Background

This is one of the Event Director’s favourite routes. It follows one of the world’s toughest 100 milers, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, circumnavigating the highest mountain in the Alps, Mont Blanc at 4,810m and passing by its 71 glaciers and 400 summits. This is a great running adventure to sign up for if you want to explore the Alps more or to recce the route for the UTMB. As always you will have a Lead Runner with you, refreshment points, logistic support as well as food and accommodation provided. The scenery is absolutely stunning and you’ll experience some of the most breath taking views of Mt Blanc the area has to offer. It's broken down into 6 stages (but if you prefer to do it in 5 or 7 days please get in touch for a bespoke tour) with a day to relax in Chamonix at the end of the trip.

We start in Chamonix and head down the valley to Les Houches before making our way up over to Les Contamines. Our first night is spent here before we carry on to the steep climb over the Croix du Bonhomme. The views from the Croix back down the valley and towards Geneva are incredible. From there we head down to spend our second night at Les Chapieux, a remote hamlet and our last stop before heading over into Italy. The next morning as the sun rises from behind the Aiguilles des Glaciers you will climb up to the Col de La Seigne. From here the route stretches into the horizon along the valley leading to the mountain pass 25 miles away which marks the border with Switzerland, a point where you will be standing the next day. We sweep down into Italy, staggering views of couloirs and rock buttresses towering on the left, leading up to Monte Bianco. The path undulates on nice smooth trails before a last climb, and then a steep descent into Courmayeur. At around halfway of the total route we will be staying here for pizza and a warm bed!

Leaving Courmayeur early the next day following a steep ascent out of the valley you may see the sun rise over clouds carpeting the valleys far below. After a couple of hours running there will be time to stop for a refreshment at the Rifugio Bonatti hut, dedicated to the legendary Italian climber. Indeed, you will be passing some of his ground breaking first ascents as you run the route. From there we approach the fearsome Grand Col Ferret marking the Swiss border at 2537m. The trails down from the col are perfect. You will hear the cowbells from the lush green valley below, as you descend through the stunning scented mountain meadows into the little village of Le Fouly, our next stop, the first of two in Switzerland.

The trail passes through forests running alongside the river and through tiny Swiss villages and fields of hay and wild flowers before heading up to Champex-Lac. Champex is a paradise in the mountains and sits at the juncture to another famous hiking route and potential running adventure - the Walker’s Haute Route. Three more high points stand between us and Chamonix, and around another 25 miles. The view from the next climb is hard to take in, since you can see all the way down to Martigny, 1500m below. Its broad flat valley leads to Zermatt and beyond. The path descends from here through some rocky and tree root covered trails to the Col de la Forclaz and then steeply down to Trient and its beautiful pink church and backdrop of dramatic glaciers, where we spend our last night on the trail.

Our last day, today we will complete our journey and return to Chamonix. The climb up to Catogne is followed by a steep descent to Vallorcine and back into France! One more big climb, this time to the Tête aux vents and the Mt Blanc Massif dominates the horizon, its glacier pouring over into the Chamonix valley below and the end of our adventure. We trot down through the mountain trails from La Flegere and into Chamonix to celebrate. It’s an amazing achievement, 104 miles / 168km and 9,000m ascent crossing over 3 countries.

Accommodation & Transport

Accommodation on the first and last night in Chamonix will be in a 4* spa hotel, either Hotel L’Heliopic or Les Aiglons (or an equivalent standard hotel) including breakfast on both mornings. Both are located in the centre of Chamonix with stunning views of Mt Blanc. Amenities include the spa (treatments at extra cost) which has a heated pool and sauna, the hotel also free WiFi. Accommodation is based on a twin room sharing basis unless you request single occupancy, which if available will be at extra cost. Evening meal is included on the first evening (from a set menu) at a reputable restaurant Chamonix. For the 6 stages there will be a mixture of village hotels and possibly mountain refuges, these will include breakfast and evening meals as well as packed lunch. Transport during the holiday will be provided where needed. Transport to and from Geneva to Chamonix can be booked via one of the many minibus operators that provide a regular shuttle service.

