TMB Day 8: Trient to Argentiere

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We had the highest of hopes going into this, but the weather just refused to cooperate. The rain had been falling for days, and according to the 7 day forecast, had no plans of stopping. The standard TMB trekking guide had us listed at two additional days, going north of Chamonix and descending south into Les Houches for the final leg. Most walkers had already called it quits and were taking buses from stage to stage. For whatever reason, we refused to quit, and ignoring the weather report for the day, made our way up to Col de Balme.

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It probably wasn’t the best decision we’ve ever made, as the rain fell harder and colder than it had on any previous day. The uphill was a swirling mist of misery, but paled in comparison to the downhill portion. From Col de Balme, we decided to take the safer alternative route to Le Tour instead of the higher altitude route to Aig des Posettes. The trail was a slip-n-slide. The mud was more water than dirt, and a foot deep in most places. The ground had been whipped to mush by hikers moving day after day in falling rain. If I closed my eyes, I probably could have envisioned I was on a sky vacation, but unfortunately, it was only my hiking shoes sliding over the never ending see of mush that sat before me.

It took us a considerable amount of time, but we finally made it to Le Tour and then Argentiere. It was here we decided to pull the plug on the other alternative stages and make our way to Chamonix to finish. The weather was just too miserable, we hadn’t seen a mountain in days, and with a forecast of more rain, it was the prudent thing to do. Fortunately, upon our arrival in Argentiere, the sun broke through for an hour or so, and a few mountain peaks showed their faces. It didn’t last long, but it was enough of a goodbye to leave this trek with a positive outlook.

Regional Food Items
Regional Food Items
Chamonix Church
Argentiere Church

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TMB Day 7: Champex to Trient

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11 thoughts on “TMB Day 8: Trient to Argentiere”

  1. Hi Drew – I’m in the final stages of planning a TMB walk, and have found your blog really helpful. My impression from the blog is that there are lots of accommodation options, and that it is not necessary to book 2-3 weeks in advance (i.e. you can be reasonably flexible and make decisions as you hike, or 24-48 hours in advance – even in July). Is that correct? It also appears that there are a few bus options – so you can skip a leg if you need to catch up a day etc? Would be interested in your thoughts. Thank you!

    • We walked early in the season (early July) and in poor weather which contributed to empty accommodations. I’m not sure how things would be in nice weather later in July. I think booking your first 1-3 nights would be good, and then seeing how things look from there. It also depends on where you plan on stopping, as some areas have more accommodations than others. We didn’t take any buses or transport, so I can’t really comment on that one.

  2. Hi, Drew. Thank you for writing all of this. How long did it take you to hike from Trient to Chamonix? That is actually what I am planning to do and want to know if it is ridiculous or not. Any info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

      • Thanks for the quick response, Drew! I think I misunderstood, I thought you hiked from Trient to Chamonix in one day, which is what I was thinking about doing. So Trient to Argentiere isn’t too bad, but Trient all the way to Chamonix would be kinda nuts, right?

  3. Hi Drew- my daughter and I are hiking TMB starting June 15,2019. Do you recommend bringing an ice axe for that time of year? Thanks

    • No way I can say. You’ll have to see how the weather is in June. Have you used an ice axe before? If you haven’t, I would highly suggest taking a self arrest course. Without the skills to use an ice axe, they’re useless.

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