Mountaineering

It's not for nothing that Chamonix is known as the birthplace of mountaineering.

Towering peaks, jagged ridges, snowy glaciers - the terrain here is just incredible.

See for yourself with one of our mountain guides, we have expeditions for everyone from first-timers to experienced alpinists.

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is a training ground for some of the world's most renowned Alpinists. Yet conquering the 4810m summit is an achievable jewel even in the amateur mountaineer's crown with our experienced guides.

On our trips you’ll get the chance to tackle high altitude conditions, traverse glaciers with crevasses and seracs. And with the weather gods on your side, ascend to the peak of the majestic Mont Blanc. 

Expect to be tested physically and mentally, as you journey through a spectacular lunar landscape of snow and ice, walking in the footsteps of some of the world's most famous mountaineers.

This is an achievable goal for the fit and strong, and will stay in your memory for the rest of your life.

There are few ways to the summit, each with their own special merits:

Standard Route: Do you dream of climbing Mont Blanc? Help ensure a successful summit with our qualified guides. The trip will take a gradual approach on the ascent to optimise your chances. Duration: 2 or 3 days.

3 Mont Blanc Route: Ascend via the less-travelled Cosmique route, which traverses Mont-Blanc Tacul and Mont Maudi. Steep in places, this requires good technical skill and stamina. Duration: 2 days.

Objective Mont Blanc: Ensure your chances of a successful summit with this expertly coached course. Qualified guides will teach you solid climbing skills in the valley first to help build your confidence before you start your ascent. Duration: 5 days - 3 days training, 2 days of climbing.

Climb Mont Blanc 6 days course: You will receive 3 days of essential alpine preparation. During these 3 days you can practice using your ice axe and crampons along with climbing and rope techniques. The following 2 days are reserved for summit attempt. If you don't succeed, there's an option to try again on your 6th and final day of the course.

Book now or contact us to find out more

Handy hints from Mountain Base
  • Leave your phone at home for a digital detox far more profound than any luxury mind-body retreat. 
  • Take ear plugs. It will ensure you get a good night's sleep in a refuge that can often be full of snorers. 
  • Wear high factor SPF - the sun is extremely powerful at high altitude.
  • Don’t miss your window of opportunity. This trip is only available May - September.

Vallée Blanche & Mer de Glace

Channel your inner Arctic explorer and explore one of the most phenomenal sights on earth - the ridges and crevasses of a glacier.

We offer two glacier options:
  • Mer de Glace - a fantastic introduction to glacial hiking. Armed with crampons, harnesses and ice picks, our qualified guides will help you traverse this spectacular sea of ice. Marvel at the unbelievable crystalline blues and peer into deep crevasses. Whether you've never set foot on ice before, or crampons are as familiar to you as a pair of slippers, this is an experience not to be missed.
    Access is via the Montenvers train, included in the Mont Blanc Multipass.
  • Vallée Blanche Traverse - high up amongst the mythical peaks of the Mont Blanc massif, the "Vallee Blanche" traverse is one of the most spectacular glacier walks in the Alps. It is a relatively easy high altitude trek involving approximately 600m of descent and 200m of ascent, you'll hike through spectacular glaciated terrain surrounded by towering alpine peaks using ropes and crampons. You'll be guided amongst the jagged peaks and bottomless crevasses by a fully qualified IFMGA mountain guide, who will choose the best route according to that day's weather conditions.
    Access is via the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Helbronner gondola, included in the Mont Blanc Multipass.

Book now or contact us to find out more

Handy Hints from Mountain Base
  • Avoid being blinded by the sun glancing off the ice by wearing some good quality sunglasses
  • Slap on that SPF and drink plenty of water as you hike
  • Don't forget a packed lunch, you'll be picnicing amongst the ice and rocks

Alpine Climbing

A 6 day introduction to Alpine climbing on some of the most legendary classic routes in the Alps.

If you have always dreamed of climbing mountains and you don't know where to start, this course is specially designed for you. Our alpine climbing course is challenging and our professional UIAGM/IFMGA mountain guides are there to teach you techniques for all the different terrain you can find in the mountains.

By the end of the week you will be familiar with how to safely travel across glaciers, rocky ridges, rock faces and steep snow slopes. The course is a genuine mixture of learning and enjoying great alpine climbs in the Alps.

This is a hands on week - you’ll be learning as you go. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to, the following: basic rock climbing skills, lead climbing, setting up anchors, abseiling, traditional gear placement, multi-pitch route climbing, rope management, safe glacier travel, use of ice axe and crampons.

You will also learn about route planning, using maps, a compass and analysing weather forecasts to plan and carry out an overnight trip.

If you already have some experience that's great and you will build on what you already know, if not you'll benefit from our expert instruction. The guides will adjust the pace and level of the course to suit the participants.

For the last two days of the course you will be joined by a second guide, this will allow more flexibility and allow you to climb a more involved route if you wish.

