France, Europe

Climb Mont Blanc

At 4810m, Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and in Western Europe. The ascent is a fantastic challenge, which creates a memory to last a lifetime - a real bucket list item!

Mountain Tracks has over 20 years of experience on the mountain and our 6-day course gives you the highest chances of reaching the top. All of our climb Mont Blanc trips are expertly led by our own team of IFMGA Mountain Guides.

The good news is that Mont Blanc is an achievable target not only for experienced climbers but also for competent winter walkers. However, the rigours of altitude and the potential for less than perfect weather makes it a serious endeavour. Over the 6-day trip, Mountain Tracks' Guides will accompany you through a well-structured acclimatisation program, which is critical to the success of the trip and involves sleeping at altitude rather than returning to the valley between days in the mountains. The first half of the trip is dedicated to training and acclimatisation, the highlight being the ascent of the classic Italian peak of Gran Paradiso (4061), a high and worthy peak in its own right. The second half of the week is spent on Mont Blanc itself and utilises two days in serviced mountain huts.

How difficult is Mont Blanc?

To climb Mont Blanc requires a high level of fitness (stamina) together with surefootedness and plenty of commitment. Previous Alpine experience is desirable but not mandatory and during the week you’ll receive training in all the essential climbing skills so you are fully equipped and acclimatised for the ascent.

For more information on how tough this climb is, click on the "Essential Information" tab above to find out about the specific challenges facing aspiring summiteers.

What is the standard of accommodation in the huts?

The huts are run by full-time staff who look after us on a half-board basis, the cooking is hearty homemade food, with water, beer, wine and picnic lunches available at an extra cost. The sleeping quarters are communal and the views during sunset and sunrise are world beating. The Mountain Tracks team will take care of the booking of all of your huts during the trip.

Discover the route

 

Click on the aeroplane icon to experience a birdseye view of the route. This route was plotted by our very own Lead Guide, Matt Dickinson in partnership with FATMAP.

Day Itinerary

  • Day 1 Arrival

    Travel to our comfortable partner hotel in Chamonix, where you should aim to have arrived by late afternoon. There will be a welcome meeting, followed by a briefing and kit check with your IFMGA guides at 6:30 pm. You will enjoy comfortable hospitality overnight before the next day's excursion.

  • Day 2. Walk to the Chabod Hut

    We drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel and into Italy where our destination is the stunning Gran Paradiso National Park. A 2-3hr walk through the forests and over moorland takes us to the Chabod Refuge (2750m), situated at the foot of the huge North-West face of the Gran Paradiso. After checking in at the hut we walk up to the glacier for skills training, specifically crampon and ice axe work and crevasse rescue skills.

    Day 3. Ascent of Gran Paradiso

    After an early start, we climb the classic route to the summit of the Gran Paradiso (4061m). The majority of the climb is on a steeply ascending glacier, there is an airy rocky scramble along the summit but it’s worth every step for the magnificent views back to Mont Blanc, your target for the week. We then descend a different route to the Vittorio Emanuele hut (2735m) where we rest, continue our acclimatisation and spend the night.

    Day 4. Descent and Rest

    We start today with another technical training session above the hut before descending back to the valley and returning to Chamonix by car/minibus. Back at the hotel, you have time to rest and prepare for the next 3 days on Mont Blanc.

  • Day 5. Walk to the Tete Rousse or the Gouter hut

    This morning we leave for the first of 3 days on Mont Blanc. After a short journey by road, we take the Bellevue cable car to the Col du Voza and the rack and pinion railway to the Nid d'Aigle (2372m). From there we reach the Tete Rousse hut (3167m) after around 2 -3hrs of walking. We may ascend further to the Gouter Hut (3800m) depending on bookings, this adds a further 2 hrs to the days climbing. In the evening we fuel up with a hearty home-cooked meal and watch the spectacular sunset before resting up ahead of the big day tomorrow.

    Day 6. Ascent of Mont Blanc

    We use a very early start, somewhere between 2 am and 5 am depending on which hut combination we use, and begin our ascent in the dark using headlights. From the Tete Rousse hut it will take approximately 6-7hrs of climbing to reach the summit, if we leave from the Gouter it will take 3-5hrs to arrive at the peak.

