During your stay around Mont Blanc, one of your goals will probably be to be closer to nature, to make a deeper contact with the elements and to live a unique adventure like the old days climbers, when refuges were not yet welcoming hikers.
We got a good news for you: Bivouacking is the perfect answer to this!
While remaining careful with the weather condition and temperature, and cautiously preparing your equipment, your bivouac hike may become your most amazing adventure.
In this article we will explain what is a mountain bivouac, what are the main benefits of this hiking formula, and how you can make your hike and nights the best as possible!
The word “bivouac” refers to a rough camp allowing hikers and climbers to spend the night in the wild. Bivouac is often practiced in wild area without any other housing possibility, or for leisure activity as hiking.
There are several bivouac types (with or without tarp (small shelter), under a tent, in hammock, and even under a snow shelter). On the Tour du Mont Blanc, the most common bivouac type you will see and practice is to sleep under a tent, because it is the most easy to set in place on the route.
While doing a bivouac trip around Mont Blanc, the weight of your backpack will be the crux of the matter, as it will usually be a bit heavier than in a classic tour in dorms. You will have to carry your equipment (nigth equipment, meals, snacks…), but you can also choose to hike luggage free with a carrying option.
You may think your comfort will be lessen by the nights outside, however, everything will depend on the quality of your equipment (mattress, tent, sleeping bag…). We advise you to test the equipment in store before you go, if possible, to avoid any bad surprise.
An other thing you will have to consider, is that on several places around Mont Blanc camping or bivouacking is limited. In Italy you can’t camp under an altitude of 2500m, and in Swiss, bivouacking is forbidden. Take advice before leaving about the authorised places to camp, or choose to hike with a guide.
The main advantage of bivouacking when hiking around Mont Blanc, is that you will be at the closest of the mountain wild. You will sleep under a sky of stars, in the cosiness of your sleeping bag, with surrounding sweet nature sounds.
Even under a slight rain, you can let yourself be lulled by the tiny drops on the tent, and the light breath of wind. A marmot may disturb your sleep with its tiny feet sounds, but you will potentially see it in the morning, only a few feet away from you, and you will instantly forgive the fuss.
A bivouac trip is an adventure, a unique experience, that will take you completely in the universe of the mountain.
Beyond the adventure and amazement, a bivouac also have another advantage to consider : its price. As you will not have to pay for dorms, the average price of your trip will be lower than a classic Tour du Mont Blanc. You can more easily enjoy meals in refuges or restaurant along the way, without thinking about the expense!
A mountain bivouac is not an harmless experience and needs you to consider several attention points.
Firstly, you will have to prepare your stages well in advance and as we already said, inquire about where you can camp (in addition to checking the forbidden and limited places), so you don’t get surprised at the last minute, after a long, tiring, day of walking to install your camp.
The second vigilance point is to check the weather. In the mountains, storms can happen really quickly, and your equipment must suit the conditions. Moreover, on the Tour du Mont Blanc, if you decide to hike in July or August, the refuges (your potential backup plan) will probably be crowded, and it may be difficult to find a bed depending of the size of your group (it is easier if you are one or two people, than if you are a group of 6-8 people…). Summer is still the best season to do your bivouac hike, because of a warmer average temperature, and steadier weather.
Thirdly, you will have to make a good compromise for your equipment, between the two most important features : weight and quality. Bring a light backpack, and only the minimum clothes and equipment you will need. If needed, you can read our article to know what equipment is required when hiking on the Tour du Mont Blanc.
Finally, and it is the most important: don’t forget that you need to care about the place you are staying. You have to leave the place as clean as you found it!
You would love to bivouac around Mont Blanc but you are still not perfectly sure that you can manage to organise everything, or you want to enjoy your trip without thinking about everything? Cairn Trekking designed tours around Mont Blanc just for you!
To lighten your backpack and especially so you don’t have to buy expensive bivouac equipment, you can have your luggage carried from place to place while you are hiking with a small bag for the day! You will enjoy both a lighter hike, and the adventure offered by bivouacking in the mountains!
Even better: you can choose to around Mont Blanc with a skilled guide who knows the mountain, its wildlife, its flowers, and in particular, the best places to stay overnight and enjoy the most wonderful views at dusk and dawn!
Your camps have been carefully considered to bring the maximum comfort, and enjoy the wildlife with your group.
The guide will also be able to adapt the pace of the group to the hiking and tiredness level of everyone, and suggest the ideal trails. You may explore ways you didn’t even expect to hike in the first place!
A bivouac hike offers to brave hikers the most wonderful mountain adventure. Camping surrounded by peaks and rocks, and waking up to an amazing sunrise on the white and grey summit, is unbelievably incredible.
Comfort is never sacrificed if you have a good enough equipment, and the experience is well worth the minor annoyances.
You will live simple and enriching powerful instant, at the closest of nature. You will “live” the mountain as the first climbers did (with still more comfort), and get to know the Mont Blanc range, directly at its contact.
You can’t wait ? Book your Tour du Mont Blanc in seven days in bivouac!
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