Summer 2020 Chamonix & Alpine Mountaineering – What’s Possible?

15 June 2020

See all other updates below.  Latest info here:

The Italian and Swiss borders are now open again to visitors from France and along with the Aiguille du Midi and Skyway Monte Bianco lifts and Torino & Cosmiques Huts also being open, there is some great potential for easily accessed high altitude mountaineering and Mont Blanc training and acclimatisation.  Stop press – the Midi and possibly some other Chamonix lifts are actually closed during this mid-week period due to the poor weather forecast.  You can check all the live updates on lift openings here.

The remarkable Aiguille du Midi lift at sunset seen from the north face of the Aiguille du Midi

11 June 2020

See all other updates below.  Latest info here:

The Rifugio Torino is opening this Saturday 13th June along with the opening of the Skyway Monte Bianco lift to access it.  This gives access to the brilliant Col du Geant and upper Vallée Blanche area on the South side of the Mont Blanc Range.  Lots of good options for here for both day trips and with an overnight at the hut.  Like many huts this summer season there are various new Covid-19 regulations including:

  • No blankets are provided – take your own sleeping bag
  • No hut slippers are provided – take your own
  • Take your own mask
  • Reduced capacity of the hut – be sure to book (as always)
Scene of many high alpine sorties, the Torino Hut is a great base camp from which to start the alpine day with immediate access to the high glaciers around the upper Vallee Blanche between Chamonix & Courmayeur, Midi & Skyway lifts and Cosmiques & Torino Huts

10 June 2020

See all other updates below.  Latest info here:

Saint-Gervais Via Ferratta is also now open as per this article in the Dauphiné today.

8 June 2020

The Via Ferratta in Plateau d’Assy is now open again, this is a great way to get in to the mountains and experience some real exposure whilst doing a fun scramble / Via Ferratta.  There are also great options for linking this with a trip to the Refuge Varan, a walk in the Fizz Massif and local climbing to create an excellent mountain day.

Great views to the Mont Blanc Massif from the Plateau d’Assy, Curalla, Via Ferratta.

In other good news, the Skyway Monte Bianco lift is reopening this Saturday 13th June.  This great lift provides rapid access to the fantastic Italian side of the upper Vallée Blanche area and routes like the Traverse of the Aiguilles d’Entreves, Aiguilles Marbrees, Tour Ronde, Dent du Geant, Arete Rochefort etc. as well as some very high quality high altitude granite rock climbing.

The approach across the glacial col du Geant towards the Dent du Geant, Arete Rochefort and Grandes Jorasses
We are getting a lot of guests asking about what it’s possible to do in the mountains at the moment and over the coming summer alpine season.  Whilst most of our early summer alpine group courses have been cancelled, restrictions to the mountains are easing, climbing, mountaineering and guiding are all permitted again and we have been enjoying some great sorties in the Mont Blanc and Aravis Massifs and rock climbing in the Chamonix and Arve Valleys.
So here is an attempt to keep you up to date regarding what’s possible with regard to climbing with us this summer season and evolving information regarding C-19 restrictions and measures.  Please note that this is not a definitive list, the situation is constantly evolving and please seek first hand advice on all travel restrictions from the relevant authorities.  This is merely meant to give an idea of what the current situation is and we will attempt to keep this regularly updated…

4 June 2020, Chamonix – Mont Blanc Massif – Aravis – French Alps

After the easing of the strict restrictions on mountaineering and access to the mountains in general during the C-19 ‘confinement’, it’s once again possible to head into the hills for rock climbing, mountaineering, mountain walking & running etc.  Many teams have been out enjoying both the high alpine climbing routes, middle mountains mountaineering and the valley rock climbs.  See our News page for conditions updates.
The Chamonix Valley at sunrise during the ascent of Mont Blanc.
Mountain lifts & huts are starting to open again in Chamonix from mid June onwards, details for lift openings in the Mont Blanc Massif here.
Mountain huts are allowed to open from this weekend, June 6th and some are starting to open later this month including the huts on Mont Blanc from around the 10th June eg:
– du 10 juin au refuge de Tête Rousse
– du 11 juin au refuge du Goûter
– du 13 juin au refuge du Nid d’Aigle
The Cosmiques Hut, accessed from the Aiguille du Midi is hoping to open from the 13th June and you can keep an eye on their latest updates on their Facebook page here.
Summit of the Cosmiques Arete, Chamonix with Mont Blanc du Tacul, and Mont Blanc beyond.

The border with Italy has once again opened and Italian Guides are able to guide again.  Teams have been rock climbing & mountain walking in the Italian Val d’Aosta & beautiful Val Feret.  The Skyway Monte Bianco & Rifugio Torino both remain closed but are hoping to open soon and the nearby Rifugio Monzino looks like it will open shortly.  This is a great base camp to climb the nearby Aiguille Croux which is a fine route and great Matterhorn training.  The Rifugio Chabod in the wonderful Gran Paradiso National Park is opening once again on the 20th June and you can check out the snow conditions on their hut webcam here although there is not much to see in the thick cloud at the moment!

Glacier Travel Chamonix Walk
Gran Paradiso Team In Training On The Col du Geant, Glacier Trekking & Scrambling from Skyway Monte Bianco

Another option for climbing the Gran Paradiso is to train even harder in advance, come to Chamonix and acclimatise on some other peaks and then make the C. 2200m ascent and descent in a day from the Valsavarenche.  A long & tough outing but a highly rewarding one.

The superb snow crest of the Weissmeis Summit Ridge, with the Italian Lakes and plains to the East…

The border to the Swiss Valais from the Mont Blanc Massif is still not open to tourists although hopefully that may change later this month.  Numerous Swiss Huts are opening for a relatively normal summer season period like the Almageller Hut, our base camp on our Weissmies courses, opening June 20 – Sept 26, 2020.  The Hörnli Hut on the Matterhorn is also taking bookings for this summer 2020 season as is the Mittelleggi Hut on the Eiger and the Monte Rosa Hut for climbing the Dufourspitze which has plenty of space and spaces available for this summer season!

Summit of the Eiger. Boom! Mission Impossible complete…once the descent / traverse is safely negotiated….

So, as normal, there are many inspiring options to make the most out of summer 2020 in the high mountains if you can get here.  Some refuges have also discussed providing meals for guests who were camping / bivvying near the hut.  Some popular and usually busy mountains may be quieter than usual, so it may be a good time to enjoy calmer conditions.

A creative approach to designing an inspiring and successful itinerary in the mountains is always required and we have many years experience of doing just that.  We hope to climb with you soon, and in the meantime, good training, Rob.

Rock climbing, short walks, long walks, superb sight seeing & café action whilst acclimatising and all surrounded by one of the best mountain scenes in Europe…welcome to Le Brevent – Chamonix, The capital of world climbing!