Follow us on Instagram @moonhoneytravelers for hiking and travel inspiration!

TMB Stage 5: Cabane du Combal – Courmayeur – Rifugio Bertone

Stage 5 of the Tour du Mont Blanc leads from Cabane du Combal to Courmayeur and then onwards to Rifugio Bertone in Italy.

From Rifugio Combal, the TMB climbs up the grassy south flank of Val Veny and continues on a high trail to Col Chécrouit. This splendid balcony path delivers unparalleled views of the south face of the Mont Blanc massif. 

In cases of bad weather, it’s possible to skip the high trail and walk down Val Veny to La Visaille instead. There’s a bus service that connects the hamlet of La Visaille to Courmayeur. 

Eventually, the high trail crosses a ski area and then steeply drops down forested slopes to the village of Dolonne. There’s an opportunity to descend to Dolonne with a gondola/cable car (recommended!!).

From Dolonne, the TMB continues along residential streets to Courmayeur. Many TMB trekkers choose to stay the next two nights in Courmayeur, in order to build in a rest day into their itinerary. 

We pressed on to Rifugio Bertone.

Rifugio Bertone, Mont Blanc Massif, TMB
  • Starting Point: Cabane du Combal, Italy
  • Ending Point: Rifugio Bertone, Italy
  • Distance: 16.7 km point-to-point
  • Time Needed: 6:45 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 1248 meters
  • Elevation Loss: 1254 meters
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Minimum Elevation: 1175 meters
  • Maximum Elevation: 2419 meters
  • Route: Cabane du Combal – Alpe inférieur de d’Arp Vieille – Alpe supérieure de d’Arp Vieille –  Col Chécrouit – Rifugio Maison Vieille – Rifugio Le Randonneur – Dolonne Cable Car mountain station – Dolonne – Courmayeur – Rifugio Bertone
  • Where to Stay: Rifugio Bertone
  • Where to Stay in Courmayeur: Agriturismo Le Reve (budget-midrange), Hotel Walser (midrange), Hotel Croux (midrange), or Villa Novecento Romantic Hotel – Estella Hotels Italia (midrange-luxury)
  • Self-Guided Hiking Tour: 10 Day Standard Tour du Mont Blanc (what we booked) / 10 Day Comfort Tour du Mont Blanc (private rooms only)

Cabane du Combal – Courmayeur – Rifugio Bertone Trail Map

Cabane du Combal – Courmayeur – Rifugio Bertone Trail Description

Cabane du Combal to Arp Vieille Superiore (40 minutes)

Cabane du Combal to Alpe supérieure de d’Arp Vieille, TMB, Italy

The TMB high trail (signed “2”) to Courmayeur begins just up the valley from the bridge. Retrace yesterday’s steps to the signed junction, turn left, and ascend the hillsides flanking Val Veny. 

The trail climbs up 20 minutes to the Arp Vieille Inferiore mountain pasture and then continues to rise another 20 minutes to the Arp Vieille Superiore mountain pasture (Alpe supérieure de d’Arp Vieille), where there’s a sheep pen and a rustic herdsman’s hut.

Alpe supérieure de d’Arp Vieille to Rifugio Maison Vieille (2 hours)

TMB High Trail to Courmayeur, Italy

This is one of the most enjoyable stretches of the TMB. Take it slowly and relish every step. 

The narrow dirt path traverses grass slopes, all the while delivering jaw-dropping views of Val Veny and the south face of the Mont Blanc massif.

There’s no technical difficulty. It’s just easy, lovely walking at an elevation. 

Tour du Mont Blanc Val Veny and Mont Blanc, Italy

Eventually, the trail crosses a ski area and descends through a wooded area  to Rifugio Maison Vieille. 

Rifugio Maison Vieille to Dolonne Gondola Mountain Station (30 minutes)

Rifugio Le Randonneur, TMB, Italy

Rifugio Maison Vieille is a happily situated hut, offering food and refreshments. This is an ideal place for a break today.

From the refuge, follow the TMB/2 signs in the direction of Rifugio Le Randonneur (10 minutes), Dolonne (1:20 hours) and Courmayeur (1:45 hours). 

The wide trail descends to a cluster of stone buildings, one of which is Rifugio Le Randonneur.

Continue 20 minutes along gravel roads to the Dolonne gondola mountain station. If it’s operating, we suggest taking it, especially if you’re hiking to Rifugio Bertone today.

Dolonne Gondola Mountain Station to Dolonne (50 minutes)

Dolonne to Courmayeur, TMB, Italy

The traditional TMB route continues along the road to Plan Chécrouit and then drops down to Dolonne. 

