Tour du Mont Blanc

TMB Day 5: Chalet Val Ferret to La Fouly

Starting out from Chalet Val Ferret, we knew it was going to be a tough day. After wrapping up early on day 4 due to inclement weather, we had to push on even though things outside had yet to improve. Worse yet, the storm was not likely to subside for at least a week. Today’s hike would take us over Grand Col Ferret, from Italy into Switzerland. Walking in rain is bad, walking in mud is even worse, but for some reason I’ve never minded the snow and ice. This turned out to be a good thing as we received a great deal of both. The trail starts out easy enough and climbs slowly though the valley, crossing over a few streams. After a short climb, we came upon Rifugio Elena. At this point the snow had started to fall, and the temperatures followed suit. We met another group who was heading up at the same time as us, and we decided to make our way up together to avoid any confusion if the weather got worse. It was a good call, because just as we started up the visibility started to diminish.


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Rained On
Rained On
Water Bridge
Water Bridge
Rifugio Elena
Rifugio Elena

There were a few groups that passed us walking in the opposite direction who looked everything but warm. A few locals scampered by on trail runs clad in thigh high shorts. With this much foot traffic, the trail was very easy to follow, and fortunately for us, the snow didn’t get any heavier. There was maybe 6 inches underfoot, but underneath that was mud and slush. The footing was great, but without the snow it would have been much worse. I wish we could have enjoyed better views once we reached Grand Col Ferret, it would have been special to stand in Italy, and look into France…but it was not to be.


The walk downhill after the Col was fairly easy and quite pleasant. The weather had stabilized quite nicely, and the softly falling snow was a special summer treat for us coming from Southern California. We reached La Peule and dusted ourselves off before making our way to La Fouly. The rest of the trail followed a road which usually isn’t so nice, but the number of cows and clanging cowbells make the last few miles a relaxing end to the day.

La Peule
La Peule
Cows
Cows
Lazy Day
Lazy Day

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I’m Drew, creator of Trail to Peak. Trail to Peak brings content to life on the web through breath-taking photography and captivating video. I launched Trail to Peak in 2014 with a goal to inspire readers to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. I have traveled to 19 countries, walked Camino de Santiago, hiked the John Muir Trail, trekked through the Andes of Peru, and am constantly seeking new adventures in my home state of California. Joining me on my weekly adventures is my partner, Julia, our son, Owen, and our two goldendoodles, Isla and Lilly.

3 comments on “TMB Day 5: Chalet Val Ferret to La Fouly

  1. Hey,

    I’d like to try out a pair of brooks cascadia trail runners next week (Sept. 7th or so) for hiking purposes on the tmb, but I’m afraid from wet/cold feet (especially in sept. cold)

    Would you recommend these, or should I revert to my old hiking boots..

    fyi, are reguler bridgedale/icebreaker socks enough for trail runners ? 3 pairs enough for the tmb ?

    • Ido,

      Thanks for the comment. My girlfriend wore a pair of Brooks Cascadia on the TMB this year and they held up just fine. We had 7 days of rain, so there was a ton of mud and wet trails, but her shoes held up fine. I think it depends on what your preferences are. I’ve never worn boots, even over 5000 meters in Peru, so my opinion may be a bit biased if you are a fan of boots. The trail is not very technical on TMB which is another reason I prefer trail runners. I like to move fast and if they do get wet, they dry very quickly. As for socks, I had three pair of Drymax.

      Best, Drew

      • I’m happy to hear the Cascadia’s held fine. But again, my biggest concern is the combination of cold and wet feet. I expect temperature to fall to around 4 degrees Celsius at 2000m and above (not mentioning crossing some patches of snow?)

        Did you encounter similar conditions ? Or should I look for a gortex shoe which would keep some warmth inside.
        Did you wear any gaiters or gortex socks ?

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