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Climb Mont Blanc
Climb Mont Blanc
Climb Mont Blanc

Plan your climb of Mont Blanc

Kandoo's View

Have you ever dreamt of reaching the top of Mont Blanc? This eight-day trip will make it come true! 

You’ll start with three days of training and acclimatisation, which will greatly improve your chances of a successful summit. This is followed by three days of ascent. During the training you will learn ice axe and crampon skills, rope work and more. Acclimatisation is also essential as you will spend most of your trip over 3000m at the Tour and Trient glaciers, and an ascent of Tête Blanche (3429m). We then head back to Chamonix for one peaceful and much needed nights’ rest for your feet before THE ascent. The climax of the week will of course be the Mont Blanc ascent. You will spend the first night in the Tête Rousse refuge (3167m), the second in the refuge of Goûter (3835m). and the last day is the one you’ve been waiting for! You start walking at night and you will reach the ‘top of Europe’ as the sun rises over the Alps: a spectacular and moving moment shared with your group. 

Please note that although the itinerary below is the one we intend to follow, there is still a chance that it may need to be changed. Many factors can affect climbing in high mountains including weather conditions and individual member's abilities. The guide's main focus will be to ensure your safety and the success of the trip. If we find ourselves unable to attempt to climb Mont Blanc due to poor weather, we will organise an alternative programme according to the conditions (Monte Rosa peaks, the Bishorn, Gran Paradiso etc). Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route and activities that you will experience.

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Detailed itinerary

Day 1Arrival Day

The Kandoo team will meet you at Geneva airport and transfer you to your pre-climb hotel in Chamonix.  Later you will attend a pre-climb briefing with your Guide to prepare you for your climb. Your evening in Chamonix is free so you can take the opportunity to try out some of the best Alpine specialities accompanied with some famous Savoie wine.

  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 2Training & Ice Climbing on the Glacier du Tour

We will spend the morning in Chamonix with our guide, reviewing the itinerary, checking kit and assisting with any equipment rental that may be required. We will then depart for the village of Le Tour, where we will take a small two-stage cable car to the Col de Balme (2204m). From here we will begin our trek to the Albert Premier refuge on the Glacier du Tour (2702m). Here we will spend the afternoon training in the snow and ice climbing on the glacier.

  • Elevation: From 1035 metres to 2702 metres
  • Trekking time: 4 to 5 hours
  • Overnight: Mountain Refuge

 

Day 3Ascent of La Tete Blanche

Today we will climb the glacier from the refuge to La Tête Blanche (3429m). We will then cross the Col Supérieur du Tour to reach the Trient refuge (3170m)

  • Elevation: From 2702 metres to 3170 metres
  • Highest point: 3429 metres (La Tête Blanche)
  • Trekking time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Overnight: Mountain Refuge

 

Day 4Trient refuge to Chamonix

From the Trient refuge, we will climb back over the Col Supérieur du Tour and head down the slope, passing the Albert Premier refuge (where we can have a short but well-deserved break). Once we are back in the village of Le Tour, the guide will brief us further on the following days’ programme and current weather conditions in the mountains. He will also pair you up for the ascent of Mont Blanc (based on who you are travelling with and ability level). We will return to Chamonix to rest for the night in the hotel.

  • Elevation: From 3170 metres to 1035 metres
  • Trekking time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 5Chamonix to Tete Rousse refuge

Our ascent of Mont Blanc begins fairly easily. We take the train to Les Houches and then the cable car to Bellevue train station. From here, we catch the Victorian rack railway – “Tramway du Mont Blanc” – to Nid d’Aigle (2372m). We then walk up a winding track, offering stunning views over the Chamonix valley. After a short walk we arrive on a snow-covered area leading to the brand new Tête Rousse refuge (3167m). We can spend the afternoon relaxing and acclimatising, and admire the view of the north face of the Aiguille de Bionnassay.

  • Elevation: From 1035 metres to 3167 metres
  • Trekking time: 3 to 4 hours
  • Overnight: Mountain Refuge
Day 6 Mont Blanc ascent

Setting off in the early hours, we start climbing the rocky tracks of the Aiguille du Goûter. A wide passage in the lower slopes in prone to rock fall, so it is very important to follow the guide’s instructions through this section. The rest of the ascent has sections equipped with cables or ropes, and requires some scrambling. Trekking in the darkness we will soon reach the Dôme du Goûter (4304m). As we continue towards the summit, we will reach the Vallot Bivouac, an unmanned refuge usually used for emergency protection for mountain climbers. By now the sun will be coming up, providing us with a much-needed boost as we begin to climb the Bosses Ridge. For 2-3 hours, we climb the ridge to the summit, which can be narrow and exposed, but we are rewarded with spectacular views in all directions. From the highest point in Western Europe at 4810m, we can see deep into the French, Italian and Swiss alps. After celebrating our achievement, we begin the descent. We retrace our footsteps down the Bosses Ridge and overnight at the futuristic-looking Goûter refuge, perched on a cliff on the Aiguille du Goûter (3835m).

