A brilliant week's ski touring topped off with the ski ascent (and descent!) of Mont Blanc 4808m, the highest point in Western Europe. This five-day acclimatisation and training phase of the trip will prepare the team both physically and mentally for the two-day summit attempt. During this phase, we ski tour some of the classic routes around Chamonix. The final two days gain the summit of Mont Blanc via the Arete Royal and Dome Du Goute. There is also an alternative option of a heli-drop on the Italian side of Mont Blanc on summit day if the conditions are favourable. Personally, we couldn't think of a better way to finish off the season!
This trip runs through the end of April to the beginning of May, allowing optimum conditions for high mountain adventures. Skiing Mont Blanc involves some challenging climbing with skis on your rucksack, this section is technically challenging needing secure footwork with crampons and ice-axe. The Arete Royal and Bosses ridge to the summit is exposed so commitment and a good head for heights are essential!
Travel to Chamonix and meet up at the chalet in the late afternoon. Your guides will take you through the itinerary for the week and will discuss equipment, conditions and objectives.
Our first ski day is usually at the Grands Montets 3225m where there are some excellent runs from the top lift station. During the afternoon your guide will do a short ski tour and run a mountain awareness session on avalanche rescue. Return to the chalet for dinner and the night.
You will head up to the summit of the Grands Montets 3225m before heading off on one of the many fantastic day ski tours usually you will ski tour to the Col de Argentière 3549m on the Glacier du Tour Noir, about a 4 hour skin. After a brilliant south facing spring descent we stay over night at the newly renovated Argentière Hut 2771m. During the day your guide will usually run a crevasse rescue session and a refresher on the use of crampons and ice axe.
A second day ski tour from the Argentière hut typically you will head to the Col du Tour Noir 3534m on the Glacier des Amethystes, usually a 4 hour skin. We return to the hut for a second night.
Starting from the hut you will ski tour the Col du Passon 3028m and enjoy a long ski descent to the village of Le Tour. Return to the chalet for a well deserved shower and dinner.
Summit ascent. A leisurely start before the Aiguille du Midi cable car and ascent to the Grand Mulets Refuge 3051m. This is a 3hr ski tour to the hut where you stay overnight.
Early alpine start from the hut for the summit ascent. We'll be climbing on a mixture of skis and crampons for about 8-10 hours in total. Leaving the hut you skin towards the Arête Royale which is climbed on crampons and leads to the Dome du Gouter. From there you skin and climb to the summit. If the conditions are ideal, we can ski right from the summit but it's usual to leave skis at the Vallot Hut 4382m for the final ascent to the summit. The descent will be via the Grand Plateau and past the Grands Mulets hut. It's a unique serious descent through wonderful glacial terrain. You return to the Plan d’Aiguille for the lift back down to Chamonix and return to the chalet to celebrate.
If conditions are good it is possible to do a heli-drop from the Italian side of Mont Blanc which allows us to reach the summit in 4-5 hours.
If you want to do this option on day 6 we will embark on a ski tour in the Vallee Blanche area, lots of fabulous options exist depending on conditions.
On day 7 you'll breakfast early and drive to Italy. The helicopter take off site is just through the Mont Blanc tunnel; we would hope to take off at about 7.30am. Due to the high altitude the helicopter can only take 3 passengers, 2 guests plus their mountain guide... perfect, as this is your ‘team'. Depending on conditions you will land between 3800m and 4100m near the Piton des Italiens from where it is a 4-5 hour skin up to the summit.
Depart after breakfast.
The price includes 4 nights half-board chalet accommodation, 3 nights HB in mountain huts, 6 full days guiding, resort transfers
The price does not include: lunches, personal insurance, equipment hire, lift pass, travel to and from Chamonix, helicopter ride on Mont Blanc
Price of £1,695 per person is based on a minimum of 4 skiers.
Price for a party of 2 skiers is £1,895 per person.
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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming to one of our Ski Tours.
During the tour you will be staying most nights in catered high mountain huts and will need to carry all the equipment and clothing you require for the duration of the tour. The huts are comfortable but basic with limited facilities.
Any clothing or other items not required on the tour can be left in a travel bag at your first hotel ready for your return on the final night.
We recommend keeping the weight of your pack as light as possible. If you are new to alpine multi-day ski touring, try taking your pack out on the slopes before the tour to see how it feels. You quickly realise the benefit of ‘skiing light’.
If you are uncertain or need further information, don't hesitate to contact us.
For all touring trips it is essential you ski with an all-mountain/freeride type skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings then you will need to rent skis. The same applies if you have downhill ski boots, you will need to rent ski touring boots.
For alpine ski touring we recommend an all-mountain/freeride touring ski that isn’t too heavy, a really lightweight ski comes at a cost to performance on the descents so are only recommended for really good off-piste skiers with a strong interest in ski touring.
There are plenty of great skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from the following manufactures:
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
If you are planning on buying skis for ski touring and general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us to discuss the options available to you.
It is essential that you have ski touring boots for all touring trips as walking up hill is much more comfortable in these types of boots with a walk mode and great flex. A dedicated touring boot or a hybrid freeride boot is best.
Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used for touring but they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack plus canister. So unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
Over a long multiday tour every gram of weight is important as you have to carry and move it yourself. Carrying a heavy pack will hinder and tire all but the most experienced and fit ski tourer.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
Food and Water
We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favorite hill snacks. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food with you that you can supplement your dinners with. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs.
You have to buy bottled water in the huts as usually any running water is non-potable. Bottled water is expensive in French and Swiss huts; you can be paying upto 12-16CHF per 1.5L bottle of water. So please ensure you budget for this cost.
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 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.
All our ski tours are led by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.