High Mountain Guides / What we do / Mountaineering in Chamonix / Climb Mont Blanc

Climb Mont Blanc

High on the 'Bosses Ridge' of Mont Blanc. Five minutes from the summit and the mixture of emotions are running high. France on one side, Italy on the other, the summit ahead. Magnificent view across the Alps, tired legs...must concentrate...must keep going. Relief? Satisfaction? Elation? Concern about the descent? Mont Blanc is a very personal challenge....

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...

Mont Blanc summit at sunset, after a long ascent in October 2015. A tough but magnificent autumnal climb & memorable mountain experience.

2018 Mont Blanc Dates & Prices

Latest Mont Blanc Conditions

Mont Blanc Training Weekends

Course Aims

  • 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

    The 'space age' new Gouter Hut on Mont Blanc opened in 2013 and is a welcome improvement on the infamous old hut! Constructing & running a hut at 3835m is not easy but it's a spectacular place to spend the night!

    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,

    Celebration and relief at 4810m. The summit of Mont Blanc has superb views of much of the Alps. On a calm sunny day this can be enjoyed over a welcome summit break. On a cloudy, breezy day a quick photo is snapped before scuttling back down.

    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.

    Dawn on the North side of the Dome de Gouter with the Chamonix Valley and Aiguilles Rouges beyond.

  • 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.
  • Congratulations!

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.

Going well on Mont Blanc's 'Trois Monts' Route above the Col de la Brenva. Mont Maudit & Aiguille Verte (far right) beyond.

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.

Mont Blanc Training Weekends - Scottish Highlands & Snowdonia

Enjoyable mountaineering terrain and skills training using crampons and ice axe. This snow slope was followed by roping up as a team to climb both grade I mixed ridge and snow gully. Great experience and confidence building for the Alps trip the following summer.

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.

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Awesome weekend! Totally met my expectations especially in preparation for my upcoming Mont Blanc trip with High Mountain Guides. First class guiding, knowledge sharing and a lot of fun. Thanks HMG .... Viv, MB Training Wknd April 2017

Viv, Mont Blanc Training Weekend, Snowdonia, April 2017

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During an enjoyable traverse of the Snowdon Horseshoe as part of one of our Mont Blanc training weekends in Snowdonia

2018 Mont Blanc Training Weekends

Spring 2018 Mt Blanc Training Weekend - Snowdonia - Llanberis

28-29 April - Places Available

Max ratio guests to guide / instructor 4:1 for day 1 and 2:1 for day 2

Course fee: £345

Winter Weekend 2018 - Scottish Highlands - Fort William

10-11 March - Places Available

Max ratio guests to guide / instructor 4:1

Course fee: £295

"

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....

Rob Hutchins, Climb Mont Blanc & Gran Paradiso, June 2015

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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!

Prue, Mont Blanc Course, June 2011

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Suggested Course Progression

The Aiguille du Bionnassay is in the centre background.

Our Chamonix Alpine Introduction would be a great start to building your mountaineering experience and a good onward progression would then be to Climb the Gran Paradiso, followed by the Weissmies.

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!'

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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?!
Cheers, Gary

Gary, Mont Blanc & Matterhorn, August 2015

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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.

2018 Mont Blanc Course Dates & Prices

Exact course dates still TBC...please enquire for details.

...The ascent of the Dome du Gouter is long & steady and can be psychological crux of the route, especially when done in the dark. The physical crux comes higher up!

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.

2018 Cost

6 Day Course - £1495 per person

3 Day Course - £925 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.

2018 Mont Blanc Course Dates & Prices

June 5-10, 6 Day Early Summer Course

Excellent condition in early autumn 2016

A tough but rewarding time to climb in early summer. Lifts & trains are shut making the approach longer and we use the Hellbroner & Midi lifts and Torino Hut in the Mont Blanc Massif to acclimatise and there is the option to do our Alpine Intro weekend just before this course for additional training & acclimatisation. This course is well before the main summer busy period and starts mid-week offering the tough and well prepared climber an inspiring opportunity to climb Mont Blanc in tougher, quieter conditions and generally before the summer heat creates excessive rock fall problems in the Grand Couloir.

