mont blanc sample itinerary...
Most days involve an early “alpine start” and you will be mountaineering for 6 to 8 hours each day (with a longer day on summit day). One of the most enjoyable aspects of this itinerary is the fact that we stay overnight in a succession of high mountain refuges in order to gain acclimatisation. These refuges are spectacularly located, provide comfortable accommodation and good food and also give us the chance to meet up with a cosmopolitan bunch of mountaineers. Staying in huts whilst in the mountains means that we can travel with reasonably light rucksacks, a very important factor that makes the effort easier, safer and a lot more fun. This is still a tough trip, however, and group members will need to be fit before arrival.
Strenuous multi day, mountaineering/trekking in a high mountain environment (Maximum Altitude – Summit of Mont Blanc 4810m). This is a mountaineering adventure for people with a good level of fitness and able to carry a rucksack for an extended period (up to 10 hours). Endurance sports, rather than a quick 30mins on a step trainer will provide the best pre-training. Ideally, you will regularly hill/trail walk with a reasonable weight (10kg) in your rucksack, whilst doing this, a rate of ascent of 4km per hour plus 1 minute for each 10m of vertical height gained would be considered a good measure of ability. A commitment to training beforehand will make your ascent of Mont Blanc more pleasurable and safer as you will adjust to the altitude better. A basic knowledge of mountaineering techniques is helpful, but not necessary as we will provide instruction and training in all the necessary techniques during the course of the trip. If you are unsure as to your ability for this itinerary, feel free to contact us to discuss the issue. The Guides on our trips will not allow any participant to continue if they feel that the dynamics, safety or well being of a participant or the group itself is compromised because of the minimum requirement of ability. We run Custom Guiding throughout the Summer, which provides a perfect opportunity to assess your skill level and learn the appropriate techniques before committing yourself to a more strenuous objective.
For the duration of this 6 day itinerary we have a maximum of 2 clients for each Guide. This means that you will get to know your Guide and they will get to know you. Your training and acclimatisation is more specific and you will be with the same Guide on summit day. We believe that our approach coupled with the fact that we are out of sync with the majority of teams, enables us to move more efficiently and safely in the mountains, gives you the maximum flexibility and generally makes for the most positive experience. This is reflected in our very high success rate and the positive feedback from you.
Important – This day to day schedule should be taken only as a general guide. Although we update our itineraries regularly, it is not possible to guarantee that any of our trips will run exactly according to the proposed itinerary. A variety of factors, for example, adverse weather and/or mountain conditions can lead to enforced changes. The Guide(s) will make any changes that are necessary.
We run our trips on a Guiding only basis but have fixed dates. This is to give us the maximum flexibility with hut bookings and part of our approach to be out of sync with the majority of teams
Wednesday – Arrival by 18.00hrs in Chamonix
The group will rendezvous at a hotel/chalet/accommodation in the Chamonix Valley. In the evening, we will meet our Guide and have an informal chat about the trip. Anyone proposing to hire items of equipment will pick these up on this day or before setting out in the morning.
Thursday – Day 1 – To the Albert Premier Hut
There is no rush in the morning and we have the chance to go through our equipment to make sure we have all necessary items for the week. There may be items of communal safety equipment to hand out amongst the group. After hiring or buying any last minute equipment and snack food, we have an early lunch in Chamonix and then transfer to the village of Le Tour in the Chamonix valley. We will use the télécabine and chairlift to take us up to 2140m and from here walk on a gently ascending path until we are level with the glacier. We will cover some essential glacier skills before spending our first overnight at the Albert Premier hut at 2702m (3-4 hours).
Friday – Day 2 – To the Trient Hut
We leave the hut in the morning and ascend towards the peaks of Tête Blanche (3421m) and Petite Fourche (3520m). We then traverse the large glaciated area of the Plateau du Trient towards the Trient hut. We have a lunchtime stop at the hut, an ideal opportunity to sample the Swiss dish of Rösti. In the afternoon, we will make an ascent of the Pointe d'Orny (3269m) continuing to develop our movement over scrambling terrain and ropework before returning to the Trient Hut at 3170m (6 hours).
Saturday – Day 3 – Aiguille du Tour and return to Chamonix
Following an early start from the hut, we traverse the large glaciated area of the Plateau du Trient towards the Aiguille du Tour. This ideal training peak gives us the opportunity to practise our skills further as we move over steeper snow and ice and then scramble up towards the summit via a rocky ridge (3542m). We descend and retrace our steps to the Albert Premier hut where we can have some lunch before rejoining the path that leads us back to the lift system which we use to descend and then transfer back to Chamonix for a night in the valley (8 hours).
Sunday – Day 4 – To the Tête Rousse Hut
We have a more relaxed start after the exertions of the previous days. We transfer to the village of Les Houches, just 3 miles from Chamonix, where we take the télépherique to Bellevue (1801m), which meets the cog railway that comes up from Le Fayet and St Gervais. We take the train to the terminus at the Nid d'Aigle (2372m) and from here continue on foot by a winding series of trails passing Chamois and Bouquetins along the way. Eventually, we reach the Tête Rousse glacier and cross this to our overnight accommodation at the Tête Rousse hut at 3167m (3-4 hours).
Monday – Day 5 – Mont Blanc summit day and descend to the Gôuter Hut
After a good nights rest, we have a reasonably early start and scramble steadily up the ground that we could see from the Tête Rousse hut the previous afternoon. Timewise, we have quite a large window of opportunity to reach the summit today and return to the Gôuter hut. Our aim is to be out of sync with other climbers on the mountain and cross the Grand Couloir early in the morning while it is still cold. At the Gôuter hut, we have time to prepare for the next section as from here we are on snow all the way. Firstly up the broad face of the Dôme du Gôuter to where we can see the summit of the Mont Blanc. We then descend very slightly and then gain altitude again towards the emergency shelter of the Vallot hut (4362m). From here the route changes in feel as we now climb up a series of fine and beautiful snow arêtes which snake their way over les Bosses and la Tournette until gradually arriving on the whaleback summit of Mont Blanc itself (4810m). After many photos and admiring the panoramic view, we start our descent back down to the Gôuter hut at 3817m where we have a well deserved meal and nights sleep (8-10 hours).
Tuesday – Day 6 – Return to Chamonix
After a leisurely breakfast, we bid farewell to the Gôuter hut and descend the arête again crossing the Grand Couloir in the cool of the morning and when there are fewer teams around. We pick up the trail that takes us back down to the Nid d'Aigle, where we catch the train to Bellevue and descend by télépherique for the last time to the valley. Here we will transfer to our accommodation and take the opportunity to relax in the afternoon, explore Chamonix and celebrate our achievement on Mont Blanc (4 hours).
...click here to close this section