Mont Blanc Ascent
Climb Western Europe’s highest peak in France
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Tough/Tough+
Group Size Small Group
In the Mont Blanc massif, there is one giant which stands alone amongst a myriad of snow-capped peaks. Looming over the climbing mecca of Chamonix, the majesty of Mont Blanc has captivated climbers for centuries and calls all would-be explorers to join them a top of Western Europe’s highest peak. Attempted over two days, our itinerary is designed to give you the very best chance of reaching the summit. During the expedition, the rewarding peak of Tête Blanche will also usually be climbed, teaching snow and ice techniques, building your confidence and helping with acclimatisation.*Mont Blanc permits:* It is mandatory for climbers to hold a permit on this trip. While the climbing permit is included in the package, the number of permits released is limited and they are only released on certain dates each year. Therefore your booking won’t be confirmed until we obtain your permit. Permits are expected to be released on three different dates in 2020 and they are highly sought after. We strongly recommend booking at least 6-8 months in advance to avoid disappointment.
* All breakfasts and 4 dinners
* 3 nights 2-star hotel, 4 nights mountain huts
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout – plus UIAGM mountain guide/s as appropriate.
* Arrival & departure transfers (at designated times)
- Single Accommodation (available on request – 3 hotel nights in Le Fayet)
- Crampon and ice axe tuition
- Three day summit attempt increases chances of success
- Comfortable hotel accommodation in Chamonix to maximize rest and preparation
Transfer to Plan de l’aiguille (2207m); equipment hire.
We drop our main luggage at our hotel, where we will stay the following night. Those not flying with the group will rendezvous with us at the airport or join the group at La Fayet.We will have the chance to change and pack our climbing gear and day rucksack followed by a transfer to the Cable car aiguille du midi. On the way there will be possibility to stop at Saint Gervais for hiring technical equipment as necessary. Then we will walk down to the hut plan de l’aiguille. If time allows, our time will check the equipment and show us a few climbing techniques.NB: You can leave any items that you don’t need for the expedition in a bag/case in the hotel as we return here on day 2.*Hut*
Acclimatisation and training day. Practice of scrambling techniques and off-track walking.
After a hearty breakfast the guide will show us some scrambling techniques and off-track walking. The purpose of the day is to practise as much as possible and familiarise ourselves with technical hiking terrain in altitude, to acclimatise and train for the Gouter hut climb.At the end of the day we will take the cable car down to the valley of Chamonix and transfer to Le Fayet. La Fayet is the perfect base location for our trip, it is just beside the train station to Nid d’Aigle for the Mont Blanc ascent and a 20 mins walk to the Thermal bath of Saint Gervais which you may want to use during your stay here. *Hotel*
Transfer and cable car to Albert Premier refuge. Afternoon snow and ice skills training.
In the morning we transfer (public or private transport) to the cable car of la Balme, where take the chair lift or the cable car up to 2200m and walk up to the Albert Premier hut. In the afternoon we will have the option, depending on weather conditions, to practise ice technique on the glacier – roped up – or practise rock climbing with rope on any of the numerous boulders above the hut.*Hut*
Glacier technique training; classic climb to Tete Blanche (3429m).
Today we will practise some glacier technique and familiarise ourselves with our crampon. Starting from the hut, depending on weather conditions, we steadily climb either Tete Blanche (3429m). Then we will walk back and transfer to Le Fayet for a good night sleep before 2 days of tough climbing.NB: The itinerary for the next three days will depend on the weather on Mont Blanc. This decision is made by our local partners. If for any reason Mont Blanc is deemed unsafe then an alternative climb will hopefully be arranged (usually Gran Paradiso in Italy).*Hotel*
Train to Nid d’Aigle (2372m); walk to the Tete Rousse hut (3167m).
We will start late morning from Le Fayet by taking the train to Nid d’Aigle (2372 m). From there we will walk up to the Tete Rousse hut (3167m). Today will be guided by the lead mountain guide and additional(s) mountain guide(s) for Mont Blanc climb will join us for dinner. For Mont Blanc Ascent, there will be one guide with 2 clients so one or two more guides will be with the group in the next following days, depending on the group size.*Hut*
Climb to the Gouter hut and then the Mont Blanc (4810m).
