Day four of the TMB was probably the furthest I’ve walked in a day. I booked my accommodation two months ago, but this was leaving it too late, even at the end of the season, so I ended up needing to walk 38km between refuges, with ~1,800m of ascent and ~2,150m of descent. Was quite a big day!
I’d planned to save 5km by catching the bus to Courmayeur at 7.53am. Unfortunately I arrived at the bus stop to find that the timetable online was wrong, and the first bus wasn’t till 8.53am. So I walked it instead, which at least offered views of Glacier de la Brenva, this church, and some old buildings.
From Courmayeur was the first major climb of the day, up 750m to Rifugio Bertone which had locked toilets and no water, not ideal. The views of the town below were good though.
Even better views of Glacier de la Brenva were found slightly higher up, showing it’s size in the landscape.
From here was a rather wonderful hour and half of easy walking through alpine meadows with these views off to the left.
Rifugio Bonatti was a great spot for lunch, looking out toward Glacier de Frebouze (I think, there are so many glaciers here!).
After lunch the sun came out for glorious views along the valley as I headed along a ridge, and down the hillside to Chalet Val Ferret, at 1,784m.
Almost immediately after I then had to start back up the hillside again. Initially to the bunker like Rifugio Elena, with the most astonishing views behind me along the valley and of the mountains, and the Glacier de Triolet and Glacier de Pre de Bar.
The goal (painful to reach after more than 30km walked by this point) was the 2,537m high Grand Col Ferret, marking the border between Italy and Switzerland.
Unexpectedly the scenery changed totally at the Col, with the Switzerland side being far less dramatic, if moodier in the weather, reminding me of parts of Iceland and New Zealand.
Finally by 5pm I reached Gîte Alpage de La Peule, a summer diary farm / accommodation which was basic but charming.