Climb Mont Blanc
An ascent of Western Europe's highest mountain is a big challenge and superb mountaineering expedition. Our six day course allows time for training and acclimatisation which means you are able to enjoy the ascent and climb some other great alpine peaks along the way.
We understand the balance between preparing well and saving enough energy for the long summit day and because of this, and our first class Mountain Guides, we have an excellent summit success record on Mont Blanc. We usually aim to climb just outside the busy high summer season to give you the best experience possible on the mountain. Despite our very good track record on Mont Blanc our courses are not about dragging people to the summit. We give you a good insight in to general Alpine Mountaineering and have a fun & sociable time along the way.
We hope to climb with you on Mont Blanc this coming 2015 summer season...
- Climb Mont Blanc
- Enjoy 6 good days alpine mountaineering
- Climb one or two other fine alpine peaks along the way
- Develop your general mountaineering skills
- Spend several nights in high mountain huts sleeping at around 2700m - 3800m
- Get to know how your body reacts to a high altitude mountain environment, good preparation for other expeditions
- Have an enjoyable & sociable week in the mountains
Mont Blanc Quick Facts
- Height: 4810.45m (depending on snow accumulation / melt!)
- Location: Between the two alpine towns of Chamonix in the Haute Savoie department of France and Courmayeur in the Italian Valle d'Aoste. The summit area is entirely in France.
- First Ascent: Jacques Balmat & Michel Paccard, 8/8/1786
- Number of Ascents per year: Approximately 20000
6 Day Course Itinerary
This is a suggested itinerary based on good conditions. It may be necessary to change the programme to make best use of local mountain weather, conditions, teams experience and availability of hut bookings. Also please note that some courses, as specified on the courses dates below start with our 3 day Climb the Gran Paradiso programme.
- Pre-Course: Fitness & hill walking training and, if you have the time, some walking and acclimatisation training in the hills above Chamonix for a few days before the course starts. We can offer advice on how to get the most out of these pre-course elements as well as obtaining the right equipment for the course.
- Arrive in Chamonix and check in to accomodation. Arrange any final equipment required for the week ahead, boot hire etc. Relax, enjoy the mountain atmosphere & look forward to the course...
- Day 1: Introductions to the Guides and the week ahead; final equipment checks and an opportunity for buying or hiring any final kit items before driving to the Eastern end of the Chamonix Valley and the lovely hamlet of 'Le Tour'. From here we use the mountain lifts as a head start on the attractive walk to the newly renovated Albert Premier Hut. The Tour Glacier, very close to the hut, is a great venue for alpine skills & glacier training and becoming familiar with your crampons and other mountaineering equipment. After a good 3 course dinner we spend our first night sleeping at Altitude (2711m)
- Day 2: A pre-dawn alpine start will hopefully give us the fantastic alpine experience of crunching over a frozen and moonlit glacier in crampons. As the
sun rises we will attempt to climb one of several 3500m peaks on the French / Swiss border such as the Tete Blanche or Petite Fourche. Magnificent views sweep across the whole alpine chain from here, especially to the Matterhorn & other peaks of the Swiss Valais Alps.
- Our onward journey takes us in to Switzerland and on to the huge Trient Glacier. Along the way we practice the skills of roped glacier travel and discuss simple crevasse rescue procedures. By lunchtime we should be relaxing at the Trient hut, re-hydrating & refueling (with a Swiss Rösti perhaps!). A short afternoon rock scramble gives further relevant training for the ascent of Mt Blanc but the afternoon is mainly spent relaxing & acclimatising before a 2nd night sleeping at the increased altitude of 3170m.
- Day 3: Another pre-dawn alpine breakfast and immediate access to the glacier commences our high level journey back to the French side of the Massif. En route we aim to climb another 3500m peak like the Aiguille du Tour. The combination of high altitude glacier travel & mixed / rocky scrambling is excellent preparation for Mt Blanc. We aim to be back in Chamonix for a late lunch & spend the afternoon relaxing and sorting any equipment issues in preparation for the tough summit period ahead...
- Day 4: If the weather allows, a deliberately leisurely start is made to allow maximum rest before the steady ascent of Mont Blanc begins. From Les Houches, a short drive from Chamonix,
we take the Bellevue Telecabine which links to the Tramway du Mont Blanc and up to the scenic 'Nid d'Aigle' (Eagles Nest). From here we take our time on the short but sustained approach to the Tete Rousse Hut (3167m) spending the afternoon relaxing, sorting kit and talking through the route & strategy for tomorrow's big summit day.