    The first part of the climb is a rocky scramble, the second half is a glaciated slope followed by the elegant and exposed Bosses ridge. After admiring the view from the top of Western Europe, we return via the same route and stay a second night in either hut.

    Day 7. Descent

    Today, after a later and more sociable breakfast, we descend from the hut back to Nid d'Aigle and eventually to Les Houches and into Chamonix for a celebratory drink! It is also possible to use this day as a summit day if the weather on the previous day did not allow a summit attempt.

  • Day 8. Departure
    Goodbyes and departure after breakfast. Or enjoy the beautiful town of Chamonix if your flight times allow

Additional information

Mountain Tracks use the ‘Gouter Route’ for climbing Mont Blanc, this is the standard route for most groups. On most trips we walk up to the Tete Rousse hut on day 1, stay in the hut overnight and climb to the summit on day 2 before returning to the Gouter hut for the second night and descending to Chamonix on the morning of day 3.

However, due to the popularity of Mont Blanc, the number of climbers wanting to climb the mountain far exceeds the numbers of hut spaces on the mountain – particularly in the Gouter and Tete Rousse huts. As a result, we cannot guarantee to get spaces in either of these huts for all our groups; sometimes it's necessary to split groups across both huts on any one night. We have chosen to run our trips Sunday to Sunday so we hope to offer better availability in the 2 main summit huts at the end of the week.

The Trois Monts Route via Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and Mont Blanc is now guided on a maximum ratio of 1:1, therefore it is no longer an option to move to this route in the event of conditions or hut booking status. If you wish to attempt Mont Blanc via this route please contact the team to discuss how we can help you to achieve this.

 

2019

Dates

Price

Sun 21 Jul
- Sun 28 Jul
£2250 Departed  
Sun 04 Aug
- Sun 11 Aug
£2250 Full
Sun 18 Aug
- Sun 25 Aug
£2250 Full
Thu 22 Aug
- Thu 29 Aug
£2250 Full
Sun 01 Sep
- Sun 08 Sep
£2250 Full

2020

Dates

Price

Sat 04 Jul
- Sat 11 Jul
£2250 Book
Wed 08 Jul
- Wed 15 Jul
£2250 Book
Sun 19 Jul
- Sun 26 Jul
£2250 Book
Sun 02 Aug
- Sun 09 Aug
£2250 Book
Sun 16 Aug
- Sun 23 Aug
£2250 Book
Sun 30 Aug
- Sun 06 Sep
£2250 Book

The price includes all guiding fees and expenses, half-board hotel accommodation in the valley (twin-room), half board accommodation in mountain huts, uplift costs, local transfers.
The price does not include lunches, beverages, personal insurance, equipment hire and travel to and from the Alps.
Single room occupancy in Chamonix will incur an additional cost please contact out office for details.

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This list contains our recommended clothing and equipment for our Mont Blanc Climber weeks.

In the summer months, the days generally start very cold and warm up during the morning to become hot in the afternoon. It is therefore essential that you have 2-3 thin layers that you are able to put on/take off as the conditions change. Thin layers also allow better movement as opposed to one layer of bulky clothing.

If you are uncertain or need further information, please contact us.

  • Base Layer Top and Bottoms – a few base layer tops, usually long sleeved is best, wool base layers form Smartwool or Icebreaker are good as they offer good wicking properties and dry quickly. For your legs a couple of pairs of long or ¾ length bottoms are best.

    Mid-layer fleece tops – a couple of fleece type jacket or tops that can be worn between your base layer and outer layers. The “Layering” approach offers the best heat retention and flexibility in warm and cold weather.

    Insulation Layer - a down or primalotf jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.

    Lightweight softshell type trousers - you want to wear a lightweight softshell or similar material on your legs, these types of trouser offer good protection from snow/ice as well as abrasion on rock and are comfortable to move in.

    Walking shorts or pair of trousers with zip-off legs. Useful for walk-ins to huts on hot days.

    Gore-Tex Jacket - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable jacket. Best to have a lightweight jacket that can be worn in the event of wet or windy weather but is packable enough to fit in your rucksack. Your insulated ski jacket will be overkill and too hot and bulky.

    Gore-Tex Pants - Gore-Tex or other waterproof breathable trousers. Lightweight is important plus side zips for putting on over your boots and crampons. Used in cold, wet and windy weather.

    Sun hat and warm hat – bring a wide-brimmed sun hat or baseball cap plus a warm beanie style hat.

