Mont Blanc. The highest mountain in Western Europe and a true challenge for the dedicated ski mountaineer. A magnificent objective for those with the skills to do it. Late spring often provides the best snow conditions for a ski ascent of the mountain and we offer two 6 day courses in late April and May. This is the toughest ski course we do and is only suitable for those with high levels of fitness, ski ability and some mountaineering experience. We aim to climb the Mountain via the ‘Arete Royale’ on the Dome du Gouter and classic Bosses Ridge to the summit. The ski descent back to Chamonix is huge and technically interesting. A great day of skiing, but not for the faint hearted….
- Ski Mont Blanc and do some great high mountain skiing
- Enjoy 6 days of ski mountaineering based in the Chamonix Valley spending at least a couple of nights in mountain huts
- Refine ski mountaineering skills in the training period and refresh crampon and ice axe technique
- Increase speed and efficiency in techniques and transitions for the long & tough summit day
- Prepare you for further tough ski mountaineering expeditions
- Pre Course. As with all our ski courses, we recommend you prepare as much as possible in advance with relevant ‘ski fit’ preparation and then arrive at least a day or two early to both warm up your ski legs & check equipment. This is especially important if you will be renting boots or skis & bindings. Please also make sure your skis are well serviced & bindings correctly adjusted.
- Day 1. Drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel and take the Punta Hellbroner lift to access the high glacier skiing on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. A glacier journey including Col Freshfield and the Combe de la Vierge gives great skiing as well as the opportunity to practice glacier skiing / skinning techniques and do some mountaineering training. Return to Chamonix.
- Days 2-3. Argentiere’s ‘Grands Montets’ lift gives easy access to high mountain and glacial terrain. After some good, steep off piste skiing we can complete one of the classic tours of the Argentiere basin, like the Col d’Argentiere. After a decent ski back down we overnight at the Argentiere Hut. An early start the next morning gives access to one of the classic ski tours of the Western Alps, the ‘3 Cols’. After the crossing of the famous Cols the final north facing slopes lead to Le Tour from we can hop on a bus back to Argentiere and enjoy a relaxing evening in Chamonix.
- If late season conditions and lift opening times mean this itinerary is not possible a good alternative will be taken, like skiing the Grand Paradiso or a Swiss 4000m peak.
- Days 3-6. Ascent of Mont Blanc via the Grand Mulets or Cosmiques Huts. The approach to the Mulets hut is not long (c.3.5 hours) but it is still important to get an early start due to the steep and crevassed nature of the terrain. Next morning a very early breakfast is taken (around 1am) to ensure the full descent is made before the heat of the afternoon affects the snow too much. The first few hours are in the dark, at first skinning; zig-zagging up with many kick turns. At the base of the Arete Royale skis are placed securely on the rucksacks; crampons on boots and ice axes in hand. Then we start the steep and sustained ascent of the North Ridge of the Dome du Gouter. Dawn arrives somewhere around the top of this leaving a beautiful pink alpenglow for a rare ‘mellow’ section across to the Col du Dome.
- From here the ascent route of the Bosses Ridge can be seen and the possible descent route of the North Face too. A decision is made about whether to carry skis on from here or leave them and ski from the Col du Dome on the way down. Either way the descent is quite something! Serious, but brilliant! You need to have full control of your ski legs as there is steep and crevassed ground to negotiate. There are also some very large seracs (ice cliffs) to ski under which presents an objective hazard and the need for cool, calm and collected skiing. Whilst height is lost quickly the descent is long and calls for numerous efficient transitions on the way down.
- If all goes well the sum of the parts is a big and rewarding days skiing which will be imprinted on your memory for ever. Descending all the way to Chamonix on day 5 means there is a spare day which can be spent doing another classic ski tour or possibly just relaxing and celebrating the ascent. However this final day also provides a contingency summit day in the event of poor weather.
Fitness, Ski & Mountaineering Skills Required
- Strong, confident and technically competent skier able to deal with variable off-piste snow conditions on slopes up to 35 degrees on the normal route and 45 degrees on the north face. An ability to maneuver skis around crevasses with precision and ski swiftly yet with control under seracs. An ability to do all this after a long, tough and tiring ascent at altitude.
- A high level of fitness, stamina and mental toughness is required for the c. 10-12 hour summit day as well as good organisation of equipment and efficient transitions with your ski gear whilst on the mountain.
