Mont Blanc

  • Overview

  • Preparation

  • Itinerary

  • Price & Insurance

  • Grade & Fitness

  • Gear

Trip: Mont Blanc

 

Altitude: 4,810m/ 15,777ft


Route: Les Contamines-Montjoie Mont Blanc Massif, French Alps Gouter Route


Date: Land Only - Seleted dates in Aug 16


Duration: 8 Days Total - 2 Days Climb - 4 Days Acclimatisation


Grade: Moderate


Price: From €2,450

 

Since the birth of modern mountaineering, the majestic snow dome of Mont Blanc has lured climbers and mountaineers from all over the world. Western Europe’s highest mountain, also sometimes known as "La Dame Blanche" (The White Lady) stands at 4,810 metres or 15,777 feet and spans the border of France, Italy and Switzerland.

 

This fine Alpine challenge requires both physical and mental endurance and appropriate acclimatisation. Summiting the lofty peak is definitely worth the effort though as you are rewarded by the joy and elation of knowing you are standing above the rest of the Alps and the rest of Western Europe.

In preparation for the Mont Blanc challenge we have planned a flexible programme of climbs and glacier days gradually increasing the heights reached so as to aid acclimatization, coupled with time built into the schedule to work on our skills on ice and rock.

 

During the schedule our guides will work hard to help each individual team member learn new skills including the basic techniques of alpinism, acquire the appropriate level of acclimatisation and hopefully have a fun and rewarding holiday into the bargain.

 

Ascending Mont Blanc is a classic Alpine mountaineering challenge – and the key to success is preparation and acclimatisation.

 

Our 6 day course is designed with this in mind – we build up the climbing and therefore the acclimatization, while learning new ice and rock techniques and getting the miles under our feet

 

Of all the routes up Mont Blanc – and there are lots, we tend to stick to one of two potential routes – depending on the group, the availability of huts and on the prevailing weather conditions. The routes we use do not have that many technical obstacles – so previous experience of mountain climbing is not essential – but is obviously advantageous.

 

Generally speaking we find that the physical challenge and the effects of altitude will present more barriers to success than any technical obstacles.

 

The week's course will include:

  • Use of ice axe and crampons

  • Craft skills on snow and ice

  • Glacier travel

  • Crevasse rescue

  • Rope work

  • Knots

  • Abseiling

  • Belaying on rock, ice and snow

  • Short rope techniques

  • Moving together

  • Moving on Alpine rock

  • Route choice and planning

  • Navigation, maps and guide books

  • Clothing and equipment

  • Using Alpine Huts & hut etiquette

  • Highlights

 

Ascent of Western Europe’s highest mountain
6 days of acclimatisation, learning new ice & rock techniques
Staying high up in the mountains in the mountain huts
Jaw dropping scenery
Guide ration of 1:2 on the ascent of Mont Blanc


This trip is for you if:

  • You’ve got the basics of mountaineering and now want to attempt Mont Blanc

  • You want to brush up on your alpine mountaineering skills and attempt a big climb aswell

  • You want to get the low down on technical expertise form one of our IFMGA Mountain Guides

  • You want a different type of holiday…



The aim of the week is to enable you to make a successful and safe ascent (and descent!) of Mont Blanc.

 

In order to do this you need to acclimatize and prepare thoroughly in the days leading up to the summit ascent. Sleeping at altitude is crucial and you will spend at least 2 nights in mountain huts during the lead up. Weather conditions and hut availability may alter our programme but it is likely to take this form:

 

Arrival:

Day 1: Arrive in Les Contamines. Meet the Guides to discuss the plan and to check equipment. Valley hotel overnight.

 

Day 2: Relatively early start to get the most out of the day. Couple of hours walk up via Notre Dam church to the Tre la Tete Refuge. Time for a quick breather and a cup of coffee and then up to the Tre la Tete glacier for our first “ecole du glace” This afternoon we will start to learn the skills of using crampons and ice axe, rope work, moving together, glacier travel and understanding of the mountain environment. Back down to Tre la Tete refuge for our overnight stop.

 

Day 3: A very early start (5.00am!) as we will need all the hours we can find today for our ascent of Mont Tondu (3,195m). This is a good days’ introduction to Alpine climbing and glacier walking. The route takes us back to the Tre la Tete glacier for some crampon work and then a scramble to the ridge and the summit. Descend and a short climb to the Conscrits Refuge (2,730m) for our overnight stop.

