Mont Blanc has established it as a classic must-do climb, at the top of many mountaineers tic lists.
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ALPINE CLIMBING AT MONT BLANC
Standing at 4808 meters (15,780 feet) Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Western Alps. It was on Mont Blanc more than two centuries ago that Alpinism was founded when the mountain was first climbed by the scientist Horace Benedict de Saussure. The history, size, and beauty of Mont Blanc has established it as a classic must-do climb, at the top of many mountaineers tic lists.
Our Route Climbing Mont Blanc
The Gouter route, which ascends the Northwest ridge is the most direct and moderate, and often our route of choice. Just because it’s the most climbed route, does not mean it should be taken lightly. Climbing the Gouter route is strenuous high altitude climbing that requires stamina, good acclimatization, and solid technique.
Mont Blanc can be climbed in two days. The first day is the approach; using a combination of trams, trains and a steep 2-hour hike, we will arrive at the Tete Rousse hut. The second day is a big one. We will make or summit bid and then descend back to the hut, to the train and all the way back to the Chamonix valley with a tram ride.
Roped up with crampons on, we leave the Tete Rousse hut around 2 am. After a short traverse, we climb steeply to the edge of the Grand Couloir. Crossing this couloir takes only a minute, but is potentially the most dangerous minute of our climb. Rockfall in this couloir is common and good judgment, speed and sure-footedness are required for a safe crossing. Once across the couloir, the fun begins, as we climb and scramble up the rocky Gouter ridge. You can expect to take around 2 hours to get from the Tete Rousse to the Gouter hut, which is where we transition to glacier travel mode.
Over the Dome du Gouter and past the Bivouac Vallot. The final push up the exposed Arete des Bosses ridge brings us to this spectacular summit. On a clear day, one can see the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Grand Paradiso in Italy, as well as the Chamonix valley down below. After a few photo’s we’ll retrace our steps back home.
You Can Choose Your Program
Although the actual ascent of Mont Blanc only requires two days, most climbers are better served by adding in some training and acclimatization days. For this reason, we offer a couple of options. Please note that even the 4-day option feels aggressive for many people.
- July - Sept
*Custom dates available
- Group gear
- IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Liability Insurance
- Guide Expenses
- Hotel & hut accommodations
- Mountain Transportation
- Transportation between
- Personal gear
We meet at 9 am for a gear check and to establish our plan for the next few days. From the town center, we will ride the Aiguille de Midi Tram to its top at 12,605’. do a training and acclimatization hike across the Vallee Blanche and climb the Aiguille d’Entreves. We will spend the evening at the Torino hut, 11,075 feet. Day 2
ride the bubbles back across the Vallee Blanch and climb the Cosmiques ridge. The top of the Cosmiques Arete puts us on the Tram Deck. We will spend the night in Chamonix
Go to Tete Rouse hut.
Summit and Descend to the Nid d’Aigle to catch the Mont Blanc Railway back to the Chamonix Valley.
Meet at 9 am for gear check and establish a plan for the week. From Le Tour, we take the Charamillion-Balme ski lift to its top. From the top of the lift, we hike to the Albert Premier Hut, 8,864 feet.
Early morning start to climb the Petit Fourche, followed by a glacier tour to the Trient hut, 10,400 feet.
Climb the Aiguille du Tour and descend back to Chamonix, where will spend the night. Day 4
Ascend via train and lift to Nid d’ Aigle followed by a hike on a trail to the Tete Rouse hut, 10,390.
Summit day and return to the Tete Rouse hut.
Descend to Nid d’Aigle, where we take a train and lifts back to Chamonix.
While the difficulty of climbing required on every trip is different, there are some basic skills that are required on any climbing trip. Every climber needs to be able to put on their own equipment correctly, as well as have basic understanding of climbing jargon adequate to follow your guides directions. Each climber needs to be able to tie a figure eight rethread knot as well as a clove hitch, and have basic belay and rappel experience.
If we are on glacier during the trip, you should have previous experience using crampons and ice axe, as well as training on self arrest. Crevasse Rescue training, while not required on every trip is a good skill every climber should have in their tool box.
This stuff can all be learned in a day or two out with an ITCOG guide or one of our colleagues. Get in touch and set up a training class today.
Each climb has a technical grade ranging from class 1 (hiking) to class 5 (technical rock climbing). Most of our Alpine offerings start at Class 3, which is described as scrambling on rock with the use of both feet and hands. Being comfortable moving in this terrain while being short roped or coached by a guide is our base line.
Many of our Alpine climbs require 5th class climbing, described as technical rock climbing. Terrain where you would not want to fall without a rope. The class is then divided by grades: 5.0 to 5.10 for example. You will need to climb proficiently at the grade of the objective for which you are signing up for. For example: The Matterhorn is rated 5.4, you will need to move at a good steady pace for 8-12 hours , up and down in 5.4 terrain. (please check out our climbing grades comparison chart at the end of this document.)
Most Summit days are big! On our alpine climbs you can expect to be moving at a steady pace for 8 to 14 hours. That’s a big time difference, I know! But that ultimately depends on you! A good guide won’t waste time, he/she sets good pacing and route finding sure! but your fitness and skill level will be the biggest determinate between a big and a huge day. Ultimately speed is safety. The longer you are out the more tired you become. Standard times on mountains are always a consideration and are generally adhered to.
A positive attitude, which includes being mentally prepared goes a long way in the mountains. But determination will only get you so far. I always ask people what their average week of exercise looks like, and what is their biggest day of exercise in the past year. I look for a regular exercise program of 2-3 days a week and many weekends. Having a big activity like; a big hike or a long run, or past experience Alpine climbing and mountaineering are good indicators for adequate fitness.
Many of our alpine climbs are above 14,000 feet. At these elevations the lack of oxygen getting into your lungs with each breath is a factor when considering fitness. The single greatest thing you can do to improve your performance at altitude, is to show up with a
strong heart! If you show up cardio fit. You should be pushing your cardio in the months and weeks prior to your climb. Your strong heart and lungs will adapt to altitude better than they otherwise would.
We have lot’s of experience helping people get fit for trips. The last thing in the world you want is for your fitness to stop you from doing your trip of a life time. We are happy to work with you to establish a training program that fits your goals and lifestyle. If you can make it to Salt Lake City, we would love to take you out and give you an idea of where you are at with your climbing ability and skills, as well as your over all fitness. Don’t forget if you have different abilities or a different agenda, we are always happy to do a private trip for you and your group.