Tour des Combins

A superb quieter alternative to walking the Tour du Mont Blanc




From $1,460 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Walk a complete circuit of the Gran Combin in Switzerland
  • Walking beside the immense Glacier de Corbassiere
  • Quiet and unspoiled Alpine wilderness walking holiday
  • Visit to the Grand St Bernard Monastery

The Tour des Combins is a relatively new long distance path which describes a complete walking circuit of one of the most famous peaks in the Alps, the Grand Combin (4314m). Over 6 days of walking we travel through high Alpine meadows where edelweiss grows and climb up beside one of the largest glaciers in Europe, the Glacier de Corbassiere. Above this glacier we reach the Col du Grand St Bernard and the monastery which became famous for the dogs who would go out in wild conditions with a barrel of brandy strapped to their collars to find lost mountaineers. A great alternative walking holiday to the Tour du Mont Blanc, the beauty of this circuit around the Combin is that so few people are walking it - at the moment! Be one of the first to complete this new trekking circuit and enjoy sensational mountain scenery without the crowds.

Is this holiday for you?

The Tour des Combins is a new KE Alpine walk which is set to become a classic. This circuit of Switzerland's famous peak does not involve glacial travel but there is a fair amount of ascent and descent as we travel through a quiet wilderness area. It is not practicable to provide vehicle support for this circuit as nights are spent in inaccessible mountain refuges so this is an unsupported trek. You will have to carry all of your own equipment from the start of the trip to the finish. In practice, especially considering that neither sleeping bag nor camping mattress are needed for this trip, you should be able to keep the packed weight of your rucksack to as little as 8 kg. On average, we will walk for approximately 6 - 8 hours each day, with some longer days.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in the village of Bourg St Pierre (1632m) in the Swiss canton of Valais.
  • Walk through Alpine meadows and across a pass to reach the Cabane du Col de Mille (2472m).
  • Walk beneath Mont Rogneux and beside the Corbassiere Glacier to the Cabane de Panossiere (2641m).
  • Cross the Col des Otanes (2806m) and traverse the Lac de Mauvoisin to the Cabane de Chanrion.
  • Cross into Italy via the Fenetre de Durand (2797m). Overnight at the new Cabane de Champillon.
  • Walk to the Col de Champillon (2709m) via St Rhemy and onto the Grand St Bernard Monastery
  • Cross back into Switzerland via the Col du Grand St Bernard (2477m). Overnight in Bourg St Pierre.
  • Departure day.
Sun 17 Jul - Sun 24 Jul Code TDC /01/16/ Adult$1,460 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Tour des Combins
  • The departure reference for this tour is TDC /01/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 17 Jul and departs on Sun 24 Jul
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
Sun 14 Aug - Sun 21 Aug Code TDC /02/16/ Adult$1,460 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
More information
  • Tour des Combins
  • The departure reference for this tour is TDC /02/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 14 Aug and departs on Sun 21 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
Sun 04 Sep - Sun 11 Sep Code TDC /03/16/ Adult$1,460 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Tour des Combins
  • The departure reference for this tour is TDC /03/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 04 Sep and departs on Sun 11 Sep
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
The dates above are for the LAND ONLY itinerary, joining at the group hotel in Bourg St Pierre. The nearest airport is Geneva. Please refer to Joining Arrangements and Transfers in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds Bradford and Belfast. Other airports may be available. Click on the Flight Information link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively, if you would prefer to book a Flight Inclusive package using scheduled airlines from the UK, please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • point
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in the village of Bourg St Pierre (1632m) in the Swiss canton of Valais.

    The group will rendezvous at the group hotel in the Swiss Village of Bourg St Pierre on the Italian border and at the foot of the Grand Combin. At approximately 7.00pm we will have a briefing from our guide about the week ahead and this is the opportunity to ask any questions and to check our equipment. Afterwards we will take dinner in the hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Walk through Alpine meadows and across a pass to reach the Cabane du Col de Mille (2472m).

    Starting at Bourg St Pierre (1632m) we make a gradual ascent initially through wild flower meadows as we climb up to La Coeur (2233m). We cross a col at 2550 metres and traverse green slopes to reach the Cabane du Col de Mille (2472m) where we spend our first night in the mountains. This is a fabulous viewpoint next to Mont Rogneux (3084m). Approximately 5 hours walking. If the weather is good we have the option to continue beyond the cabane to reach the summit of Mt Brule at 2572 metres. This is amost unusual alpine peak having a military barracks built inside it. On a good day the summit offers superb views of the valley. We stay overnight at the Cabane du Col de Mille.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1030m

    • Distance 12km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 190m

    • Time 4 - 5 hrs walking

  • Walk beneath Mont Rogneux and beside the Corbassiere Glacier to the Cabane de Panossiere (2641m).

