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  1. #1
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    Default Here we go again...hoping to do the TMB late June with wife...any input appreciated..

    Looks like we may be able to swing the TMB late June when my son goes to Woodward in Pa again. Looks like easiest logistics would be from Fl to Geneva then taxi/bus to Chamonix. Would like to camp and use Refugio etc..likely a slow pace of 10 days to experience the culture as well as the beauty...first hand experience appreciated...


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  2. #2
    Registered User StubbleJumper's Avatar
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    I hiked the GR5 from Lac Leman to Menton last summer, which coincides with the TMB for perhaps 50 kilometres from Col du Brevent to Col du Bonhomie. The alps are a beautiful place to hike, but the TMB is very crowded. Unlike the long hikes that you have done in the US, there are a considerable number of guided groups hiking the TMB -- think 12 to 20 tourists from around the world who are trundling along at 1.5 miles per hour, carrying only a day pack, following a bored paid guide. Beyond the guided groups, there are a considerable number of self-supported hikers who hike the trail in groups of 1 to 4 people. In short, it's a relatively crowded trail.

    For the TMB, I would recommend that you not bother to carry a tent, a stove, a pot or any of the camping gear that you would typically use in the US. You can stay in gites and refuges for about 40 to 50 euros per night, which includes a bunk in a dorm, supper and breakfast. They'll happily make you a picnic lunch for another 8 or 10 euros. For such a short hike, you can easily do the whole thing without carrying the weight of a tent or cookset for 500 euros, while if you were self-catering and camping it would probably still run you about 200 euros. You need a bag liner to sleep in for most of the refuges, but they provide blankets and pillows.

    It's such a busy trail, that I would recommend that you make reservations in a refuge at least a day or two in advance. I wouldn't recommend that you reserve all 10 nights right off the bat because you can never predict when you'll hike faster or slower than planned, nor can you predict when you'll get a couple of inches of rain which drives you to take a zero. But, phoning ahead a day or two is good practice and it ensures that you won't show up to find out that the house is full.

    Do bring water treatment gear. The alps are a grazing area and there is livestock pretty much everywhere. You cannot really trust any of the groundwater without first treating it, but the springs are probably safe.

    I was crossing 200 foot long snowfields when I was there in late August, so I would imagine that you might face considerable stretches of snow in late June. You should seek out a few journals from people who hiked at that time of year because I have no idea whether microspikes would be a good idea (full out crampons strike me as overkill because rarely was the path extremely steep).

    Do research the potential use of the ski-lifts (telepheriques) because they might offer an easy way to get into and out of Chamonix and les Houches (the descent into and the climb out of les Houches sticks in my head as one that was a little unpleasant). Depending on how your legs are feeling, you might find it worth 10 or 15 euros to get a ride to the top!

    Anyway, just a few observations from last summer.


    SJ

  3. #3
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    We did our TMB during the famous endurance race (end of August to first week of September)
    We did as you plan. Flew to Geneva, bus to Chamonix. Took us 10 days.
    Calling a day or two ahead could be trouble. Many times they are so busy they don't pick up the phone.

    There is a web site from which you can make most of your reservation...it was cumbersome but worked at our own schedule.

    We started from courmayeur ( short bus ride through the tunnel from chamonix). The first rifuggio ( bertone) is relatively close from the town. The cherry on top was to take the glacier gondola from courmayeur over my.blanc glacier back to Chamonix.

    For many of the higher routes that might be bogged with snow there are low route alternatives.




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    Last edited by T.S.Kobzol; 01-31-2019 at 10:23.
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  4. #4
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    This is obviously a subjective question, but was it worth it given the crowds?

  5. #5
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    It was awesome! Alps aren't Wind River range. Seeing people is normal.


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  6. #6
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  7. #7
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    I hiked the Walker's Haute Route last summer, which also coincides with the TMB for a bit. There are very few backpackers as they are very few camping areas and you are hiking on private property. I also recommend staying at the refugios, hiker hostels, inexpensive hotels that cater to hikers, etc. I also recommend booking your reservations in advance. You can easily take a bus to Chamonix and start from nearby. You do want to check the levels of snow and water crossings. In August, we walked across a few very small and safe patches of snow and did not have any high water crossings. In June, the situation may be much different. The hiking is magnificent!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by StubbleJumper View Post
    I hiked the GR5 from Lac Leman to Menton last summer, which coincides with the TMB for perhaps 50 kilometres from Col du Brevent to Col du Bonhomie. The alps are a beautiful place to hike, but the TMB is very crowded. Unlike the long hikes that you have done in the US, there are a considerable number of guided groups hiking the TMB -- think 12 to 20 tourists from around the world who are trundling along at 1.5 miles per hour, carrying only a day pack, following a bored paid guide. Beyond the guided groups, there are a considerable number of self-supported hikers who hike the trail in groups of 1 to 4 people. In short, it's a relatively crowded trail.

    For the TMB, I would recommend that you not bother to carry a tent, a stove, a pot or any of the camping gear that you would typically use in the US. You can stay in gites and refuges for about 40 to 50 euros per night, which includes a bunk in a dorm, supper and breakfast. They'll happily make you a picnic lunch for another 8 or 10 euros. For such a short hike, you can easily do the whole thing without carrying the weight of a tent or cookset for 500 euros, while if you were self-catering and camping it would probably still run you about 200 euros. You need a bag liner to sleep in for most of the refuges, but they provide blankets and pillows.

    It's such a busy trail, that I would recommend that you make reservations in a refuge at least a day or two in advance. I wouldn't recommend that you reserve all 10 nights right off the bat because you can never predict when you'll hike faster or slower than planned, nor can you predict when you'll get a couple of inches of rain which drives you to take a zero. But, phoning ahead a day or two is good practice and it ensures that you won't show up to find out that the house is full.

    Do bring water treatment gear. The alps are a grazing area and there is livestock pretty much everywhere. You cannot really trust any of the groundwater without first treating it, but the springs are probably safe.

    I was crossing 200 foot long snowfields when I was there in late August, so I would imagine that you might face considerable stretches of snow in late June. You should seek out a few journals from people who hiked at that time of year because I have no idea whether microspikes would be a good idea (full out crampons strike me as overkill because rarely was the path extremely steep).

    Do research the potential use of the ski-lifts (telepheriques) because they might offer an easy way to get into and out of Chamonix and les Houches (the descent into and the climb out of les Houches sticks in my head as one that was a little unpleasant). Depending on how your legs are feeling, you might find it worth 10 or 15 euros to get a ride to the top!

    Anyway, just a few observations from last summer.


    SJ
    Thank! Lots of great info! I hate crowds, was thinking it wouldn’t be too crowded in June but likely wishful thinking.....by the way my kid just told me now they’re going to the Woodward camp in Co instead of Pa so as usual the plan changes...the camp is the big red barn not far off the CT at Cooper mtn.....I may have to settle for a week in Co....


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.S.Kobzol View Post
    It was awesome! Alps aren't Wind River range. Seeing people is normal.


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    Looks amazing!


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