3rd July, Les Houches 1007m – Col de Tricot 2120m – Hotel Chalet la Chemez, Les Contamines 1167m, 5.5 h
We started in Les Houches, a village at the foot of the valley not far from Chamonix. (The TMB does not pass through Chamonix itself.) Despite the wet weather on the train ride from Basel or drive from Geneva the previous day, we were greeted with cloudless blue skies in the morning as had been forecast. There was then no doubt that we could take the alternative high-level route over Col de Tricot at 2,120m instead of the main route which descends to the Montjoie valley through the village of Bionnassay. However to avoid starting with too strenuous a day we avoided the first climb, up to Col de Voza at 1,653m by taking the cable car to Bellevue. This already gave us our best view of Mont Blanc or at least of the Dome de Goutier. Little did we know at the time that it was to be our last during the July tour. After a pleasant rest at the Col de Tricot we made the steep descent to the Refuge de Miage for a well-earned drink. A short ascent is followed by another long but less steep descent to Les Contamines. With some searching we found our luxurious Hotel Chalet la Chemez well south of the village and Peter and I took the opportunity of a swim in the pool. The dinner completed a perfect day.