Today is D-day! After a very early start (can be 1 am, 4 am or 7 am depending on weather conditions) we will climb to the Gouter hut and then the Mont Blanc (4810m) then after the summit we will stay in the Tete Rousse or Gouter hut for the night.*Hut*
Second chance to climb the summit; descend to Le Fayet.
Today we will have a second chance to climb Mont Blanc for those who did not have the time or the energy to do it the day before, or in case of bad weather. Then we descend to Le Fayet for our well deserved break, where we spend the night.*Hotel*
End Le Fayet.
End at the hotel in Le Fayet in the morning.
Hotels & Mountain Huts/Refuges
You will spend 3 nights in Hotel la Chaumiere or similar, in Le Fayet. 4 nights will be spent in mountain huts and refuges, with mixed, shared dormitory style accommodation. Single rooms for the hotel nights may be available for a supplement (contact our Sales team for details).
All breakfasts and 4 evening meals included.
Please also note that no refund will be given for meals not taken or taken other than where designated. Beer, wine, coffee or tea, bottled water and other drinks are not included. Vegetarians: In France, hotels and restaurants are not geared up to provide separate vegetarian menus, especially smaller establishments in the mountains. Vegetarians will usually find that there is little difficulty as long as they are prepared to be reasonably flexible.
This trip is grade 8 – Tough/Tough +
We have planned this itinerary to include a three-day climbing / trekking section with four nights staying high in mountain huts. Much of this route is spent on glaciers and there is plenty of time for training in snow and ice climbing (ice-axe and crampon skills, ropework etc, which you do not need to be familiar with prior to the trip). We spend much of the time at around 3,000m which is essential for helping acclimatisation. The climax of the week is the summit attempt which usually takes two days.
The training is undertaken by a professional High Mountain Guide, with a ratio of one guide to six clients. Additional guides will join us for the attempt on Mont Blanc summit; here the ratio will be 1 guide to every 2 clients. In good weather, the ascent is not particularly technical but it is extremely arduous. To have a reasonable chance of success a high degree of fitness and stamina and some previous experience of altitude is highly recommended. Please note that you cannot achieve the required level of fitness during the week – you must arrive fit.
Please note that although the itinerary presented here is the one we intend to follow there is a high chance that variations may be necessary. Many factors can affect climbing in high mountains. Individual member’s abilities vary, as does their ability to learn the technical skills needed. Adverse weather during the week may curtail training or even make the climb impossible, while previous weather conditions may have left the mountain in a difficult or dangerous condition. Any such factor may mean we have to re-arrange or curtail the programme.
During the early part of the week, the guides will assess your progress and skill levels. Even in good weather conditions, you will not be allowed to start the ascent unless the guides feel you have a reasonable chance of success and this will depend on local conditions, fitness and having grasped the necessary skills. There can be no guarantee that guides will be available to organise and run an alternative climb for anyone not able to undertake the ascent of Mont Blanc. This will depend entirely on the size and make up of the group. The guide’s main aim will be to ensure your safety and the maximum chances of success on the summit attempt for those fit and able enough to do it. Additional private guides may be available but the cost of this is not included in the price.
What are the chances of reaching the summit?
Obviously, you need to be confident of your fitness level in order to attempt this trip, but the main reason for failure is usually weather conditions. Thankfully the Alps enjoy long periods of stable weather in the summer, with regular thunderstorms in the afternoons that our guides are careful to avoid. However, due to its high altitude, any poor weather or strong winds on Mont Blanc can make a summit attempt too dangerous. In most cases, this can be forecasted and we will attempt to offer an alternative climb in the region (often Gran Paradiso 4061m in neighbouring Italy). As a guide we would expect about 30% of our trips each summer to be affected by bad weather, making reaching the summit Mont Blanc impossible. Even with a client to guide ratio of 2:1 a situation can develop where both clients will have to turn back if the guides consider that one of the clients should not continue.
Walking and ascent conditions
During the training and the climb, you will carry your own personal equipment, water and packed lunches, plus communal equipment (first aid kit, safety items etc.) will be distributed among the group members. On the training days and ascent, most of the time you will be walking on moraine, glaciers and snowfields. None of the ascents are extremely steep (approximate average would be around a maximum of 30 – 35º) but there is some exposure and you will encounter short steeper sections involving some rock scrambling, crevasses, bergschrunds and areas of snow instability and possible rock fall.
Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveler on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.