Fast and Light

There are many ways of approaching the TMB in terms of itinerary.  Some people choose to camp and be self-supporting, others like to allow mules to carry all their equipment.  Some take 2 weeks to complete their adventure and at the other extreme,  the current record for running the route is 20 hours 36 minutes 43 seconds!At Alpine Footprints we won’t be attempting anything quite that amazing but we want to offer you the opportunity of completing the circuit in 6 days and therefore arranging it within a one week holiday and a busy life-style. However, this is only possible by having long days out on the hill and being reasonably ruthless in limiting the kit we carry with us. This is definitely NOT the option for the faint-hearted and anyone booking on to this itinerary needs to be very ‘hill-fit’ and prepared to forgo some of the luxuries afforded by the other schedules which we offer!

Itinerary Overview

Please be aware that this is an outline itinerary and it may vary according to weather conditions and group fitness.

  • Day 1 : Arrival in Chamonix – evening briefing with your guide
  • Day 2 : Chamonix to Refuge de la Balme
  • Day 3 : Refuge de la Balme to Refuge Elisabetta Soldini
  • Day 4 : Refuge Elisabetta to Refuge Bonatti
  • Day 5 : Refuge Bonatti to Champex
  • Day 6 : Champex to Vallorcine
  • Day 7 : Vallorcine to Chamonix
  • Day 8 : Depart Chamonix

See the detailed Footprints Fast and Light Itinerary

Am I fit enough?

If you are the kind of person who …..
…..thinks going out for a seven hour hill walk is ‘fun’ and would not be sore and stiff the day after….and would happily do it again the next day……
….regularly goes off-road running for an hour or more….
….enters events like the OMM, the LAMM etc
….enters LDWA events
then you are probably going to enjoy the challenge of doing the TMB this way.
We can’t emphasise enough that to attempt this time-frame will not be possible or enjoyable for many people. If in doubt, please do ask us.This schedule still allows us to enjoy the stunning  scenery and savour the mountains we are surrounded by….but we won’t be taking long lunch stops and having any rest days!In order to achieve our objective, we will be maximising the distance travelled each day and making use of the amazing network of Alpine  refuges that exist throughout this region.
If you have never stayed in an Alpine hut before, this may be the start of a whole new adventure! The terms ‘refuge’ and ‘hut’ do little to create an image of what you can expect from some of our overnight accommodation.
Refuges are almost always situated in remote and spectacular places and can be the most wonderful location from which to view the sun setting or the ibex feeding at dusk.  They vary enormously in size, from those which may sleep only 9, to those which can accommodate well over 100.
Refuges have a guardian who looks after the hut and  who will have a team of helpers. Guardians take their role seriously and will expect us to adhere to the ‘hut rules’. Your guide will explain these to you. The guardian will cook dinner and provide breakfast for us, as well as supply our packed lunch for the following day.
The refuges we will stay at will all have showering facilities. Sleeping accommodation will be in shared, mixed sex, dormitory style rooms. These will have duvets and pillows, but please do bring a sheet liner for your own use.


On this version of our TMB itinerary, we will be staying in a mix of spectacularly located mountain refuges and small, friendly local hotels. All the refuges will have showers available, but we will be sleeping in dormitory-style bedrooms… take ear plugs just in case!


We will have overnight bags brought to us on night 4 in Champex, where we can enjoy a complete change of clothes. For the remaining nights, we need to carry all that we need, packing very lightly, but safely.

Kit List

Unlike our other itineraries, we will be self-supporting for several of the days on this tour as there is no vehicular access to the refuges. The kit list is therefore somewhat different to other itineraries and necessitates carrying as little as possible!

See the full Footprints Fast and Light Itinerary