A tour around the Tour du Mont Blanc, Day 4 - Refugio Elisabetta to Courmayeur
Today is a relatively easy day traversing on a high ridge with imposing views of the Mont Blanc Massif. The day finishes in the beautiful and historic Italian town of Courmayeur.
It takes around five to six hours for today's walk which is 15kms. There is a bit of ascent - 470m but mostly it is a day of high scenic traversing above the valley then a long descent of 1560m down to Dolonne.
From the rifugio, descend back to the main path and follow this down onto the valley floor. There is a road all the way but its possible to cut various corners down the steep section. Once on the flat, amble along the road whilst absorbing the magnificent surrounding scenery.
After around forty five minutes you will reach the north end of the glacial Lac Combal. Just before you cross the bridge at the outflow, the main TMB path starts to head uphill on the right.
Its about an hour of climbing to the ruins of l’Arp Vielle supérieur before a final short climb to the start of the traverse; then, it is an amazing viewpoint for whole of the southern face of the Mont Blanc range along the entire length of Val Veny and Val Ferret.
For the next two hours along the path to the Col Chécrouit you will see outstanding views of the Mont Blanc massif and its hard not to linger along the way and appreciate the beauty.
At the Col Chécrouit there is the Rifugio Maison Vieille (1956m) which is a great place to stop for refreshments before the descent to Courmayeur.
If you are following a slightly different itinerary then this is a really good place to spend a night. Great food and fantastic views across the valley as the sun goes down.
The main descent down to the charming village of Dolonne follows a series of footpaths and tracks down through the ski area, arriving in Dolonne after about 1 hour.
Dolonne is a good introduction to the local Italian architecture with narrow streets, beautiful stone buildings and great stone roofs!
From the main street the TMB path heads right just before a church and descends down to the river. This stretch is dominated by the soaring tower of the Aiguille du Géant which fills the view at the top of the valley.
You arrive in Courmayeur at the main Piazza which hosts the bus station and the tourist information.
Bad Weather Options
If it is really horrid weather then when you reach Lac Combal, carry on down the road to La Visaille (thirty minutes) and catch the public bus to Courmayeur.
It is great to have good weather for this section, well for all of it really, but there is nothing like high traverses for enjoyment in the mountains.
If you have any spare time it is well worth having a rest day in Courmayeur and taking the Skyway up to the glacier. Or just meandering around it's quaint narrow streets.