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Climb Mont Blanc via the Italian Route

Climb Mont Blanc from Italy & finish in France - experience the best of both worlds!

Chamonix may be the classic starting point to climb Mont Blanc but there is a lesser known way that goes all the way from Val Veny in Italy to the summit of Monte Bianco, without using any uplifts at all.

Starting in the beautiful valley of Val Veny near Courmayeur, you will hike up to the Gonella Hut at 3071m where you will spend the night before striking out for the summit of Mont Blanc via the Piton des Italiens route. Spectacular scenery and breathtaking views will surround you as you reach the top of Western Europe’s highest glacier at 4809m.

The descent is via the Gouter refuge, back down to Chamonix along the more traditional route to the Nid d’Aigle above Les Houches, so on this trip you get to experience both sides of this iconic mountain.

The beauty of the Italian itinerary is that it is a lot less frequented than the classic Mont Blanc route, so you will cross paths with far fewer people along the way. It is also a longer and more technical route, which is not suitable for beginners to mountaineering, but perfect for anyone looking for more of a challenge in an authentic alpine environment.

How are we different to the other competition? Why book your climb with Chamex? 

  • Our 1:1 guide to client ratio significantly increase chances of your summit success. You will be able to face challenging conditions and will not rely on fitness and abilities of the second climber on the rope. All of the guide’s attention will be directed to you. 
  • Small groups (maximum 4 climbers per group) and the 1:1 ratio allows for greater flexibility. If the weather / conditions do not allow us to climb Mont Blanc, we will take you climbing another great summit or technical route within or around Chamonix Valley. 
  • Guaranteed pre-reserved places in the huts
  • Fully UIAGM qualified guides, local to Chamonix with years of climbing experience in the area
  • Locally run and fully registered French business, based in Chamonix

Description

Our climb Mont Blanc course is a 6 day trip that includes 3 days of acclimatisation and mountain skills training in and around the Chamonix valley. You will summit some of the smaller but classic peaks such as Aiguille du Tour (3544m), practise glacier safety techniques on the Vallee Blanche and spend a night at the Albert 1er mountain hut. These preparation days will be challenging but a lot of fun, and you’ll get to explore a lot of the famous Mont Blanc Massif.

The final 3 days will be spent climbing Mont Blanc, with a guide ratio of 1:1, to ensure greater safety and enjoyment. The Italian route is considered something of a “purists” route due to the lack of lift assistance, the solitude of the ascent and the fact that it is somewhat longer than the classic route in terms of daily altitude gain and the length of the summit day. If you’re looking for a dose of authentic alpinism, this is it.

Fitness Levels

There is one reason above all others why people fail in their attempts to summit Mont Blanc and it has nothing to do with weather or snow conditions - it is fitness. We cannot emphasise enough the difference that your physical fitness will make to your chances of success. The air at altitude is thin and lacking in oxygen - however fit you are at sea level, you’ll feel a lot less fitter above 2000m altitude!

In the months leading up to your Mont Blanc course we recommend that you train yourself with regular long hikes, preferably uphill carrying a 8-10kg backpack. Cardio work such as running, cycling and swimming will help you get your breath back at high altitude; while strength training such as circuits and weights will give you the stamina you need to complete long and tiring days in the mountains. Alpine climbing experience on routes PD+ will be an advantage.

Accommodation

The course is based at Yeti Lodge; comfortable recently renovated chalets located in the lovely village of Argentiere at the northern end of the Chamonix valley. Yeti Lodge offers beautiful views and a real alpine experience as well as a hot tub, sauna, wifi connection and secure parking.

The Mont Blanc course accommodation is on a shared basis in twin/double rooms with shared bathrooms. The accommodation price includes a continental breakfast (freshly baked croissants, pain au chocolate, bread, fruit, cereals, yoghurt, fruit juices and tea/coffee), afternoon tea and a three course evening dinner.

Yeti Lodge is the best accommodation option for our Mont Blanc courses; we hold all of the course meetings with our guides there and you will be picked up and dropped off at the Yeti Lodge at the start and end of each day. Furthermore, Yeti lodge will keep your room reserved for you when you are staying in mountain huts so you will have the option of returning to it if bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances prevents you from staying overnight in the mountains. You will still only be charged for the nights you stay at the hotel - there is no other hotel/chalet in the valley which offers such flexibility.

The cost for the course including the accommodation is 3090€ per person

Guide : Client Ratios

Days 2-4 1:4
Days 5-7 1:1

Price

2750€

Price for minimum 2 and maximum 4 participant. The price is per person excluding the Yeti Lodge accommodation. The course + Yeti Lodge is 3090€.

