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Tour Du Mont Blanc: A Women's Trekking Adventure

Last week, I had the incredible opportunity to join a women's adventure trekking trip on the Tour du Mont Blanc. The last time I did an epic hike like this was 20 years ago in Nepal, and it is still one of the most memorable trips of my life. I have been longing for an opportunity like this ever since, but time gets away from you quickly when you are working, raising a family, and caring for aging parents. My husband and I would love to do a trek like this together, but caregiving still keeps us from being able to leave home together for more than a night or two. Since traveling together is just not in the cards right now, we decided to do a few solo adventures this year.

For my adventure, I opted to go with a women’s only group. I create retreats specifically for women because I love supporting and empowering women, but also because when a group of women get together, we inspire one another and have a hell of a lot of fun. For this trip, I was lucky to find WHOA Travel, a women-owned and operated travel adventure company that shares the Ascend ethos of inclusivity and sustainability.

Most people plan a trip like this six months to a year ahead, but I had a window of opportunity pop up and I took it...with only six weeks to train. Thankfully, my local hiking group was kind enough to bump up our mileage so that I was trained and ready. This iconic trek, known for its breathtaking scenery and challenging routes, spans approximately 170 kilometers (105 miles) and circles the Mont Blanc massif, crossing through France, Italy, and Switzerland. It normally takes 10-12 days, but our group only had 7 days, so we covered about 17 km (10-11 miles) per day by foot and bypassed a few of the routes by van. It was an unforgettable experience, filled with camaraderie, empowerment, and awe-inspiring moments.

Day 1: Arrival and Introduction

Our journey began in the picturesque town of Chamonix, France. Our timing was impeccable as shortly after our arrival the Olympic torch was carried into town—so cool! We were then greeted by our all-female team of guides and fellow trekkers. The energy was palpable as we introduced ourselves, each woman bringing her unique story and motivation for joining the trek. Some were seasoned hikers, while others were embarking on their first major trekking adventure, with ages ranging from 32 to 66! Despite our diverse ages and backgrounds, we were united by a shared sense of adventure and a desire to challenge ourselves.

Day 2: Hitting the Trails

With our backpacks loaded and spirits high, we set out on the first leg of our journey. We started by taking a gondola up to the top of Les Houches. The trail led us down through lush alpine meadows, pastures of sheep and cows, dense forests, and quaint mountain villages. This day was a knee-buster, but the views were nothing short of spectacular, with Mont Blanc's snow-capped peaks serving as an awe-inspiring backdrop. As we hiked, conversations flowed easily, and bonds began to form. There was something incredibly empowering about trekking alongside such a diverse and determined group of women.

Day 3-4: Conquering Challenges Together

The next couple of days presented some of the trek's most challenging sections. Steep ascents, rocky paths, and high-altitude passes tested our endurance and resolve. Yet, with every step, we supported and encouraged one another. The shared struggles and triumphs brought us closer, and the sense of achievement we felt upon reaching each summit was immensely rewarding.

One of the highlights was crossing the Col de la Seigne, the border between France and Italy. We wore crampons over our boots to more safely traverse the snow-covered pass, but at one point it was so steep that we all just sat down and slid down the snow (glissading)! I wouldn’t normally recommend this, but our guides knew the mountain and the spots where this was a safe option, and my knees were so grateful! The sense of accomplishment and the stunning panoramic views were worth every ounce of effort. We also enjoyed our first sightings of ibex and marmots. After icing our knees and coating ourselves in tiger balm, we celebrated with Italian pizza and tiramisu in the beautiful town of Courmayeur.

Day 5: Embracing the Beauty of Switzerland

As we traversed the high mountain passes from Italy to Switzerland, the landscape transformed. Rolling green pastures, pristine lakes, cows, and charming Swiss chalets dotted the scenery. The tranquility of the surroundings provided a perfect backdrop for reflection and connection. At the end of the day, a couple of our more daring trekkers took the opportunity for a cold dip in the alpine lake of Champex. I took a long, hot bath instead!

Day 6: Returning to France

This was our last big day of hiking with one final mountain pass and our return into France. We were treated to another unexpected surprise with trail runners from the Chamonix marathon passing us by. On this day, it was the most epic and grueling race, a 90km (56 miles)! We cheered on the runners in English and, we later discovered, quite nonsensical chants that Google mistakenly told us were French. We brought them big smiles anyway. 

Day 7: Blown Away in Chamonix

Our final day on the trail was bittersweet. The physical demands of the trek were behind us, but the end of our adventure was in sight. The weather had taken a turn, so we altered our route to trek above the town of Chamonix to the Mer de Glace glacier and then back down in a historic train that has been operating since 1909. We savored the last moments of our journey, and as we descended into the town, we were greeted by the same breathtaking views that had welcomed us at the start.

 Reflection and Gratitude

The Tour du Mont Blanc trek was more than just a physical challenge; it was a journey of self-discovery and connection. Trekking with a group of women who supported and uplifted one another was an empowering experience that left a lasting impact. We returned home with a renewed sense of strength, new friendships, and unforgettable memories.

If you're considering an adventure trekking trip, I highly recommend the WHOA Travel Tour du Mont Blanc. It's a journey that challenges you physically and enriches you emotionally, especially when shared with a group of inspiring women. Here's to many more adventures and the incredible bonds formed along the way!

I have no financial disclosures or relationship with WHOA Travel.


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