- Day 5: By taking breakfast at around 0400 we avoid most other groups leaving both the Tete Rousse and Gouter Huts and will usually have a much quieter time climbing the mountain and making the most of the high mountain conditions later in the day. Timings for this summit day revolve around approximately 2 hour intervals: C. 2 hours to the Gouter Hut, Another 2 hours to the Vallot Hut and just under another couple of hours from there to the summit....This is where your training pays off!
- The ascent of Mont Blanc provides a long and tough high mountain day and is not to be underestimated.
- By spending a second night on the descent of the mountain at the Gouter Hut the time pressure for the day is considerably reduced. The crossing of the Grand Couloir is made early the next morning and the summit experience can be enjoyed more than if it is rushed. After what is usually an 8 hour day we return to the hut for a meal and, usually, an early night!
- Day 6: After an 0700 breakfast the scrambling descent of the Gouter Ridge can be done on fresh legs and in the cool & calm of the early morning period when the Grand Couloir is crossed before the arrival of the sun.
- From here, all that remains is the short walk back to the Nid d'Aigle and trains / lifts down to the Chamonix Valley.
- However if the weather did not allow for a summit attempt yesterday this final day can also act as a 2nd possible option for the summit day.
- If all has gone to plan A, this last day provides an opportunity to relax and enjoy Chamonix (particularly the view back up to Mont Blanc) and have a celebratory meal in the evening.
Can You Climb Mont Blanc?
Whilst it is not necessary to be an experienced mountaineer to climb Mont Blanc with a Mountain Guide, a very good level of fitness is necessary and some strong hill walking experience will be highly beneficial. The summit day could be up to 12 hours long, at altitude, so you should be physically and mentally prepared for this very considerable challenge. By the standard routes, Mont Blanc is not a difficult technical peak but it does involve some steep rocky scrambling and folk do regularly underestimate it.
You will need to arrive for your Mont Blanc course, rested but fit from months of prior training. Training in a gym does not replicate climbing a mountain so it is far preferable to spend time mountain walking and ideally on broken rocky ground with some scrambling. We can arrange training courses in both the UK & Alps to help you prepare. Running, long distance cycling or any other long endurance events will be a useful addition to the time you spend training in the mountains.
There is a tough physical reality to climbing Mont Blanc which can not be avoided with a determined mental approach. You will need the latter as well but it's no use if you simply don't have the legs. We are aiming to summit with some style as well as decent margin of safety and your high fitness level is perhaps the main factor in achieving this. Another factor to consider is your body weight. There is a simple reality to the fact that people with excess body weight struggle a lot more during the climb than those without. So, in addition to your training, please make sure you arrive for the ascent at a weight conducive to sporting & athletic activity - relevant to your height & build.
We aim to build to the Mont Blanc ascent throughout the 6 day week. This will include an attempt on at least 1 other alpine summit and this will give a strong initial impression of your level of fitness and thus suitability for attempting the summit. Unfortunately we can not guarantee to even attempt the summit with members who do not show sufficient fitness capability during this preparation phase.
For more information visit our Mont Blanc FAQ's page.
To help you prepare for your summer Mont Blanc (or similar peak) ascent programme we organise a couple of training weekends to offer some quality mountaineering training to build in around your own personal fitness and weight management schedule.
The first of these weekends is run in winter in the Scottish Highlands to give you the fundamental training in using ice axe and particularly crampons which provides the bed rock of sound high mountaineering skill. Developing these skills will greatly enhance your efficiency and enjoyment on Mont Blanc and certainly enhance your chances of summiting as it will take less energy with a more competent and confident approach to covering the mountaineering terrain involved.
The second weekend is run in spring in Snowdonia to build in the essential rock scrambling skills which form a key part of the ascent of Mont Blanc between the Tete Rousse & Gouter Huts during the crossing of the infamous 'Grand Couloir' and sustained enjoyable scrambling above. This is sometimes done in the dark and often done with tired legs on the descent, so again, practice and skill development in this area will greatly enhance your efficiency and enjoyment during the ascent and descent of Mont Blanc.