    We begin with a descent, as we traverse round Mont Rogneux. We can visit the charming Brunet Hut for lunch, before heading up a gorge to the foot of the Corbassiere Glacier, one of the largest glaciers in Europe. This huge tongue of ice carves a route between the Grand Combin and the Combin de Corbassiere and is as impressive as any glacier in the Alps. In 2014 a new 240 metre long suspension bridge was put in place over the moraine enabling walkers to gain dramatic views straight up and down the glacier. We have a steady climb to the recently built Cabane de Panossiere which overlooks the glacier. We spend the night here - a beautiful situation for the evening, with views to the Grand Combin and a good chance of viewing ibex parading on the hillside!

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 950m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 880m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Cross the Col des Otanes (2806m) and traverse the Lac de Mauvoisin to the Cabane de Chanrion.

    A long, but satisfying day which begins with a climb from the hut up to the highest point on the circuit, the rocky Col des Otanes at 2806 metres. From this impressive rocky mountainside, we begin our descent to the Lac de Mauvoisin (1976m) a man-made lake with incredible waterfalls created in the 1950s by the building of a 250 metre-high dam in the upper Val de Bagnes. We can stop for morning coffee at the historic Hotel Mauvoisin, before we climb up through the dam wall tunnels. We make our way up and along the lake's east bank, where there are more chances to see patches of edelweiss and grazing chamois, to reach some ancient farm buildings - an ideal location for a picnic lunch. We continue, climbing steadily, passing the lake and crossing the Col de Tsofeuret (2630m) before reaching our overnight halt at the traditional style Cabane de Chanrion at 2462 metres.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1550m

    • Distance 16km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1670m

    • Time 7 - 9 hrs walking

  • Cross into Italy via the Fenetre de Durand (2797m). Overnight at the new Cabane de Champillon.

    Heading first down-valley we then climb beside the Glacier de Fenetre and ascend gradually to the Fenetre de Durand (2797m) on the border between Switzerland and Italy. We stop on the col to enjoy the view back to the Chanrion hut with the snowy peaks of Mont Blanc de Cheillon behind, before crossing into Italy and descending to lush summer grazing grounds where we have plenty of opportunities to see marmots. Following an ancient irrigation channel we contour around the valley and end the day with a steady climb up to the Cabane de Champillon, also known as the Refuge Letey (2375m).

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 1170m

    • Distance 27km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1190m

    • Time 9 - 11 hrs walking

  • Walk to the Col de Champillon (2709m) via St Rhemy and onto the Grand St Bernard Monastery

    Walking through Alpine meadows, we first climbing up to the Col de Champillon at 2709 metres, where on a good day it's possible to view not only the Grand Combin but also Mont Blanc and the Gran Paradiso! We then begin our descent to the Italian village of Etroubles in the Aosta valley with its ancient cobbled streets. This valley was crucial to the Roman armies and their control of the trade routes and troops would be stationed on the passes operating from a garrison here in Etoubles. We finish the day's hiking with a short climb through the riverside Italian villages of St Oyen, Cerisey, St Leonard and finally St Rhemy, from St Rhemy we will take a short bus transfer to wind our way up to reach the Col Grand St Bernard, 2469m, and the border back into Switzerland. St. Bernard de Menthon opened the Hospice in the 900's to provide a safe haven for travellers and it is here where the iconic Saint Bernard Dogs earned their legendary reputation as rescuers of travellers lost in snow. The Hospice is still operational and this is where we spend the night. There will be time today to visit the Hospice Museum and Saint Bernard Dog breeding kennels during the summer months.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Ascent 490m

    • Distance 14km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1500m

    • Time 6 - 7 hrs walking

  • Cross back into Switzerland via the Col du Grand St Bernard (2477m). Overnight in Bourg St Pierre.

    Having explored this high historic col, 2469m, if the weather allows, we will today choose a variant route to gain further height to take in some spectacular scenery getting right off the beaten track. We first climb to the Fenêtre de Ferret, 2698m, from where we are greeted with a stunning view of the Mont Blanc massif. A short descent takes us to the Lacs de Fenêtre, some of the most beautiful lakes in the area. From here we ascend on an ancient mule track to the Col de Bastillon reaching 2753m - it's a steep short section of path but on a track so should not provide any difficulties. After gaining another stunning view from the Col de Bastillon we descend past more beautiful lakes down the Combe de Drone to rejoin the traditional Tour des Combins route and follow the footsteps of Napolean down the Roman road to come full circle to reach our starting point a week ago at Bourg-St-Pierre. Time for a celebratory meal and to enjoy the hotel spa. Distance: 15km. Ascent: 600m. Descent: 1350m. Highest point: 2753m. 6-7hrs.

