This itinerary is based on good weather and mountain conditions as well as hut availability. Sometimes we may opt for 2 consecutive nights in the Tete Rousse or Gouter hut or another variety of huts or days allocated to climbing Mont Blanc. Should an ascent of Mont Blanc not be possible due to dangerous conditions or bad weather, we will provide alternative options.
During June and July we may opt for the Italian normal route (via Rifugio Gonella) if conditions allow. It is a stunning alternative route to the Gouter route and is often much less frequented.
We meet in the evening at the accommodation to go through the plan for the week as well as the current weather and mountain conditions. You will meet with your fellow climbers and your guides so you can ask any questions and will have a chance to go through your kit.
Depart for Gran Paradiso National Park
After breakfast we depart for Italy to the Rifugio Chabod in Gran Paradiso National Park (1 hr 30 mins drive). In the morning we will sort out any last minute gear rentals / purchases in Chamonix before driving through the tunnel into Italy. We will likely stop off on the way for a quick Italian lunch before we set off on the trek up to the mountain hut. Once at the mountain hut at 2750m altitude, we will rest, have a bite to eat and if there is time have an outdoor session covering basic introduction to your equipment.
7km / 900m up / 0m down / 3 hours Trekking
Climb Gran Paradiso
A big day involving a 1,300m altitude ascent of Gran Paradiso, the highest peak entirely in Italy (4061m). The ascent is mostly on snow except the moraine after the mountain hut, and the final rocky section of scrambling to the summit (5-7 hours). It is a spectacular summit and this is great training for Mont Blanc because a lot of similar techniques are required on both peaks. The climb is a test and will put you in good stead for the main summit attempt later in the week. After the summit we go down to the same hut. This gives us the advantage of leaving unnecessary clothing/equipment there to make our ascent as light as possible. Furthermore, staying up at altitude instead of heading all the way down to the valley helps with your acclimatisation process.
8km / 1300m up / 1300m down / 6-8 hours Mountaineering
Return to Chamonix
Wake up at around 07:00 and by 8.30 after breakfast we descend at a back down to the valley. On our drive back we will aim to have a stop for an Italian coffee and ice cream and by the afternoon we arrive back to Chamonix (1 hr 30 mins drive). It is very important that you can have a good rest in the afternoon in preparation for the coming days. We will also finalise any equipment changes.
7km / 0m up / 900m down / 2-3 hours Trekking
Begin the Mont Blanc Climb
Climbing Mont Blanc takes two days, but we add in a spare day in case of bad weather to maximise your chance of success. We start by driving to Les Houches (10 min) and then taking uplifts on the Bellevue cable car followed by the Tramway du Mont Blanc train to the Refuge du Nid d’Aigle which sits at 2372m. From here we hike to the Tête Rousse hut (3167m) for an overnight stay in preparation for our summit attempt the following morning.
4km / 700m up / 0m down / 2 hours
On summit day we wake up early and ascend to the summit of Mont Blanc. This will take between 8-10 hours depending on conditions and your physical ability. On the descent from the summit, we spend the night in the Gouter hut (3813m). By having this second night in the Goûter hut we are less in a rush to make it down to the valley or the Tête Rousse hut, and it also means we cross the Grand Couloir early the following day. These are all carefully considered factors that we’ve analysed over many years guiding this route to maximise your chance of a successful summit.
10km / 1700m up / 1000m down / 8-10 hours
Spare Summit Day / Return to Chamonix
In the morning we descend from the Goûter hut (3813m) to the Refuge du Nid d’Aigle (2372m) and take the Tramway du Mont Blanc followed by the Bellevue cable car down to Les Houches. The descent normally takes around 4-5 hours. We then drive back to the Chamonix and that signals the end of the climb. This will normally be around 13:00-14:00 in the afternoon.Usually everyone heads out into Chamonix for dinner together on the final evening to round off the week. Our guides join and the atmosphere is always one of celebration, relief, epic stories and future plans.
7km / 0m up / 1500m down / 4 hours
Depart. Check out is at 10:00, and after one last hearty breakfast we sadly bid farewell.