Fly to Geneva; transfer to Chalet Chantel, ten minutes walk from the centre of Chamonix. Those making their own way to Chalet Chantel should aim to arrive late morning to early afternoon for introductions. There is plenty of time to walk into Chamonix in the afternoon before a pre-dinner briefing from the walking leader.
From the Chalet we drive to Le Buet (1330m - 4350ft). Climbing to (2000m - 6500ft), we are rewarded with a stunning balcony walk as we flank the Aiguilette des Possettes, passing the Col de Possettes. The views of the Mont Blanc range and its glaciers are exceptional. Climbing to Les Bonhommes in Switzerland (2140m - 7020ft) we enjoy sweeping views of the Swiss Alps and the Emosson Dam. Then via France, crossing the source of the River Arve that flows through Chamonix, we reach the Col de Balme (2191m - 7190ft) and step into Switzerland to admire the panorama across the Rhone Valley. We descend to meet the valley and meet our transport back to the Chalet.
7 hours walking time including breaks and lunch etc. 15km - 9 miles, 920m - 3017ft up, 800m - 2625ft down
A spectacular walk from (1370m - 4450ft) up to the Bellachat refuge on the classic TMB and GR5 routes. Crossing the beautiful Carlaveyron Natural Reserve we summit the Aiguillette des Houches (2285m - 7500ft) for one of the finest views in the Alps - looking directly across the Chamonix Valley to the Mont Blanc summit. Passing through alpine meadows we descend by a different route to La Flatiere (1370m - 4500ft).
7 hours walking, 11km - 7 miles, 900m - 2950ft up, 930m - 3050ft down
A short transfer takes us through picturesque hamlets and quaint Savoy farm houses to Maison Neuve our start point above the village of Les Houches. From here we begin our climb to the Col de Voza (1653m - 5360ft) from where we enjoy sweeping views of the Chamonix Valley and Aravis mountains. Exploring the Bionnassay Valley, dominated by the spectacular Aiguille de Bionnassay and its glacier, we continue via the little village of Champel towards Les Contamines commune (1015m - 3330ft).
7 hours walking, 16km - 10miles, 700m - 2295ft up, 750m - 2460ft down
Free day for optional walks or sightseeing. Your leader will be able to advise you of possible routes. Or you may choose to visit the bustling Alpine resort town of Chamonix, which is only 20 minutes' walk away and has numerous shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. There are several téléférique excursions you can make from Chamonix, of which the most spectacular is the ascent to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m - 12600ft), offering fantastic views of Mont Blanc and surrounding peaks. It should also be possible to take the mountain train up to Montenvers for close up views of the glacier, Mer de Glace. Another popular option is to take a trip to nearby Annecy, the 'Venice of the Alps'.
We drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy for a chance to soak up some Italian atmosphere! From Lavachey (1640m - 5380ft) we climb up to the Bonatti refuge. At just over (2000m - 6560ft), the view from here is one of the finest on the tour. Mont Blanc itself, the towering rocky peak of Grandes Jorasses and the glaciers that crowd the northern flank of Val Ferret are there to be admired. Following a dramatic traversing path we contour high above the valley passing by the Bertone refuge before descending into Courmayeur, the perfect spot for a well-deserved Italian ice-cream.
7 hours walking, 13km - 8 miles, 600m - 1968ft up, 850m - 2790ft down
We drive to Col des Montets and then climb to the beautiful Lac Blanc, the highest point of the week (2352m - 7715ft), a spectacular setting with dramatic, panoramic vistas. If we are lucky we will be able to see Ibex. We then descend and continue to La Flégère, from where we take a téléférique back down to the valley floor to join our transport.
If the Flégère lift is closed, we will proceed as normal to the beautiful White Lake (Lac Blanc) and then we will loop round to the Grand Balcon Sud and descend on a different route to the start point. This will make a total climb of 890m - 2920ft and descent of 950m - 3115ft but the diversion will actually enhance the walk and make the extra effort well worthwhile. We only anticipate this happening on the spring and autumn departures.
7 hours walking, 8km - 5 miles, 890m - 2920ft up, 500m - 1640ft down
Transfer to Geneva; fly to London.