Here are a few helpful hints to keep in mind as you prepare to take on Tour du Mont Blanc:
We found hiking poles to be essential. We are frequent hikers and do not typically use poles, but in this case, we were happy to have them for stability as we negotiated our way up and down the passes.
We recommend the flexibility and savings provided from packing lunches instead of eating at refuges and in villages. Supermarkets are plentiful in the small towns, and bread, cheese, meat and snacks are easy to come by and keep well.
The temperature can vary greatly from point to point within a day. I would often go from long sleeves and a jacket to a tank top and back all within the span of a few hours. The one item we did not have and greatly wished we did were gloves. The top of the cols were typically very windy and cold, and my hands would freeze and go numb.
The weight of your pack is important, but don’t let anxiety about its size overrule some amount of relative comfort. It’s important to have hiking clothes for warm and cool weather, but remember you will also want clothes for the refuges. Derek considered ditching his sweatpants to reduce weight, but I convinced him to carry them, noting the evenings could be cool. Ultimately, he was glad he did and wore them several nights.
If you are staying in the dortoirs, I would highly recommend earplugs. Without a doubt, there will be at least one snorer in the room. Those without earplugs often found it difficult to get even a few good hours of sleep.