Mont Blanc Ultra Trail
Mont Blanc Ultra Trail
Mont Blanc Ultra Trail
Mont Blanc Ultra Trail
Mont Blanc Ultra Trail
Mont Blanc Ultra Trail

Mont Blanc Ultra Trail


Trip Overview

The Mont Blanc tour is one of the most iconic trails in the world. Join us on this multi-day trail running trip of a lifetime around the crown of the Western Alps.

Passing through some of the most spectacular areas of the European Alps, it’s a route steeped in history, culture and folklore. You run through ancient pathways used by hunters, herdsmen and traders on a route taking you through France, Italy and Switzerland. Smooth, runnable trails are interspersed with technical, rocky sections over the high mountain passes. Breathtaking Alpine landscapes await, flanked by colourful meadows tumbling down into picturesque hamlets and villages. It’s both a nature and a trail runner’s paradise.

Highlights

  • Six days trail running and fast hiking around Mont Blanc
  • Services of a qualified and experienced trail running guide
  • Travel through France, Italy and Switzerland
  • Follow the route of the world-famous Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®) ultra-marathon
  • Hotel/auberge accommodation and luggage transfers

This is one of the world's most famous long distant trails (or Grand Randonée), especially for trail runners with the mythical Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®) ultramarathon taking place every August. Covering 106 miles (171kms) with over 10,000m (32,800ft) of elevation it offers a formidable challenge to experienced trail runners.

Each day we run/hike about 30 kilometres (18 miles), with at least one high mountain pass. We’re likely to be on our feet for 6-8 hours per day! There is lots of ascent and descent on a variety of mountain trails, so it’s only suitable for experienced trail runners.


I found the trip the most wonderful experience.  It has opened my eyes to a whole new world of trail running. Our guide, Al, was really brilliant: a very knowledgeable and cultured man, very good company and reassuring.  It met and exceeded my expectations…wonderful scenery and fantastic team of people.  Memorable moments are too many to single out! Yes, I would definitely travel with Tracks & Trails again.

Al was outstanding – we were so lucky to have him.  I have entered the CCC in a couple of weeks so for me it was very informative to learn about him completing the UTMB and the difficulties faced.  The group also made the whole trip fantastic as we all really got on well and travelling on my own I was made to feel very welcome. Top marks! I could not rate it highly enough.

Itinerary

  • airport
  • house
  • transfer
  • Your running guide will meet you at 6pm, to answer any last minute questions and brief you on the days ahead. Our accommodation is in central Chamonix and has several outdoor shops for purchasing any last minute items.

  • Our journey begins as we set off gently towards Les Houches village by the river Arve. We climb up through the forest heading for the Voza pass to gain views of Mont Blanc and the surrounding glaciated peaks. We then descend towards the spa town of St Gervais les Bains, passing quaint chalets and rustic farms, before following the valley trail to Les Contamines village.

    Ascent: 1554m. Descent: 1368m. Total Distance: 30km. Approximate run/walk time: 7-8 hrs. High point: Le Delevret 1764m. Sleeping Altitude: 1170m.

  • We run easily along an ancient Roman road, passing the beautiful baroque Notre Dame de la Gorge church. The route then climbs steeply up to the Le Balme refuge, a good place to contemplate the steady climb to the Col de Bonhomme (2439m) which often has snow patches early in the season. A little higher is our second col - the Croix de Bonhomme - where coffee & cake awaits. A fun and sweeping trail drops us down to Les Chapieux where our final steady riverside trail leads us gradually back up to the Ville des Glaciers and finally onto Refuge Les Mottets (1864m).

    Ascent: 1725m. Descent: 1070m. Total Distance: 24km. Approximate run/walk time: 7.5-8.5 hrs. Highest point: Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme 2439m. Sleeping Altitude: 1864m.

  • We leave our accommodation to regain the trail which climbs steadily to the Col de la Seigne and the Italian border. Stunning views unfold as descend into Val Veny with sparking glaciers and Mont Blanc in the distance. We then climb steeply up to the ridge on Mont Favre, and then down to the Col Checrouit with a fantastic refuge offering excellent Italian hospitality. Then it’s downhill all the way to the ancient town of Courmayeur.

    Courmayeur is also the departure point for those wishing to run half of the route from Chamonix over 3 days to Courmayeur and the meeting point for the second half known as the CCC - from Courmayeur via Champex to Chamonix. We will advise you on where/how to meet us. Your welcome briefing will be at 6pm.

    Ascent: 1120m. Descent: 1680m. Total Distance: 23km. Highest point: Col de la Seigne 2502m. Sleeping Altitude: 1200m. Approximate run/walk time: 6.5-7.5 hrs.

  • Setting off through Courmayeur, we quickly leave the road behind to climb steeply through the larch forest to the idyllically situated Rifugio Bertone. We then traverse around the mountain to the other well-positioned Rifugio Bonatti. The trail continues through the alpine flowers before descending to Arnuva, and then a long but steady climb to the Swiss border at the Grand Col Ferret. The wide, runnable trail descends and then traverses along the hillside before dropping down to the lovely Swiss village of La Fouly.

    Ascent: 2050m. Descent: 1670m. Total Distance: 31.6km. Highest point: Grand Col Ferret 2525m. Sleeping Altitude: 1600m. Approximate run/walk time: 8-8.5 hrs.

  • A gentler start takes us to the ancient Praz de Fort village, passing through a variety of rural buildings and a contrast to our previous high-mountain days. Eventualy we head uphill to the lakeside Swiss village of Champex with its jade green waters. The village gives way to forests and gorges and the bovine pastures, home in the summer to the famous Swiss fighting cows. A steady descent brings us to the Col de la Forclaz for our overnight stop.

    Ascent: 1310m. Descent: 1385m. Total Distance: 30.9km. Highest point: Bovine 1970m. Sleeping Altitude: 1527m. Approximate run/walk time: 6.5-7.5 hrs.

  • A grand finale today as we climb out of the Trient valley and back into France. We descend to Vallorcine village (deriving from Valais Ursina, Valley of the Bears), and then a short uphill to the Col des Montets before facing the steep zig-zags to the Tetes aux Vents. The views en route of the Mont Blanc massif reward the effort, and we make our final descent towards the Flegere cable car station, before dropping down steeply to where we began our journey six days ago in Chamonix! Time to celebrate, rest the body and mind and recover with an optional massage.

    Ascent: 1750m. Descent: 2215m. Total Distance: 30.5km. Highest point: La Tete aux Vents 2127m. Sleeping Altitude: 1035m. Approximate run/walk time: 7.5-8.5 hrs.

  • Today is departure day and your package finishes after breakfast.

We always aim to complete the proposed itinerary, however it may be necessary for our guides to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

We always aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. In many cases we have known the management for years, and it’s like visiting friends. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

However, on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee. We recommend booking as early as possible to secure a single room as these are always limited in number. Please contact us for details.

Hotel Pointe Isabelle, Chamonix

Hotel

Ideally located in the heart of Chamonix, France, the Hotel Pointe Isabelle offers deluxe rooms with mountain views, along with a bar and restaurant.

Hotel Edelweiss, Courmayeur

Hotel

Located in the centre of Courmayeur, Italy, the Hotel Edelweiss offers rooms and services both for sport vacations and relaxing stays at the foot of Mont Blanc.


  • UTMB Race Preparation

    This week offers runners invaluable endurance training and race route knowledge. Our local running guides have in-depth knowledge about the course, the terrain, and how to prepare. It’s also a perfect chance to test out clothing/equipment and nutrition plans.

  • Chamonix and Courmayeur are easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane. For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details. Geneva is the closest international airport, only 75 minutes away by road, making shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange. Please contact us if you need further advice on your specific travel requirements. To reach Courmayeur we recommend taking the bus directly from Geneva Airport to Courmayeur. Full details on travel to the trip departure point will be provided upon booking.

  • Please note that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. As we will be travelling in the mountains, you must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. For further details, please ensure you have carefully read the Insurance section of our website.

  • After booking we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for your trail running week. If you are considering entering the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® race, it's a good idea to check the Obligatory Equipment List.