Opportunity to do our Alpine Intro weekend before this Mont Blanc ascent, and have a rest day before the main course starts on the Tuesday.

June 17-22 - Chamonix Based High Mountain Training Phase

6 days, Sunday - Friday Inclusive, 0 / 4 Places Still Available. People Enquiring: 2

Nights spent in mountain huts on intended itinerary are 17, 18, 20 & 21 June th & 14th September

Opportunity to climb the Weissmeis or climb the Gran Paradiso, before this Mont Blanc ascent, and have a rest day before the summit period.

September 13-15, 3 Day Course

3 days, Thursday - Saturday Inclusive, 4 / 4 Places Available. (Enquiries: 2)

Nights spent in mountain huts on intended itinerary are September 13th & 14th September

Opportunity to climb the Weissmeis or climb the Gran Paradiso, before this Mont Blanc ascent, and have a rest day before the summit period.

September 23-28, 6 Day Autumn Course

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.

Cost

6 Day Course - £1495 per person

Maximum Guiding Ratios Of 1 Guide To 4 Clients For The 3 Training Days And 1:2 For The 3 Summit Days

What’s Included in the Price?

This was the final challenge in Paul's series of mountain fundraising events that have so far raised over $216000 for Cancer Research UK. We were proud to be part of Paul's great efforts for this cause.

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 750 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.
  • Flights
  • Transfer from the airport to Chamonix, around 40 euros each in way in 2017
  • 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

Course Notes

  • 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.

Mont Blanc Equipment List

Mountaineering equipment required for climbing Mont Blanc in normal summer conditions. Makes and models are examples only. Technical equipment (crampons, ice-axe, harness, helmet) can be hired from us. Try and ke... more>

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:

Contact

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,

Rob

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:

Other Relevant Courses

 

Climb The Gran Paradiso

The Gran Paradiso (4061m) is the highest mountain entirely within Italy and a constant snowy companion on the southern skyline from the Mont Blanc Massif. Lying in the beautiful Paradiso National Park this is a delightful high mountain area, set above the Italian Val d'Aosta and... more>

Climb The Weissmies

Whilst, at 4017m the Weissmies only just makes it into the exclusive club of Alpine 4000m peaks, it has many more attributes to recommend an ascent than just its altitude...

The traverse of the Weissmies is a classic high alpine journey, among some of the Giants of the Swi... more>

Becoming An Alpinist

On this progressive alpine training course we aim to tackle some of Chamonix's classic moderate alpine routes in a style that will offer you high quality mountaineering training along the way. This course is ideally suited to those with some existing rock climbing and winter mou... more>

Climb The Matterhorn

A long, tough and brilliant day's alpine mountaineering on the world's most iconic mountain, The Matterhorn. There can be few alpine climbers (or even armchair climbers!) who have not dreamed of scaling this strikingly beautiful peak. The classic route starts from the pic... more>

Climb The Eiger

The colourful history of the Eiger brings this mountain, like few others, in to the popular domain and means it is both famous and notorious not just with mountaineers but with the public at large. A lot of the Eiger's fame comes from its enormous, steep and imposing north face,... more>

Mont Blanc Conditions

If you have climbed on Mont Blanc recently please add any relevant comments on climbing conditions via the 'New comment' button at the base of the page:

Comments

29th September 2016, Very Good Early Autumn Conditions On Mont Blanc Gouter Route

All five of our climbers reached the summit in great style this morning to be greeted by a chilly but beautiful early autumnal dawn across the high Northern Alps. The shadow of Mont Blanc was cast strongly down in to the shady Arve Valley over 4000m below. The descent was made steadily via a break at Gouter Hut and then the easy but long & rough walk back to Bionassay. A great day on the hill and very satisfying end to the summer season on Mont Blanc. Again showing that for the fit and well prepared late September can be a great time to climb. This is not our last course of the year as we will be trying again later in October so are hoping for an Indian summer then!

