The rock climbing in the Chamonix Valley is amongst the finest in the world. From the famous golden granite cracks and slabs of the Mont Blanc Massif to the lower and sunnier gneiss of the Aiguille Rouges. Not only is the Chamonix Valley referred to as the ‘capital of world climbing’ it is also surrounded by other superb & easily accessed areas in the nearby French Aravis, Swiss Rhone Valley and Italian Val d’Aosta.
Browse our inspiring range of Chamonix rock climbing courses, ideas and conditions reports below and please do get in touch to discuss your climbing aspirations.
Book A Private Guide For Chamonix Rock Climbing
Chamonix Rock Climbing – Notes & Current Conditions Info
Chamonix Rock Climbing Photo Galleries
Really great for us as to have an instructor for outdoor climbing is an opportunity we don’t have easily London. Much more confident belaying now sans anchor and was really awesome to learn and experience multi pitch and abseiling! Thank youuuu 😊
Tris & Rodrigo. Half Day Chamonix Rock Climbing Training, Sept 2020
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.
“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!”
Rock Climbing Styles & Suggested Routes for Chamonix Based Rock Climbing
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 commitment so 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 & Multi 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
- Classic Multi Pitch Sport Routes Val d’Aosta, Swiss Valais or above the Envers Hut – Some great options for big cliffs in the sun with an easy trainers approach or more adventurous Chamonix granite classics like ‘Amazonia’ (6a+) above the Envers Hut. Sport climbing in a high mountain setting with a glacial approach and mountain hut as a base.
- 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….
- 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
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.
Book A Half Day – Full Day Or Multiple Days Chamonix Based Rock Climbing
Chamonix Rock Climbing Photo Galleries
Chamonix Rock Climbing – Notes & Current Conditions Info
3 May 2023, Cacao Girls, Giétroz
Felt like the first day of summer rock climbing! Despite all the recent rain, the route was basically dry, and thus a real pleasure and great alternative to skiing soft wet snow! Steady climbing up the lower walls with some stiffer pulls and steeper climbing on the 3rd and last buttress. A modern Chamonix classic!
8 April 2023, Les Gaillands Intro Rock Climbing & Leading Skills
Very enjoyable day training and lead climb coaching with Chiara and Adam at Les Gaillands. Loads of skills covered including and mainly teaching sound fundamentals for single pitch sport climbing, belaying, threading sport anchors and bottom roping.
Adam Lead climbing training at Les Gaillands in Chamonix
We climbed some of the lovely and easy (3s) classics on the Grand Gaillands including the superb 2 pitch ‘Pilier des Monchus’ which now has bolts on again after a spell as a trad route! We also had a bit of a steeper challenge on the fine wall and overhang of ‘Le Toit’ (5c+) on the Echelle area where a lovely golden wall leads up to a bit of a groove and possible rest before some steep moves on small but positive holds through the roof.
March 2023, Into The Giffre Valley – Anthon & Chappelle Saint Gras
Down the Arve Valley and over the Col de Chatillon above Cluses lies a whole new inspiring area for both excellent limestone single pitch and ‘grandes voies’. Anthon and Chappelle Saint Gras are both good examples of these lovely limestone walls. Not steep by modern standards, but steep enough and often with thin, even fierce, technical climbing.
We climbed Variante de Vibrations (7a) on the sunny roadside wall at Anthon which has sustained thin moves from the deck to a non rest with a hard lock off to follow (bon blocage!). Although that section is shared with the 6c+ it’s also the crux of the 7a as there is a decent rest on the ledge up and then left from this move before another sustained but less thin section to join the fine Voie X (6b+) at around half height, but, fortunately, above the hard crux of that route!
At Chapelle Saint-Gras we climbed on the fine and popular Coucou Chérie secteur and (nearly) climbed the route of that name! This consists of a stiff technical lower 6c+ pitch followed by a steeper but more juggy upper 6c pitch which, when combined in to 1 pitch, not unreasonably, weigh in at 7a. And hardly soft touch at that!
The lower wall has an awkward single move off the ground to a rest below the fine moves up the lovely pillar. These are steep and thin but positive and lead to a biggish deepish pocket to clip off. After that the fun starts. Left looks thin but right is harder still, so it’s left with layaways that are positive but reachy….on thin feet :-0 An exciting combo!
The strong and fit will very soon be rewarded with a jug next to the bolt to clip from….but for those who have hung around a bit too long below and are getting pumped….and increasingly alarmed by the gathering distance to the last bolt…well, it’s a clean fall, albeit quite a big one!!
