Tour du Mont Blanc camping

Tour du Mont Blanc is a classic European multiday hike, so we decided to add it to the itinerary when we were over in Germany for my sister’s 25th wedding anniversary. We decided to camp the Tour du Mont Blanc because we did not want to sleep in refugios filled with other people.

We drew substantial information on the trail from Kev Reynold’s guide. Anna Paxton’s blog and TMBtent.com were invaluable for providing detailed information about campsites.

Here is our itinerary with brief reviews. Most places cost about 12-22 euro for two people, 1 small tent.

Night 0: Chamonix: Camping Les Arolles

Convenient campsite on the South side of Chamonix near the South side bus stop. It was an easy walk into town and is a comfortable site with kind owners. It was fairly crowded because we arrived during the start of a climbing competition. There are hot showers and functional WiFi if you hang out by the building with the showers and toilets. We took the bus into Les Houches to start the following morning as the Chamonix South bus stop is a 5 minute walk away.

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note the gliders

 

Night 1: Les Contamines: Camping Le Pontet

This was a nice resort-like campsite about a 40 minute walk along the TMB beyond Les Contamines. There were a ton of activities for families (bounce house? tennis courts? archery? ponies?!) but somehow it was not very crowded. You end up pretty close to Notre Dame de la Gorge which had a surprising number of people. We left here and did the Tete Nord des Fours hiking variant which provided some of the best views of the trip.

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Night 2: La Ville des Glaciers: camping in the town parking lot

There seems to be just one family living here, so we sought them out to ask if we could camp near the public toilets and sinks by the parking lot. The man we spoke to said we could camp. We also bought some cheese from him- I think we got about a lb for 4 euro and it was delicious- super cool to see the cheese aging cellar and the rooms where he produced the cheese. We saw 6-7 other tents pitched in the area.

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Night 3: Courmayeur: wild camping

This is the section where we were not aware of any established campsites. There is no place to camp in Courmayeur, so we continued hiking on the TMB past the city and found a flat space to bivouac overnight. Look for something relatively quickly once exiting the city because the switchbacks start pretty soon and there are few flat spaces. As always, leave no trace and try to minimize your impact by looking for a site that has been previously used or is on a durable surface.

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Night 4: La Fouly: Camping Des Glaciers

A bit more pricey than the other sites (33 CHF for 2 people), this was an awesome place to pitch. Good showers and wash basins, a common room with TV, books, and games in addition to a wood burning stove. The backpacker’s area was situated by the river so that drowned out a lot of noise. This was definitely busy with other tourists.

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Night 5: Col de La Forclaz: Camping near Hotel de la Forclaz

Smaller facility but had hot showers. 22CHF for 2 people. The pitches were flat and we got beautiful morning sun. The next morning we went to a fruit stand down the road and got some fresh strawberries, raspberries and apricots at a reasonable price. There were also fresh croissants in the tiny tourist shop that were good.

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Night 6: Argentiere: Camping du Glaciers

This is a bit of a detour off the TMB (~30 minute walk down from Tre-le-Champ) but you can take a bus back to Tre-Le-Champ in the morning. This was my favorite campsite of all. The host was awesome; there was a snack bar where we got a great bottle of wine for 7 euros and a pizza truck that’s there some days of the week where we got a big pizza for 11 euros. Other patrons were climbers, mountaineers, and families. Argentiere also has a fabulous bakery (boulangerie l’al’pain) that we passed on the way to and from the campsite where we stocked up on pastries and bread. I would come back to this site and use it as a base for day hikes in the future; very good energy and warm vibe.

The next morning we took the Lac Blanc Variante and then descended into the valley rather than summitting Brevant.

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