Seven dramatic mountain passes

If you have already done the "Mont Blanc Highlights" holiday, our spectacular "Great Mountain Passes" itinerary enables you to complete the Tour du Mont Blanc Circuit.

On this exhilarating one week centre based trip from the comfort of our cosy alpine chalet you will will discover the dramatic mountain passes that link the Tour du Mont Blanc valleys. The list is impressive. 1. The Col de Balme (France -Switzerland), 2. the Grand Ferret Pass (Switzerland - Italy), 3. the Col du Bonhomme (France), 4. The Col de la Seigne (France - Italy) 5. The Fenetre Arpetre (Switzerland) 6. The Col Entre deux Saut (Italy) and 7. the Col de Sapin (Italy).


7 nights based in the Chalet Savoy (hot tub, sauna, wifi).
One night is spent in a refuge or hotel along the way.
Visiting France, Switzerland and Italy.
The "Great Mountain Passes" together with "Mont Blanc Highlights" cover the entire "Tour du Mont Blanc" circuit. This way you can complete the Tour du Mont Blanc on two separate one week holidays.
Cross eight spectacular mountain passes -
Five days of guided hiking led by International Mountain Leader.
Grade: strenuous. Small groups of maximum 7.
This holiday is operated by Snow Safari Ltd, specialist tour operator in the Alps since 1989


This holiday runs from Saturday to Saturday and will include:


One night will be spent away from the chalet. This is to be paid for locally and will cost between 60 and 80 Euros depending on type of accommodation chosen (shared dormitory or room). We will assist you making this one night booking.
Ski lift ride on Friday is also not included and will cost around 20 Euros.


SATURDAY: Start Chalet Savoy in Les Houches. (included transfer from Geneva Airport 1 1/4 hour drive)

SUNDAY:  Swiss Val Ferret - Grand Col Ferret.
We drive over the Montets and Forclaz passes to the the Swiss resort of Ferret (1705 metres) and climb to the Grand Col Ferret (2537 metres} from where we enjoy outstanding views of Italy's Ferret and Veni valleys as far as the Col de la Seigne which borders with France. There are also Great views of Mont Dolent the peak shared by three countries and the Grandes Jurasses. Then we cut back on a different route to explore the Swiss Ferret Valley with its picturesque farms and villages.(1 1/4 hours drive each way). More details?

MONDAY: Courmayeur commune - Col de la Seigne - Les Chapieux
Packing a few extra items for an overnight stay we drive through the the Mont Blanc Tunnel (deepest in the world) and turn into the Val Veni. We walk up a wide glacial valley surrounded by glaciers enjoying spectacualr views of the South face of Mont Blanc. We cross the Col de La Seigne (2516 metres) passing from Italy back into France and descend to the hamlet of Chapieux (1549 metres) where we overnight.
(35 mins drive to start of walk) More details?

TUESDAYLes Chapieux – Col du Bonhomme - Les Contamines
We climb in wild surroundings with fabulous Alpine Flowers and marmots, weasels and chamois to reach the northern slopes of the Col de Bonhomme actually crossing two passes of 2479 metres and 2329 metres and descending along the old Roman road with ancient bridge and dramatic water falls to Les Contamines (1167 metres
( 35 mins drive back to chalet) More details?

WEDNESDAY:  Free day.
Free day for optional walks or sightseeing. There are many good walks directly from the chalet - the route of the 'Tour du Pays du Mont Blanc' passes right through the garden of the chalet. Your leader will be able to advise of possible routes. Or you may choose to visit the busy Alpine resort of Chamonix, which is only 20 minutes away by bus or train and has numerous bars, restaurants and cafés. There are several téléférique excursions you can make from Chamonix, of which the most spectacular is the ascent to the Aiguille du Midi (3842 metres), which has 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. For those seeking some adrenaline, there is tandem paragliding, canyoning and rafting, plus many more supervised adventure sports.

THURSDAY: Ferret Valley - Col Entre deux Saut - Col de Sapin - Courmayeur.
From the Ferret Valley (1600 metres}, we hike to the quaint Italian resort of Courmayeur via two dramatic mountain passes. Passing high above the Bonatti refuge we cross "Entre deux Sauts" (2500 metres), descend 200 metres into the Armina Valley and then climb again to 2400 metres to cross the Sapin Pass. The descent to Courmayeur (1300 metres) is sp;ectacular. A well earned beer and gelato as we soak up some Italian atmosphere before the short drive (20 minutes) back to the Chalet Savoy. More details?

FRIDAY: Le Tour - Col de Balme - Fenetre d'Arpette - Champex.
A short drive to Le Tour (20 minutes) where we are whisked up to the Col de Balme (2192 metres) by gondel and chair lift. While admiring stunning views of the Glacier des Grand we descend to Chalet du Glacier (1583 metres) In good weather we take the trail adjacent to the Trient Glacier to cross the pass known as the Fenetre d'Arpette (2,665 metres) before descending steeply into the Arpette Valley (1,627metres) and down to Champex (1,486 metres). In poor weather we would take the lower trail, which swings left at the Chalet du Glacier to the the Col de Forclaz (1,526 metres) from where we can look down into the Rhone valley. The Swiss town of Martigny is in sight far below, as we follow the easier 'Bovine route' to Champex. When we take the more challenging Arpette route, those who wish can self guide themselves around the easier Bovine alternative. (return drive 1 1/4 hours) More details?

SATURDAY:  End or programme.  Included transfer to Geneva airport

Guest comments:

Barry (UK) Great Mountain Passes - 6th to 13th July 2013
“Superb routes, great place to stay....”
Adrian (UK) Great Mountain Passes - 6th to 13th July 2013
“Great routes, weather, company, hospitality etc. Will be back for more”