29th August 2016, Late Summer Dry Conditions On Mont Blanc Normal Routes

Good weather has seen many ascents of Mont Blanc from both the Chamonix side - Aiguille du Midi / Cosmiques Hut and St Gervais side - Gouter / Tete Rousse Huts. Upper snow conditions have been fine but the late summer hot and sunny weather has led to a deterioration of the conditions in the Grand Couloir where lots of stone fall has been reported. Like last summer, even in dry conditions stone fall can develop due to hot weather and this has led the Prefet de Haute Savoie to issue a statement advising great care in the ascent via this route, paying particular attention to time of day and weather / temperature to assess the conditions. On the 3 Monts route the ascent to the shoulder on Mont Maudit is exposed to serac fall, currently looking unstable and the crossing of a tricky crevasse.

3rd August 2016, Good Summer Conditions On Mont Blanc

As august arrives snow conditions remain good high on Mont Blanc with many teams enjoying the ascent from many different routes up the mountain. All the normal routes via Tete Rousse, Gouter, Gonella & Cosmiques have been climbed as as teams still climbing from the Grands Mulets hut via the North Ridge of the Dome du Gouter. There has been some stone fall in the Grand Couloir as usual but not as bad as last year when the Gouter Hut closed.

Teams have also been climbing the Bionassay traverse and Inominata Ridge. A great alpine summer season so far!

22nd June 2016, Snowy & Sunny Summit Day On Mont Blanc

The first 30C day of the summer alpine season saw a big track extending from the Tete Rousse to the Gouter Hut and all the way up to the summit with many teams enjoying the good conditions and remarkably good early season snow cover. On the Italian side the Gonella Hut is now open but with no track leading above the hut, although one team are trying tonight.

7th June 2016

Two teams to the summit from the Tete Rousse Hut this morning, one from Montreal and one from Nottingham / Derby. Good snowy conditions and good going with a decent track in place. The approach to the Tete Rousse was made by the railway tracks and then normal route up the steep and snowy moraine ridge with the path well banked out in places.

10th October 2015, Fantastic Autumnal Ascent Of Mont Blanc

A long and brilliant day in good conditions, climbing a physical 3000m of ascent from Bellevue to the summit and down to the Gouter Hut in one day. We started via a taxi ride to Bellevue as all the lifts and trains are shut at this time of year. The Gouter hut was also closed but the winter room was open and provided us with a great little base camp for the climb. Snow conditions were good and there was a track from the steep ridge / path leading up to the Tete Rousse Hut. We eventually caught the Polish team who had made the track on the Dome du Gouter and then we were in to almost pristine snow conditions leading to the summit. One fast French climber had also made the summit that morning, from the valley up and down which was an impressively swift & stylish ascent.

We steadily made our way up the Bosses Ridge in the early evening sun and topped out just at sunset with magnificent evening light. The windless night time descent was enjoyed despite the tired bodies and the chicken curry at the Gouter Hut went down well! Next morning the Gouter Rib was descended in enjoyable snowy conditions with a good track now leading all the way down & across a pleasantly silent Grand Couloir. A great trip up Mont Blanc with tough but rewarding autumnal conditions. With several teams heading up the mountain and a good forecast for the next few days the track will become more established and conditions should remain good until the next poor / windy weather arrives.

24 September 2015, Autumn Season On Mont Blanc

The Gouter Hut will remain open until mid October this year to make up for the weeks of closure during the high summer season. The extended season can be taken advantage of via the online hut booking system and there is even a reduction in price for the quiter October weeks. This can be a fantastic time to climb the mountain with tougher but quieter and often more pristine snow conditions. We already have one team booked in for a summit attempt during the 2nd week of October and look forward to the extra challenge presented by an autumn ascent of the mountain.

Recent snow falls have added around 30cms of fresh snow at Gouter Hut / Aiguille du Midi height and this along with strong winds up high today will make for very difficult conditions from the Gouter and presumably no body climbing from the Cosmiques hut due to the elevated avalanche risk on the 3 Monts route. Cool, sunny weather is forecast for the next few days so teams from the Gouter Hut at least, will no doubt put the track back in all the way to the summit.

