AMA title

Ski Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc was first climbed in 1786 and it wasn’t until 1930 that a Swiss guide finally skied from the summit.  Today it has become one of the ultimate objectives for many ski mountaineers.  With breathtaking views while traveling on immense glaciers, it is truly an unforgettable moment standing on Western Europe’s highest peak with 11,000 feet of skiing below!

Though climbing Mont Blanc isn’t technically challenging, ascending it with skis (sometimes on your back) can be a bit more challenging.  Whenever possible we skin (usually with ski crampons on), but there are times when putting skis on your back is mandatory.  This coupled with altitude makes it imperative to have a high level of physical fitness and some ski mountaineering experience.  As much work as it may seem, standing on top of Mont Blanc at 15,782′ (4,810 meters) and overlooking the stunning Alps of France, Italy and Switzerland is truly remarkable. Especially with skis on…

The key to success on Mont Blanc is preparation.  Our 6 day program is aimed at providing the framework for success.  For the first three days, our primary goal is to spend as much time as possible acclimatizing at altitude.  To achieve this we use the surrounding lifts and huts to explore and ski the amazing high mountain terrain of the Mont Blanc massif.  We reserve the last three days for the summit attempt.  Though it generally takes two days to complete, with unpredictable high mountain weather and conditions, we reserve a third to increase our odds of success. Come join us for this unforgettable experience!

Photos

(click on image to view slideshow)

Three route options for the ascent:

Route 1: The Three Summit Route

We start from the Aiguille du Midi cable car at 12,470ft and overnight in the Cosmiques hut at 11,810ft. An alpine start takes us up Mont Blanc du Tacul, then Mont Maudit and finally up to the main Summit of Mont Blanc. This is our preferred route but it covers a lot of steep terrain and must be in good condition.

Route 2: North Ridge of the Dome du Goûter to Les Bosses Ridge

We start from the middle station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car and head up to the Grand Mullets Hut. The old classic route up from there is no longer considered safe. With an early start, we ascend the more technical, but much safer North Ridge of the Dome du Goûter. From there, we follow Les Bosses Ridge to the summit.

Route 3: Heli Drop: Piton des Italiens to Les Bosses Ridge

If weather really hasn’t cooperated and we are down to the last day, it is possible to get a heli drop on the Italian side at the Col des Aiguilles Grises.  This gets us to 12,470ft and is considered to be the safest route at this time of year and it is also the most direct. This route is done in one day with an early morning heli lift. The heli gets you to the same altitude as the Aiguille du Midi cable car so maybe it is not unethical?  The cost of the heli is not included in the price.

The descent via the North Face of Mont Blanc

If conditions allow, we will step into our skis right on the summit of Mont Blanc, 15,782ft, and take the amazing line down its North Face. It is an absolutely incredible 11,000 ft descent. The long and technical descent, which starts on the North Face, takes you down the Grand Plateau, the Petit Plateau, across the Bosson Glacier and all the way down to Chamonix.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 0 Arrive in Chamonix no later than today. Meet for dinner and equipment check.
Day 1 A warm up day skiing off the Grands Montets or Aiguille du Midi including a short skin.
Day 2 Today we will head to one of the many huts in the Mont Blanc massif based on conditions. Included will be a climb using ice axes and crampons.  We will also work on steep skinning and kick turns, and eventually do some nice skiing to a high alpine hut.
Day 3 Get an early start from the hut and our objective is to find the best snow and practice steep skiing techniques.
Day 4 Plan A) Depending on conditions and what ascent route is in the best shape we head to either the Cosmique hut or Grand Mulets hut. We now do our best to hydrate, get well fed and rest!  Plan B) If conditions are not favorable we will do more off-piste skiing in the Chamonix valley seeking the best lines.
Day 5 Plan A ) Summit and ski Mont Blanc or B) head to desired hut
Day_6 Plan A ) If successful, then we can enjoy another day of off-piste skiing or B) Summit and ski Mont Blanc
Chamonix, France

Adrian and John approaching the summit

Price Includes:

  • IFMGA/UIAGM certified guide
  • Learn modern steep skiing techniques
  • Avalanche awareness tips
  • Practice advanced ice axe and crampon use
  • Four Lift tickets
  • Two nights hut lodging fees
  • Dinners and breakfasts in huts
  • Five nights hotels (shared basis)
  • Use of avalanche transceiver, climbing harness, probe and shovel (must reserve)

Price Excludes:

  • Travel to and from Chamonix
  • Meals in towns
  • Helicopter lift (if opted)
  • Rescue insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Gratuities

Getting To and From

Getting to and from Chamonix is generally quite easy. Geneva (GVA) is the closest international airport to Chamonix (about an hour).  There are numerous shuttle services providing very affordable transport around 30€ each way to and from Chamonix.  We recommend arriving in Chamonix no later than mid-afternoon the day before we start as baggage and flight delays can become problematic. Once you have your flight itinerary please send it to us so we know your ETA. Go ahead and booked your final leg to Chamonix through one of these shuttle services based in Chamonix.

 

  • ———
  • Dates: April/May 2013
  • ———
  • Cost: Private Bookings
  • ———
  • Ratio: 2 skiers to 1 guide
  • max. 4 skiers to 2 guides

Pertinent Info

Ski Trips

IFMGA LogoAMGA Logo

IFMGA & AMGA certified guides