Both weekends are also a good opportunity to add some crucial mountain miles to the legs as part of your training programme and improve your stamina and mountain endurance whilst having an enjoyable & sociable weekend in the mountains. It's also a great chance to review equipment selection for Mont Blanc, ask any questions relating to any aspect of the ascent & preparation and meet some like minded other climbers.
Details of the courses for 2017 are given below. Please contact us to book your place:
2017 Mont Blanc Training Weekends
Winter Weekend - Scottish Highlands - Fort William
25-26 February - Course Full - Please enquire for private guiding or 2018 Dates
Max ratio guests to guide / instructor 4:1
Course fee: £295
Spring Weekend - Snowdonia - Llanberis
22-23 April - Places Available
Max ratio guests to guide / instructor 2:1
Course fee: £365
Thank you Rob and team for an unforgettable week.
Everything was superbly organised and our guide Ben was outstanding - my climbing buddy Sarah and I had absolute trust in him. All the guides were great company. I will definitely be back for more adventures....
Hi Rob, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you again for such a wonderful time on the Mont Blanc course and for getting me safely to the summit! I had a sensational time and am very grateful to you for leading such a fantastic week. Please do let me know if your ever over in Western Australia, I would love to buy you a drink!
Suggested Course Progression
These enjoyable and contrasting Italian & Swiss 4000m peaks would set you up very well for Climbing Mont Blanc.
After that, our series of Chamonix mountaineering courses form a logical progression in the following order; Becoming an Alpinist followed by Chamonix Alpinist & then Chamonix private guiding for harder / longer routes & north faces as well as our Climb the Eiger & Matterhorn courses.
This course progression is often reflected in the dates of our courses so get in touch if you would like to build an excellent longer alpine programme with several different consecutive courses...an alpine 'semester!'
It's now a couple of days since the climbs and my body is slowly recovering!! Really lucky to have been able to do Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
Just wanted to thank you for organising the trip. All your guides were friendly, helpful and most importantly I always felt safe with them on the mountain.
Maybe another adventure sometime?!
One Day On Mont Blanc
In October 2015 we climbed Mont Blanc in 1 day from Bellevue to the summit & down to the Gouter Hut for the night & a well earned rest! In tough, cool & snowy autumn conditions with C. 3100m of ascent, this was no easy path but summiting at sunset and descending to the Gouter under a star lit night was a fantastic & memorable mountain experience. With 14 hours on the go this challenge is not for the faint hearted or weak legged! You can read more about the ascent on Paul Antrobus' blog post here, One Day On Mont Blanc.
Please note that our course dates below are either early or late summer season and start early or mid week. In our experience this approach helps to give you the best possible experience on the mountain in terms of conditions and avoiding the overcrowded & hot mid-summer period.
Since 2012 our Climb Mont Blanc programmes have been almost a complete sell out, so please reserve your place for summer 2017 very early - both to guarantee your place & help us confirm all the necessary mountain Guide & hut bookings in good time.
June 20-25 - 3 Day Gran Paradiso Training Programme
6 days, Tuesday - Sunday Inclusive, 3 / 4 Places Still Available. People Enquiring: 2
Nights spent in mountain huts on intended itinerary are June 20, 21, 23 & 24.
July 4-9, 3 Day Gran Paradiso Training Programme
Opportunity to climb the Weissmeis before this 3 Day Mont Blanc ascent.
6 days, Tuesday - Sunday Inclusive, 3 / 4 Places Still Available. People Enquiring: 1
Nights spent in mountain huts on intended itinerary are July 4,5,7 & 8.
September 15-17, 3 Day Course
3 days, Monday - Wednesday Inclusive, 4 / 4 Places Available. (Enquiries: 0)
Nights spent in mountain huts on intended itinerary are September 15th & 16th September
A tough but rewarding time to climb in early autumn. Lifts, trains & the Tete Rousse hut are all shut making the approach longer and we use the Hellbroner &Midi lifts and Torino Hut in the Mont Blanc Massif to acclimatise. Traditionally we have had good success in good conditions on Mont Blanc at this time of year, but you need to be very fit and well prepared. We plan to climb via a taxi to Bellevue to get started and single ascent to the Gouter Hut (nearly 2000m of ascent). Next day the aim is to climb Mont Blanc and descend back to the hut for a break before continuing down to the valley. The last day is thus a spare weather summit option or opportunity to do a final climb above Chamonix.