September 4th 2015, Cool Down & Good Conditions On Mont Blanc Gouter Route

The Gouter hut has re-opened after a month or so of closure due to the risk of stone fall in the Grand Couloir. We were paying close attention to the conditions and appreciated the recent fresh snow and general cooling of the mountain. The Grand Couloir had become dry again during the last couple of days of cool but sunny weather. Having spent a pleasant night at the Refuge Nid d'Aigle we climbed to the Gouter Hut via the crossing of the couloir mid morning. It was dry but calm and the ascent was incident free until we reached the old Gouter Hut where we helped with the rescue of a young woman who had broken her leg in a slip on ice behind the old hut. As the weather was really closing in with fresh snow on a stiff northerly wind, there was no helicopter coming and we used the rescue stretcher from the new Gouter Hut to effect the evacuation to the new hut.

Conditions & weather above the hut were good next morning albeit with a continuing cold northerly wind and we were glad of our 2nd night at the Gouter hut meaning we made a leisurely ascent to the summit during the warmer part of the day. The weather again came in that night meaning the descent of the Gouter Rib the next morning was made in cold & snowy conditions. Enjoyable snowy scrambling and zero stone fall was noted in the couloir.

17th July 2015, The Heatwave Takes It's Toll on Mont Blanc

Difficult conditions on the mountain at the moment. High stone fall risk in the Grand Couloir due to the extended heat wave and some tricky icy sections on the 3 Monts Route. We are currently planning some good alternatives for Mont Blanc teams arriving at the moment.

Detailed report of the current situation on the mountain on our news page here:

http://www.highmountainguides.com/index.php/eng/News/Chamonix-Alpine-Climbing-Reports-Summer-2015#MontBlancConditions

14th September 2014, Excellent Late Summer Conditions High on Mont Blanc

Enjoyable ascent in excellent conditions from the Gouter Hut this morning & down to catch the train from the Nid d'Aigle in plenty of time on the last day of the season which the train is running. Conditions in the couloir are a little mixed and there was some stone fall late yesterday evening. Excellent snowy conditions high on the mountain - looks good for autumn!

28th June, Up from the Tete Rousse, down to the Gouter

Well done to our 6 person Climb Mont Blanc team who are just down from a fine ascent via the Northern route on Mt Blanc. After a 3 day training period with ascents of the Weissmies & Allalinhorn the team enjoyed an easy day 4 up to the Tete Rousse Hut. The summit day 5 is never 'easy' from the Tete Rousse - but with the knowledge of a bed booked at the Gouter ones time can be taken and the ascent & summit celebration enjoyed without the pressure of the scrambling descent and crossing of the Grand Couloir to negotiate. The final descent on day 6 is done with relatively fresh legs and a spring in the step. Concentration is required but the tramway du Mt Blanc is reached early on and all that remains is the rest of the day relaxing, recuperating & celebrating in Chamonix!

Friday 13th June, Mont Blanc Traverse

Warm weather during the day but a reasonable overnight freeze up high and existing track gave decent snow conditions for the traverse of Mont Blanc via the 3 Monts route & down via the Gouter route. The 'voie normale on Mont Blanc du Tacul has a fairly impressive looking steep wall low down on the ascent which is fortunately easier to climb than it looks! The upper tracks cut both hard right, as usual, to traverse round to the shoulder as well as there being a track in from the top of the triangle which teams were using both as descent from routes on the triangle as well as for the ascent of the Tacul.

The track on Mont Maudit is also currently different to most seasons in that it climbs high on the north face before traversing out right to the ridge really close to the actual summit as opposed to the normal steep slope to the shoulder much lower down. Decent snowy conditions then from the Col de la Brenva, over the summit, along the Bosses ridge and all the way down to the crossing of the Grand Couloir which is still quite snowy.

Generally fairly quiet conditions on the mountain but the huts are fully booked for much of next week. Our Mont Blanc courses are now full until September.