    If the weather is not so good, then we will take the normal Tour des Combins route leading straight down from the col which follows the ancient route made famous for harbouring Napoleans armies. The trail meanders through meadows and along by the Bourg dam to reach the old customs house and the cobbled streets of Bourg St Pierre. Distance: 10km. Ascent: 0m. Descent: 1350m. 6-7hrs. The leader will make the decision on which route will be taken depending on the weather conditions on the day.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 1250m

    • Distance 24km

    • gps data View now

    • Meals bld

    • Descent 1000m

    • Time 7 - 8 hrs walking

  • Departure day.

    KE Land Only package services end after breakfast. There is a regular bus service towards Martigny for trains to Geneva.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional English-speaking guide
  • All transfers and cable cars involved in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described
  • All meals
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Airport transfers
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses

As you might expect, the food available in restaurants, hotels and even in mountain huts in Switzerland and Italy is excellent. Continental breakfasts, packed lunches and evening meals are included everyday. Note that the water from taps in the huts is not always drinkable. Bottled mineral water can be purchased (approximately CHF12 for a one and a half litre bottle).

All meals are included in the holiday price from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on day 8. Supplementary snacks and drinks can be purchased from the huts or supermarkets when in the valley.
Bourg St Pierre can be reached from Geneva by a train and bus combination via Martigny. The journey takes approximately 3 hours and costs approximately 64CHF each way. Tickets covering the whole journey including the bus can be bought online at or at the the railway station in the airport in Geneva.
We spend 2 nights in comfortable hotels in Bourg St Pierre and in St Oyen at the beginning and end of the trip. Other accommodation during the trip will be in high mountain refuges. For the two nights in hotels accommodation is based on twin share. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired with another traveller of the same sex. Whilst in the mountains accommodation is normally in non segregated dormitory style rooms. The refuges themselves tend to be full of character and serve tasty local dishes. They are always situated in stunning locations and the chance to enjoy a beer or glass of wine while watching the sun go down can provide a really special mountain moment. Single rooms are not available.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The holiday is led by an English-speaking International Mountain Leader.

The package price includes all accommodation and all meals. You should make an allowance for snacks, drinks etc Beer, wine and soft drinks are available every night. We estimate that 125 - 150 Swiss francs for the five nights in Switzerland and 30 - 50 Euros for the two nights in Italy should cover all personal expenses. Please note that the majority of this holiday is in Switzerland where the unit of currency is the Swiss franc. Although Euros will generally be accepted you may not get a favourable exchange rate. There are cash point facilities at the Airport in Geneva, Bourg-St-Pierre and St Rhemy.

On a holiday like this using high mountain huts it is not practical to transfer luggage between overnight stops and you will be carrying everything you need for the 7 day circuit. In practice as all bedding etc is provided at the huts, this will only be spare trousers, top, small wash kit, headtorch, sheet sleeping bag and clean socks and underwear! With care you should be able to keep the weight of your pack to below 8kg.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday involves going to moderately high altitude.  During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 2500 metres.  Most people will have no difficulty with this level of altitude but before coming on the holiday, we recommend you read the advice on trekking at high altitude.  You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As you will be carrying everything you need it is important to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Since all bedding is provided at the huts you should be able to keep the weight of your pack down to as little as 8kg. Travel clothes can be left at your hotel.

You must bring the following items:

  • Hiking boots

  • Socks

  • Trekking trousers

  • Waterproof overtrousers

  • Underwear

  • Baselayer shirts (1 short sleeve, 1 long sleeve)

  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts

  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper

  • Waterproof jacket

  • Warm fleece gloves or mittens

  • Sunhat

  • Warm hat

  • Sunglasses

  • Daypack

  • Headtorch and spare batteries

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Water bottles 1 litre (x2)

  • Washbag and toiletries (including travel towel)

  • Antibacterial hand wash

  • Sheet sleeping bag or sleeping bag liner

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters and blister treatment.

The following items are optional:

  • Gaiters

  • Spare laces

  • Shorts

  • Thermal baselayer - leggings

  • Trekking poles (recommended)

  • Insect repellant

  • Camera

  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape


For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

The unit of currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a walking holiday getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime leading up to your trip. Jogging, squash and swimming are good for developing better stamina. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, ranging from 15°C/ 59°F to 25°C/ 77°F. It can be cool in the evenings at our highest overnight stopping places, even falling close to freezing point outside the huts. The weather is usually stable between July and September, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and even stormy weather cannot be ruled out. You should be prepared for all eventualities!

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