The wall above remains moderately technical but has rests and is much easier than below, which is good, as the upper pitch kicks in pretty early and doesn’t hang about in building a bit of pump. There are plenty of good holds though, until they run out at the very top of the steep wall, just before it eases back in to more slabby country. This provides what feels like a physical challenge but is actually a technical one. Spoiler Alert*….(*very good left heel hook!)
17 September 2022, Crakoukass & Brevent Crag
Back on Crakoukass today and enjoying the mild temperatures, quieter crags and lifts being open for another week or so.
Good conditions & fun climbing – especially on this brilliant last pitch of Crakoukass, given 5b but maybe more like 5c.
Likewise, a bit of a sandbag, as usual, on the Brevent crag. We climbed L’homme est rare, 5c which is pretty thin and fierce for the first 5 bolts or so at that grade, felt more like 6b! Or maybe it’s just a high gravity day – let us know if you have done it and what you thought!
Late August 2022, ‘New’ Piola Route, Brevent South Face
Good to share this ascent with fellow guides Martin Doyle and Jon Bracey. The current president of the British Mountain Guides, and perhaps a future one! Steady climbing leads up the lower walls with a nice series of steadier pitches leading in to the main 2 pitches up the wall below and through the roof which Fin de Babylon traverses under. The 6b+ pitch up this wall has some great rock and a thin but short crux sequence just below some easier climbing up to the belay. The 6c(+) pitch above this is sustained thin climbing, pretty unrelenting until, funnily enough, some bigger holds just where it starts to get really steep at the roof! Another long and solid 6b pitch above this means this is the hardest of the now classic big 3 routes on the Brevent South face central section – Poeme à Lou, Fin de Babylon and this not so new Piola route. The route is well bolted with a few longer run outs on the easier sections but plenty of gear around the crux sections. We didn’t place any trad gear but do watch out for some pretty trad loose rock sections higher up both on the route and ledges towards the top of the route.
13 August 2022, Brevent 6a Combination – Clocher & Crakoukass
Great day linking up two of Brevent / Plan Praz’s big 6a classics. With a walk in up to the 8 pitch Clocher route and then a walk across via the Col du Brevent path, initially to check the Frison Roche queue, and, as this was too long, we continued on down to Crakoukass.
The Clocher was busy but with an early start and determined approach, we led the charge up the series of very fine varied pitches featuring slabs, walls, cracks and some superb technical arete / ridge climbing to finish. The 2nd 5c pitch has good high in the grade thin wall climbing and is a stiff challenge off the deck if you have skirted the first warm up pitch! Note that the abseil from the Clocher back to the ground / col on the Brevent side is 25m so a full 50m is required and we rigged through the metal extension ring to give a little extra slack.
Very good steadier climbing on Crakoukass with the exception of the steep and physical 5th pitch which gets 6a in the Rockfax but now 6b on Camp to Camp and the Chamonix rock guide. Good steep climbing with decent holds and gear but quite pumpy layback style climbing.
9 August 2022, Arete du Doigt, Pointe Percée
Brilliant mid summers day on the Arete du Doigt, D, 5c+, 6c/A0) on Pointe Percée (2752m) with Chris. Lovely warm dry conditions albeit with some atmospheric swirling mist. The route is in good condition and we did the direct line to the summit via the steep heavily bolted pitch at the top – A0 for us rather than 6c today! Lots of sightings of Tichodromes, 2 Gypaete and a very burly old bouquetins on the ridge near the Col Verts as we descended via the Cheminees de Sallanches route.
9 July 2022, Zaubergerg, Gramusset. What. A. Route!
Brilliant sustained technical & high quality limestone climbing on this fine steep crag above the new Refuge Pointe Percée.
With 3 7a pitches plus a 6c+ and a tough 6b there is plenty of climbing on this micro big wall! We took a pig for full big wall ambiance, and some home comforts like trainers for rapping, and enjoyed the ride, but it wasn’t all free! Full report with lots of pictures here:
7 July 2022, Zaubergerg, South West Face Of Pointe Percée, Aravis
3 July 2022, La Fin de Babylon, Brevent Big Boot Rock – La Somone et Mic est Maousse
Good sustained wall climbing on this 2nd hardest of the 3 classics now on the central south face of the Brevent with Poeme à Lou being a bit easier (if the fixed rope is used!) and the new Piola Route, which crosses this one on the traverse pitch, being a bit harder.
Good sun rock conditions and lots of teams enjoying the middle mountain ambiance. Report and photos here:
19 June 2022, Brevent Big Boot Rock – La Somone et Mic est Maousse
Fun climbing with Osgur (who is in training for the Matterhorn) on these 2 multi pitch Brevent easier classics. Conditions are already very dry and there is not even much snow on the shady northern side of Brevent and the piste road down to the crags. Trainers were fine today for accessing this area. There are quite a few new bolts on La Somone so it feels a bit better protected than before with some new stances at the top of the penultimate pitch too. Mic est Maousse still does not seem to have useable bolts in place at the top of the very last pitch as there are hangers missing on a couple of bolts up there although it is possible to finish easily up a grassy Chimney on the L with a bit of trad gear available (small to medium cams).
