A pick of 40 “must do” trail running itineraries in the Chamonix valley and surrounding areas.
There’s no end of good guide books to hiking and climbing in the Chamonix valley, but, up until now, no such thing existed for trail running. Yes, many of the hiking guides serve a similar purpose but what if you want to get away from the well-trodden routes and don’t want to keep shouting “excusez-moi!” as you attempt to swerve round a herd of ramblers on a narrow path?
This new guide book is not just a list of routes, but is a comprehensive guide to trail running that will prepare you for all aspects of gallivanting around the Alps. It is packed full of information, maps and advice but is small enough to tuck into the side pocket of a backpack. Each run has a route description, photo, map and profile - so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. The routes are well described with clear directions and snippets of local knowledge that will help you get the most out of your jaunt.
The profiles are invaluable for assessing just how much ascent and descent lies ahead (it’s oh-so-easy to convince yourself that it’s less than it actually is). The maps are on a scale of 1:100,000; so although they’re good at getting an idea of the route you should really invest in the relevant IGN map - the one for the Chamonix area is 3630OT and you can find others for the surroundings valleys.
Written by local IML (International Mountain Leader) and finisher of numerous alpine ultra marathons, Kingsley Jones has plenty of experience to draw from. The route descriptions are peppered with handy bits of advice on things like hydration, running technique, handling tricky terrain, recommended kit, safety in the mountains and so on.
Anyone entered in the Marathon du Mont Blanc or any of the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc races will find the routes laid out with helpful tips on what to expect, written by someone who is about to embark on the UTMB for the third time - you can't get more personal than that! These sections will definitely help you prepare for the challenges of race day.
Many of the routes are circuits, starting and finishing in the same place, making any transport arrangements much easier. I was really happy to find that as well as some of the classic Chamonix routes, there are also quite a few that I’ve never done before and probably wouldn’t find by myself. I'll definitely be using this book for inspiration over the next few months - keep an eye on our activity reviews page for upcoming trail running reports!
Trail Running: Chamonix and the Mont Blanc Region by Kingsley Jones is published by Cicerone and is available to buy on Amazon.