  • Elevation: From 3167 metres to 3835 metres
  • Highest point: 4810 metres (Mont Blanc summit)
  • Trekking time: 10 to 12 hours
  • Overnight: Mountain Refuge
Day 7Gouter refuge to Chamonix

We continue our descent on the same route back to the Nid d’Aigle where we will catch the Tramway du Mont Blanc once more. A final cable car journey will take us back to Les Houches for a celebratory lunch. We will then return to our hotel in Chamonix.

  • Elevation: From 3835 metres to 1035 metres
  • Trekking time: 4 to 6 hours
  • Overnight: Hotel
Day 8Departure day

We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Geneva airport.

ITINERARY CHANGE

Please note that although the itinerary presented here is the one we intend to follow, there are chances that changes may be necessary. Many factors can affect climbing in high mountains. Mountain adventures depend on weather and conditions, individual member's abilities vary, as well as their ability to assimilate the skills needed. The guide's main focus will be to ensure your safety and the success of the trip. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route and activities that you will experience.

If we find ourselves unable to attempt the Mont Blanc ascent, we will organize an alternative program according to the conditions (Monte Rosa peaks, The Bishorn, The Grand Paradis...). Except in special cases, the main goal of this trip is to share and to commit to the excursion, which excludes any possibility of postponement or cancellation on probation. For security reasons and to ensure a uniform level corresponding to the one announced, organizers gets the right to cancel your participation if your technical and/or physical form do not match those required. In no case the interruption shall give rise to a refund or compensation payments.

Availability and prices

Last Updated December 5 2019
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Route
Arrival
Days
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Arrival: May 31 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: June 7 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: June 14 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: June 21 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: June 28 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: July 5 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: July 12 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: July 19 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: July 26 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: August 2 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: August 9 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: August 16 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: August 23 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: August 30 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: September 6 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Arrival: September 13 2020
Days: 8
Price: £2249 $2925 €0
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Included
  • Full supervision by experienced mountain guides
  • 7 nights' accommodation
  • All cable cars and local transport needed for the itinerary
  • Group safety equipment

  • Airport transfers
  • Full board: all breakfasts, packed lunches and evening meals except in Chamonix on days 1, 3 and 7
Not included
  • Drinks, snacks and personal expenses

  • Individual safety equipment: boots, crampons, helmet, harness, ice axe, poles, rucksack etc. (available to hire)

  • Travel insurance and assistance

  • Evening meals on days 1, 3 and 7 in Chamonix
  • Tips

Accommodation

On the first, fourth and last nights, you will spend the night in a 3-star hotel in Chamonix in private twin rooms. Single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee (subject to availability).

For your training days and on the Mont Blanc ascent itself, you will spend the nights in mountain refuges where you will sleep in shared dormitories. Blankets and pillows are provided but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag liner. 

Examples of hotels in Chamonix  : 

https://www.alpinachamonix.com/en/ 

https://www.prieurechamonix.com/en/ 

For the huts on the Mont Blanc ascent  :  

 

 

Food and drink

 Staying hydrated and well-fed on your climb is absolutely vital, especially when conditions are such that you might not want to eat or drink as much as you should.

If you have special dietary requirements or are a vegetarian then just let us know when you book so that we can be sure to have a suitable menu planned.  

A typical day’s meals when climbing Mont Blanc

Breakfasts and evening meals will be traditional and copious, produced by the refuge keepers. Drinks are not included with dinner, so please make sure you have some Euros and Swiss Francs (Trient refuge on day 2) with you.

Packed lunches will be produced by your guide and include local meats and cheeses, crusty bread and fresh seasonal vegetables. The lunch items will be shared between all of the group for carrying.

Don't forget to take your own snacks for when you need a little extra boost - cereal bars, energy bars, nuts and dry fruits are all good options. And feel free to bring some local specialities from home to share with the group!

Drinking water

Tap water is typically safe to drink in France so you can fill up your water bottle at the hotel in Chamonix. Unfortunately the water in the mountain refuges is not drinkable and you will need to buy bottled water which is very expensive (5 to 10 euros for one bottle)

Meals in Chamonix

Your hotel in Chamonix at the beginning and end of your trip, and also on day 4, is booked on a bed and breakfast basis only, and does not include any other meals. There are plenty of typical Savoyard restaurants in Chamonix where you can sample some local alpine delicacies, such as cheese fondue, tartiflette or raclette.

Luggage

You will go out twice for three days of hiking, with a return to Chamonix in between. Plan to bring a 40-50 litre rucksack to carry everything you need for three days of hiking. A second bag containing spare clothing can be left at the hotel in Chamonix; you will be able to access this bag when you return to Chamonix at the end of the fourth day and then store it again while you climb Mont Blanc.

Fitness and training for the Mont Blanc ascent

One question we often get asked is 'how fit do I need to be to climb Mont Blanc?' While a high level of fitness will make the climb a lot easier, it by no means  requires you to be a super-human. That being said, a solid training plan will help you to better prepare for the climb and will make your time on the mountain far more enjoyable.

What all successful climbers share though is a real Kandoo attitude and that means high levels of grit and determination. 

