Rock Climbing in Chamonix

Classic Chamonix granite rock climbing on the Aiguille du Midi south face. The Chamonix 4000m peak Skyline in the background & Swiss Alps beyond. The Matterhorn in the distance far right

The rock climbing in Chamonix is world famous both for the quality and position of the high mountain routes as well as the variety and accessibility of many other styles of rock climbing. From lovely easy roadside climbs to extreme granite big mountain walls, Chamonix, has it all. Due to the close proximity of the Italian Vallee d’Aoste; Swiss Rhone Valley and Chaines des Aravis, Chamonix is also an excellent base for exploring interesting neighboring valleys adding further interest and diversity to the climbing here…

This page helps introduce you to the magical world of rock climbing in Chamonix. There are constantly updated notes about the routes, details of our courses & guiding services and various resources to inform & inspire your climbing trip here.

Our Chamonix Based Rock Climbing Training & Guiding

Whilst there are many extreme rock climbing ascents to be made on the high altitude granite of the Mont Blanc massif do not let this put you off if you are new to rock climbing. There are many easily accessible beginner and family friendly crags which provide superb rock climbing experiences.

In short we can use the many crags around the Chamonix Valley to provide you with an enjoyable, tailor made training and / or guided rock climbing experience. Contact us to discuss your aspirations. We will happily put together a specific itinerary to help you get the most out of your trip.

We hope to climb with you soon…

Rock Climbing Styles & Suggested Routes for Chamonix Based Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing in Chamonix (but out of the valley and away from the crowds)

Below is a list of possible option to help you plan your rock climbing trip in and around the Chamonix Valley. They are in an approximate order of commitmentso whilst the technical difficulty may be high early in the list the overall commitment will be low. Conversely later in the list the technical difficulty may be low but overall mountaineering commitment high.

  • Bouldering – There is lots of good bouldering in the valley. Try the Col des Montets for starters. Then the woods in Les Bossons, large boulder of ‘La Pierre d’Orthaz’
  • Single Pitch Sport Climbing – on the fine valley crags of both the Chamonix and Arve Valleys e.g Les Gaillands, Servoz, Les Chavants, Coupeau, Le Fayet, La Joux
  • Mult Pitch Climbing on the Valley Sides – e.g Les Cheserys above Argentiere, La Duchere above Contamine, The excellent ‘Via Corda Alpina’, Montenvers. There is a huge amount of good limestone sport climbing too in the Arve Valley between Geneva and Chamonix. Try the South pillar of the Croix de Fer for a real big mountain feel….out of the big mountains!
  • Multi Pitch Mountain Sport Climbing, Aiguille Rouges e.g via Brevent, the classic 6a ‘Frisson Roche’ or, a bit harder, Poem A Lou (6b+). Hundreds of routes from 4-7 accessible from Flegere e.g Piano Forte 6C+, Tour des Crochues
  • Classic Rock Ridge Traverses – More scrambling than rock climbing e.g the Traverse of the Crochues in the Aiguilles Rouges, Les Perrons above Vallorcine
  • Multi Pitch Granite Rock Climbing above the Plan de l’Aiguille – Lots of fine granite mountain routes from 1-2 hours walk from the mid-station on the Aiguille du Midi. For starters try the Papillons Arete or Lepidopteres on the Aiguille du Peigne, or for something harder in the same area, ‘Le Ticket, Le Carre, Le Rond et La Lune….
  • Classic Granite Multi Pitch Sport Routes above the Envers Hut – Lots of real Chamonix granite classics like ‘Amazonia’ (6a+). Sport climbing in a high mountain setting with a glacial approach and mountain hut as a base.
  • High mountain Rock Routes Accessed from the Aiguille de Midi or Punta Hellbronner Telepheriques – Grades range from the relatively friendly ‘Pyramide du Tacul’ at F5a (but still no pushover) to some of the worlds most cutting edge hard mountain rock routes on the Gran Capucin. The common themes are a snow covered glacier approach, beautiful golden granite and climbing in a stunning but serious environment.

Guidebooks & Topos for Chamonix Based Rock Climbing

Some of these French & Italian guide books are available in an English version

  • Crag Climbs in Chamonix, Vamos, Francois Burnier & Dominique Potard
  • The Aiguilles Rouges 1, Michel Piola
  • Mont Blanc Massif – Envers des Aiguilles, Michel Piola
  • Escalades Choisies – Mont Blanc & Aiguilles Rouges, Montagne Evasion, Jean Louis Laroche & Florence Lelong
  • ‘6a Max’, Savoie et Haute Savoie, Oros, Philippe Brass & Guillaume Vallot
  • Schweiz Plaisir WEST, Edition Filidor, Jurg Von Kanel
  • Vallee de l’Arve, Gilles Brunot
  • Escalade Massif Bornes Aravis,
  • Arrampicata Sportiva Valle d’Aosta, Mani Nude

“Many thanks for the rock climbing training & guiding in Chamonix last week. It was exactly what we were looking for & it was great to put the new skills into practice at the end of the trip. I felt much more aware and prepared for the task at hand. Your teaching was clear and solid, and I can now take those lessons with me in trips to come. Also thanks for the general support while we were out there…topos and local info very much appreciated!”

Gareth, Intro to Rock Climbing in Chamonix, July 2010

 “Thanks again for a great experience in Chamonix. Great instructions, guidance and advice. Thanks to your help we achieved exactly what we set out to do, and will now be more confident doing alpine rock routes under our own steam. It was great to put all of the training from the first day into practice during the ridge climb on day 2. Also, thanks for all your more general advice on rock climbing and suitable alpine routes in the Chamonix area.”

Tom, Chamonix Alpine Rock, July 2010