6 days, Monday - Saturday Inclusive, 4 / 4 Places Still Available. (Enquiries: 1)
Nights spent in mountain huts on intended itinerary are September 25 & 28.
6 Day Course - £1445 per person
3 Day Course - £895 per person
Maximum Guiding Ratios Of 1 Guide To 4 Clients For The 3 Training Days And 1:2 For The 3 Summit Days
Cost For Mont Blanc Private Guiding
£2895 for a 1:1 guiding ratio for the 6 day course with a bespoke strategy for each 3 day training & summit phases.
£1495 per person for a private team of 2 doing an entirely bespoke 6 day course.
What’s Included in the Price?
Our courses are priced on a 'guiding only' basis which means you just pay the cost price for all other expenses like hotels, mountain huts and lift passes.These expenses on average amount to about 600 euros which includes 7 nights half board accommodation in a hotel & the mountain huts. You could reduce this figure considerably if you wanted to stay in a gite or campsite and increase it if you want to stay in a more luxury hotel.
- 6 full days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Transport during the course from a base in Chamonix
- Course planning, hut bookings and contingency planning in the event of poor weather etc
- The Guides accomodation for the nights in the Chamonix Valley
- Discounted equipment & mountain boot hire
What’s Not included?
- Chamonix accommodation. Prices start from camping at C.10 euros per night, Bunkhouse for C.20 euros per night and hotel accommodation from around 40-50 euros upwards. Please see our Chamonix Accommodation notes.
- Mountain huts. Allow about 65 euros per person for your hut night (dinner, bed & breakfast) and share in the Guides hut night also (double this for the Gouter Hut, including several bottles of drinking water).
- Mountain lift passes. Allow 30 euros for the return trip during the training phase and about the same for the telecabine / tramway during the summit period.
- The guides expenses are split between the group members and are discounted in huts and on lifts. The best way to deal with these expenses is to make a communal group 'kitty' which you contribute to and all expenses are paid out of.
- Transfer from the airport to Chamonix, around 30 euros each in way in 2014
- Lunches, extra drinks, snacks etc during the course
- Mountaineering equipment. Check the kit list below
- Insurance, this is your responsibility to arrange and ensure that you are covered for alpine mountaineering
- Any other expenses
- Approximate total cost of additional essential expenses (based 7 nights staying in the huts and a 2* Hotel in the valley): 750 Euros
- The booking of huts on Mont Blanc can be difficult, especially at short notice when the huts may be simply full. We work hard to get the reservations most suitable for your Mont Blanc trip but in the event of this not being possible here are some strategies for climbing the mountain with an alternative strategy. In the event of not being able to get the preferred hut bookings we will proceed via one of the methods described on that page, so please read it as it may be relevant to your course.
- A Mont Blanc equipment list is given below. In addition to good quality warm hill walking gear you will need technical equipment like; alpine mountaineering boots; crampons; ice-axe; harness and helmet. All this gear can be easily & cheaply hired from us. Check our Chamonix Mountaineering Equipment Hire.
More Details & Booking
For more details on our terms & conditions, to fill in a booking form and make a payment, please visit our booking page via the link below:
We are always delighted to hear from past, current and future clients so whether you have a booking enquiry, want a conditions report, or some mountaineering advice please do get in touch to discuss your plans...
Good climbing & skiing,
High Mountain Guides
Tel: +44 115 888 2994
Skype: High Mountain Guides
Email: Please use the form below
Mont Blanc - Useful Dates & Info
- 1st June - 30th September were the dates for the opening of the Gouter Hut in 2015. Dates, prices & reservation details on the Gouter Hut website.
- 1st June - End of September Tete Rouse Hut opening period. Dates, prices & reservation details on the Tete Rousse Hut website.
Mont Blanc Poor Weather Alternatives
By allowing 6 days for our Mont Blanc course we have at least one days contingency for poor weather and do everything we can to change timings and hut bookings to best fit in with the weeks weather. However good conditions are required to make a summit attempt and in the event of windy or snowy weather we will do our best to provide an excellent alternative mountaineering experience, ideally with a memorable summit in a region of the Alps receiving better weather. Here are a few possible options:
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