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When is the Best Time? (TMB).

/7
Créé par Grant and Joel

When is the Best Time to do the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)?

Use this free personality quiz to find out when would be the best time for you to do the TMB.

1 / 7

How likely is it that you'll want to shorten some days on the TMB?

2 / 7

Which would you prefer, autumn colours or snowy mountains?

3 / 7

Which of these best describes you?

4 / 7

Would you like to try lots of different local dishes?

5 / 7

Which of these best describes you?

6 / 7

Which of these best describes you?

7 / 7

How would you feel if you didn't see many alpine flowers?

Share this Quiz!

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When can I start the TMB?

The “classic” Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) crosses several high mountain passes. In winter, these passes are prone to avalanche.

Because of this, the TMB Classic Route can only be done in the summer. Exactly when you can start will depend on how much snow fell the previous winter, and how warm the months of April and May were.

In most years, you can start the TMB in early June. But when is the best time to do the TMB?

Which is the best TMB month?

We can’t answer this question for you, because it’s highly subjective. The best time for you will be different for someone else. It will depend on what you want from the TMB, and your own personal preferences.

What we can do, though, is help you make your decision. Below, we’ve described each TMB month, and we’ve detailed their various “pros” and “cons”. We’ve also created the free online quiz (at the top of this page) to help you reach a decision.

June

“Pros” :

  • Quiet trails, towns and refuges
  • Cool temperatures and fewer thunderstorms
  • Lots of subalpine flowers in the valleys and forests

“Cons” :

  • The cablecars might not be running
  • Some mountain refuges are not open
  • Not many high alpine flowers

Snowy views from TrientIn June, you can expect quiet trails and cool temperatures. School holidays don’t start until mid-July, so by coming in June, you’ll beat the crowds. The mountain passes are often snowy, but a bit of snow is not hazardous; it just adds an element of adventure! If you prefer cooler temperatures and snowy views, June is the best time for you.

In early June, some refuges will be closed. This means you’ll have fewer opportunities to try the various cakes, tarts and savoury specialties. But perhaps this doesn’t sound so bad to you? Rest assured : the main refuges will be open, so you’ll still sleep on the mountain.

If you lack fitness, doing the TMB in early June is more complicated. Some cablecars will not be running, so it’s more difficult to shorten the days. If you have a high level of fitness, these closures will not affect you.

July

“Pros” :

      • Less snow on the mountain passes
      • All the cablecars and mountain refuges are running
      • Warm temperatures

“Cons” :

      •  Some risk of afternoon showers and thunderstorms
      •  Fewer subalpine flowers in the valleys and forests
      • The trails and towns are starting to get busy

 

Val Ferret
The TMB trail in July

By mid-July, the valley temperatures start to hit 25°c. All the cablecars will be running, so if you need to, you can shorten some days. All the TMB refuges will be open, so you can try the various cakes, tarts, and savoury specialities. The mountain passes will be clear, with maybe a few patches of snow here and there. If you prefer warm temperatures, July is the best time for you.

By mid-July, we start to see more afternoon showers and thunderstorms. With the correct equipment, these storms are not a problem, and they often pass quickly.

 

By late July, the trails and towns become busy. In the refuges, you’ll meet lots of friendly, like-minded people, all with the same passion for trekking.

August

As we enter August, the valley temperatures can exceed 30°c. All the cablecars will be running, so if you need to, you can shorten some days. All the TMB refuges will be open, so you can try the full variety of cakes, tarts, and savoury specialities. The mountain passes will normally be snow-free.

“Pros” :

      • All the refuges and cablecars are running
      • Lots of cultural events in the towns, such as the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB)
      • Lots of high alpine flowers

“Cons” :

      • Risk of afternoon showers and thunderstorms
      • The trails and towns are busy
      • The valley temperatures are high

August TMB trailThe towns are vibrant in August and fun to explore. Buskers fill the streets with music, and markets fill the centres with colour. During the last week of August, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) takes place. This is the most famous ultra trail race in the world! Around 2,300 athletes gather behind the Chamonix start-line, with atmospheric music playing and supporters lining the streets. The race lasts for 46.5 hours, and follows the TMB Classic route. Trekking the TMB while the UTMB is taking place is awe-inspiring! By cheering on the athletes, you’ll join the wonderful community of UTMB supporters. If you prefer hot temperatures and vibrant towns, August is the best time for you.

By mid-late August, the TMB trails are busy. There are higher risks of afternoon thunderstorms and showers. It’s always important to bring a good quality waterproof, but especially in August!

September

“Pros” :

      • Quiet trails, towns and refuges
      • Cool temperatures and fewer thunderstorms
      • Beautiful autumn colours

“Cons” :

      • The cablecars might not be running
      • Some mountain refuges are not open
      • Not as many flowers

Trient in autumnThe valley temperatures drop in September, and the larch trees turn a beautiful golden-orange. There are fewer thunderstorms, and September is often the driest month.

By mid-September, some lifts will no longer be running. This means that if you lack fitness, doing the TMB in mid-late September could be more complicated, because it’s more difficult to shorten the days. If you have a high level of fitness, these closures will not affect you.

Some refuges start to close by mid-September, so you’ll have fewer opportunities to try the various cakes, tarts and savoury specialties. But rest assured : the main refuges will be open, so you can still sleep on the mountain, and try the majority of local dishes. If you prefer autumn colours and cooler temperatures, September is the best time for you.

What if I don’t have a choice?

But what if you don’t have the luxury of choosing the perfect month? Perhaps you can only come in June, but you’re worried about the snow. Perhaps you have to come in late-September, but you lack fitness.

The solution is to let your guide know, and to be prepared.

All our guides are professional and compassionate. They know what it feels like, and they want to help. If the idea of walking on snow worries you, your guide can stay right by your side. If you struggle with the heat or with fitness, it’s okay to walk slowly. On some days, you can use public transport to miss or shorten a day.

That said, on some days it’s impossible to use public transport. Because of this, you do need a basic level of fitness.

By our definition, this “basic level” is the ability to :

      • walk 15 kilometres (10 miles) in a single day
      • with 1000 metres of climbing
      • carrying a full rucksack

Test yourself by finding a local hike with these statistics. If you find the hike really challenging, then you should do some training. A basic level of fitness can be achieved after just a few months of regular hiking. If you need advice about how to train for the TMB, send us an email!

In Summary…

The “perfect” TMB month does not exist! The best time for you will depend on your own preferences, and you might have to compromise. For example, perhaps you’d like to beat the crowds, but you’d also like to trek in warmer temperatures. In this case, you’d have to decide which of these is more important.

If you don’t have a choice of month, don’t worry! Every month has its own unique positives.

If you lack fitness, give yourself time to train. A “basic level” of fitness is attainable, and you can test yourself regularly.

For more information about specific TMB weather conditions, read this blog.

Still can’t decide when would be the best time for you? Use this handy TMB quiz to find your answer….

/7
Créé par Grant and Joel

When is the Best Time to do the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)?

Use this free personality quiz to find out when would be the best time for you to do the TMB.

1 / 7

Which of these best describes you?

2 / 7

Would you like to try lots of different local dishes?

3 / 7

Which of these best describes you?

4 / 7

How would you feel if you didn't see many alpine flowers?

5 / 7

Which of these best describes you?

6 / 7

How likely is it that you'll want to shorten some days on the TMB?

7 / 7

Which would you prefer, autumn colours or snowy mountains?

Share this Quiz!

Facebook
0%

 

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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