June 21, 2022: Chamonix. A few years ago, my indominable friend Kevin hiked the entire Tour du Mont Blanc, all 105 miles. Inspired but less ambitious, we chose the modest Lac Blanc section.
“So lovely was the loneliness of a wild lake.”
― Edgar Allan Poe
Tour du Mont Blanc
Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is one of the most iconic long-distance treks in the world. Hikers traverse 3 countries, over 100 miles, and about 33,000 feet in accumulated elevation gain. Most sleep in hotels or mountain huts along the way, taking 7-12 days. Kevin’s tale of the beauty of the mountains made this a “must do” for The French Trip. He does some challenging adventure nearly year. This year’s is the toughest yet, and he continues to inspire (you got this, Kevin!).
We weren’t quite as ambitious in our Mont Blanc plan, and so tackled only the Lac Blanc (White Lake) section. And we used La Flégère and l’Index chair lifts to get up to the starting point at 8,500 feet!
l’Index to Lac Blanc
The Lac Blanc hike snakes high above the tree line on the Grand Balcon Sud (Big South Balcony), affording tremendous views. Across the Chamonix valley, the needle-like peaks of the Mont Blanc massive seem to rake the clouds. We could see the Mer de Glace clearly, reaching down from the peaks.
Pure snow melt seep down through boulder fields, feeding Lac Blanc and lending a blue mineral hue. The water was ice cold, even in mid-June. Like many others that scrambled up to the lake, we enjoyed a small picnic to contemplate lake and mountain.
Leaving the lake, we took a different route and hiked down through mountain wildflowers until we reached La Flégère again and a well deserved beverage at end of day.