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.
Tour du Mont Blanc Stage 5 Hiking Guide
- 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)
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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)
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)
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.
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 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)
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)
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.
Courmayeur to Rifugio Bertone (2 hours)
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.
If you venture just above the hut, there are phenomenal views of Les Grandes Jorasses.
Stay in Rifugio Bertone
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
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Tour du Mont Blanc Essential Info
Read our Tour du Mont Blanc Hiking Guide to start planning your trek.
- Official TMB Length: 170 km (105 miles)
- Days Needed: 10-11 days
- Which Direction to Hike: Counterclockwise
- Where to Start the TMB: Chamonix, Vallée de l’Arve, France
- Closest Airport to Chamonix: Geneva Airport, Switzerland
- When to Hike the TMB: July – early September
- When to Book the TMB: January – February
- TMB Difficulty: Moderate
- Recommended Self-Guided Tours: 10 Day Standard Tour du Mont Blanc (private and shared rooms), 10 Day Comfort Tour du Mont Blanc (private rooms only), 7 Day Tour du Mont Blanc (shortened route with transit shortcuts), 15 Day Tour du Mont Blanc (leisurely-paced route).
TMB Planning Resources
- TMB Hiking Guidebook: Cicerone: Trekking the Tour of Mont Blanc guidebook
- TMB Hiking Guidebook: Knife Edge Outdoor Guidebooks: Tour du Mont Blanc
- TMB Trail Maps: L’Escursionista Tour du Mont Blanc TMB or IGN Tour du Mont Blanc Map
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.
- Stage 1: Chamonix – Le Brévent – Les Houches
- Stage 2: Les Houches – Les Contamines-Montjoie (Col de Tricot Variant)
- Stage 3: Les Contamines – Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme
- Stage 4: Refuge de la Croix du Bonhomme – Cabane du Combal (Col des Fours Variant)
- Stage 5: Cabane du Combal – Courmayeur – Rifugio Bertone
- Stage 6: Rifugio Bertone – Grand Col Ferret – Alpage de La Peule
- Stage 7: Alpage de La Peule – Ferret – La Fouly – Champex-Lac
- Stage 8: Champex-Lac – Trient (Fenêtre d’Arpette Variant)
- Stage 9: Trient – Col de Balme – Aiguillette des Posettes – Tré le Champ
- Stage 10: Tré le Champ – Lac Blanc – La Flégère – Chamonix
More Guides about Hiking in Europe
- The Alps in Summer: 10 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting
- Hiking in the European Alps
- Italian Alps Hiking Destinations
- Austrian Alps Hiking Destinations
- Slovenia Alps Hiking Guide
Multi-Day Hikes in Europe:
Hut to Hut Hiking: