Climb Mont Blanc
'Climb Mont Blanc' is our most popular course. It is right outside the backdoor of our Alpine base in Chamonix! Our Guides know Mont Blanc like the back of their hand and will make sure you have the best experience possible.
To climb Mont Blanc (4810m), the highest peak in western europe, is a great experience and fantastic achievement. It is a very feasible objective if you have a good level of fitness and previous hill walking experience. We teach all the necessary skills to climb Mont Blanc during this course.
You can expect several predawn starts during the week (but restful afternoons in the sun), with a 1am start on the Mont Blanc summit day!
Temperatures vary a lot, with below freezing dawn starts to 'roasting' on sunny afternoons. It is not unusual for it to be -10 to -15 degrees on the summit. But the views and relaxing beer in the sun afterwards make it all worthwhile!
Climb Mont Blanc - the Route
We normally climb the Gouter Ridge route up Mt Blanc, giving a variety of climbing styles starting with a steady 2.5 hr walk to the Tete Rousse hut (overnight). Summit day starts with a 600m easy rocky scramble (2.5hrs) to the Gouter hut at 3800m, where we stop for a quick break. Another option will be to push all the way to the Gouter hut on the first day, with an early start from there the next day to the top of Mont Blanc. From the Gouter hut we continue on glacial slopes and finally an airy, narrow snow ridge to the summit (7hrs up total, and a long way down!). It is possible to either return to the valley after the summit, or stay another night in the hut before returning to the valley the following day. This route offers the highest success rate!
However, at your guide's discretion, the traverse from the Aig du Midi may be attempted. This traverses over the shoulders of Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit before climbing the long summit slopes of Mont Blanc. This is a more demanding undertaking requiring good snow conditions.
Who is it for?
Anyone with a good level of endurance fitness and a sense of adventure! Previous mountaineering experience is a bonus, but not necessary as we teach all required skills during the week. Mont Blanc is high and the altitude makes it hard work and so determination is useful to keep going to the top!
Acclimatisation is crucial to success on Mont Blanc and our itinerary has a proven record.
Saturday: We meet in the evening at 6pm to go through the weather/conditions and the plan for the week. You will meet your Guides and you can ask any questions.
Sunday: Final kit check and opportunity for kit hire, before we drive to le Tour and walk up to the Albert 1er hut (2700m). After a break we descend to the glacier for crampon/ice axe instruction in the afternoon. Overnight at the hut. Begin acclimatising. (2.5hrs to the hut)
Monday: An early start to climb the Petit Fourche (3520m) - a great little peak - and descend to the Trient hut, possibly via an abseil! (3200m,overnight). Glacier travel practice. (7hrs)
Tuesday: Another early start to climb the Aig du Tour (3540m). This is an aesthetic peak where we can practice easy rocky scrambling to the pointy summit. Descend to Chamonix for a well earnt rest. (7hrs)
During this phase we will have acclimatised, climbed two quality peaks in glacial terrain and learnt and practised the necessary skills for the main event...
Wednesday - Friday: Climbing Mont Blanc takes two days, but we build in a spare day in case of bad weather to maximise the chance of success. We usually climb Mont Blanc via the Gouter Ridge, as this route normally allows the best chance of summit success. However, if conditions are better on the '3 Monts' route then we will climb Mont Blanc by this route.
We enjoy an 80-90% summit success rate on this programme, and almost 100% enjoyment rate!
When staying in Chamonix, we stay in one of our comfortable Adventure Base Chalets, literally 6 minutes walk from the town centre's restaurants and bars. Breakfast and packed lunch are included leaving the evenings free for you to explore the delights of Chamonix.
What to expect from mountain huts
They are basic but comfortable. They can cater for vegetarians. Food is usually on a set menu basis (3 course in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and we buy water to drink and wash with (no showers). You can usually buy tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, chocolate bars and snacks. Sleeping arrangements are normally dormitory style bunkbeds (eg 6 people on the bottom, 6 on the top) with blankets or duvets. No sleeping bags are needed, rather a 'sheet sleeping bag' should be brought. The huts provide slippers for wearing around the hut. On this course we ask the hut guardians to provide a packed lunch for the team each day.
You can expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
Local transport in the Chamonix valley is included. Uplifts according to the itinerary are also included (using more uplifts incurs additional cost)
*Note: Chalet accommodation, transport and uplifts are not included in the 'Course Only' price. The 'Course Only' price just includes guides fees/expenses and upto 4 nights half-board in mountain huts.
A detailed Info Pack contains all the necessary information for this course, including Kit List, Travel Advice, Training Advice and so on. Download it by registering/logging in to your Dream Guides Account.