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TMB 2023 Conditions

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TMB 2023 Conditions

This post is dedicated to the TMB 2023 conditions. We’ll share our observations of the trails, and we’ll give you an overview of the weather so far. As the summer progresses, a lot of the observations will come from our guides’ reports, as they’re going around the Tour du Mont Blanc route. At the beginning of summer, before our trips have started, we’ll be getting out especially to check out TMB conditions for you.

Disclaimer: This blog is based on our own observations and experiences on the TMB trail. Conditions can change quickly in the mountains. It’s up to you to ensure you have the right level of skill, fitness and know-how to hike in the mountains!

Who needs to know?

Knowing the TMB conditions is especially important “self-guided” trekkers. If you’re trekking the TMB with a guide, you don’t need to worry about the conditions because your guide will take on this responsibility. Self-guided trekkers will need to assess things like weather and snow, and use their observations to make important route decisions. That said, guided trekkers might find it useful to know what conditions are like, so they can mentally prepare themselves.

Typical TMB conditions

Sometimes the high mountain passes, or “cols”, can be snowy right up until the end of June. Later on, in July and August, we often experience afternoon thunderstorms. Then, in September, as we start to see the return of snow, it’s again good to know how those high cols are doing. For more information about typical weather on the TMB, with a month-by-month guide, visit this page.

TMB 2023 condtions
Rainy trail up to Bovine

Weather Report, 2023

Early May Conditions

In early May 2023, the temperatures were very low. We got quite a lot of snow down to about 2000 metres, which means that the mountain passes, also called “cols”, were covered by a thick layer of snow. Conditions around these mountain passes were dangerous because the avalanche risks were high.

Middle – Late May Conditions

From the middle of May 2023, temperatures started to rise. The valley temperatures rose to about 22° Celsius, which is higher than normal. We’ve experienced cloudy afternoons, with scattered showers and a few small thunderstorms.

Early June Conditions

We’re seeing fairly typical weather, with chilly mornings (around 10°C) and warm afternoons (around 20°C). By around 15H, the weather has normally changed. We’ve seen some scattered showers and a few thunderstorms up high, which you should really try to avoid. This is good news for TMB 2023 conditions, because the snow on the cols has started to melt. That said, there’s still a lot of snow up high (more details below). To learn more about weather in the Alps, read this post. You can also see live footage by checking out the various webcam in the Chamonix valley (use this link).

TMB 2023 Trail Conditions, June

7th June 2023

There is consistent snow from the Plan des Dames up to Col du Bonhomme, but the track is good. The snow on the descent goes down to about 2,200 metres.

TMB 2023 Conditions, climb up to Col du Bonhomme
Snowy ascent up to Col du Bonhomme
TMB 2023 Conditions, climb up to Col du Bonhomme
Steep ascent towards the top of Col du Bonhomme
TMB 2023 conditions, traversing below Col du Bonhomme
Traversing below Col du Bonhomme

4th June 2023

The Bellevue cable car opened yesterday, so I went for a run up to the suspension bridge below the Bionnassay glacier. Thankfully, the bridge is installed and ready for TMB trekkers!

 

TMB 2023 Trail Conditions, May

In May, we checked out the conditions on the high mountain passes.

ITALY

30th May 2023

Today I ran up to Col Ferret from Chalet Val Ferret. I then headed and up to Rifugio Bonatti.

Col Ferret

As always, the trail after Chalet Val Ferret has significant snow patches, so I took the road to Rifugio Elena. After Rifugio Elena, the trail was under snow in some parts, but I managed to avoid these by making a few easy detours. Above 2300m, the way became more snowy and I could not avoid the snow patches. Someone else had been up before me, so there were tracks in the snow which I could follow. The snow was pretty firm, so I did not sink through the snow (no “post-holing”).

Hazard risks around Col Ferret

The tracks crossed the snow in places where a slip would be serious. Good route finding is essential, and it’s essential that you are competent crossing snow. On the final traverse to the col, the trail was under thick snow. It will take some time to melt. Falling here would be serious.

The final snowy approach to Col Ferret
TMB 2023 conditions
On the Swiss side there was significantly more snow and a very cold North wind blowing.
TMB 2023 conditions
The high point of Grand Col Ferret, Col de la Seigne in the distance

 

Rifugio Bonatti

The balcony trail between Courmayeur and Bonatti looked to be almost completely free of snow, with just a few patches in the gullies. At the refuge, the staff were around and preparing for the season. A few hikers were having a break outside.

Col du Bonhomme and Col de La Seigne

I spoke to two well-equipped French hikers who were halfway round their TMB. They said Col du Bonhomme and Col de La Seigne were snowy but passable. These hikers were experienced and well-equipped, with good quality hiking boots and an ice axe.