Course Dates

2017
Start Date End Date Spaces
Jun 18 Jun 25 4
Jun 25 Jul 02 4
Jul 02 Jul 09 4
Jul 09 Jul 16 4

G
  The Course is guaranteed to run


Included

Mountain Guide Fees

Our course includes 6 days of guiding and instruction by experienced UIAGM qualified mountain guide.

All our guides have been chosen for their lovely personality and high standard of skills.

Accommodation (half-board)

3 nights accommodation in mountain huts with breakfast and dinner included.

Lift passes

The cost of any lift access that is required during the course for the itinerary described above. 

Local Transport

Any local transport that is required during your course.

Group Equipment

Ropes, safety equipment, etc will be provided when needed by your guide.

Office Support

Our team is based at the foot of the Aiguillle du Midi cable car and will be happy to help you with any questions you may have before, during or after your trip to Chamonix.

Not Included

Accommodation

Accommodation in Chamonix is not included in the price but we would be happy to advise or organise it on request.

Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need. Anything that you do not already have can be rented here in Chamonix, if there is anything you need then please contact us and we will be happy to organise it for you.

For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your perdoanlised kit list.

Insurance

We strongly recommend that you take our Search and Rescue mountain insurance - we can organise this for you on request.

Food & Drink

The price does not include lunch or snacks. You can bring your own food and we can stop for a picnic, or there may be the option to buy lunch at a mountain hut. Please make sure that you are carrying sufficient water and snacks as we will be in the mountains for a number of hours.

Travel to Chamonix

The price does not include flights, airport transfers or any other travel to/from Chamonix. However, we can organise airport transfers for you on request, please contact us for details.

Day 1 - Arrival in Chamonix

You will have all day to get to Chamonix and settle into the Yeti Lodge accommodation in Argentiere.

At 18:00 you will meet your guide and the rest of your group. Your guide will brief you on the week ahead and check that you have all the equipment you need. This is your chance to ask any last minute questions.

You will then enjoy a three course dinner with the other members of your group and spend your first night at the lodge.

Day 2 - Overnight at the Albert 1er Hut

Today we take the cable car from Le Tour up to the Col de Balme and hike 2-3 hours to reach the Albert Premier refuge at 2707m. The refuge is right beside the glacier and we'll spend some time practising our snow and ice skills.

Staying overnight at the Albert Premier hut is great for acclimatisation, we'll enjoy dinner at the hut and sleep in dormitories. If the weather is good the sunny terrace is an excellent place to relax of an the evening and enjoy the view.

Day 3 - Aiguille du Tour

Today involves a bright and early start at about 5am, in order to set out across the glacier as soon as the sun comes up.

We aim to summit Aiguille du Tour, a fairly easy climb up to 3542m with a couple of technical bits towards the top, where you'll be rewarded with an amazing view that stretches all the way from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn.

It is a long day of about 7-8 hours but tonight you will return to Yeti Lodge and spend the night in comfort.

Day 4 - Vallee Blanche Traverse

Taking the cable car from Chamonix up to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m, we will step out through the legendary ice tunnel on to the Vallee Blanche.

We will hike across the glacier to Italy and take the Helbronner gondola back. As well as being a spectacular day out, this will give you the opportunity to practise your glacier safety and rope skills. At almost 4000m, it is also valuable acclimatisation training.

Tonight will be your last night at the Yeti Lodge before setting out for Mont Blanc.

Day 5 - Val Veny & Rifugio Gonella

Leaving Chamonix begin, we drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Val Veny in Italy. From here we hike up to the Gonella hut at 3071m, taking about 5 hours.

The rest of the afternoon is free to relax and prepare for the following summit day. The Gonella hut is in a beautiful location above the Miage and Dome glaciers, so enjoy the view and get an early night.

Day 6 - Climb Mont Blanc

The big day! Quite literally - we will make a very early start in order to manage approximately 12 to 13 hours of hiking.

The ascent of Mont Blanc via the Piton des Italiens route is not particularly technical, but it is long and the high altitude will make it seem even harder.

After a slow and steady climb of around 8 hours we will hopefully be standing at 4809m, at the summit of Mont Blanc, gazing at the most magnificent view in the whole of Europe.

From the summit we descend to the Gouter hut (3817m) for a well earned night's sleep.

Day 7 - Descend to Chamonix

The hard work is all done and we can enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the Refuge du Gouter and an easy descent down to the Nid d'Aigle above Les Houches and then back to the Chamonix valley in time for lunch.

Tonight will be your last night at Yeti Lodge and the group will enjoy a celebratory dinner together and probably a few glasses of wine to toast your success.

