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Climbing Mont Blanc: Standing at the Roof of Europe

Yann Delevaux, Sebastien Tournoud, Marta Gil Sopena, Nuyama
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7 day
Yann Delevaux, Sebastien Tournoud, Marta Gil Sopena, Nuyama
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  • You too can climb the highest peak of Western Europe! Yes, that's right—even if this is your first peak ever, if you're fit and determined enough, reaching Mont Blanc is very much possible. Your guides designed the itinerary with sufficient preparation and comfort in mind. This means that you'll spend a few days prior to actually trying to summit Mont Blanc by practicing your skills, getting used to crampons, and getting the feel of high-altitude climbing. After scaling the Italian giant Gran Paradiso, a peak quite similar to Mont Blanc, you will move onto the 4,809-meter peak and attempt to summit it over three days. Reaching such a high-altitude peak has never been more accessible.

    • The whole idea of this trip is to make you confident and comfortable with the equipment and mountaineering even if you’ve never summited a peak before. This isn’t an essential part of climbing Mont Blanc, but having really experienced guides by your side who allow you to prepare and get the feel of climbing in high altitudes is a major factor in actually summiting.

      Starting from Chamonix or from Italy via the Skyway lift, you will do a glacier walk on Mer de Glace from France to Italy (or the opposite). There are no technical difficulties, the purpose of this is just to get used to the equipment and get a taste of a physical activity in altitude. Essentially, you will go into a crevasse and climb it—it will give you confidence with the crampons.

      Activity: 4-6 hours

      Peaks of the Alps
    • Spend the next two days ascending Gran Paradiso, the only +4,000-meter peak in Italy. This is perfect training ground as it’s quite similar to Mont Blanc and it will give you a good idea of what’s a summit like. Technically it’s not difficult at all and it’s easier than Mont Blanc, but it still serves as great preparation.

      From Chamonix, drive for about 1.5 hours and then hike for 2-3 hours to reach the mountain hut Chabot at around 3,000 m. This training will also give you an idea of how altitude works, how your body acclimatizes, and what’s it like being at higher altitudes. The next morning, breakfast is at 4 am in order to give you enough time to climb the Gran Paradiso summit. This is the perfect climb to test yourself before Mont Blanc.

      Activity: 2-3 hours on Day 2, then 7-10 hours to get to the summit and back to the car on Day 3
      Included accommodation: Chabot hut on Day 2
      Included meals: Dinner on Day 2, breakfast at Day 3

      Technical climbing, Mont Blanc
    • Today is a rest day! Use this time at your leisure—stroll the streets of Chamonix, go to a charming restaurant, or to a spa— or use it to practice some more and acclimatize to higher altitudes. Make sure you save your strength for tomorrow, as that’s when the actual ascent begins.

      Chamonix and mont blanc mountain range at sunny day, France.
    • After a delicious breakfast in Chamonix, meet your guide at 1 pm to drive to Les Houches to the Bellevue cable car. Then you will catch the TMB train to Nid d’Aigle (2,370 m / 7,775 ft) and hike/climb to Tête Rousse hut at 3,167 m / 10,390 ft). Go early to bed as you’ll be getting up in the middle of the night for the summit.

      Activity: 2-3 hours
      Included accommodation: Tête Rousse hut
      Included meals: Dinner
      Elevation gain: 800 m / 2,625 ft

      View of the Tete Rousse hut near Mont Blanc.
    • Today’s the day! Get up at around 2 am and have a hearty breakfast—you’ll need that fuel. First you’ll climb the Gouter Needle at 3,840 m / 12,600 ft and probably stop by the hut for a quick rest and some hot beverage. Then, you’ll head to Mont Blanc. The ascent takes about 4-6 hours from the Gouter.

      In ideal conditions, you’ll have reached the top! However, please keep in mind that the actual summit is not and cannot be guaranteed. It depends on many factors, including the weather and your guide’s assessment of safety. Keep in mind that your safety is your guide’s number one priority. If you’ve summited Mont Blanc, take in the views, the glowy sunrise over the valley, your accomplishments, and the beauty of it all. When you’re ready, descend back to the Gouter Hut.

      Activity: 8-14 hours
      Included accommodation: Gouter Hut
      Included meals: Breakfast and dinner
      Elevation gain: 1,700 m / 5,580 ft
      Elevation loss: 1,000 m / 3,280 ft

      Mont Blanc summit
    • After a big day behind you, have breakfast and pack up. You will wake up early in the morning to descend the Gouter needle in the best conditions and then hike down to the train and the cable car to Les Houches. You should be in Chamonix in the early afternoon.

      Activity: 3-5 hours
      Included meals: Breakfast
      Elevation loss: 2,300 m / 7,545 ft

      Gouter Hut, Mont Blanc
    • Summiting Mont Blanc is designed as a private trip, which means your guide can either take you alone or you can go with one more person. With years of experience under their belt, your guides know this trip is not meant for mixed groups—the climb largely depends on the dynamics of the group.

      Please note that you have to arrange your own accommodation while in Chamonix. Your guide covers the half-board mountain hut nights, but you choose your base in Chamonix. Let us know if you need any help finding suitable accommodation, your guides can connect you with their accommodation partners. Make sure you’re in Chamonix at least a day prior to Day 1.

      This itinerary is subject to modification according to conditions, weather, and your physical abilities. As with any high-altitude ascent, reaching Mont Blanc summit can never be guaranteed. Still, your guide will do their best to maximize your chances of success—they are the ones who are in charge of picking and planning your itinerary. As your guide Yann says, “you don’t decide to go to the top of the mountain, the mountain lets you“.

