10 Safety & Health Tips for the Tour du Mont Blanc

Posted on May 26, 2013. Filed under: France, Health, Italy, Safety, Switzerland, Tour du Mont Blanc, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

Travel - TMB Safety

1.  Keep your valuables with you or your partner(s) at all times.  This would include passport (US or British passports are worth €1000-2000 each on the black market), cash, credit cards, camera, airline paperwork.  One would like to believe all the fellow hikers are just like you, but they may not be.  Acquaintances on our trip lost their British passports at a refuge when they left them in their packs to go to dinner.  They had discussed leaving them in the presence of a lot of other people too.  2 big mistakes.  This ended their trip because getting to an embassy and getting it all sorted out required a lot of time.  Take along some little bag that can hold your valuables when you don’t have your big pack and just keep everything in there so it’s easy to take with you at all times.

2.  Even non-valuables:  keep an eye on them.  At big stops along the trail with lots of hikers coming and going in both directions we assigned one of our group to stay with the packs/poles while others went for food/bathrooms, then we switched.  It’s just good common sense.

3.  Water.  Really, only get it from places that are clearly safe.  That hose hanging on the building right next to where the cows are standing, don’t fill your bottle.  3 days down with bacterial infection really takes a bite out of your trip.  I missed doing this by chance, but my friend paid for it.  Hind sight is 20-20, try to keep foresight in play and avoid problems.

4.  Think about daylight and how many hours you have left to get in.  You do not want to be out on the trail in the dark.  Get a move on if needed to get in before dusk.  The mountains become a lot colder, windier, and overall more dangerous in the dark.

5.  Pay attention to your pace.  You do need to do #4, but you don’t need to run the whole thing and miss the day just to get in super early!

6.  Address small health issues early.  A small irritation is felt in your foot?  Stop and inspect right away.  Treat and cover to avoid a blister or cover the blister to keep it from bursting and creating an open wound that is open for infection.  The sooner you address problems, the less likely you will experience a health emergency.

7.  Prepare for the unexpected.  Take extra cash, carry a first-aid kit and all-weather gear.  It will be fabulous if you don’t need any of it, and you will be congratulating yourself if you do.

8.  Be extra alert when you are tired.  Later in the day you are more apt to lose your footing, become forgetful, and less observant.  Know this and try to counteract it.  When stopping, look carefully around your pack before leaving to make sure you have everything.  Slow down a little to keep your footing sure.  Look carefully at signs to make sure of the way before you waste time down the wrong path.

9.  Watch your alcohol intake.  In the evening it can be tempting to celebrate too much.  Along with this is:  use a flashlight in the refuges.  Falling and hurting yourself isn’t worth wrecking your trip.

10.  Relax!  The TMB is fairly safe!

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