Chamonix Trail Camp with Mimmi Kotka

Guided By

Emily Geldard

Tour dates September 8 - 12, 2021

Summary

A unique trip with one of the world’s great trail runners, Mimmi Kotka. We’ll take our time exploring the trails of Chamonix, France, and pick up tips from Mimmi and other special guests from Chamonix’s diverse world of trail running.

Date

September 8 - 12, 2021

Length

5 days, 4 nights

Tour Category

Village based

Tour Challenge

Learn more

Fees

€1,490 or $1,775/per person
€210 or $250 single supplement

Whats included

Four nights at the three-star Hotel Oustalet in Chamonix, France. All breakfasts and 3 dinners, guided runs daily with guest Mimmi Kotka, round-trip Geneva-Chamonix transfers, all transfers to and from trailheads, special guests during group dinners, license-free photography from photographer Toni Spasenoski. Run the Alp Guide to Trail Running in the Alps and Guide to Trail Racing in the Alps sent prior to the trip.

Description

This September, Run the Alps is offering a unique trip exploring the iconic trails of Chamonix, France with our friend, Mimmi Kotka. We’ll trail run under glaciers, along high mountain balconies and along famous sections of the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc races and Chamonix’s popular Vertical Kilometer.  These are some of the world’s best-known trail running routes!

Mimmi and Enzo, playing high above Chamonix, France. (Photo: Toni Spasenoski.)

For those of you who don’t know Mimmi, she’s low-key, smart, empathetic, and a lot of fun. Mimmi, her husband Toni and canine sidekick Enzo have lived part-time in the Chamonix valley for a number of years now. Sponsored by La Sportiva, she also happens to be one of the world’s strongest ultrarunners. (Though she’ll never mention it, we will.) Mimmi has won or been on the podium at a long list of trail races around the world. You can read more about that, here.

Mimmi isn’t just a trail runner, either. She also has an advanced degree in Nutrition, and is a partner in Moonvalley. She has a fun sense of humor, and always has interesting insights to share on trail running.

Along the way, Mimmi will share her tips from years of trail running in the Alps. Each night at dinner in Chamonix, we’ll be joined by special guests. Likely guests include Black Diamond Skyrunner Hillary Gerardi, Salomon trail running shoe product manager Mike Ambrose, The North Face athlete Meg MacKenzie, and others.

Joining Mimmi will be her partner, Toni, who will run with us as our official photographer and videographer.

And yes, a certain trail running sidekick of Mimmi and Toni’s, Enzo, will make an appearance. If you are coming on the trip primarily to see Enzo, don’t worry. We won’t tell anyone.

Although Mimmi and other athletes are joining us, this is an inclusive trip designed for all levels. This trip is about having fun and sharing some of our favorite trails with you. We will run at a gentle trail running pace and there will be plenty of chances to shorten each day’s run depending on how you are feeling.

Before your trip, you’ll receive all of the usual Run the Alps materials that we send to guests, including our Guide to Trail Running in the Alps, and Guide to Trail Racing in the Alps.

On the trails, we’ll be guided by our licensed Run the Alps International Mountain Leader, Emily Geldard. You can read more about Emily and our other guides, here. We love them all!

Trail running above Argentière, on a quiet section of trail not too far from the Swiss border. (Photo: Toni Spasenoski.)

This will be a unique and memorable trip. Spaces are limited to 10 guests to assure an informal, fun experience. This trip will sell out.

Run the Alps flexible booking terms will be in place for this trip, in the event that Covid regulations do not allow international travel. Read more here.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to hosting you here in Chamonix!

Please note: Day-to-day itinerary and guests are subject to change based on weather conditions and guest availability. All route distances and vertical are approximate, and options exist to shorten each day. 

Day-by-day
Day 1

You’ll arrive in Chamonix via a shared Mountain Dropoffs shuttle. In the late afternoon, there’s the option of a casual group run of 6.8 km with 360 meters of vertical, to the colorful Chalet Floria, perched along the Petit Balcon Sud with a view of the Chamonix valley.

Everyone will have their chance to run with Enzo! (Tip: It’s not always so easy!) (Photo: Toni Spasenoski.)