26th October 2013, Good Autumn Climbing Conditions on Mont Blanc

Lovely warm autumn weather has taken the fresh snow line well back up the hill to nearly 3000m. Plenty of fresh snow remains above that but with a track already in place conditions were good on Mont Blanc today. A Polish team pushed high towards the summit but were forced to retreat in high winds. With snow forecast tomorrow there will be some more fresh down to 2900m with rain below that. The forecast for next week is looking pretty good!

6th August 2013, Fine Conditions on Mont Blanc French Side

Just down from an enjoyable ascent of Mont Blanc via the Gouter Route and 2 nights in the new Gouter Refuge. The Grand Couloir was relatively quiet and crossed without incident late am on the way up, from the first tramway and early am on the way down, after a 7am breakfast at the Gouter. The upper mountain was in fine condition with an excellent track and well snowy conditions with almost no exposed bare ice. Many teams also came over the 3 Monts route from both the Cosmiques Hut and first Aiguille du Midi lift.

One team even traversed the mountain from the first Midi lift to the summit and down to catch an afternoon train down from the Nid d'Aigle. Climbing Mont Blanc without a hut night - quite a novelty!

As of the 7/8th of August a storm will have put down a fair bit of fresh snow and prevailing bad weather is preventing any teams summiting. However, on the Gouter route at least, this will settle quickly and with the return to good weather from Saturday the mountain will quickly come back in to good condition.

9th July 2013, Enjoyable Swift Ascent of Gouter Route & Excellent New Refuge!

Unsurprisingly the new Gouter Refuge is a massive improvement on the old one. Smart, pleasant modern hut, smiling staff and good food were all a very welcome addition to our rapid ascent of the Gouter Normal route in near perfect conditions, at least higher on the mountain.

The recent warm spell has stripped much of the snow from the Gouter Rib allowing the middle section to be climbed without crampons. A fair amount of snow has also been stripped from the Grand Couloir and, in response to the recently revealed rock / mixed patches, a few stones were seen flying down the couloir.

We left the Gouter Hut at 0230 this morning and were on the summit not long after 0530. A good swift ascent from Andy putting us first on the summit and this, along with a thin layer of fresh snow, gave a real pristine feel to our pre - during and just post dawn ascent.

The tramway du Mont Blanc is now on its summer time table with more trains and the last descent being 7pm.

5th July 2013, Excellent Snow Conditions On All Mont Blanc 'Normal' Routes....

Teams were 'making hay' whilst the snow froze and stars twinkled this morning on most of the classic snow routes up Mont Blanc.

A slightly frustrating day of weather watching at the Tete Rousse Hut yesterday was rewarded this morning with a perfect dawn and crunchy snow this morning. The wind had died down overnight and It was a pleasure to watch two head lamps bobbing their way up the NW Face of the Bionnassay during our steady ascent of the Dome du Gouter.

Teams were also cruising the classic snow arete of the Bionnassay and making classic traverses between the Italian Gonella Route and the Chamonix / Cosmiques Trois Monts route.

1st July 2013, All Open on Mont Blanc

The first day of July feels like it has ushered in the high summer season on Mont Blanc. A perfect summit day with a large track extending up from the Gouter Refuge to the summit, well seen all the way down the Arve Valley. Although the Bellevue cable car is closed for the season due to a fire which damaged the cables - the Tramway du Mont Blanc is open and can be taken from LE Fayet to the Nid d'Aigle. From here it is normally just a 2 hour walk to the Tete Rousse Hut although currently a bit longer with the large amounts of snow still around.

22/8/12 Dangerous Conditions on Mont Blanc's Gouter Route

Numerous recent reports have come in of significant rock falls in Mont Blanc's Gouter couloir including a large one this morning which produced enough rock debris to spill out of the Couloir and down on to the Tete Rousse Glacier. The Tete Rousse camp / bivvi site has been closed and climbers are recommended to avoid this route for now as the very warm weather continues. Reasonable conditions are reported on the Cosmiques / Trois Monts route and more details of this to follow as we shall be attempting this route tomorrow.