When we hiked this route in September 2022, the TMB was redirected. The detour route steeply plummets under the gondola line and twists down the forest for a good 45 minutes.

The two routes link back up for the final descent. 

When you reach level ground, follow the paved path across the wide-open meadow to Dolonne village. Courmayeur is straight ahead.

Dolonne to Courmayeur (20 minutes)

Courmayeur, Italy

The TMB meanders through the residential streets of Dolonne.

Yellow arrows and TMB waymarks, painted on building facades, steer you to the center of Courmayeur. 

The trail follows Strada della Vittoria, crosses a bridge over the Dora Baltea river and then ventures onwards to Piazzale Monte Bianco, where there’s a bus stop and tourist office. 

Where to Stay in Courmayeur

If you’re staying in Courmayeur, check out these accommodations. Note: in August, many Courmayeur hotels have a minimum stay of 2-3 nights.

Midrange | Hotel Croux is advantageously located in the pedestrian zone of the Courmayeur town center, close to many shops and restaurants. Stay here for the location, clean private rooms (single, triple, family), and tasty breakfast. 

Midrange | Hotel Walser Courmayeur is a simple family-run hotel with a great restaurant, close to the center of town. You can book double/twin, triple, and quadruple rooms. The food is excellent. 

Midrange-Luxury | Villa Novecento Romantic Hotel – Estella Hotels Italia is a boutique hotel in Courmayeur, walking distance to the town center (8 minute walk). Guests love the spacious rooms, the ambience, the helpful staff, and the meals (breakfast and dinner). 

Luxury | Gran Baita Hotel & Wellness Resort is a welcoming hotel with an on-site restaurant, bar, and wellness area (heated indoor-outdoor swimming pool, sauna, hot tub). Rooms are rustic, yet elegant. The hotel is a 10-minute walk to the pedestrian zone of Courmayeur. Half board available. 

More Courmayeur accommodations: Agriturismo Le Reve (budget-midrange), Hotel Stella Del Nord (midrange), Hotel Chalet Svizzero (luxury), and Grand Hotel Courmayeur Mont Blanc (luxury).

Courmayeur to Rifugio Bertone (2 hours)

Rifugio Bertone, Courmayeur, Italy

After lunch in Courmayeur, locate the Church of Saint Pantaleon and then turn left on Strada del Villair

Follow this road all the way to the Val Sapin car park. 

The ascent to Rifugio Bertone begins at the car park (1:30 hours). 

The TMB climbs up the forest. Follow the TMB waymarks at the various intersections.  At the end of the day, this 600 meter ascent to the hut can feel exhausting.

Shortly before reaching Rifugio Bertone, there’s a rewarding viewpoint overlooking Courmayeur. 

Rifugio Bertone (1989 m) stands proudly above the treeline. The main building is the one with the lovely terrace (and indoor dining hall). In addition, the refuge manages several nearby buildings as well, where there are more dormitories. 

Rifugio Bertone View of Mont Blanc massif, Italy

If you venture just above the hut, there are phenomenal views of Les Grandes Jorasses.

Stay in Rifugio Bertone

Rifugio Bertone private room, TMB, Italy

Check-in | 4 pm

Rooms | Private and dormitory rooms 

Dinner | Dinner is served family-style at 7:30 pm. It was excellent. 

Breakfast | Breakfast is served/laid out between 7:00 am and 7:30 am. 

Lunch Packet | Available for purchase. I would skip the lunch packet here and eat along the trail instead. There are plenty of good options tomorrow. 

Drinking Water | The tap water is drinkable. 

Electronic Charging Stations | In room 

Showers | The showers are token-operated. Tokens are handed out during check-in. 

Hut Rules | Store shoes in cubbies outside of rooms. Do not place your backpack on the bed. 

Wi-Fi | Free Wifi starting at 9 pm 

Tour du Mont Blanc Essential Info

Read our Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking Guide to start planning your trek.

Quick Facts

TMB Planning Resources

Tour du Mont Blanc Route Itinerary

The Tour du Mont Blanc (TMB) is a captivating multi-day hike that circuits the Mont Blanc massif in usually 10-11 days, passing through France, Italy and Switzerland. Here’s our personal TMB itinerary.

European Alps:

Multi-Day Hikes in Europe:

Hut to Hut Hiking:

Moon & Honey Travel is an independent blog created by two passionate hikers. We are able to provide free content to you, because of ads and affiliate links. When you make a purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Happy travels and happy trails,

Sabrina & Kati

Leave a Comment