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Mont Blanc Ascent

from $3,955.00

Climb Western Europe’s highest peak in France

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  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
  • Activity Level Tough/Tough+
  • Group Size Small Group
    2 - 6
All about the Mont Blanc Ascent.

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 atop of Western Europe’s highest peak. Attempted over three days, our itinerary is designed to give you the very best chance of reaching the summit, following either the Goûter or Cosmiques route, depending on departure date. 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.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners
* 3 nights 2-star Hotel Les Campanules, 4 nights mountain huts

* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout. Group normally 4 to 6, plus UIAGM mountain guide/s as appropriate
* Arrival & departure transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request – 3 hotel nights in Chamonix)

Highlights

  • Crampon and ice axe tuition
  • Three day summit attempt increases chances of success
  • Comfortable hotel accommodation in Chamonix to maximize rest and preparation
  1. Day 1 Start Chamonix; equipment hire and briefing.

    Start at our hotel in Les Houches, just outside Chamonix. Those not flying with the group will rendezvous with us at the hotel in the afternoon. You can have an optional lunch here, which will be followed by a full briefing and introduction to the trip. Depending on the group members arrival time, we may have the opportunity to hire technical equipment with our local partners and enjoy some free time in Chamonix, before driving back in time for dinner. Alternatively, the equipment hire will be done on the morning of Day 2. 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 4.*Hotel*

  2. Day 2 Walk to Albert Premier refuge (2702m); afternoon snow and ice skills training on Glacier du Tour.

    After a hearty breakfast the guide will meet us at the hotel and check that everyone is correctly equipped. Weather permitting, this is the start of the three-day circuit that is planned to give you the opportunity to acclimatize to the alpine altitudes in preparation for an attempt on Mont Blanc. We will take a short transfer up the valley to the village of Le Tour, then take a small two-stage cable-car to the Col de Balme. From here we begin our walk to the Albert Premier refuge, located at 2702m on Glacier du Tour. Here we spend the afternoon training in snow and ice climbing techniques on the surrounding glacier.*Refuge Hut*

  3. Day 3 Possible ascent of Tête Blanche (3422m) and across the Col Supérieur du Tour to Trient refuge.

    Today is a great opportunity to put yesterday’s lessons into practice as we ascend from the refuge to make an attempt on Tête Blanche (3422m). The route is not too steep but most people will begin to feel the effect of altitude. From here we continue through the Col Supérieur du Tour to reach the Trient refuge in neighbouring Switzerland. There will be time to rest or relax during the afternoon.Maximum Altitude: 3429m*Refuge Hut*

  4. Day 4 Climb the Col du Midi des Grands (3523m), descend to village of Le Tour then back to Chamonix.

    Starting from the Trient refuge, depending on weather conditions we steadily climb either the Col du Midi des Grands (3523m) or return over the Col Supérieur du Tour. We then descend past the Albert Premier refuge where we can take a short break before continuing our descent all the way back to the village of Le Tour. From here we transfer back to our hotel in Les Houches.Maximum Altitude: 3235mNB: The itinerary for the next three days will depend on the weather on Mont Blanc, but if good we will follow the Goûter route to the summit. 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*

  5. Day 5 Ascend by cable-car and train to Nid d'Aigle (2372 m); steady walk to Tête Rousse refuge (3167m).

    This is the first step of the Mont Blanc ascent and it is relatively easy. Additional guides will join us this morning. Starting from Les Houches we take the Bellevue cable-car to reach the Bellevue train station where we catch the Victorian Rack railway train (’Tramway du Mont Blanc’) to Nid d’Aigle (2372 m). From here we walk up a winding track offering a stunning view over the Chamonix valley. Shortly we arrive on a snow-covered area approaching the brand new Tête Rousse refuge (3167 m). We spend the whole afternoon relaxing, acclimatising, and contemplating the wonderful view of Aiguille de Bionnassay’s North face.Maximum Altitude: 3167m*Refuge Hut*

  6. Day 6 Cross the 'Grand Couloir' then scramble on to a steep arête to arrive at Goûter refuge (3817m).

    This is our first opportunity to attend the ascent and hopefully the summit of Mont Blanc! Once it has been decided who will be roped up with who, we start our ascent to the Goûter refuge. Soon we have to cross the famous ’Grand Couloir’ where there are many loose stones and possible rock fall. Extreme care must be taken here and the guides will give precise instructions. A rocky scramble across a steep arête brings us to the Goûter refuge. This section would be problematic for anyone suffering from vertigo. From the refuge, we have an outstanding panorama of the surrounding mountains.Note : In case bad weather is forecast for the next day, or if the current weather situation is good and the guide deems the group fit enough, after a short break in the Goûter refuge it may be possible to go directly to Mont Blanc summit this afternoon with a return to the Goûter refuge for the night. The main guide will make this decision according to the weather conditions and the level of the group.Maximum Altitude: 3817m*Refuge Hut*

  7. Day 7 Climb via Dôme du Goûter (4304m) and Les Bosses ridge to the summit (4810m); long descent to Chamonix.

    Waking-up at 2am, we eat a quick breakfast and start the ascent to Mont Blanc. We walk quietly and at a steady pace, with the route lit by our head torches, to reach the Dôme du Goûter (4304m). Dawn usually arrives and the sun starts to shine as we reach the Vallot emergency shelter (4362m). The summit is now within range as we start our ascent of the majestical and often exposed Les Bosses ridge before suddenly discovering the summit at 4810m. Welcome to the highest point in Western Europe! We descend by the same way with a break in the Goûter refuge, before continuing all the way into the valley at Les Houches. You shouldn’t underestimate how physically challenging this day will be and the descent, in particular, can be very tough and tiring. Back in the comfort of our hotel, we enjoy a well-earned shower, dinner and presentation ceremony.Maximum Altitude: 4810m*Hotel*

  8. Day 8 End Chamonix.

    End at the hotel in Les Houches in the morning.**

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Where you stay

Hotels & Mountain Huts/Refuges

You will spend 3 nights in the Hotel Les Campanules (‘Bluebell’), in Les Houches, near Chamonix. This is a comfortable 2-star hotel in a good location directly opposite Mont Blanc itself. 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).

Double room at the Hotel Campanules, Chamonix. France
Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 6 lunches (picnic / snack style), and 7 evening meals are included.

Lunch is not included on day 1 or day 8. Please also note that no refund will be given for meals not taken or taken other than where designated. Typical meals Breakfast: coffee, tea, hot chocolate, French bread, jam, and cereals. Lunch: sandwiches of cold meats, cheese, or sometimes tinned fish. Cakes, chocolate and energy bars. Evening meal: first course of soup or salad or charcuterie, a main course with one or two vegetables, rice or pasta, and a dessert. 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. Please note mountain hut meals will be more basic that the chalet meals listed above.

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 three 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 on days 5, 6 & 7 for the attempt on Mont Blanc; 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 program.

Essential Information

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.

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