Mont Blanc summit this Summer : LUSENET : Mountaineering : One Thread

I would like to go to Chamonix this Summer and attempt to climb (or to trek) up the summit of Mont Blanc. I am not a climber, but I have done a couple of hard mountain treks in the past. I have a few question in reference to that. Is it feasible without a climbing background? What are the logistics of the trip, like equipment, guides, organized treks, cost, routes for beginners etc? Is it better to attempt Mont Blanc from Chamonix or go accross the boarder to Courmayeur? Any shared wisdom would be greatly appreciated. Mike

-- Michael Lurye (, March 26, 1998


Due to the heavy glaciation of Mt. Blanc and all the terrain surrounding it, I would think that a working knowledge of crevasse rescue, use of crampons on snow/ice up to maybe 60 degrees, and basic steep snow technique would be the absolute minimum knowledge/experience you would need for an un-guided ascent. Mt. Blanc is likely the deadliest mountain on earth precisely because many beginners want to "hike" up it, while it is a real "big mountain". Last summer an acquaintance of mine from Ireland was killed on the crux section of the "Three Summits" route when his partner feel and pulled him off. Also some friends witnessed a guide and client fall to their deaths on the same route just a few days later. And people fall in crevasses commonly in the Mt. Blanc massif. Do yourself a favor and don't treat Mt. Blanc as a trek. Hiring a guide is probably wise although that is pricey and the main guide service in Chamonix cannot be strongly recommended based on my observations of Chamonix guides on the hill.

-- Brad White (, July 27, 1998.

i m planning to climb up the summit this summer (2001). end of july - august. i am not a climber as well but i have reached higher peaks in uttar pradesh, himachal pradesh and ladakh. i ve been told that 6000m in the himalayas is not as dangerous as the summit of mount blanc though... here is my e-mail adress, maybe we could share some informations till summer. regards. tobias

-- pedro tobias (, June 01, 2001.

yeah mate i climbed the bloody mountain in august last year. I had no experience i rented an ice axe when i got there i bought a pair or crampons for 50 bucks, is gets as cold as -25c on the summit so be prepared for that. go to chamonix take the tramway du mont blonc up to 2300m then walk to gouter refuge which is 3800m stay the night there then sumit n walk down. french guides are hoplessbe careful when crosing glasiers n have fun n take your camera for the 200km view Matt

-- (, April 30, 2003.

i have just returned from climbing mont blanc (july 2003). i climbed with another climber of similar experience and also with a friend with 20 odd years ex. much of it in and around the mont blanc massif. dont be fooled.... mont blanc IS a serious mountain!!!!! we climbed the du tacul-mont maudit route via the vallee blanche, the most beautiful route and much more technical than the gouter route. just below the summit of du tacul a snow bridge has collapsed over a bergshrund changing the route, which now requires an 18 meter ice climb, the start of which is over vertical. there is also another ice climb of approx. 60 meters over mont maudit then down into a col before going up the side of mont blanc. without the experience of my climbing friend we would have been out of our depth and in danger. also on the return we were hit by near white out conditions all the way back down to the vallee and up to the du midi. we had 2 abseils and had to down climb ice and ridges in poor visablity, 2 slips nearly cost us dearly and the whole event turned into a 20 hour epic, finally dragging ourselves into the du midi at 9.30pm!!!!

the year before we tried via the gouter route which has its own dangers of rockfall and also a crossing of the infamous "bowling alley". many experienced climbers give this route a wide berth considering the risk to great. if anyone wants any info on mont blanc email me. nick.

-- nick barber (, July 31, 2003.

I'm not a climber, but since I live in Geneva and see Mont Blanc every day I have become fixed on the idea of climbing (or trecking) it this summer: with either a guide or experienced climber. From what I have gathered so far, not even the easiest route is recommended for a non-climber. Since circa 100 people die up there every year, my question is what to start ticking off in any reality test; what preparations could I conceivably perform in time to make this summer a reality?

-- Richard Maciver (, January 05, 2004.

Mt. Blanc is feasible without a climbing background only

1) With the help of a guide

2) Having some knowledge of glacier travel (this can be learned from a guide, but need some time and practice beforehand)

3) Doing a proper acclimatization routine

All the three French normals are of little technical difficulty, but can become extremely dangerous if attempted in less than perfect weather, or without proper acclimatization


A) The Gouter route is the faster, but the access to the Gouter hut is dangerous (expecially in dry, hot weather), and the Gouter hut itself is too high for a comfortable night

B) The Grand Mulet route is longer and far more tedious (and a bit more dangerous) but allows to rapidly lose altitude when returning

C) The Midi route is more panoramic and varied than the other two, but is far longer, and keeps you for most of the time above 4000 mt. Most of the acute mountain sickness cases happens here.

The routes on the italian side (where I stay in summer) are almost all more difficult and technical. The exception is the Gonella Route, the Italian normal. Is a bit more technical than the French normals, and the hut access is longer (even if really interesting in terms of ambient). Also, the summit day is longer. But the Gonella Hut is low enough to allow for a relatively comfortable night, and the route itself is safer than any of the French normals, and more interesting as a learning experience.

Contact me if you have more questions

-- Luca Signorelli (, January 06, 2004.

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