TMB 2023 conditions
The bridge across the stream before the refuge is not in place yet.

 

SWITZERLAND

31st May 2023

I ran up to Col de le Balme from Tré-le-Champ and looked down towards Trient. There was no snow on the col, and the trail was mostly snow-free. I didn’t go down to Trient, but I could see large patches of snow that would have to be crossed. At the col, I spoke with two hikers who’d come over from Trient. They managed without too much of a problem, but they are experienced hikers. Refuge du Col de Balme is not open yet, so the hikers I met on the col are camping out!

TMB 2023 condtions
Campers outside Refuge du Col de Balme

28th May 2023

We popped over to Trient to join our friends at the Refuge le Peuty for their opening weekend. The sun was shining, so we sat on their terrace to enjoy our burgers. At the refuge, there was a family with two young kids, who’d hiked to Trient via Bovine. They’d experienced no problems, except for getting wet feet at all the river crossings.

Not conditions related, but delicious….

 

We could see the Col de Balme is still very snow on the Swiss side, although quite a lot has melted in the last week.

 

FRANCE

31st May 2023

I ran up from Tré-le-Champ to Col de Balme, via Aiguillette des Posettes. The trail was mostly dry, but towards the top of the Posettes ridge, there were large patches of snow. The snow was mostly on the North and North-East sides, in the direction of Col de Balme. At the moment, doing this variant requires good route-finding and experience crossing snow. Falls on these snow patches would probably not be seriously dangerous, but you could get injured.

TMB 2023 conditions, coming from Tré-le-Champ.
Melting snow on the Posettes, coming from Tré-le-Champ.
TMB Condtions, SW side of the Posettes ridge, 31/05/23
Snow patch on the southwest side of the Posettes ridge, 31/05/23

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I was off the Aiguillettes des Posettes, the trail to Col de Balme was snow-free, apart from one small patch. At the col, there was no snow, but I could see large patches of snow a further down towards Trient.

TMB 2023 Conditions, Refuge du Col de Balme 31/05
Refuge du Col de Balme
TMB 2023 conditions, just below Col de Balme. 31/05
Ski tracks to the right of the trail, just below Col de Balme. 31/05/23

27th May 2023

By the looks of things, everything is melting quickly in the valley. Many people have been passing over the Col du Tricot and via  Les Houches.

The Bellevue cable car opens this weekend (3rd June 2023), so expect more photos soon!

I hiked up to Planpraz above Chamonix to paraglide on Sunday, and the trail between Flégère and Brévent was snow-free.
The Col du Brevent above was very snowy still!

TMB trail here in blue from Planpraz


TMB 2023 Conditions : Plants and Animals

The valley flowers are out, and most of the woodland flowers. We’ve seen lupins, orchids, geraniums, violets, and alpine clover. There are lots of strawberry flowers, and we tasted our first wild strawberry down in Le Fayet on the 28th! It won’t be long before they’re ready to eat Chamonix. Higher up, the blueberry bushes are developing their fruit, and the alpenrose is starting to bud. We’ve seen a few gentians higher up, which are in perfect condition!

The marmots are out of their burrows, and you can hear them calling. The chamois have lost their winter coat, and have been seen pretty low down in the valley. We’ve seen a few ibex, and we’ve heard buzzards, woodpeckers and cuckoos!

Marmot prints, TMB conditions 2023
Marmot prints in the snow, below Col de Balme.
TMB 2023 Conditions, 31/05
Gentian, Aiguillette des Posettes.
Chamois, just above Le Tour. 31:05:23
Chamois, just above Le Tour. 31/05/23

TMB 2023 Conditions : Summary

There’s still a fair bit of snow on the high mountain passes. These can be safe for experienced hikers with appropriate equipment, but we wouldn’t recommend doing the TMB in May. The warmer temperatures will melt the snow quickly, so we expect to see easier conditions in the next few weeks. If you’re doing the TMB in early June, there will be patches of snow and small snow crossings. Make sure to use good quality shoes, and we recommend using poles to help with your balance. There will be lots of valley flowers, and a few alpine flowers higher up.

TMB 2023 Conditions, crocus 31/05
Crocus around Col de Balme
TMB 2023 Conditions, blueberries 31/05
A budding blueberry, below Aiguillette des Posettes.
TMB 2023 Conditions, 31/05
Woodpeckers, above Tré-le-champ, 31/05/23

 

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by Grant and Joel

Grant and Joel are local guides, and they are the co-owners of Happy Tracks. They both live in the Chamonix valley year-round. You can find more information about Grant and Joel on the Our Guides Page.

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