Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti: A Great Day in the Alps
I’ve been having a hard time deciding what my favourite day is on the Tour du Mont Blanc.
It’s a tossup between the fourth day from Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti and the eighth day from Col de la Forclaz to Argentiere.
The Courmayeur to Refugio Bonatti hike takes you up, steeply at times, to Rifugio Bertone, over about two hours. Along the way you get nice views of Courmayeur, 700 meters below; just before the rifugio, Mont Blanc and the Aiguille Noire come into view if it’s a clear day.
A view of the town of Courmayeur from the Tour du Mont Blanc
Mountain view on the way to Rifugio Bertone
Masses of wildflowers and bees on this section
A stop at Rifugio Bertone for refreshments and the view
Excellent signage along the Tour du Mont Blanc
After Rifugio Bertone, a good spot for refreshments, head left to contour around the Val Ferret flank of Mont de la Saxe. If you look back, you can see the Col de la Seigne, crossed one or two days earlier, depending on your itinerary. Ahead is a series of glaciers, mountains and rock walls.
The walking past Rifugio Bertone is wonderful. The grade is a treat – gradual for a change as it takes you across wildflower filled meadows and through larchwoods. Every step you take through here is one with breathtaking scenery. This is a day where you want the weather to cooperate.
Heading for the great wall of rock and ice called the Val Ferret
One of the glaciers along the Val Ferret flank
A view all the way back to the Col de la Seigne on the Italy-France border
Scenery in the vicinity of Rifugio Bonatti
Butterflies at a stream crossing
Rifugio Bonatti is reached after about 4½hours. It’s a private rifugio, clean and well designed. You can find private rooms (with shared bathrooms) and lots of dormitory spaces. They give you a token for a short but hot shower so bring a small towel as they aren’t provided. Dinner and breakfast are included in the price of 58 Euros per night – for the private room. The food is plentiful and good and wine and beer can be purchased. Really very civilized.
Rifugio Bonatti enjoys quite the view
A private room in the Rifugio Bonatti
Useful Information for the Courmayeur to Rifugio Bonatti section of the Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB)
- Total distance for the day is 12 kilometers (7.2 miles) for the main TMB. Variations can add 2-4 kilometers.(1.2-2.4 miles)
- Height gain is 860 meters (2820 feet)
- Refreshments available at the Rigufio Bertone or Bonatti but lots of options to purchase food in Courmayeur
- You can easily make reservations for Rifugio Bonatti. They require a cash payment.
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