My 24th multi-day walk, the Tour du Mont Blanc was the most consistently spectacular walk I’ve done to date. I’ve walked extensively in New Zealand, and in Patagonia, Australia, Georgia and the Albanian Alps, and the original Alps were in many ways as good, or better, than any of them.
The sheer quantity, and surprising variety, of epic views over the course of eight day was almost too much, my appreciation of glaciers started to diminish after seeing a dozen in a few days. It was also, understandably given the scenery and it’s accessibility, very busy, even during the penultimate week before the end of the season. So while I loved the views, I enjoyed the experience on the track less, particularly compared to the relative wilderness of the New Zealand bush or Australian outback.
It helped that I was extremely lucky with the weather, having only one day of rain, and clear blue skies for most of the walk. The previous week, when the world famous Ultra was held, was a wash out. The joys and sorrows of a weather dependent activity…
As mentioned there were rather a lot of glaciers, which are always incredible things, though also tragic given the rate at which they are retreating. The Tour offers views of them from every angle, across the valley, from the side, and just below if you spend the night at Refuge Robert Blanc, off the main TMB route.
The refuges were a new concept to me, offering relative comfort and allowing a much lighter pack than usual to be carried. They were always located in spots with wonderful views, and provided contrast to the landscapes they sit within.
Although the beginning of the season in June is the best time for wild flowers, there were still plenty around at the end of the season to add a splash of colour.
As ever the best time for photography was at the start and end of the day, as the sun crept over or disappeared behind the mountainside, bathing the landscape in light.
Finally there were far fewer lakes that I’d expected, compared with New Zealand in particular, but those there were (mainly on stage 10 around Lac Blanc, and Lac du Champex) were quite spectacular.