    Light, thin gloves – a thin pair of fleece or softshell gloves for warm weather are a must.

    Insulated gloves - You need to have a pair of waterproof warm gloves to wear on cold days.

    Gaiters – these are useful to wear to keep snow out of your boots.

    Socks - 3-4 pairs of medium weight socks usually mid-calf length is good.

  • There are 2 grades of boots for alpine trekking and mountaineering: B1 and B2

    • B1 boots are usually lightweight boots offering more flexibility when walking and are usually suitable only for trekking, easy glacier walking and Via Ferrata trips.

    • B2 boots are semi-rigid boots that are the best option for summer alpine mountaineering trips. There are leather and plastic/composite options. Leather boots tend to be more comfortable and breathable whereas plastic/composite boots are warmer and more waterproof.

    B2 boots are compatible with C1 and C2 crampons.

    Key features of a good alpine boot include Vibram soles, a reversed leather upper (which protect the best side of the leather from scuffing and abrasion and improves durability and water resistance) and ankle flex and a higher cut which give control, mobility and support.

    Boots can be hired in resort but to avoid discomfort we do strongly recommend that you have your own pair which needs to be well worn-in prior to your trip.

    Alpine huts supply hut slippers so that you don't need to take any other footwear apart from your boots. Boots are not allowed in the dining room or dormitories and must be left in the foyer.

  • These items are essential for all alpine mountaineering courses

    All items can be hired from Mountain Tracks or from sport shops in the Alps.

    • Climbing helmet
    • Ice Axe - General mountaineering / alpine pick 55-70cms long depending on your height.
    • Boot crampons - with anti-balling plates.
    • Climbing Harness – adjustable leg loops are useful for easy of putting on over your boots.
    • Adjustable trekking pole(s)

  • Rucksack - A simple and lightweight pack with a capacity of between 35-45 liters is recommended. You need to have one loop for carrying an ice axe on your rucksack.

    Lightweight sleeping bag liner – a silk or cotton sleeping bag liner is now compulsory in all mountain huts.

    Water bottle or Thermos – a water bottle or hydration system is needed.

    Head torch with spare batteries

    Penknife

    Personal first Aid Kit - Should contain:

    Plasters – of various sizes and possibly some adhesive wound dressings.

    Pain Killers – aspirin or Paracetamol/Nurofen

    Antiseptic cream or wipes

    Blister kit – compeed and elastic tape to hold it in place (essential)!

    (Note: Guides will have comprehensive first aid kits and are qualified in mountain first aid)

    Whistle

    Sun Glasses - minimum category 3.

    Ski Goggles – these can be very useful if you encounter strong winds and poor weather.

    Sunscreen and Lip Protection

    Ear Plugs - For noisy huts!!

    Camera

    Hold-all bag - for gear not required on trek. Will be left at first hotel and collected on return.

    Passport

    Money - You will need some cash for food and drinks. There are some ATMs and most hotels, shops and restaurants will accept credit cards, but most huts still accept cash only. You should allow about 30-40 Swiss Francs or 25-35 Euros per day for lunch and drinks (amount approximate and depends on consumption).

    Toiletries – Should contain:

    Toothbrush and paste - a mini one is ideal

    Soap

    Anti-bacterial hand cleaner

    Wet wipes – essential to try to maintain hygiene

    Tissues and toilet roll

    Small light quick dry towel e.g. a Lifeventure Soft fiber towel

    (Any other essentials you need but remember there are no shower facilities and generally no running water in the huts and you have to carry everything with you!)

    Alpine club card - If you're a member.

    Book, pack of cards and or Ipod/MP3 player – It’s nice to have something to read or listen to when you are in the huts or to challenge your fellow travelers to a game of card. These items are not essential but if you have space you might appreciate them.

  • It is possible to hire boots and the technical items needed for the Mont Blanc Climber week in Chamonix and guideline prices for 6 days hire are:

    Mountaineering boots €55
    Ice Axe €30
    Boot crampons €35
    Harness €15
    Helmet €15

    If you wish to hire any technical kit please contact us in advance with your requirements.

Chamonix-View.JPG

France

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France a Western European country with Paris as its capital city.  The country is diverse with countryside, mountainous areas and many beautiful beaches.  The country is renowned for its food and wine as well as well know places like the Eiffel Tower, Louvre and the Palace of Versailles.