    • What you get on this adventure:

        • Experienced, local hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area — client-to-guide ratio is 2:1 on Mont Blanc and/or 4:1 on prep days
        • 6-day Mont Blanc guided climbing tour + 1 rest day
        • Lifts
        • Transfer from Chamonix to Pont in Italy (for Gran Paradiso)
        • Half-board in mountain huts for you and your guides
        • All safety equipment (ropes, carabiners, ice screws, harness…)

      If you need any help with accommodation in Chamonix, please let us know. We can get you in contact with your guides’ accommodation partners.

      What’s not included:

        • Transportation to and from Chamonix
        • Drinks and snacks in mountain huts (except 1L of tea on climbing day and 1.5L of water at dinner)
        • Personal mountaineering gear
        • Lunches in mountain huts
        • Meals and accommodation in Chamonix
        • Personal insurance — mandatory
        • Guide gratuities — optional
    • The best thing about climbing Mont Blanc is that it’s not reserved for expert climbers only. Anyone with a very good level of fitness, endurance, determination, and proper preparation can make it!

      So even if you’ve never climbed a peak before, you can do this. Let Mont Blanc, the highest point of Europe, be your first of many! The most important things here are your level of fitness and preparation. You have to make sure you’re fit enough to climb for up to 12 hours on summit day, so as long as you’re confident in your abilities and have very good endurance, you’re good to go. Though it’s not technically difficult, it’s a very long hike and it requires considerable effort.

      Your guides designed this trip with plenty of preparation and flexibility in mind. Prior to actually attempting to summit Mont Blanc, you will spend several days in and around Chamonix, getting used to the equipment and the altitude. More information on that is found in the day-by-day itinerary, but essentially, the idea is that your body gets used to climbing in high altitudes and that you get the feel of having crampons. Only when you’ve tried summiting Gran Paradiso, an Italian giant which is both similar and easier than Mont Blanc, can you continue onto Mont Blanc. Spending longer time in Chamonix also gives you more flexibility regarding adverse weather conditions.

      Finally, it’s important to note that your guides recommend one to two persons maximum for the climb, meaning that this is not a group tour. If you’re by yourself, that’s totally fine—an expert guide will be with you the whole way through. But if you have a friend or family who shares similar fitness and goals with you, that’s also perfect. You will not be placed in a group with unknown people.

    • Mountaineering gear (available to rent in Chamonix, please let us know if you need anything):

        • Good quality mountaineering boots (that allow attaching of crampons)
        • Ice axe, crampons, and helmet

      Personal clothing:

        • Waterproof shell jacket (Gore-Tex or similar)
        • Waterproof shell trousers (Gore-Tex or similar)
        • Mid layer (fleece is good)
        • Base layers
        • Spare clothes for layering
        • Clothes for the evening and rest day
        • Down layer
        • Hat
        • Gloves
        • Gaiters

      Personal items:

        • Backpack (35-50L), big enough to fit all you’ll need for the ascent, including your sleeping bag
        • Sleeping bag or liner (very light and thin)
        • Hiking poles — optional
        • Water bottle or hydration bladder (2L capacity)
        • Toiletries (sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
        • Personal medication
        • Headlamp or flashlight
        • Sunglasses
        • Camera — optional (but recommended)
    • Yes, you can! Your guide will provide you with ropes, carabiners, ice screws, and harness. Everything else you need to bring yourself or simply rent it with one of the many gear rental shops in Chamonix. Check out Sanglard Sports for rental.

    • Group sizes and prices:

        • The following dates for 2024 are confirmed to run as the huts have been booked: July 12-18, July 19-25, July 26-August 1, August 29-September 4, September 6-12. 
        • This is a private tour—just you and your people. Due to wanting to avoid groups who do not match in skill or fitness level, your guides believe it’s best to have private groups for this trip.
        • Two people would be ideal for this tour, as the success of this climb also depends on the homogeneity of the group. Your guides know from experience that mixing people who don’t know each other for the ascent can lead to frustration. The price is also lower for two persons.
        • Still, you’re very welcome to join by yourself!
        • For one to two climbers, there will be one mountain guide for the ascent.

      Mont Blanc guided climbing can be arranged for larger groups. If you have a group of three or more people who would love to join, that’s also possible, though the pricing will need to be adjusted. Contact us to make arrangements.

      Min. age requirements:

        • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
        • Minors younger than 18 may be permitted to join the Mont Blanc guided climb on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.

      If your group has climbers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

    • To get to Chamonix, the starting point of your Mont Blanc guided tour, most people fly into Geneva International Airport (GVA), one hour away. Once you arrive, there are several ways to reach your destination, including public transport. Looking to make the airport transfers hassle-free? Check out Mountain Drop Offs—they provide door-to-door service in their comfy and spacious shuttles. Use the code 57HCHX to get a 5% discount!

      Make sure to arrive a day prior to Day 1, as your adventure begins in the morning of Day 1.

    • Cover all your bases with both emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, and travel insurance. With medical insurance, if you have an accident or medical emergency on or off the mountain, you’ll avoid paying out of pocket for costly expenses. This covers everything from hospital treatments to emergency air transportation and more. Please note that insurance is mandatory. If you need assistance selecting the right insurance for your group, let us know and we will be happy to help!

      We also expect you to respect local regulations and take measures to protect yourselves, your guides, and the communities you’re traveling to.

      Climbing Mont Blanc as well as any other mountain is weather / conditions depending. Please keep in mind that the program can be changed at any time by your guide due to safety reasons.




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