Day 8 - Final Day in Chamonix

You will have one last breakfast with your group before the end of the course. Don't forget to swap contact details so that you can forward photographs and share your memories of a great trip!

Anyone who wants to stay longer and explore the rest of the Chamonix valley can do so, please contact us in advance if you would like to book extra nights at Yeti Lodge or elsewhere.

Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route
Climb Mont Blanc Italian Route

Clothing

Mountaineering boots

Mountaineering boots

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Gaiters

Gaiters

Sun hat

Sun hat

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Telescopic poles

Telescopic poles

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Screwgate carabiner

Screwgate carabiner

60 - 120 cm tape sling

60 - 120 cm tape sling

Climbing helmet

Climbing helmet

35 - 45 litres rucksack

35 - 45 litres rucksack

Crampons

Crampons

Extras

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liner

Refuge Albert 1er

Aiguille-chardonnet-eperon-migot-02

The Albert 1er hut is one of the most easily accessible mountain refuges in Chamonix, making it popular with hikers as well as climbers and mountaineers.

Access is via the gondola lift from Le Tour up to Charmillon; if it is low season and the lift is not running there is a short hiking trail that you can take instead.

Refuge Albert 1er is clearly signposted from the bottom of the Charmillon chairlift, bear right and follow the trail through wide meadows where you will often see marmots hiding amongst the rocks.

The path climbs steadily up, getting more rocky as it progresses. The last section up to the hut is a bit of a scramble over boulders, with the jagged crevasses of the glacier close by on your right.

Aiguille du Tour

The Aiguille du Tour is a 3540m peak that lies between the glaciers of Le Tour and Trient on the Franco/Swiss border.

After sleeping overnight in the Refuge Albert 1er we will set off early in the morning to ascend the Glacier du Trient, approaching the Aiguille du Tour on the east face.

This is a technical but fairly easy climb during which you will navigate crevasses, moderately steep snow slopes and rocky sections. The final section to the summit involves about 150m of rock climbing on granite ledges.

The Aiguille du Tour is physically challenging but not technically difficult; it is the ideal training ground for practising basic crampon techniques, ice axe skills and roped glacier travel under the supervision of a mountain guide.

Vallée Blanche Traverse

Vallee-blanche-traverse-02

The Vallée Blanche traverse is one of the most spectacular glacier walks in the Alps, offering stunning views of the Chamonix valley and the majestic Mont Blanc.

It is a relatively easy high altitude trek involving approximately 600m of descent and 200m of ascent, taking you through the spectacular glaciated terrain of the Glacier de Geant surrounded by towering alpine peaks.

You will start early in the morning by taking the Aiguille di Midi cable car up to 3824m, before making your way through an tunnel of glistening ice and stepping out onto the famous arete - an exposed snowy ridge with vertiginous views dropping away on either side. Once you've made it across the arete you'll find yourself on the glacier, surrounded by jagged seracs and mighty peaks. Your mountain guide will lead you across the Glacier du Geant to Punta Helbronner at 3460m on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, or Monte Bianco.

Return to the Aiguille du Midi is via the Helbronner; an impressive cable car that spans the Vallée Blanche between Italy and France. This panoramic cable car trip offers amazing views of the Vallee Blanche, Glacier de Geant and the Mont Blanc range from above - you'll get an incredible bird's eye view of the route you've just hiked! 

Hiking the Vallée Blanche traverse is ideal for beginners as an introduction to glacier travel and high mountain climbing; you will be roped up where necessary and lead by a fully qualified and highly experienced mountain guide the whole time. This is a great opportunity to learn alpine skills such as basic rope work and crevasse rescue techniques.

This is a one day trek; starting early in the morning and finishing sometime in the afternoon. The Vallée Blanche traverse is a great outing suitable for both experienced alpinists and novices alike.

Rifugio Gonella, Val Veny

Rifugio Gonella is a high altitude mountain hut on the Italian route up to the summit of Mont Blanc. Leaving Val Veny in the valley of Aosta, we hike along a gentle gradient for about an hour until we reach Plan Combal at 1990m. From here we pass through a beautiful alpine meadow before climbing up a steep incline, along a narrow ridge and through a boulder field to the moraine of the glacier.

Continuing along to the Aiguille Grises ridge we pass the point where the Mont Blanc and Dome glaciers meet - if you look up from the base of the ridge you can see the Gonella Refuge directly above you.

Here we leave the glacier behind and pass through a rocky meadow called Chaux De Pesse. The final challenge is a short scramble of about an hour over a section with bolted ladders up to the refuge at 3072m. The Gonella hut is recently renovated and has magnificent views of the Miage and Dome glaciers. The entire hike takes about 5-6 hours.