 

Day 4:Another early start (!) Today’s objective being one of the classic summits, the Domes des Miages (3,673m) This is a fine ridge climb and an extremely scenic route, with views of nearby Mont Blanc and the Bionassy but it is pretty tough and tiring. Les Dômes de Miage traverse crosses three summits all of which are over 3500m. The route is on both rock and ice, most of which is via an exposed but good path on a sharp snow arête. Descend from the summit and back down to Les Contamines for our overnight stop. Valley hotel overnight.


Day 5: After a relaxing morning preparing kit and making last minute purchases, we take the drive down to Saint Gervais and take the Mont Blanc Tramway to the Nid d'Aigle (2,372m). From there we reach the Tete Rousse hut (3,167m) in 2 hours of easy walking. If time allows we will make a daylight recce of the Gouter Ridge. Tete Rousse Hut overnight (3,167m)

 

Day 6: Ascent of Mont Blanc (4,810m) Depending on conditions, the strength of the team etc we will either a) make a summit attempt today or b) ascend to the Gouter hut ready for a summit attempt tomorrow. OR (Day 6) An Alpine start (4.00am!). We leave the hut for our summit attempt via the Gouter Ridge passing the Gouter refuge and the Bosses ridge. We should reach the summit in 7-10 hours. Whichever route we take (as there are a couple of choices) we will have had a hard and demanding day…however (hopefully) the rewards of summiting the Blanc will certainly have been worth it. Overnight: Gouter Hut or Tete Rousse Hut.

 

Day 7: This is our “spare” day in case we need to make the summit attempt today. If not then we will descend from either the Gouter or the Tete Rousse hut to Nid d'Aigle and return to St Gervais on the Mont Blanc Tramway and then return to the village of Les Contamines for a well earned meal and celebratory drinks.

Day 8: Airport transfers for your flights home.

(If we end up with a spare day because we’ve managed to summit on Day 5 then we can flex the schedule to include a short walk or try out some of the great rock climbing routes at La Duchere, Les Contamines- or we can relax in the sun….)

 

All-In Group from €2950

 

** including Preparation Training Day, Gear & Equipment Briefing, Flights, Travel Insurance*, Airport transfers as well as all services included in Land Only below (Mini 6 pax)

 

*Terms & Conditions apply. Please contact us for more information 

 

Land Only €2450

 

What’s Included?

  • B&B (based on sharing twin rooms and/or bunk rooms in mountain huts); The services of our specially chosen professional, English speaking International Mountain Leader & IFMGA Mountain Guides; All valley transport & uplifts where necessary within the schedule.

 

What’s Not Included?

  • Travel, airport transfers, insurance, snack food/linches, valley transport/cable car/uplifts (where they are not part of the schedule), personal expenses,, meals.

 

  • Please do contact us for any advice on insurance. It is a condition of joining our trips that you are insured against medical & personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs, air ambulance and helicopter rescue services). We also strongly recommend that you take out cancellation insurance, as all deposits are non-refundable (unless we cancel the course). Please ensure that your insurer is aware of your itinerary and can agree to cover the activities being undertaken. You will then need to advise us of your policy details and complete an Insurance Declaration form.

 

  • Additional Climbing Insurance: If you are joining a climbing or trekking trip which may or does necessitate the use of any climbing equipment (ice axe, ropes, crampons, wearing a climbing harness etc) even if just for a limited time, then you may need to declare this separately to your insurers as this may need additional rescue insurance that specifically covers climbing activities.

 

Cancellation:

 

  • Full refund applies if cancellation is received and acknowledged more than 20 weeks prior to event.

 

  • Desposits will not be refunded for cancellations received within 20 weeks.

 

  • For bookings made where flights have to be paid for in advance, the flight cost is non- refundable once paid.

There are lots of routes to the summit of Mont Blanc most of which present few technical obstacles. For most groups we recommend the Gouter Hut route which is graded PD (not difficult) 'PD' (Peu difficile/not very difficult) – usually longer routes, often with more complex glaciated terrain, with some scrambling on mixed ground (snow, ice and rock). Snow slopes are not normally steeper than 45°. Short sections of grade 1 and 2 scrambling, though potentially in exposed areas.

The first part of the route to the Gouter (or Tete Rousse) hut involves a fair bit of rock scrambling, whilst the rest of the ascent will be mostly on snow and ice, with plenty of exposed ridges and ice slopes. On the summit day you will be roped up for most of the route for maximum safety. Previous mountain experience is not essential and the schedule is achievable by anyone with good fitness, a strong head for heights and lots of ambition.

