Tour du Mont-Blanc Variant: The Col de Tricot

The Col de Tricot is a popular variant of the Tour du Mont Blanc, offering a unique and memorable hiking experience. Located between the mountains of Mont Vorassay and Aiguille de Bionnassy, the Col de Tricot presents a challenge for hikers but rewards them with stunning views of Bionnassay, its glacier, Mont Blanc, and the southern end of the Aiguille Rouges.

The Col de Tricot variant starts at Les Houches and leads to the charming commune of Les Contamines-Montjoie in France. This variant is particularly appreciated for the diversity of landscapes it offers, moving from valley to valley with breathtaking panoramas of Chamonix, Bionnassay, Miage, and Contamines-Montjoie.

However, this variant should not be taken lightly. It is considered a challenge, requiring good physical condition and adequate preparation. But for those who are ready to take on the challenge, the Col de Tricot offers a rewarding hiking experience and views that are well worth the effort.


Trail leading to the Col de Tricot


View from the Col de Tricot

Example of a route from Les Houches to the Refuge de la Balme via the Col de Tricot variant

Download the GPX track of the stage:

Elevation gain, altitude, and mileage of the stage



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Max. Altitude


Min. Altitude


Stage Summary

The first stage of the Tour du Mont Blanc offers an interesting variant that crosses the Col du Tricot, adding an element of excitement to this alpine hike. The first half of the stage is the same as the traditional route, with a walk of about 2h30 from Les Houches to the Col de Voza. This part of the journey includes about 660 meters of positive elevation gain over a distance of 6 to 7 kilometers, depending on your starting point.

Once at the Col de Voza, you have the choice of following the classic route or taking the variant via the Col du Tricot. If you opt for the latter, prepare for an additional 600 meters of positive elevation gain over a distance of 6 kilometers to reach the Col du Tricot. This variant offers a more demanding but also more rewarding hiking experience, with breathtaking panoramic views of the Alps.

From the Col du Tricot, you have several options for the rest of your day. You can continue to the Refuge de la Balme to spend the night there, which extends your day but also offers a more rewarding end to the day. Alternatively, you can divert to Les Contamines to shorten your day and spend the night there.

Points of interest of the stage

Col de Voza
Col de tricot at 2120m

Where to sleep?

Refuge de la Balme
Bivouac area of the Refuge de la Balme
Possible to stop earlier in Les Contamines (camping or hotel)


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This article was written by Hugo, a hiking enthusiast and co-creator of This site is your gateway to your adventure on the Tour du Mont Blanc. We strive to share as much information as possible about the Tour to help hikers prepare for their trips.

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