In hindsight I think Day 2 ranks as one of the hardest days on the Tour du Mont Blanc. Partly it’s because you’re still getting used to long days of physical effort – which let’s face it, are hard to train for in a gym. (Case in point – My daughter ran into a friend from her Everest trek – who by the third day out had lost 8 toenails because of the steep descents.)
Les Contamines-Les Chapieux
The morning starts out gently from Les Contamines but once past the gorge the grade increases and stays constant until you reach the Col du Bonhomme. There are a couple of refugios on the way to the Col du Bonhomme – and they both provide good views and coffee if you need an excuse to stop.
Wildflowers showed up in abundance the higher you climbed. Campanula, alpine ladies mantle, Joe pye weed looking flowers and a host of ones whose names I didn’t know made the walking even more beautiful.
The Col du Bonhomme Â was reached after about 3½ hours of walking. It was another hour to reach the Col de la Croix – the highest point of the day.
The Refugio du Bonhomme was a hopping spot with lunchtime and overnight visitors in abundance. Meals are available as are drinks including beer and wine. We hadn’t brought much in the way of snacks so after close to 5 hours of hiking we were starved. Spaghetti carbonara was our lunch of choice – especially knowing we still had several more hours of steep hiking ahead of us to reach Les Chapieux.
The descent is steep and careful attention to your footing is important. I think it’s much harder going down than up.
The path ends right in front of the Auberge de la Nova – the only accommodation choice unless you plan to camp.
Useful information for Day 2 on the Tour du Mont Blanc
- Total distance is 18 kilometres (11 miles)
- Height gain – 1316 metres (4318 feet)
- Height loss – 929 metres (3048 feet)
- Time needed – 7 to 8 hours
- Refreshments available at Refugio Nant Borrant, Refugio de la Balme, Refugio de la Croix and at Auberge de la Nova
- Auberge de la Nova has 35 dormitory spaces and 35 beds. Rooms are basic and bathroom/shower facilities are shared. Breakfast and dinner are included in the price of 46 Euros per person for a private room.
- Les Houches to Les Contamines on the Tour du Mont Blanc (Day 1)
- Day 3 on the Tour du Mont Blanc: Don’t Make My Mistake
- A Saturday on the Tour du Mont Blanc (mostly inspiring pictures from our last day)