the option for bag transport.  This sounded like enough adventure with comfort to warrant the 50th year bucket list trip.

The nice thing about the TMB is you can make it the trip you want — camp and carry your gear (although there are restrictions in most of the TMB to back country (and “wild”) camping and campers often must use developed campgrounds,  stay at the hostel-like refugios, or stay in 3-4 star accommodations in the towns along the way (or some combination thereof).  You can also opt to have a guide or to have your bags transported. As it is the Alps and not the wilderness that I am used to in the Pacific Northwest, there is access to public transport and even cable cars along the TMB allowing one to skip stretches and shorten days.  You really create your own TMB.

The other nice options is the numerous companies that will book your accommodations, provide logistical support, and even get you a guide if you want me.  We opted to work with Pygmy Elephant (great experience so far) and to educate/prepare ourselves with both of the TMB route bibles.

We opted for a trip in hotels and to have our gear transported (this is vacation after all!).   We head off to Geneva today to Chamonix for the start of the trek in two days.  More on gear and trip prep in the posts to come!




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Comments 2

  • Jimbo : Jul 17th

    Wow, nice way to celebrate your 50 year milestone! Enjoy the adventure – like your first float down the lower Salmon! Keep us posted.

  • Barb : Jul 18th

    Have a wonderful time. Can’t wait to hear about your adventures!


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