Beginning in Chamonix, France, we ride in a clockwise direction, passing through the Martigny Valley in Switzerland, to Courmayuer, Italy, and back to Chamonix. Along the way we enjoy breathtaking alpine scenery as we ride a mix of terrains from easy to technical single tracks and cruisy two path trails. We pass through flowering alpine pastures, glacial lakes, deep valleys and high altitude passes, all under the backdrop of the famous snowy peaks of the European alps and the centerpiece, Mont Blanc.
This mountain biking trip is for more experienced riders. Graded as challenging, it involves a combination of cruisy trails to technical singletracks (some very technical), to rocky and rooty trails with distances from 30 to 65km including ascents up to 1900m. Over the course of the 6 days of cycling you will climb between 7600 to 8100m and descend 8500m. The emphasis is on moderate riding with several challenging stages that will test you. The itinerary describes each days physical and technical challenges and provides a rating out of 5.
On arrival at Geneva airport, you will be met and transferred to Chamonix. Alternatively, if you are coming from somewhere else, please make your own way to Chamonix. Our accommodation for the night has a view of Mont Blanc (weather permitting) which helps to inspire us for our forthcoming adventure. There is time to unpack and prepare our bikes; also to take care of any last minute shopping requirements in the town of Chamonix.
We leave Chamonix to commence our ride in a clockwise direction around Mont Blanc. Passing through the valley of Chamonix to Argentiere and Le Tour, we will take the gondola to the top of the Col de Balme (2200m) and cross over the Swiss border. The view back across the Chamonix valley from Col de Balme is fantastic, with Mont Blanc as the centerpiece. Riding a superb single track descent we will arrive in the pretty Swiss village of Trient, with views up to the glacier of Trient. Overnight Trient
Ascent: 500m Descent: 1100m Ride distance: 30km
Physical difficulty: 2/5 Technical skills: 3/5
NOTE: there will be some sections during this trip where it is too steep to ride and it will be necessary to hike with your bike. These sections are not long (approx 10 - 15 mins at a time, depending on your fitness level) and are usually near the top of the passes. All descents are on single track.
We start today with a climb of Col de la Forclaz, from where the sweeping views over the Swiss Alps and the vineyards of the Martigny valley are breathtaking. From the Col we descend to Martigny through the vineyards then climb towards Val Ferret, skimming below glaciers and snowy summits. Our destination today is La Fouly, on the Swiss side of the Grand Col Ferret, which marks the Swiss/ Italian Border. Overnight La Fouly
Ascent: 1500m Descent: 1100m Distance : 45 km
Physical difficulty: 3/5 Technical skills: 2/5
This morning we climb the Grand Col Ferret (2500m) and cross into Italy. This is one of three major Passes on the Tour of Mont Blanc. We enjoy stunning scenery at the top of the Col, across Val Ferret and the Italian side of Mont Blanc (or rather Monte Bianco). We descend to Arnuva then, depending on weather conditions and fitness levels of the group, we climb on single track via La Lechere to arrive in the chic town of Courmayeur. The ice-cream here is delicious and a lovely treat after the day's exertion. Overnight Courmayeur.
Ascent: 1100m to 1700m Descent: 1300m to 2000m Ride distance: 45-55km
Physical difficulty: 3/5 Technical skills: 3/5
We begin gently today with a warm up on the road before we hit the bike trail to arrive at Lago Checroui, facing the Italian side of Mont Blanc. We follow a beautiful balcony trail giving us the chance to see famous summits such as "Noire de Peuterey", "La Blanche" and the Italian glacier Lago Combal (one of the largest glaciers of the Mont Blanc range). Climbing again to Col de la Seigne we cross into France again. The climb is mostly ride-able, however the end is quite steep and we may have to hike our bikes. The descent to Les Mottets, where we sleep tonight, is a fantastic, technical (in places) single track. The Refuge des Mottets is a quaint, rustic old farmhouse and dairy renovated to welcome trekkers and bikers and is a true alpine experience.
Ascent: 1500m Descent: 1000m Distance: 35 km
Physical difficulty: 4/5 Technical skills: 3/5
A road climb to Cormet de Roselend starts our day, then we descend to Lac de Roselend. We tackle a second long climb on a vehicle track to the Col de la Gittaz (2320m). The Col offers vast southerly views and stunning outlooks over the neighboring summits. We will then descend to Col du Joly on technical singletrack, followed by a very short climb and a great, long semi-technical downhill to the village of Les Contamines Montjoie. Be prepared for 900m of descent which is very technical in places. Overnight in Contamines Montjoie.
Ascent: 1900m Descent: 1500m Distance: 54km
Today is our last day of riding, but by no means the least. From Les Contamines Montjoie we will climb to Chalet de Miage, a summer altitude mountain village at the foot of the giant French glacier of Miage. The region is breathtakingly beautiful and we will feel dwarfed compared to the size of these massive glaciers. From Miage we ascend to Col de Voza above Les Houches and the valley of Chamonix. Mont Blanc is again on our right side. A final technical downhill takes us to Chamonix to complete this challenging but incredibly picturesque circuit of Mont Blanc. We dismantle and pack our bikes this evening before celebrating our achievements (cycling 235 to 250km in 6 days with up to just over 8km of vertical ascent!). Overnight Chamonix
Ascent: 1000m Descent: 1200m Distance: 40 km
Physical difficulty: 3/5 Technical skills: 3/5
Today our trip concludes with a transfer to the Geneva airport. Please make sure to book a late afternoon or evening flight, due to the transfer time to Geneva airport from Zermatt.
Per Person, Twin Share