    A mountainous trip of this length requires a more efficient 'power walking' pace for the uphills, and running on the rolling terrain and descents. We therefore highly recommend the use of light weight running poles to aid with the ascents. If you are unsure of which poles are suitable for trail running, then please read our article on the Top 4 Running Poles of 2014 as published in the UK's Trail Running magazine.

  • It is important to understand that a trip of this length in such mountainous terrain means that the long ascents will mainly be taken at a fast uphill 'power walking' pace and that the 'running' will be on the rolling terrain and descents. We therefore highly recommend the use of light weight running poles to aid with the ascents. If you unsure of which poles are suitable for trail running then you can read our article here on the Top 4 Running Poles of 2014 published in the UK's Trail Running magazine.

    Upon booking we will send you a list of suggested equipment and clothing for your trail running week. If you are considering taking part in the official Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc race it could be useful to see their UTMB Obligatory Equipment List here.

    If you are unsure of your suitability for this trip then please to contact us for more details.

  • This week will run once a minimum number of 4 clients have booked, we will take a maximum of 8 per guide.

  • Summer mountain weather can vary considerably. It is generally good in the Alps with lovely days, but it can deliver everything from glorious sunshine, to rain, fog, high winds and even snow. Temperatures can reach over 30°Celsius (86°F) in July and August, but can drop to 5°Celsius (41°F) on the high passes, or 'Cols' as they are known in the Alps. Essentially you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°Celsius (59-77°F) in the valleys and 5-15°Celsius (41-59°F) on the passes.

    Mountain weather can vary considerably. Temperatures can reach over 30°C in mid-summer (July/August), but can drop to 5°C on the passes. It is often sunny with good clear days, but it can rain and snow (even in July or August) so you should be prepared for any eventuality. The average temperatures range from 15-25°C in the valleys and 5-15°C on the passes.

  • Due to the specialised nature of our trips, we work with a select number of partners to help ensure your trip reaches its minimum group size to be guaranteed to run. The companies we work with reflect our own ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer to our guests. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sun 30 Jun - Sun 07 Jul
Code: UTR1 19
Price: £1495 Book
Wed 03 Jul - Sun 07 Jul
Code: CCR1 19
Price: £995 Book
Sun 04 Aug - Sun 11 Aug
Code: UTR2 19
Price: £1495 Book
Wed 07 Aug - Sun 11 Aug
Code: CCR2 19
Price: £995 Book
Sun 01 Sep - Sun 08 Sep
Code: UTR3 19
Price: £1495 Book
Wed 04 Sep - Sun 08 Sep
Code: CCR3 19
Price: £995 Book
Sun 08 Sep - Sun 15 Sep
Code: UTR4 19
Price: £1495 Book
Wed 11 Sep - Sun 15 Sep
Code: CCR4 19
Price: £995 Book

What's Included

  • Guiding services of a fully qualified International Mountain Leader who's also an experienced trail runner
  • Half board hotel accommodation (double/twin rooms where available, sometimes with a shared bathroom)
  • Daily luggage transfers
  • Tracks and Trails souvenir

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Massages
  • Lunches
  • Personal expenses, snacks & drinks.

We are happy to advise on the best options for airport transfers and flights. Any transfers taken by runners (for example by cable car, bus, train or taxi) will be charged as an extra expense.

I found the trip the most wonderful experience.  It has opened my eyes to a whole new world of trail running. Our guide, Al, was really brilliant: a very knowledgeable and cultured man, very good company and reassuring.  It met and exceeded my expectations…wonderful scenery and fantastic team of people.  Memorable moments are too many to single out! Yes, I would definitely travel with Tracks & Trails again.

Al was outstanding – we were so lucky to have him.  I have entered the CCC in a couple of weeks so for me it was very informative to learn about him completing the UTMB and the difficulties faced.  The group also made the whole trip fantastic as we all really got on well and travelling on my own I was made to feel very welcome. Top marks! I could not rate it highly enough.

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Grade: Demanding

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At a Glance

From Price £995
Holiday Type Trail Running
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 10
Minimum Age 17
Maximum Altitude 2537m
Countries Visited Italy, France, Switzerland
Meet In Chamonix, France
View all Trail Running Holidays