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Mont Blanc Challenge – From 5 Stars Superior To Living Off A Backpack

Beatrice Lessi

The Mont Blanc Idea

I had always considered the idea of experiencing the world famous ultra run around Mont Blanc, the UTMB. This is the Super Bowl of runs, the ultimate mountain lover challenge, and of course, after running Everest Marathon, one of the goals that can be as challenging as the highest mountain in the world.

Obviously there is no other way to do the UTMB, than packing the minimum necessary to run (and hike) in every temperature (in the mountains, the weather can change quite quickly and many times in the course of a day) and forget about luxury for a while.

With my husband, we decided to start the trip from Geneva, where we had a short stay at the Four Seasons Hotel.


The Four Season Geneva

We were welcomed by an Italian member of the staff (we had exchanged emails, previously) and felt immediately at home.

At my request to go to the spa in the evening, he showed us the way and informed the crew we would attend (due to Covid, all guests need to be booked and announced). We didn’t spend more than an hour there, but it completely relaxed us and was the best preparation for the mountains. A quick peel-off treatment followed and off we went for dinner and early to bed.

The morning breakfast was a dream. I tried to eat as much as I could, because I knew I would burn a lot in the next few days.

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The Four Seasons Spa

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Peel off treatment in our suite

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Backpack and bottles are ready

From Chamonix to Courmayeur…on Foot, of Course

Why should you fly, drive or take a train to cross countries and travel France, Italy and Switzerland, when you can just use your feet? Off we started, in Chamonix, with perfect weather condition and the gorgeous mountain backdrop.

However, we soon realised we grew slower and slower with time, and that we wouldn’t be able to do the whole trail during daylight. We didn’t want to be in the mountains in the dark (especially because we had no guide, and huts were closed), so after a bit more than two marathons…we cut short and gave up.

Now I know how hard the UTMB is and respect its runners even more.  But  I0m happy about our decision of stopping, because it would have been too dangerous. I have learnt that there’s no way one can attempt the UTMB like we did, without a specific preparation.  Luckily, we were blessed with gorgeous weather and greatly enjoyed the experience.

I especially like to enjoy both luxury and the basic things in nature in a short space of time  – it gives you such a perspective and makes you appreciate even a shower so much more! A wonderful privilege I have since I work with Swiss Deluxe Hotels. 

By the way: the new issue of H, the Swiss Deluxe Hotels Magazine, is almost ready – I will share some articles here and I’m looking forward to see the final result.

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One of the amazing landscapes we experienced around the Mont Blanc

The border France/Italy

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Arrived in Courmayeur

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The lovely town of Courmayeur

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