26th July 2012, High Summer Summit Conditions on Mont Blanc

A week of perfect summer weather here in the Chamonix Valley is just coming to an end. There are large tracks on both the Gouter and Trois Monts routes on Mont Blanc as well as teams reporting good conditions on the tougher traverse of the Bionassay. After a showery and cooler weekend it looks like things may set fair again for more classic summer summit weather next week.

16th July 2012, Fine Conditions Reported on Mont Blanc's 'Arete Royale' Route

French Mountain Guide and celebrated alpiniste 'Christophe Profit' reported very good conditions on the North spur of the Dome du Gouter today and decent conditions to access the Grand Mulets Hut from the Plan de l'Aiguille across the 'Jonction'. This elegant snow spur is often taken by skiers in spring bound for the summit of Mont Blanc and presents an aesthetic and relatively objectively safe route up Mont Blanc, as long as the Jonction can be negotiated which generally becomes quite complicated during the high summer. The Grand Mulets Hut is open until the end of July and provides an interesting alternative to it's two more crowded alternative Mont Blanc 'normal routes' on the northern French side of Mont Blanc.

18th June 2012, Good Conditions on the Italian Route on Mont Blanc

The Gaurdian at the Gonella Hut is reporting excellent snowy conditions on the Italian 'Monte Bianco' Voie Normale right now. This is a long and physical but interesting alternative to the busier French routes and the hut is a lot easier to get a booking at too!

16th June 2012, Perfect Summit Day via the Gouter Hut

Excellent weather and good early season snowy conditions today both in the Grand Couloir and high on the Bosses Ridge. A perfect Mont Blanc summit day.

6th June 2012, Heavy Snow on the Mont Blanc Trois Monts Route

After our experience of heavy trail breaking on the Gouter Route yesterday we were back up at the Col du Midi today enjoying the fresh, pristine conditions and making the most of our last day by doing some classic Chamonix Mountaineering on the Cosmiques Arete & Arete Laurence. The Cosmiques flank of Mont Blanc du Tacul was plastered in fresh snow and there were only a few tentative attempts at ascending it. One team did succeed in making a ski ascent of the face and later on a team on foot was working hard putting in a deep track in the fresh soft snow. No teams got higher on the Trois Mont route and no tracks could be seen crossing the Mont Maudit shoulder, across on the Gouter Route or looking down to the Grand Mulets hut and route via the North Spur of the Dome de Gouter.

4th June 2012, Wintery Early Summer Conditions on Mont Blanc's Gouter Route

Our arrival at the Tete Rousse Hut yesterday coincided with the start of heavy downpours turning to snow around the altitude of the Hut (3167m). These would continue throughout the evening, night and in to this morning leaving around 15cm of fresh snow on top of a deep unfrozen base. A tough trail breaking combination!

Our approach to the Hut was aided by Laurent and his 4X4 'Miage Taxi' who took us from parking 'Crozat' above Bionassay to Bellevue. Walking around Mont Lachat from here we were able to then walk up the train tracks as it was a Sunday and no work was underway on the new tunnel. We met a couple of teams who had profited from yesterday's excellent summit weather & conditions. This was not too be for us and after a slow trail breaking ascent to the Grand Couloir this morning, in deep soft snow, we turned around and made a speedy descent down in to the very wet and green valley.

N.b the 'echelles' section of this 'Are' path from Bionassay to the Nid d'Aigle are not yet equipped. There are steps in place but no handrail.

2nd June 2012, Perfect Summit Day on Mont Blanc

A few lucky teams enjoying fine early summer weather and summiting Mont Blanc today. Conditions reported as generally very good on the Trois Monts route although currently with a few very short but quite steep snow walls on the ascent of Mont Blanc du Tacul. Good to get the summit in today as it looks like the weather is taking a turn to cloudy, wet and quite windy for the next couple of days.

Start of the 2012 Summer Season on Mont Blanc

Whilst the Gouter & Tete Rousse Refuges both open on the 1st June the track up Mont Blanc via this route is open already. A large 'snow motorway' could be seen above the Gouter Hut today as teams take advantage of the fine early season snow conditions and good weather. Many teams are also skiing the mountain from both the Grand Mulets Hut and Aiguille du Midi.