If you are comfortable walking for 6-7 hours with an ascent of 1000m then you are certainly fit enough to succeed on Mont Blanc. Similarly if you can do a full hour spinning, a vigorous aerobics class or can jog at a decent pace for 45 minutes then there is no reason why you can't make the entire Mont Blanc ascent. 

Practice Hiking

The best training to start with for the Mont Blanc ascent is get your walking boots on and cover some serious miles. Whether this is two to three hours walking locally or full days away on your nearest hills, you just need to clock up plenty of hours on your feet. Above all else it is just walking every day for 6 days that people find tiring. And the best cure for this is to have spent lots of hours just walking.

Hiking practice allows you to get used to the stress your joints will be put under and to understand how well you can cope with this. It also allows you ensure that your boots are well worn in. Start with a distance that you can comfortably achieve and slowly try to work your way up to a 5 or 6 hour trek. If you can do this several times then you'll be in good stead to climb Mont Blanc.

Aerobic Training

Aerobic (or cardio) training will be a key factor in successfully climbing Mont Blanc. Aerobic literally means 'requiring free oxygen' and refers to the use of oxygen to adequately meet energy demands during exercise via aerobic metabolism. Aerobic exercise will build up your cardiovascular system allowing you to process more effectively the limited amount of oxygen available at higher altitudes. Aerobic exercise, unlike anaerobic exercise, requires oxygen for elongated periods of time. Examples of aerobic exercise you could try include long distance jogging, cycling, lane swimming and walking.

One crucial thing we tell our customers is don't rush up the mountain! Trying to ascend too quickly is a huge mistake as it does not allow you to acclimatise well. Having a good cardiovascular system will help with this, but it wont prevent it. Your guide will set a pace for the group that is suitable for all participants.

Depending on your current fitness levels, we recommend a training plan of around 3 to 6 months. Your hiking practice will help, but we also suggest running 6-12km three times a week. If you're using a treadmill remember to set a slight incline.

Strength Training

Any training plan for climbing Mont Blanc should also include some strength training. Although not as important as your aerobic training, strengthening your upper body, core and, in particular, your legs, will greatly increase your chances of success. You'll be walking for at least 7 hours on most days, and up to 12 hours on summit day. You therefore need your legs to be strong enough to take the punishment.

We recommend the following exercises to strengthen your legs. When doing these exercises, keep an eye on your technique. Exercises done badly are likely to cause you more harm than good.

  • Squats
  • Front and reverse leg curls
  • Lunges
  • Step aerobics

Building upper body and core strength is also crucial as you'll not only be trekking for hours, but you'll also be carrying gear in your rucksack. To strengthen your upper body and core we recommend the following exercises:

  • Shoulder presses
  • Back and shoulder flyes
  • Sit-ups
  • Kettle-bell rows / swings

Remember to stretch every time you exercise. Improved flexibility will help your body to recover overnight after you've been trekking all day. It's no fun trekking for 7 hours if you have woken up with stiff joints!

The importance of stretching

Poor stretching is the cause of many sporting injuries. This is particularly true when climbing mountains, as repetitive movements across rough terrain can place a lot of stress on joint and muscles. We recommend spending around 10 minutes every morning working on your main muscle groups to loosen your muscles before you undertake any serious exercise.

Climbing Mont Blanc is an incredible experience and, with a good training plan, can be achieved by most, regardless of age or physical condition. Once you have your cardiovascular system up and running then all you need is a positive attitude and a willingness to push yourself. More important than this is allowing your body to acclimatize to the altitude.

FAQ

Is Mont Blanc a difficult or dangerous mountain to climb?

Every year mountain climbers from across the world aim to summit Mont Blanc. There are several routes to the summit from Chamonix but the one we use, via the Mont Blanc Tramway and the Aiguille de Gouter, is the least technical and therefore very achievable. However, it will still require a high level of fitness and some experience of winter trekking (use of crampons and ice axe).

When is the best time to climb Mont Blanc?

The ideal period to climb Mont Blanc is from March to September, depending on weather conditions and snowfall.

What climbing experience is needed to climb Mont Blanc?

While it is not necessary to have specific climbing experience to climb Mont Blanc, you should have some experience in winter trekking and specifically using crampons and an ice axe.

What is the success rate on Mont Blanc?

When climbing with a guide, the success rate is around 50%. Most failures are due to poor weather conditions. Above 4000m, the wind or bad weather can often make the ascent too dangerous to attempt. We try to predict the weather as well as we can and make the right decisions to help you tot he summit without taking any risks.

Can I climb Mont Blanc by myself?

 Yes, it is possible to ascend Mont Blanc individually, but we highly discourage you from it unless you have extensive experience of mountain climbing. It is safer to have a mountain guide for this type of expedition.

Can I shower during my Mont Blanc ascent?

Unfortunately there are no showers in the Refuge de Gouter or the Refuge de Tete Rousse.

What are the minimum and the maximum ages to climb Mont Blanc?

The recommended minimum age is 16 years old. It is advisable that these youngsters have already climbed a 4000m summit. To join any of our climbs, anyone aged 16-18 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is no upper age limit. It is physicality and health status that will determine whether it is possible to join the climb.

 

 

 

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Rachael Bode

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