The price given does not include accommodation; this can be included on request at a comfortable lodge near to some of the best climbing routes in the Chamonix valley. The full price including half board accommodation is 1765€.

Haute Route

The Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route is one of the most spectacular high mountain itineraries in the world; winding its way over remote alpine passes, traversing glaciers and passing below towering alpine peaks.

It is one of the classic Alpine treks, being first completed during the summer of 1861 by members of the British Alpine Club.

We offer two options - the classic route of 12 days of hiking or a shorter version of 6 days.

Your expedition will involve challenging but steady hiking, sometimes on glaciers with crampons and ice axes. This journey is not by any means a mere walking trip; you don't need any mountaineering experience but a reasonable level of fitness will be a huge bonus. The breathtaking views and the sense of achievement that comes from completing such a journey will far outweigh any of the challenges.

Nights are spent in high mountain huts, remote refuges where you will be mesmerised by the number and brightness of the stars.
 
Why not benefit from your acclimatisation and summit Mont Blanc on your return to Chamonix? After completing the Haute Route you will certainly have the skills and fitness levels required!

Gran Paradiso & Eiger

Two of the world's most famous mountains, Gran Paradiso and Mount Eiger, both within easy distance of Chamonix and both an unforgettable 6 day experience.

Gran Paradiso: the only 4000m peak entirely within Italy, is a great expedition for anyone looking to make their first Alpine ascent. Its location on the Franco/Italian border means that we can acclimatise and prepare in the Chamonix Valley with a day of glacier skills training on the Mer de Glace, followed by a night at the Albert 1er Refuge and an ascent of the splendid Aiguille du Tour (3544m). Then, after a morning practising our rock-climbing at Les Gaillands, we drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel and hike to the Chabod Refuge on the upper slopes of Gran Paradiso (4061m). After a night at this welcoming mountain hut, we tackle the classic, easy glacier and rocky ridge ascent to the summit, where the views extend northwards to prominent Mont Blanc. A perfect holiday for Alpine debutants! This is fundamentally an introductory Alpine climbing holiday. Led by professional IFMGA guides, it is aimed at giving instruction to fit hill-walkers with little or limited experience of using crampons and a single ice axe. The two peaks included, Aiguille du Tour in France (3544m) and Gran Paradiso in Italy (4061m), will involve glacier travel, easy snow-slope climbing and some easy scrambling. Ropes, crampons and an ice axe will be used. Given our high guide to client ratio (1:4) and the non-technical nature of these summits, this mountain holiday should be feasible for anyone looking to gain mountaineering experience in a stunning environment.

Mount Eiger: The world-famous Eiger stands at 3970m in the Bernese Oberland region of the Alps and has inspired countless films and books such as The White Spider and Eiger Dreams. Rather than tackling the notoriously deadly north face, we will ascend via the Mittellegi ridge, just as magnificent but not as difficult as the north face - it is graded as 5b compulsory - it will still get your adrenalin going! Our 6 day Eiger course is specially designed for those who already have some climbing experience and want to improve on their rock and ice skills. We start by spending 4 days climbing some of the classic Chamonix routes, working on your crampon and ice axe skills and gaining confidence in crampon-hiking over steep and exposed terrain. When the 4 days are over, you will be ready for the Eiger! To ensure a high quality of our guiding and tuition services, we keep our groups small with a maximum of two clients per guide while we are in Chamonix and the one client per guide once we reach the Eiger. You will benefit enormously from this small group experience, as it allows for a more interesting itinerary and steeper learning curve.

Handy Hints from Mountain Base:
  • Rather than buying lots of expensive equipment and paying for excess luggage on your flight, much of your kit list can be hired here in Chamonix. We recommend hiring everything at least 2 weeks in advance so as to be sure of availability.
  • Let us know as soon as possible if you have special dietary requirements, the catering in mountain huts is good but basic and they’ll need to know in advance of any special requests.
  • You'll get much more out of these courses if you have a good level of fitness - trail running and fell walking are both good preparation for this type of activity.

Petite Aiguille Verte

La Petite Aiguille Verte is an ideal introduction to alpinism where you'll encounter glaciers, bergschrunds, exposed ridges, granite and ice - all in a day.

This route is an excellent training ground for anyone who wants to learn or improve alpine climbing on mixed terrain.

Starting out from Les Grands Montets, you'll take the cable car up to 3300m and step out onto the snow to rope up and fasten your crampons. A short approach walk across a bergschrund brings you to the north-west ridge, a spectacular traverse in the heart of the Mont Blanc Massif.

There are a few technical sections but all are short and your guide will be there to lead you safely across, you'll learn how to climb on rock and ice using your crampons and alpine equipment.

Handy Hints from Mountain Base:
  • This is a full day out so take a packed lunch, snacks and plenty of water.
  • Although you don't need mountaineering experience, you will find it helpful if you've used crampons before and if you are used to scrambling over uneven terrain.
  • A good level of fitness and stamina is required for this climb; the better you prepare, the more you'll enjoy it.