Whilst the huts open in a few days time neither the Tramway du Mont Blanc or Bellevue ski lift will open for several weeks. This long approach from the valley lends a real expedition feel to the ascent and certainly helps to keep the crowds down!

10th August 2011, Mont Blanc Conditions Update

We reached just above the Vallot Hut in good conditions yesterday before running out of steam and a British party were evacuated from the hut by a PGHM helicopter rescue team. Today was a stunning and calmer summit day, but still cool. Many teams reached the summit. The meteo remains superb for tomorrow and another perfect summit day is on the cards.

Note that there is a new section of cable at the very base of the Gouter rock rib once the Grand Couloir has been crossed in ascent. This is a bit steeper and a bit further right than before meaning that the cables (and people on them!) are less exposed to rock fall from the Couloir. There was also a long climbing rope in-situ across the couloir fixed to some new bolts at either side of the couloir. This was quite a handy addition but will presumably not last that long before it is trashed by rockfall. Bring on the Grand Couloir tunnel!

30th June 2011 Birthday Summit on Mont Blanc

After a rather 'driech' (Scottish for wet / grey / cloudy weather!) start conditions improved to a breezy but fine summit day (and the guides birthday!) with good conditions throughout the upper mountain. The Grand Couloir is getting a lot more mixed and the snow cover rapidly depleting. There were a number of rockfalls coming down the couloir by mid-afternoon, the time of our descent, however the soft snow was generally taking any momentum out of the rock fall and despite teams crossing coinciding with rocks falling no one seemed to get hit.

Good to see Owen & Tim (British Guides) on the Bosses Arete who had made a long, tough trail breaking ascent of the Pope route from the Italian Gonella Hut. Finishing with a descent to the Cosmiques gave a long high level traverse of the mountain. A number of teams made the ascent from the Col du Midi and reported reasonable conditions but, as ever, worrying seracs on the ascent of Mont Blanc du Tacul.

First Mont Blanc Ascent of Our 2011 Season....(Not on skis!)

Fine conditions for our Mont Blanc ascent yesterday. An early breakfast was taken and we left the Tette Rousse at 0200 as heavy thunderstorms were forecast as likely for the afternoon. There was a good track across the Grand Couloir and we took crampons off for the lower section of the Gouter Ridge before putting them back on for the upper section to the Hut.

The track above the Gouter Hut now goes well right on the initial open slopes of the Dome du Gouter North Flank Glacier. This is currently a good line as it avoids the very open crevassing further left. The slopes above and below the Vallot Hut were in good snowy shape with a decent track.

We turned around on the Bosses Ridge due to tired legs in the team and just made it back to the Bellevue Telecabine before the storm truly kicked in at about 1600. The descent from the Tette Rousse was made easier by taking the snow slopes close to the Bionassay Glacier rather than the normal path, still some half decent bum slides to be had!

Some teams made the ascent of Mont Blanc from the Cosmiques Hut with at least one team completing the traverse.

August 2010, A Spirited Attempt on The Mission

Joined by Swiss Alps based British Mountain Guide Paul 'Dobber' Wright, Rob and a team of 4 fit young London city bankers warmed up in tough windy, cloudy and snowy conditions on the Tour and Trient glaciers and mountain refuges. Against all odds and on a highly inclement forecast a tough trail breaking ascent was made of Mont Blanc. The team were all properly tired after this and although great fun, canyoning on the rest day was probably a 'bridge too far!'

The ascent of the Dom went well from the amazing applestrudel at the Dom Hut to fine conditions and a big mountain atmosphere on the Festigrat. The large amount of vertical height gain on this climb (the highest of any alpine mountain summit from the valley - no lifts here!) took its toll and instead of undertaking the grueling ascent of the Monte Rosa we returned to Chamonix for some 'Croissant and Café Alpinism'!

Good effort guys...but the first successful completion of the Mission remains for the taking. Who shall step forward?

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