Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc
26 August 2019
The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (also referred to as UTMB) is a single-stage mountain ultramarathon. It takes place once a year in the Alps, and follows the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy and Switzerland. It has a distance of approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi), and a total elevation gain of around 9,600 m. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult foot races in Europe, and one of the largest with over two thousand starters. A MYTHICAL RACE, AN UNIQUE EXPERIENCEThe UTMB® is a trail-running event full of superlatives ! An essential event for trail-runners from all over the world. Each year, the elite of the trail-running world find themselves in Chamonix alongside almost 8000 runners keen to participate in one of the event's 5 races.Committing oneself, to running around Mont-Blanc, is above all to experience an internal adventure, an unique experience where each participant will have to draw from their strengths and push their mental and physical limits in order to cross the finishing line. This extraordinary trip at the heart of the massif will permit trail-runners to cross valleys and passes in contact with the most beautiful summits, in an alpine décor which is unique in the world.Mountain race, with numerous passages in high altitude (>2500m), in difficult weather conditions (night, wind, cold, rain or snow), that needs a very good training, adapted equipment and a real capacity of personal autonomy.
The route basically follows the Tour du Mont Blanc hiking path, that is usually completed in 7 to 9 days by hikers. This is a loop around Mont Blanc.It starts from Chamonix (1,035 m) and goes up to the Col de Voza (1,653 m) to reach Les Contamines (1,150 m). It then climbs to the Croix du Bonhomme (2,479 m) before going back down to Les Chapieux (1,549 m), which is the first life base. The path then runs up to the Col de la Seigne (2,516 m) to enter Italy, and follows the ridge of the Mont-Favre (2,435 m) before going down to Courmayeur (1,190 m), the second life base. It climbs again to the Refuge Bertone (1,989 m) and Arnuva (1,769 m) before reaching its highest point, the Grand Col Ferret (2537 m), which also marks the border with Switzerland. The path goes down again to Praz de Fort (1,151 m) via La Fouly (1,593 m) before reaching the third life base, Champex d'en Bas (1,391m). The last part includes two rather low cols: Bovine (1,987 m) and Les Tseppes (1932 m), separated by Trient (1,300 m). On the descent to Vallorcine (1,260 m), the path re-enters France and crosses Argentière (1,260 m) before finishing at Chamonix, its starting point.
We will be rubbing shoulders with Aiguille de Bionnassay and crossing Col du Bonhomme by moonlight. At sunrise, we will cross Col de la Seigne into Italy and the magical Val Veni overlooked by Noire du Peuterey and the glaciers descending Mont Blanc. Later we will reach the Val Ferret, guarded by Dent du Géant and Grandes Jorasses before finally turning into Switzerland to relish the beautifully protected countryside.We will have to put up with fatigue, to overcome our fears and anxieties. Some participants, having pushed their limits to the extreme, will choose to break off the race keeping intact their hopes to make it from beginning to end at some later date. They will be rewarded for their achievement and their names will be added to the list with everyone else at the end of the race.The others will climb over Bovine and Les Tseppes. Then, with Aiguille Verte in front of them, under the vertical heights of the Drus and with majestic presence of Mont Blanc before them, they will dive down towards the finishing line in the heart of Chamonix.