Ability

This trip is 6 days of running with an average of around 18 miles / 29km per day. It's not always that easy to run these routes particularly quickly, trail running is often a leveller! So be prepared to be out on the trails for most of the day, we walk the uphills so there is time to soak up the scenery. Clients are always surprised by how much hiking can be involved in the Alps but this is inevitable in such steep environments. We endeavour to run a couple of trips each year of the TMB adventure in order to cater for different running speeds, so we ensure everyone is of a similar ability before they sign up. The trails on the TMB cannot be underestimated, and therefore it's important to do some training before you arrive, particularly multi-day hikes, have run marathon distance in 4 hours or less and have some experience on trails. We also do a kit check on the evening before we set off and highly recommend bringing poles. The Lead Runner will route find and as with all our running adventures you will be running as part of a team. If you want to run the route quicker - please get in touch we can do this as a bespoke trip. It's possible to do it in 3 days self-guided and we can provide all the logistics.

Timing & Location

France, Italy and Switzerland. July - September

What's Included

  • Overnight accommodation in a 4* spa hotel at the beginning and end of the trip (based on twin sharing)
  • First night evening meal in Chamonix included (from set menu)
  • Overnight accommodation en route (based on twin room sharing or small dormitory, supplement for single room)
  • Bag transport to each day’s end destination.
  • Packed lunch everyday and refreshment points where feasible en route
  • Evening meals and breakfast, except for the evening meal on the last night in Chamonix
  • A qualified Lead Runner for the team, with you every step of the way
  • Run the Wild tech t-shirt
  • Champagne at the finish
  • 104 miles / 168km of some of the best scenery in Europe

What's Not Included

  • Drinks at the accommodation or additional main meals
  • Personal insurance (required)
  • Transfers to/from Geneva to Chamonix
  • Travel to Geneva for the start of the holiday
  • Travel from Geneva at the end of the holiday

Booking

Start Date End Date Days Mileage Grade Spaces Price Status  
07th July 2017 14th July 2017 6 Running 104 C2-3 8 €1860* Register Interest Register Interest

Availability

  • Guaranteed – this trip is available but has also reached the minimum number to guarantee it running.
  • Available – the trip is available – please go ahead and book!
  • Few remaining – limited space left on the trip - sign up quick!

*Price quoted in Euros but payment also accepted in GBP

Reviews

"Best running experience ever with a passionate team looking after you." Scott - September 2015

"I would highly recommend Run the Wild trips. Nothing was too much trouble, every detail was taken care of, the running was suitably challenging. The group were great fun. I look forward to the next running adventure!" Nicola - September 2015

"I cannot recommend this holiday, or RunTheWild, highly enough. Simon and his team of supporters and guides are completely brilliant. I've just had the time of my life and made some amazing friends. Bring on the next trip, wherever it is!" Steve - September 2015

"We had a truly amazing holiday with Run the Wild. Our guide and support were instrumental in helping us succeed. We felt supported both logistically and emotionally. We also appreciated having dogs to snuggle after a long day on the trails." Patricia - July 2015

"Run the Wild support and guides were absolutely amazing!" Lori - July 2015

"RuntheWildUK absolutely knocked it out of the park in setting up and supporting our guided 6 day UTMB run. We were able to simply worry about our packs and the days run while everything else was taken care of. All expectations were met if not exceeded. Lastly, we cannot say enough for how amazing our guide Emily was throughout the trip. We had an amazing holiday and left with new found friends we hope to adventure with in the future!" Joseph - July 2015

"What a great team! Run the Wild's attention to details and the runners made the trip everything I could have hoped for." John - July 2015

Advice from previous runners

"Go!!!" Scott

"Be prepared for going downhill to be more painful than going up due to steepness of descents! I should have done more trekking training rather than running I think!" Nicola 

"Just go! Oh and take poles!" Steve

"Pick a company like Run the Wild who will work with you to tailor the trip to your wants and needs. You all did a great job of catering to the different needs of the group." John

"Train appropriately for the "time" you will spend on your feet (we did so) and everyday will be enjoyable." Joseph

"Train so you can have fun. I'm so thankful I trained but wished I had done more down hill training smile" Lori

"Train hard." Patricia