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Ski Mountaineering – Mont Blanc…
Ski from the summit of Western Europe with one of our IFMGA Mountain Guides. It’s the highest mountain in Europe – and yes, you can ski from the very summit!
This is classic ski mountaineering, snow aretes, crampons, crevasses and variable snow.
All combined to give an extremely memorable day out in the high mountains. Mont Blanc is a big mountain, and the ski ascent is a tough proposition and the potential ski mountaineer needs to be fit, able and experienced.
We ski guide Mont Blanc each spring, and provide a acclimatisation and training package beforehand.
You will need to have slept at altitude (above 3000m) for at least one night, preferably two. We practice with crampons ascending small peaks around Chamonix before making the two day ascent of Mont Blanc itself.
Example Ski Mont Blanc five day Itinerary:
A morning meeting and equipment check in Chamonix with your guide for the week. We then head out for some skiing and skinning at moderate altitude, the Grand Montet being a favourite. Checking the gear and getting your ski legs again is a good idea before we head into the mountains proper. It also gives us a good chance to check out your skiing and touring too.
We head through the Mont blanc tunnel to the Helbronner lift to access to Italian side of the Vallee Blanche. We will do some skinning and skiing on the glacier. We then spend a night in the Torino refuge which at 3650m is very good acclimatisation.
We do some more skinning and skiing from the refuge whilst this time incorporating some mountaineering training. There are lots of possibilities from the Torino refuge including the Aiguille Marbarees, Entreves, Tour Ronde etc. Again, the aim of the day is practice whilst getting used to the altitude. Night in Chamonix.
We catch a morning lift up to the Plan d’Aiguille (Aiguille du Midi lift) where we can then skin across and up to the Grand Mulet refuge. This takes us around three – four hours and is quite an involved Ski Tour. The glacier is quite crevassed crossing the “Jonction” and we normally skin roped up across this section.
A very early start means skinning in head torches right from the hut, around crevasses and on up the north ridge of the Dome du Gouter. This soon steepens and we put skis on the rucksacks and start climbing roped up on crampons. As the ridge leans back the skis go back on and we cross the shoulder of the Dome du Gouter, just as the sun starts to rise.
The route now joins the standard Gouter ridge climb, and we normally finish up the Bosses ridge with skis on the sacks again. The ascent from the Grand Mulet is tough, with a large amount of height gain (1800m+) with a lot of it at high altitude. Seven to eight hours is a good time to have in mind.
Depending on snow conditions and your ski ability we may ski from the summit down the north face (slopes up to 45 degrees and crucial turns above crevasses) or we quickly descend back to the emergency Vallot refuge where it is much easier to ski down to a junction with the north face route and the down the “corridor” back to the Grand Mulet refuge and then on to the Plan d’Aiguille and Chamonix.
Mont Blanc on skis is extremely physical and tiring. It is common to spend tweleve hours for the ascent and descent and you must be capable of making good safe turns with a rucksack, in any snow conditions and at altitude. All after having done eight hours of ski mountaineering! Not that we want to put you off, but you must be well prepared before the trip. If your not sure, then a weekends ski touring with us prior to attempting Mont Blanc is a very good idea.
Ski Mont blanc 2018 Dates:
Monday 30th April - Friday 4th May 2018
Private guiding is available on other dates upon request.
Our prices are for guiding only and include Guiding fees, Travel within Chamonix/Courmayeur and Guides lift tickets.
You will need to split ongoing costs between the group such as Hut Fees (typically 65€ half board) and Lift tickets. Other expenses to consider are equipment hire, rescue insurance and accommodation in Chamonix.
Please do contact us with any questions you might have.