6th July, Ville des Glaciers 1870m – Col de la Seigne 2516m – Refugio Maison Vieille, Col Checroui 1956m, 6.75 h
This stage climbs to the Col de la Seigne at 2,516m and then descends to Rifugio Elisabetta, where many walkers stay the night. However this was fully booked months before our arrival so we had planned to continue to the Refugio Maison Vieille above Courmayeur. The climb to the Col de la Seigne, where the Italian border is crossed, is not too demanding and the view is very scenic. On clear days it stretches as far as the Grand Col Ferret, 3 stages away, along the lengths of the Val Veni and the Italian Val Ferret. On the left hand side of these valleys the Mont Blanc massif should be visible in all its splendour. Our view however was limited by cloud to part of the Grand Jorasses and some lower peaks. We dropped down from the col, passing the Rifugio Elisabetta at the lip of the Vallon de la Lee Blanche, and further into the Val Veni (1,970m). The TMB then takes a high route along the Northern slopes of Mont Favre (2,430m) in order to gain better views of Mont Blanc or in our case the huge Glacier du Miage across the valley. After a long but impressive day we finally reached the Refugio Maison Vieille on the Col Checroui (1,956m). Here we had the luxury of a small separate hut for ourselves.