Please make your way to the 4 star Mercure Hotel (or similar) which will be advised in your final documentation (any airport transfer service will take you direct to the hotel reception).
A group briefing will be held at 6pm at the hotel reception, it is essential that you attend and bring your equipment with you; you will then proceed to the gear hire shop, Snell Sports, with your guide. Please ensure that your travel arrangements will have you in Chamonix at this time. Overnight at the Mercure Hotel (or similar).
Please note: Hotel details are subject to change, and your final documents will confirm the name of the group hotel.
After a hearty breakfast at the hotel we take the Charamillon Cablecar and spend the day learning mountaineering basics on the Tour glacier, including the use of crampons, ice axe and ropes on the glacier, and rope management skills. We climb to the Albert 1er refuge (2702 m) for our nights accommodation. Overnight mountain hut.
Schedule: 3-4 hours. Vertical: +570m.
Today we continue to learn the skills necessary to prepare for Mont Blanc itself. We climb on glacier through the Col sup rieur du Tour and weather permitting we ascend the magnificent Aiguille du Tour (3529 m) which provides a spectacular outlook on the whole range, on both the French and Swiss sides. Your guide will take 3 at a time to the top. Today the technical focus is on belaying on steep snow slopes and learning basic rock climbing. Following our first major peak we then cross to the Trient Refuge where we stay for a second night of acclimatisation. The sunrise on the Aiguille du Tour and the Chardonnet will be a marvellous souvenir from our mountain hut.
Schedule: 6-7 hours. Vertical: + 820 m and 370 m.
This morning we hope to rise to a marvellous backdrop of peaks before setting out on a challenging traverse across the Col de Neige under the dramatic peak of T te Blanche. Our aim today is to make an attempt on the summit of Petite Fourche which provides excellent training on ice and snow and another opportunity to hone our skills before attempting Mont Blanc. Descend down the Tour glacier via the Albert 1er hut to the cable car and return back to the village of Le Tour. Drive back to Chamonix by bus and a comfortable night at the Mercure Hotel (or similar).
Schedule: 6-7 hours. Vertical: + 550 m and 1400 m.
Following last minute preparations we transfer to the train or cable car to the Nid d'Aigle at 2372m. From the Nid d'Aigle, we commence the trek onto the lower flanks of Mont Blanc. It is a relatively short 3 hour hike that brings us to a short and steep path leading to the Tete Rousse Glacier and the Tete Rousse Refuge (3167m). As we climb higher above the valley we enter an alpine environment of snow, ice and rock. The views as we approach the Tete Rousse Refuge are breathtaking. The Tete Rousse is a new hut perched on the edge of the glacier in a stunning mountain setting. Today is not a long day, but still quite challenging due to the increasingly rugged terrain. We can expect to reach the hut by mid afternoon, giving plenty of time to recover for the climb to the Gouter Hut the next day. It is important to keep well hydrated. Meals at the hut usually begin with soup accompanied by bread & cheese, followed with a hearty meat casserole and dessert of fruit puree or similar, normally served around 6.30pm.
Schedule: 3-4 hours. Vertical: + 800 m.
Our summit strategy:
In this itinerary which includes 3 days on Mont Blanc, we have the flexibility in our program to make a longer summit attempt from the Tete Rousse Refuge (on day 6) and staying overnight in the Gouter Refuge on the descent or to make a summit attempt from Gouter (on day 7) and descend to Chamonix. This flexibility gives our groups a significant advantage of 2 windows of opportunity to attempt the summit on either day 6 or day 7 depending upon the weather conditions or forecast. But please note that after attempting & failing the summit it is important to realize that it is not possible to make a second attempt on the summit on the following day. Over recent seasons our preference has been to attempt the summit from Tete Rousse, which means we cross the Grand Couloir early in the morning on both the ascent and descent when it is frozen. Your guides will be well aware of the forecast and will make a decision on when to attempt the summit.
*PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the season there are times when the Tete Rousse Hut and/or the Gouter Hut are overbooked, although this has vastly improved since the new Gouter Hut was completed. Availability is controlled by French Alpine Club and allocation of beds is on a random basis and released in mid April each year. Please note that booking in advance is highly recommended but still ds not guarantee a bed in these huts. From time to time, we may need to stay both nights in Tete Rousse and it may be necessary to camp outside this hut (equipment will be provided).
By utilising both the Tete Rousse Refuge and the Gouter Refuge, we give ourselves the best chance of making a successful summit bid. An early alpine start this morning is steeper and more demanding, and we will be roped up when we leave the Tete Rousse. We soon come to the famous Grand Couloir and after safely crossing over we continue to ascend through steep rocky terrain involving rockscrambling. We continue past the old Gouter Hut and after 3 hours we shall arrive at the recently built new refuge set in a spectacular location where we will stop for a tea break. From Gouter we ascend over snow and ice slopes and traversing ridges to the summit of Mont Blanc. First we will reach the top of the Dome Du Gouter at 4300m. We then pass the Vallot shelter and continue our challenging climb up the Les Bosses ridge and finally after 4 - 5 hours, the summit of Mont Blanc. Weather permitting we savour the stunning mountain views for only a short time before making our descent to the Gouter Refuge.
Schedule: 10 to 12 hours, Vertical: + 1600 / - 1000 m.
Our descent on steep rock and ice and across the Grand Couloir requires concentration. After the Tete Rousse the terrain becomes easier enroute to the Nid d'Aigle station where we board the train down to the valley and the town of Chamonix. Overnight at Mercure Hotel (or similar).
Schedule: 4 hours, Vertical: - 800 m
The trip concludes after breakfast in the hotel.
PLEASE NOTE: The above route and estimated times must be seen as a guide only. This itinerary may change at any time due to weather, snow conditions, group fitness or other reasons. Your guide will always make a final decision after assessing the situation and liaising with the group members. On any climbing trip in the Alps it is important to understand that weather can be changeable and can sometimes affect your chances of summitting. On any climbing trip it is the experience of the climb, learning new skills, your safety and the magnificent scenery that are most important and if you are able to reach the summit due to good weather then that should always be considered as a bonus. Whilst ultimately your decision, we often feel it is recommended to stay an additional night in Chamonix at the end of the trip in case poor weather means a delay of your climb on Mont Blanc. This contingency day can be well worth the extra time and modest cost and if not used the Chamonix is a great town to relax after the climb.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE EVENT OF BAD WEATHER ON MONT BLANC?
Your guide will choose between the following options:
1. Climbing of Gran Paradiso (4060 m) in Italy if there is a bad weather on the Mont Blanc Range.
2. Cancellation if there is a bad weather on the French and Italian ranges,our partner in Chamonix may give you a credit for any unused services. Please liaise directly with our local partner with regards to this credit and the validity of the credit. The credit will not apply to any future World Expeditions trips.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM NOT FIT OR STRONG ENOUGH TO CLIMB MONT BLANC?
During the training days your guide will assess your ability, fitness and suitability to climb Mont Blanc. If you are deemed unsuitable then you will not be able to get a refund of any services or hut fees. Depending on your fitness and skills, your guide may give you the opportunity to climb to Tete Rousse Refuge. If this is not possible then any hotel in Chamonix would be at your own expense.