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The TDS – 6 days of wild and demanding trails between Italy and France

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The TDS – 6 days of wild and demanding trails between Italy and France

Running Collection by Steph Lightfoot

6

Tours

29:43 h

111 mi

32,200 ft

The TDS, or ‘Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie’, is part of the UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc) event. Setting off from Courmayeur in Italy, the route leads 145 kilometres (90 mi) to Chamonix in France, connecting the valleys of Aosta, Savoy and Haute-Savoie. On the way, you climb 9,100 metres (29,855 ft).

Famous runners know this route for its difficulty, wild trails and unknown landscapes full of stories. Created in 2009, this event is smaller than the UTMB, its big sister, but many say that the TDS is even more challenging. The trail passes exposed ridges, little-known lakes, and friendly, characterful villages in the middle of nowhere.

This Collection leads along the six-day TDS Route, making it accessible to all levels of runners and hikers that are looking for a real challenge. You finish each stage in a village or refuge, usually near the official route. If you’re an experienced trail runner, you could shorten it and do it in three or four days.

Your first day starts in Courmayeur, Italy, and the trip ends in Chamonix, France. Chamonix is accessible by air from airports across Europe and the UK, by train or by road. It’s a one-hour drive from Geneva. There are also shuttle buses to Chamonix.

Regular buses connect Chamonix to Courmayeur through the Mont Blanc tunnel. I highly recommend spending at least a few hours in Courmayeur and Chamonix to discover the cultural richness of each of these historic mountain towns. You’ll be charmed by each of them and surprised to realise how two towns so close to each other can be so different.

Have a good trail!

On The Map

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La TDS (Courmayeur - Bourg-Saint-Maurice - Chamonix)

104 mi

31,150 ft

31,775 ft

Last updated: April 28, 2022

Tours & Highlights

  • Difficult
    05:59
    21.4 mi
    3.6 mph
    6,425 ft
    5,650 ft
    Expert run. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Starting from the center of Courmayeur, this first day of the TDS runs over 34 kilometers with nearly 2,000 meters of elevation gain and 1,750 meters of descent. Leaving this Italian town with its historic and charming atmosphere, you immediately turn your back on luxury boutiques and head towards the

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  • Difficult
    03:29
    16.3 mi
    4.7 mph
    2,800 ft
    4,925 ft
    Expert run. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    After your Italian coffee in La Thuile, you quickly cross the French border for a long day of descent. Easier to breathe, more difficult for the legs, this second day of the TDS includes 26 kilometers including around 900 meters of positive elevation and a whopping 1,500 meters of descent.

    

    Passing first

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  • Difficult
    05:20
    14.0 mi
    2.6 mph
    7,900 ft
    2,650 ft
    Expert run. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    The third day of this Collection is under the sign of the climbs! With a distance of 22 kilometers, and almost 2,500 meters of vertical drop, it will require a good dose of energy. Leaving the town of Bourg Saint Maurice and its valley, you immediately take a path that climbs for nearly ten kilometers

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  • Difficult
    05:51
    24.4 mi
    4.2 mph
    5,375 ft
    10,875 ft
    Expert run. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This fourth stage of the TDS covers nearly forty kilometers with 1,600 meters of elevation gain and a beautiful descent of over 3,000 meters to the city of Beaufort. Watch out for legs that were already tired from the previous days, especially in the technical parts of the descent.

    

    Leaving your high mountain

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  • Difficult
    04:53
    19.9 mi
    4.1 mph
    5,350 ft
    4,025 ft
    Expert run. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    This fifth stage of the TDS is fun, with 32 kilometers of distance and roughly equal ascent and descent with around 1,650 positive elevation and 1,250 meters descent. Back in Haute-Savoie, you find yourself on more frequented trails.

    

    From the Beaufort valley, you immediately start to climb towards the

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  • Difficult
    04:11
    14.7 mi
    3.5 mph
    4,350 ft
    4,700 ft
    Expert run. Very good fitness required. Sure-footedness, sturdy shoes and alpine experience required.

    Be happy that the last day of this TDS was the easiest! Less than twenty-four kilometers with less than 1,500 meters of elevation gain and descent, it's almost a rest compared to the previous days. But mentally prepare yourself for a journey of emotional contrasts: from high mountains, immense glaciers

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    6
  • Distance
    111 mi
  • Duration
    29:43 h
  • Elevation
    32,200 ft

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The TDS – 6 days of wild and demanding trails between Italy and France

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