Climbing the three highest peaks in the Alps in one go is a superb mountain challenge. It is also a very tough and highly physical expedition. You will need high levels of fitness, determination, mental and physical endurance as well as good weather, conditions and a bit of luck! We provide first class guiding and mountain logistics on this beast of a 2 week course. Read on If you think you are up to the challenge….Most will not be!
- Climb the three highest peaks in the Alps over a 2 week summer mountaineering course. The highest peak in Italy, the Gran Paradiso (4061m), is also climbed during the 3 day training phase.
The three highest independent peaks in the Alps are, in height order, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa and The Dom. Whilst none of these peaks are too technically demanding they are all alpine mountaineering undertakings and should not be thought of as ‘snow plods’. Each peak has sections of quality alpine ‘PD’ ground which includes scrambling on mixed terrain (rock, snow & ice) in crampons and on narrow snow ridges.
This course starts in Chamonix and aims to make three training & acclimatistation climbs before starting the business of tackling the big three demanding peaks. As an additional bonus 4000m peak we aim to climb the highest peak in Italy, the Gran Paradiso, as part of the initial training and acclimatisation phase. See below for a detailed itinerary.
- Mont Blanc (4808m)
- The Dufourspitze (At 4634m the principal summit of the Monte Rosa)
- The Dom (4545m)
12 Day Mission Itinerary
This is a suggested itinerary based on good weather. It may be necessary to change the programme to make best use of local mountain conditions.
- Pre-Course fitness 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 & making sure you have the right equipment.
- Day 1: Welcome & introductory chat with the Guide and ask any questions about the week. A morning opportunity for buying or hiring any extra kit before heading across to the Italian side of the Mont Blanc massif. The high ‘Hellbroner’ lift is taken and a 3500m peak like the Aiguilles Marbrees or Aiguilles d’Entreves is climbed whilst some solid training is given on mountaineering movement skills and glacier travel. The night is spent at the 3375m Torino Hut to start the acclimatisation process.
- Day 2: Climb the Tour Ronde (3792m) from a classic pre-dawn alpine start. The aim is to get back to the hut for a pasta lunch and then descend through the lift system; drive down the Italian Valle d’Aoste and make our way up the Valsavaranche to the tiny hamlet of Pont where the 2 hour trek up to the Vittorio Emanuelle Hut (2732m) begins. The night is spent here enjoying Italian cuisine, coffee and hospitality.
- Day 3: A pre-dawn start leads to the fine snow and glacial ascent of our first 4000m peak, The Gran Paradiso. There are superb views of the south side of our next objective, Mont Blanc. A mid afternoon finish in the valley and a welcome return to Chamonix for rest and relaxation.
- Day 4: A deliberately late start is taken to allow a lie-in and maximum rest in Chamonix before a slow and steady 2 hour walk is taken to the 3167m Tete Rousse Hut. The aim is to be as relaxed and efficient as possible today in order to conserve energy for a big summit push tomorrow.
- Day 5: The ascent of Mont Blanc. This is usually around a 10 – 12 hour round trip from the hut. We spend a second night at the hut to give a more relaxed feel to the ascent (not needing to rush down to catch the Mont Blanc train) and to conserve energy for the other forthcoming climbs. This also gives us a poor weather contingency day on day 6.
- Day 6: 0700 breakfast at the Tete Rousse Hut and a leisurely walk back to the valley and on to Chamonix. Afternoon option for rock climbing or Via Ferrata. This day also acts as a poor weather contingency day for the ascent of Mont Blanc.
- Day 7: A welcome rest day! Rest and relax in Chamonix. Sort any equipment required and prepare for the 2nd full on week of alpine mountaineering.
- Day 8: Drive to Randa and walk up to the pleasant 2940m Dom Hut in the Swiss Valais Alps. Overnight here.
- Day 9: The ascent of the Dom. If conditions allow we will climb the excellent big mountain ridge of the ‘Festigrat’ and complete the traverse of the mountain via the North Flank. Return and overnight at the Hut.
- Day 10: Walk back to Randa and drive just up the valley to Tasch and on to the classic alpine town of Zermatt. After provisioning here we continue up to the impressively modern Monte Rosa Hut where we overnight in anticipation of a very early start for the long glacial ascent awaiting us in the night.
- Day 11: The ascent of the ‘Dufourspitze’, principal summit of the Monte Rosa. This long glacial trek is topped of by an excellent mixed alpine ridge and the traverse of the summit block is completed with a steep descent to the Silberstel (Silver Saddle). Return to relax and celebrate completion of the Mission at the hut.
- Day 12: Walk back to Zermatt and return to Chamonix or stay in the Swiss Valais to try another peak if weather and energy levels allow.
- Day 13: Final days climbing either in the Swiss Valais or Chamonix Valley. This day also acts as a contingency day in the event of poor weather. Evening celebrations in Chamonix.
Who Can Climb The Mission?
Whilst it is not necessary to be a highly experienced mountaineer to climb the three highest peaks in the Alps with a Mountain Guide, high levels of fitness, stamina and determination are required. Some strong hill walking experience will be beneficial and we usually find that people who are only able to train in the gym do not do very well on such an extended mountain challenge. The summit days will be 9-13 hours long, at altitude, so you should be physically and mentally prepared for this considerable challenge. By their standard routes, Mont Blanc Monte Rosa and the Dom are not difficult technical peaks but they are large, have some mountaineering sections and folk regularly underestimate the level of challenge involved. Please get in touch to discuss your experience and fitness levels if you are not sure.
A Mont Blanc equipment list is given above. In addition to good quality warm mountain 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.
2021 Course Dates & Prices
Our course includes 12 climbing / guided days. The Mission courses can be run throughout the summer months from June through to September. Specific dates can be accommodated according to personal preferences.
£2975 per person, based on 2 guests sharing the Guide for the duration.
£5700 for an individual booking a 1:1 Guiding ratio for the duration of the course.
Please note that for folk with some existing mountaineering experience the first week could be completed by doing one of our classic 6 Day Mont Blanc Courses, which also includes an ascent of the Gran Paradiso.
What’s included in the Price?
Our courses are priced on a ‘guiding only’ basis which means you pay the exact cost price for all other expenses like hotels, mountain huts and lift passes. These expenses amount to approximately 1400 euros which includes 13 nights half board accommodation in a hotel & mountain huts, lift passes for you and you and the guide. You could reduce this figure if you wanted to stay in a gite or camp and increase it if you want to stay in a more luxury hotel.
- 12 full days mountain guiding with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Transport during the course
What’s not included?
- Valley accommodation. Please see our Chamonix Accommodation notes. Prices start from camping at C.10 euros per night, Bunkhouse for C.20 euros per night and hotel accommodation from around 50 euros upwards.
- Camping will significantly reduce the overall cost (starting from 9 euros) and there are several good campsites in ‘Les Bossons’, Chamonix, very close to Ice & Orange. Try ‘Camping 2 Glaciers’; Camping les Cimes or Camping Les Marmottes.
- Mountain Hut & lift for you and the Guide.
- Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix
- Lunches, extra drinks, snacks etc during the course
- Mountaineering equipment. Check the kit list above