The Arete des Cosmiques on the Aigulle du Midi

Overview

The birthplace of Alpinism is unparalleled in it’s rugged yet accessible mountaineering objectives. From lofty 4000m peaks such as Mont Blanc to multi-pitch climbs requiring little more than a casual meander of an approach, Chamonix is worth a visit for any mountain enthusiast. Seasoned climbers and beginners alike will find adventure and challenge in this mountain playground.

Itinerary

Itineraries in Chamonix are fully customizable and custom tailored to each climbers ambitions and ability levels. Durations range from one to 10 days. Typically, climbers wishing to attempt Mont Blanc or other 4000m peaks in the area will require a 6 day itinerary to fully acclimatize and develop the required skills.

There are many spectacular single day objectives from a comfortable base in the Chamonix valley and an unlimited amount of mult-day goals for climbers interested in an overnight at one of the many mountain refuges in the area. For an in town base, guests recommend the luxurious Le Hameau Albert 1er or the mid-level Hotel l’Arve, both in Chamonix Centre.

Mont blanc and the aiguille du midiThe Aiguille du Midi and Mont Blanc rise above the town of Chamonix

Mike’s Choice:

The Cham 3 day classic. This is a “guides choice” itinerary that includes some of the best of the high mountains. A perfect introduction to high alpine climbing. For more experienced climbers, the classic can be modified to include more demanding routes.

  • Day 1: Mer de Glace glacier skills trek. Ride the historic Montenvers Railway to the foot of the Mer de Glace glacier. Spend the day learning cramponing and ice movement technique in a spectacular setting.
  • Day 2: Aiguille de l’Index or Brevent Climb. Located in the Aiguilles Rouges facing Mont Blanc this moderate multi-pitch climb to the top of a dramatic rock spire has in-your face views and tremendous exposure- all at a moderate grade.
  • Day 3: Arete des Cosmiques, Aiguille du Midi: This classic mixed snow and rock ridge climb is perhaps one of the worlds best alpine climbs. Often the centerpiece of many catalogues and magazine photo shoots, the cosmiques offers tremendous exposure and classic mixed climbing terrain.

Family Friendly Options

The mountains of Chamonix also offer some spectacular family friendly options. Glacier treks, alpine scrambles and climbing areas suitable for all ages and abilities. Chamonix is a great place for an active vacation in the French Alps.

Terrain

Every type of mountain terrain is well represented in Chamonix. Most routes are accessed via cable-car and/or a high mountain refuge.

Some examples of routes that I have guided in the past include, but are not limited to:

Aiguilles Rouges: This is the smaller rocky range that faces Mont Blanc. climbs are typically rock oriented and do not require any glacier travel. Climbs are accessed from either the Flegere or Brevant cablecars. The rock is edgy and positive gneiss as opposed to the crack oriented granite found in the Mont Blanc Massif.

  • Aiguille de l’Index (various routes)
  • Chappelle de la Gliere, Aiguille de la Gliere
  • Le Brevent, Voie Frison-Roche
  • Traverse de la Crochues
  • Aiguille de la Belvedere

Mont Blanc Massif: The heart of the range. Characterized by big vertical relief, excellent granite and large glaciers, these are the mountains immediately surrounding Mont Blanc itself.

  • Traverse of the Vallee Blanche (a magnificent tour across the high alpine glacier from France to Italy)
  • Petite Aiguille Verte
  • Aiguille d’Entreves Traverse
  • Aiguille du Tour, Arete du Table
  • Aiguille du Midi, Arete des Cosmiques
  • Pointe Lachenel Traverse
  • Petite Charmoz Traverse
  • Mer de Glace Ice Climbing
  • Chere Couloir, Mont Blanc du Tacul
  • Mont Blanc, Gouter Route
  • Triangle du Tacul
  • Papillon Arete, Aiguille du Peigne
  • Midi-Plan Traverse, Aiguille du Midi, Aiguille du Plan

A climber rappels during a spring ascent of the Cosmiques Arete

Rates

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