Its population is around 66 million people (2013).  The highest mountain is Mont Blanc at 4,810m which is visited by many every year to climb.  

  • It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.

    For UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
    If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
     

  • Adventurous activities in the mountains have their dangers. These can never be removed altogether but they can be minimised. At Mountain Tracks our aim is to provide you with a thrilling holiday directed with maximum attention to your safety and that of others. We don't just blindly get you to follow our experienced leaders. We give you the opportunity to learn mountaincraft skills and understand about the hazards, how to minimise the risk, and how to cope with incidents should they happen.

    The effects of altitude on the mountain is a significant issue and can make or break the ascent. At 4,800m the altitude can most definitely be felt, this is not surprising considering the air pressure is only 60% of that at sea level.

    As you ascend to higher altitudes, atmospheric pressure decreases, the air is thinner and less oxygen is available. It is also colder, drier and the ultraviolet rays from the sun are stronger. After arriving at high altitude you will probably notice that your breathing is faster and/or deeper, and you may feel short of breath especially when exercising. This is the body's first and most effective response to higher elevation. In addition your heart is likely to beat faster and you may develop nausea, unusual tiredness, headache, or have difficulty sleeping. During the process of acclimatisation, one or more of the above symptoms are common, however these symptoms can evolve into more serious conditions if managed incorrectly. It is worth noting that everybody is different and there is an element of unpredictability regarding how you will cope with altitude and how well you will acclimatise. Often it is not the young and most fit who are the least affected by altitude.

    The process of acclimatisation needs to be well structured to minimise the adverse effects, but at the same time gain the necessary benefits. So our programme is designed in the best possible way, we start low and slowly gain height during the week. At least 2 nights are spent sleeping high in mountain refuges before an attempt on the peak.

  • You should arrange to arrive in Chamonix by late afternoon on the first day. 

    The most convenient airport is Geneva and from here the transfer time up to Chamonix by road is just 1 hr 15mins.  To travel between the airport and Chamonix we recommend you reserve a seat on one of the many commercial shuttle buses. Mountain Tracks can book this for you and the usual prices are from £40 per person one-way. Please supply your full flight details to us so we can make the reservation.

    Want to take the train to the resort?  No problem – it’s possible to get to Chamonix by train from the UK using the Eurostar from London St. Pancras to Paris, then the TGV to Bellegarde and a regional train to Chamonix.  The journey can be done in 1 day.  For more information and other useful train travel details look at www.snowcarbon.co.uk 

    At the end of the week the course finishes after breakfast on the last day and we recommend that you arrange your return/onward flight from lunchtime onwards to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport without having to rush!

  • All our mountaineering trips are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.

  • Our usual hotel in Chamonix is the Hotel Les Lanchers located in Les Praz, this is a comfortable 3* hotel with modern light and airy rooms, a great restaurant and a comfortable bar and lounge area; as well as outside seating to enjoy the sunshine and views of the mountains. We offer accommodation on a twin share basis in their standard rooms, all with en-suite showers. Their restaurant "Rendezvous" serves local and international cuisine and offers a set menu during the summer months. Their chef can cater for any dietary requirements our guests may have. They serve a hearty breakfast and offer packed lunches for guests to purchase for their climbing days. You can view more details on the hotel here http://www.hotel-lanchers-chamonix.com/en/home

  • The Alps generally have a very pleasant climate throughout the spring, summer and autumn with warm days and cool nights, with daytime temperatures in the valley around 25 - 30°C. At high altitude the temperature often goes down below -10 and can feel even colder with wind chill.

  • The ascent of Mont Blanc is achievable by anyone with good fitness, a strong head for heights and lots of ambition. Previous mountain experience is an advantage but not essential. The week is a physically demanding one, on the summit days of Grand Paradiso and Mont Blanc you will be walking and climbing for 6-9 hours on varied terrain carrying a rucksack of 10-15kg.

    Fitness preparation is absolutely essential and will make your week considerably more enjoyable. Doing sports that increase your aerobic fitness and leg strength are key. So when preparing for this trip nothing beats activities that increase your heart rate and build your aerobic levels e.g. hill walking (with a rucksack), running, cycling and swimming.

    Movement skills - agility, balance, flexibility - which allow you to adjust to uneven terrain - are also very relevant.

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