Thanks again for today Rob! Fantastic day of climbing 👌
Osgur, Chamonix rock climbing & Matterhorn training, June 2022
11 June 2022, Hotel California, Plan-Praz – Start Of The Summer Middle Mountain Rock Season…
Great to be back on the sunny slopes of the Aiguilles Rouges and rapid access to the fine long F4-5 series of pitches on Hotel California. There have been numerous changes to the stances and bolts have been added making the belays easier to use although we did not do the notoriously bold last pitch so not sure if that has any more bolts on it yet!? Very little snow left for early June and we only crossed the tiniest of patches of snow in our trainers with no axe / crampons required.
28 May 2022, Midi South Face – Dry & Busy!
Lots of teams on various different routes on the South Face of the Midi today taking advantage of the already pretty dry conditions on the face with very little snow left on the ledges and pretty warm temperatures and pleasant high altitude sun rock.
25 September 2021, Bada Boom, 6c, Les Perrons de Vallorcine (Emosson)
Great to be back on the South face of the Perrons for this big classic of the Mont Blanc Massif done in lovely early autumn sun and near perfect conditions. After a steady approach the brilliant sustained headwall kicks in for 5 pitches around 6c or just below. Well worth the effort of the walk in and climb in approach and great to share these soaring red and grey walls with soaring brown vultures…
2 August 2021, La Piste Oubliée, 6b, Brevent, Chamonix
One of the newer routes on the South Face of the Brevent and a good, albeit slightly harder, alternative to the Frison Roche if you have already done that, or, as it starts in the same place, if there is a big queue on that route! More details via the link below.
30 July 2021, Acqua Concert, 6a, Emosson Dam
For a really enjoyable long multi pitch route, up to 6a max and finishing with a fun scramble in a fine position, to a proper summit, check out Acqua Concert above the Emosson Dam, just over the Swiss border. There is even a good café at the end of the route with brilliant views of the big Chamonix North Faces…
6 July 2021, Sylvie Phobie, Barberine
Very good slab and wall climbing on the big multi pitch crag at Barberine before the storm came and the heavens opened…just! We started up a newer route up and L of Sylvie Phobie, ‘Charly et ses drôles de dalles‘ which gave a good few pitches before it gets harder and there is an easy traverse R on the ledge to reach the anchor at the base of the crux pitch on Sylvie. This currently has a bit of rope on the bolts just above the lower 6a+ move and the upper 6c+ crux balancey wall. More details & photos on our news page here:
Late June / Early July 2021, Aiguillles Crochues, Les Cheserys, Mont Blanc Summit
26 June 2021, Great adventure middle mountain ‘sport’ climbing on the South Face of Les Perrons
The speech marks indicate that, whilst this is a bolted route, with bolted anchors and runners, don’t expect a big clip up sport route with bolts every few metres like normal! The harder pitches (6a and 6b) and moves are generally reasonably protected with bolts, but some of the easier 5b / 5c pitches are very run out with long sections of unprotected climbing. But the rock is generally good and it’s a great place to climb, but it’s worth being very solid on slabby / wally 5c / 5b terrain to make the most of this route, more details here:
20 June 2021, Valley to Summit ascent of South Ridge Aiguille Purtscheller
Very enjoyable long alpine day featuring the long approach from Le Tour for some fun and fine climbing on the golden Chamonix Granite on the South facing, and quick drying, classic route on the Purtscheller. Still plenty of snow on the north facing descent but with the bolted anchors all clear and above the snow + plenty of snow volume on the glacier below making for a rapid and easy descent. Full details here:
20 June 2021, Valley to Summit – Aiguille Purtscheller 3478m South Ridge
25 June 2019, Warm Golden Granite On The South Face Of The Aiguille du Midi
Very enjoyable climbing conditions today on the Midi South face as, despite the heatwave, is was pretty pleasant up high with the cooling effects of the altitude and light breeze. We climbed on the Kohlman Route on the right side of the South Face, just up and right from the start of the classic Rebuffat route. The lower pitches were a pleasure with an easy step off the snow on to the first pitch and warm dry rock above. Note that the bolts on the first 2 anchors are not equipped for rappel but just a collection of 2-3 individual bolts. Teams were enjoying the Rebuffat and topping out in the station. There were numerous sloughs / small avalanches down the south facing couloirs at either side of the face during the day and the snow on the approach slope was very soft and wet.No items found