Family finishes Tour du Mont Blanc

The Tour is a 110-mile hike through multiple European counties.

The Chilmans (Cheryl, Mette and Tyler) with the scenic Alps in the background…

The Chilmans (Cheryl, Mette and Tyler) with the scenic Alps in the background…

Combining their fondness for international travel, a love of the outdoors and a passion for hiking, Enumclaw’s Chilman family this summer tackled the popular Tour du Mont Blanc.

The 110-mile trek is generally regarded as one of the most popular hikes in all of Europe. Various routes pass through Switzerland, Italy and France.

The Chilmans – Tyler, Cheryl and 11-year-old daughter Mette – made an extended stay. They were gone 35 days, with 11 days spent on the TMB hike and the rest on a 2,500-mile road trip through France. An integral part of the trip was the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Invasion.

The Tour du Mont Blanc hike was a special part of the visit to France, but it had long been in the planning stages. Tyler and Cheryl had first attempted the hike in 2000 but high winds and whiteout conditions forced them off the mountain.

Fast forward to 2018 and the Chilmans were ready to see more of France, with their daughter old enough to enjoy the experience.

“We wanted an activity thrown in,” Tyler wrote in notes about the trip, and that desire evolved into the TMB hike. They began training in January of this year, climbing local Mount Peak and expanding their efforts to Mount Si and Mailbox Peak in the North Bend area. Ramping up their training regimen, they began carrying backpacks, something they would do throughout the TMB experience.

The family departed SeaTac airport on June 24 and spent a night in Iceland (celebrating Tyler and Cheryl’s 25th anniversary), then flew to Geneva, Switzerland, and then made their way to Les Houches, France, celebrating Tyler’s 50th birthday. Les Houches serves as a starting point for the counter-clockwise trek through the Alps that makes up the Tour du Mont Blanc.

…celebrating in front of a Roman arch….

…celebrating in front of a Roman arch….

Most TMB hikers stay in refuges that are conveniently located along the way, but the Chilmans instead stuck primarily to their plan and slept in a tent. There was an exception in the mountain village of Courmayer, where they stayed in a hotel and explored the town.

Hiking through Italy was the most scenic part of the experience, both Tyler and Mette agreed, and a challenging element was tossed in on Day 10: taking the Via Ferrate Route, hikers climb ladders periodically due to the sheer rock face of the mountain (“It was a lot of fun,” Tyler noted).

With the climb successfully completed, the Chilmans spent 20 days touring France, with World War II a major theme. Highlights include visits to Omaha Beach and the Overlord Museum, along with lunch at the Café Gondrée (the first building recaptured by Allied forces on French soil).

That was followed by visits to the Loire Valley, Limoges and the walled city of Carcassone. The trip included historic ruins, ancient cave paintings, a bullfight (where the bull returns home after being “tagged” by the matador) and ancient Roman theaters.

…checking out a Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard…

…checking out a Roman aqueduct at Pont du Gard…

… and hiking just above the snowline on Col du Fours, a technical route on Mont Blanc. Contributed photos.

… and hiking just above the snowline on Col du Fours, a technical route on Mont Blanc. Contributed photos.

More in News

Enumclaw mayor elected to Sound Cities Association board of directors

Jan Molinaro now represents the cities of Enumclaw, Black Diamond, Pacific, Algona, and Milton in the county-wide organization.

Enumclaw, White River pushing school levies

EHS wants to renew its tech levy, while WRHS’ levy is the same one that voters declined in the last general election.

Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | Jan. 1 – 9

Unauthorized stickers removed, women threatened at a party, and a suspicious package delivery.

St. Elizabeth nurses sign new contract with CHI Franciscan

The new agreement helps ensure safe staffing levels and increases in pay.

Enumclaw’s stormwater rate increased

Other utility rates — garbage, water, natural gas — are holding steady.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Plenty of road projects on Enumclaw’s 2020 calendar

Many busy streets will have least a little work done on them, so start planning your alternate routes now.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

Most Read