Dinner in town will feature special guest North Face trail runner and new Chamonix resident Meg MacKenzie.

  • Hotel Oustalet
  • Dinner
  • 6.8km, 360m
Day 2

We’ll take the local Mont Blanc Express trail to the village of Montroc. From there, we’ll climb out of the Col Montets, then run the classic route along the stunning Balcon Sud back to Chamonix.

Trail runners move past Lac Blanc. (Photo: Patitucci Photo.)

Along the way, we’ll climb a few short ladders and stop at scenic Lac Blanc. Mimmi will share a short nutrition talk at Lac Blanc over lunch. Dinner tonight will be on your own, giving you a chance to explore Chamonix and have a quiet evening to yourself.

  • Hotel Oustalet
  • Breakfast
  • 20km and 970m ascending, 1410m descending
Day 3

Chamonix resident and Black Diamond-sponsored trail runner Hillary Gerardi is one of the world’s best technical trail runners. She’s set course records around the world, and routinely runs airy ridges and over highly technical terrain. We’ll pick up tips from Hillary on how to run over technical terrain– and we’ll do it in one of the most beautiful settings in the valley, at La Jonction, where the Bossons and Tacconaz glaciers meet, high on the side of Mont Blanc.

Trail running along the Bossons Glacier. (Photo: PatitucciPhoto.)

Hillary is also Development Manager at CREA-Mont Blanc, an internationally known alpine research nonprofit based in Chamonix. So, along the way, we’ll get to learn about climate change in the Alps, and a bit about the flora and fauna of the Chamonix valley. Tonight, Hillary will also join us for dinner in town!

  • Hotel Oustalet
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • 13.2km and 1640m
Day 4

Today, we’ll climb out of Chamonix on the dramatic and inspiring Kilometre Vertical. We’ll learn how to move over steep terrain, using wire cables, as we switch back our way up the “VK” race course from the Mont Blanc Marathon series of races. Once above the treeline, we’ll continue to Le Brévent, then run the dramatic Aiguillettes des Houches ridgeline, the Chamonix valley at our feet. Along the way, we’ll stop at two of our favorite mountain huts, for treats and big views of the Mont Blanc massif. The option exists of two lifts up, if you need a break!

Each June as part of the Mont Blanc Marathon, there’s a race up Chamonix’s famous Vertical Kilometer. (Photo courtesy Chamonix Club des Sports.)

Our special guest at dinner will be Run the Alps Ambassador and Salomon Trail Running Product Line Manager Mike Ambrose, who will give us an inside glimpse of the world of designing and building trail running shoes. Mike is also an avid and strong trail runner, and has taught over 100 trail running skills sessions.

  • Hotel Oustalet
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • 18 km and 1715m
Day 5

Today is our final day in Chamonix! We’ll finish with a run that we think will create some great memories– up to the Refuge Plan de l’Aiguille, perched above Chamonix on the “Balcon Nord.” (The refuge also has the best tart in the valley, so we’ll take a stop here!)

Enzo will miss you! (Photo: Toni Spasenoski.)

From there, we’ll run the alpine balcony to the famous Mer de Glace glacier and Montenvers cog railway train station. Then, it’s time for a run down and late afternoon departure from Chamonix.

  • Breakfast
  • 17 km and 1375m
Arrival

Plan to arrive at the Geneva, Switzerland the day your tour starts, no later than 2 pm, or noon if you would like to make our optional run. This tour includes a shared shuttle airport pickup in Geneva. Run the Alps is available to assist with bookings if you would like to arrive early to enjoy Chamonix, France.

 

Departure

Plan your departure for the day the tour ends at the earliest. The Geneva airport is only ninety minutes away by shuttle, so it is possible to leave the day the tour ends. Pleas schedule your departure flight no earlier than 4 pm so you can take part in our morning run. Run the Alps is available to assist with bookings if you would like to stay longer.

 

Additional Information

Follow Mimmi on Instagram!

Terms and Conditions: Read up on Run the Alps’ Terms and Conditions, Covid-19 policy, and travel insurance.