Fitness & Preparation

The key to success climbing Mont Blanc is preparation.


Mont Blanc requires a high level of physical fitness and experience using crampons and an ice axe. All mountain adventures - whether skiing, climbing or trekking - are physical recreational activities where it is really true that "the fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy them". For climbing, aerobic fitness and leg strength are the key. Upper body strength and core stability are also important for more technical climbing, but for preparing for Mont Blanc nothing beats activities that increase your heart rate and build your aerobic levels and regular hill walking in Ireland or abroad - is strongly recommended in the build-up to the trip. Movement skills - agility, balance, flexibility - which allow you to walk easily over rough ground, to scramble using hands and feet on exposed terrain or to make your way safely up a steep snow slope - are also very relevant and can be enhanced through specific aerobic activity and training drills. Due to the altitude, group members should have a high level of fitness and be capable of completing long days in the mountains.

 

Altitude:

 

We aim to spend as much time as possible acclimatising as we climb progressively higher each day - and this is one of the main objectives of our itinerary. It is possible though for even the fittest to suffer from the effects of altitude. Our Guides have a wealth of knowledge on the effects of altitude and will be able to give you good advice on how best to deal with any discomfort.

 

Guides:

 

We only use registered UIMLA International Mountain Leaders and IFMGA Mountain Guides. Guiding is at a ratio of (up to) 1:6 during the build-up training and 1:2 during the ascent of Mont Blanc.

Our itinerary is flexible and may be changed to make best use of the conditions.

The Guides will decide day by day taking into account the weather, the group’s fitness levels and the proposed routes.

Technical Equipment

  • Leather or plastic mountaineering boots* sturdy with RIGID soles - crampon compatible

  • Backpack (40-45 liters) with rain cover if possible. Some have built-in rain covers (Deuter backpacks). Rain covers can also be bought separately. Otherwise bring a big plastic (garbage) bag as an inside liner for your backpack

  • Climbing helmet*

  • Ice axe for glacier travel (50-75cm, classic pick)*

  • Crampons that fit your boots or can be easily adjusted*

  • Anti-balling plates for your crampons (highly recommended)*

  • Collapsible ski poles* (One pole is very useful and recommended)

  • 1 harness*

  • 2 locking carabiners*

  • Crevasse rescue equipment, if you are familiar with using it. (Prusik slings, webbing, pulleys, auto-locking device). Your guide will bring a full set.

 

All items marked ‘*’ can be rented from a rental shop locally. Please bring your own equipment if you have it.

 

Clothing

 

  • We suggest using the ‘layer system’: Light technical clothing that doesn’t take much space in your backpack and dries quickly if sweaty or wet. Layers can be put on and taken off fast if weather conditions change during the day.

  • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore Tex or similar)

  • Wind and waterproof over pants with side zippers (Gore Tex or similar)

  • Mountaineering pants

  • Fleece or heavy jacket

  • Medium weight fleece sweater

  • Long underwear or running tights (e.g. Capilene or polypro)

  • Undershirt - preferably long sleeves (e.g. Capilene or polypro)

  • Warm socks for mountaineering boots (wool/synthetic outers)

  • Lighter socks for rock climbing shoes

  • Warm hat, covering your ears

  • Lightweight gloves (fleece)

  • Warm, waterproof pair of gloves

  • Gaiters (unless pants lock tightly to your boots)

  • Sun hat, with a wide brim if possible

  • Bandana (optional)

  • Spare underwear, socks

  • Down vest or light insulated jacket (optional)

  • Light-weight sleeping bag liner (preferably silk) - wool covers are provided by the hut

  • Light hut slippers (optional) – we recommend to use the ones the huts provide

  • Light stuff sacs or zip lock bags to keep your backpack organized (optional)

  • Toiletries : only tooth-brush and tooth-paste

  • Alpine Club Membership Card (if you hold membership)

  • Ear plugs (optional but very useful)

 

Misc Items

 

  • Sun glasses (heavy duty - glacier use, with very good UV protection)

  • Sun screen and lip protection

  • Water bottle, preferably insulated, minimum volume: 1 litre or Camelback (if too cold, bladder tube might freeze up!)

  • Head lamp with spare batteries and bulb

  • Blister kit (optional)

  • Snacks (candy bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)

  • Personal items (prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses, etc.)

  • Pocket knife or Leatherman (optional)

  • Passport

  • (Health/Travel) Insurance documents

  • Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry (recommended)

  • Camera and spare batteries (optional)

  • Compass, maps and GPS (optional)

 

 

 

Pin it