- Some mountaineering experience is required and whilst this does not need to be on steep and difficult ground you should have some cramponing experience; a head for heights and the ability to concentrate and climb carefully on steep snow for around 1.5 hours between breaks.
Francois, Mount Everest climber and Seven summiteer ! + Ski Mont Blanc! May 2015
I had a fabulous time climbing and ski touring Mont Blanc this past May with High Mountain Guides . We planned a 5 day trip in which the first 2 were for preparing for ski touring and the snow conditions on Mt Blanc. HMG are top notch ! very knowledgeable with extensive experience on the mountain . I was in excellent hands all the way through . I highly recommend HMG : Don’t cut corners and use the right outfitter . I am one to know…
2018 Private Guiding – Dates & Fees
Our Mont Blanc courses run from mid April through to late May and even early June some years! Late April or early May is usually a good time for reliable conditions although of course there are no guarantees with the weather or snow conditions at any time of year.
What’s included in the Price?
- 6 full days ski & mountaineering guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Loan of transceiver, shovel & probe, harness, helmet, ice axe and crampons as required
- Transport during the course
What’s not included?
- Valley accommodation. Please see our Chamonix accommodation and venue info.
- Mountain huts & lift passes, for you and the guides. Allow about 70 euros per night half board accommodation and about 50 euros per day for lift passes. The guides expenses are split between the group members and are discounted in huts and on lifts (most Chamonix based guides have a season pass).
- Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix.
- Food and drink during the course
- Ski equipment. Check the kit list below
Ski Mont Blanc – Booking
Please fill in a booking form for private guiding here and we will mail over an invoice for the guiding fees for you to pay & confirm the dates.
- A ski mountaineering equipment list is given here. Please note that you will need all the gear listed under sections: personal gear, steep & glacial terrain and hut based touring. You will also need a warm insulated jacket (ideally with a hood and big enough to go over your outer shell layer and harness). Pay particular attention to having good quality warm gloves (thin pair and thick pair) and a face mask.
- Mountain weather and snow conditions are highly variable and particularly so on Mont Blanc. Because of the demanding nature of the terrain on this ascent it is imperative to have good weather (good visibility and low winds) as well as stable snow conditions. The demands of steep, high altitude skiing, crevasses, seracs and variable snow present enough of a challenge without throwing bad weather in to the mix. This course is designed to give the maximum opportunity to summit with a 3 day training period and 3 day summit period. However if, at the time, the guides deem the ascent to be unsafe due to either weather, snow conditions or your own ability an alternative itinerary will be proposed. This decision is binding, non-negotiable and essential to maintain reasonable margins of safety.
Ski Mont Blanc Conditions
If you have skied on Mont Blanc recently please add any relevant comments on snow & ski conditions via the contact form at the base of the page. Thanks, bon ski.
Good Snow Cover High on Mont Blanc – Ski Ascent May 12th 2015
Recent warm weather & rain had stripped the snow back to about the height of the Aiguille du Midi mid station at 2300m. Above this however, the snow cover on the glacial ascent to the Grands Mulets Hut was fine and good above that. Recent snow storms had plastered the Arete Royale on the Dome du Gouter North Ridge giving the ideal combination of snowy conditions with a good track in!
Late spring conditions meant the recent snow had stabilised well although the strong winds had left some pretty sastrugied snow up high! Lovely spring conditions lower down though and a good tough day with over 12 hours on the go from the Grands Mulets hut to the summit and back to the Plan de l’Aiguille.
Ski Mont Blanc May 5th 2014
Good conditions today for the ski ascent & descent via the North Face. Thanks to nearly 70cms of recent fresh snowthe glaciers both on the plateaus and at the junction are in good condition. Easy to cross the junction without even removing skis.
Ski Mont Blanc April 2013
Lots of teams have been profiting from the excellent high mountain weather & skiing Mont Blanc over the last week or so – including some great snow & skiing reported on the classic summit north face descent.
Ski Mont Blanc, May 2012
The Guardian of the Grands Mulet hut reporting very good conditions for Skiing Mont Blanc just now. Lots of teams going from the Midi too. The Grands Mulets Hut is open until the 31st July and good snow conditions are reported for the ‘Junction’ crossing en route to the the hut from the Plan de l’Aiguille.