Day 1: Depart USA evening, fly to Geneva
Day 2: Arrive in Geneva and take shuttle to Chamonix. Spend night in Hotel de L'Arve, Chamonix. Meet at 7pm in hotel lobby for group dinner.
Day 3: Meet at 7:30am for breakfast and orientation, followed by a check of our equipment. Afterwards we go into downtown Chamonix and pick up any last minute items along with lunch to go. We then head up to Le Tour and ride two lifts to access the trail. After about 2 hours of hiking we arrive at the Albert Premier Hut 2700m/8,858ft. In the afternoon we go over our snow school skills. Climbers will learn fundamentals of moving safely/efficiently on snow and ice slopes with crampons on. Lodging is in the Albert Premier hut.
Day 4: After breakfast at the hut we continue our skills review of knots and glacier travel on the Le Tour Glacier. Upon completion of skills review we attempt to summit Petite Fourche 3410m/11,516ft. From the summit of Petite Fourche we descend down across the Trient Plateau into Switzerland. We will be spending the night at the majestic Trient Hut (3,170m/ 10,400ft) in Switzerland.
Day 5: Waking up, have breakfast and leave the hut shortly after. We traverse the Trient Glacier making our way up towards Aiguille du Tour. We make a summit attempt of Aiguille du Tour (3,540m). Afterwards, we walk back down the Le Tour Glacier and make our way to the Albert Premier Hut. Coffee and tarts are eaten at the hut before descending back into the Chamonix valley retracing our steeps and riding the lifts down to town. We spend this night at Hotel de L'Arve in Chamonix. In the evening we go over what equipment we need for the Mont Blanc summit portion of our climb.
Day 6: Before leaving the Hotel L'Arve we do a final gear check. We ride the Bellevue Telepherique from Les Houches, once at the top of the tram we board the tramway Mont Blanc to the Nid D'Aigle (2372m/7,800ft). From there we follow a main path on scree, which divides the Glacier de la Griaz from the Glacier de Tete Rousse. It takes approximately 2.5 hours to reach the Tete Rousse Hut (3167m/10,400ft). This evening we sleep at the Tete Rousse Hut.
Day 7: Waking up, have breakfast and leave the hut for an alpine start to make our ascent up Mont Blanc. From the hut we find ourselves ascending the Grand Couloir which is approx. 600m. The upper part of the Couloir can be melted out involving some moderate and steep scrambling over rocks. From the top of the Grand Couloir we make our way to the Gouter Hut (3817m/12,500ft). We can take a long break inside the Gouter Hut. From the hut we travel on glaciated terrain along a beautiful ridgeline towards the summit (4808m/15775ft). We aim to be on the summit around early to mid-morning. Enjoying the views from the summit of the highest peak in Western Europe here we take a break and enjoy the scenery. We then retrace our route back to the hut and then stay at Tete Rousse Hut (3167m/ 10,400ft) that evening.
Day 8: Descend back down the trail to the Mont Blanc Tramway retracing our steps back to the valley. Dinner is in town that evening. If climbing conditions are poor on day 7 and we can not make a summit attempt, we try to make a summit attempt on day 8,weather permitting, and descend the same day. Spend night in Chamonix at Hotel de L'Arve.
Day 9: Shuttle back to Geneva and fly home, or Continue on to Zermatt for the Matterhorn Extension.
*Guides might change the Itinerary due to safety, weather and climbing conditions on Mont Blanc. While the Gouter hut is excellent it is often difficult for large groups and this is why we use the Tete Rousse.
This extension is designed to build off of the previous week of climbing in the French Alps on the Mont Blanc. To climb the Matterhorn climbers need to have prior climbing experience that involves technical rock climbing and steep snow experience.
The week-long Mont Blanc program previous to the Matterhorn trip will help give climbers the proper acclimatization they need to climb this challenging iconic peak that lays above the scenic village of Zermatt. Your guides will help give you technical skills and preparation for the Matterhorn ascent, and as with all of our programs, we highly emphasize the importance of physical conditioning.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this program.
Day 9: Today starts off by sleeping in at the Hotel L'Arve in Chamoinx. Shopping and picking up any last minute supplies takes place in the morning before boarding a train with your guide to the magnificent village of Zermatt. Today is our scheduled rest day.
Day 10: Ride the Gornergrat railway up to the Riffelhorn. We climb the Riffelhorn in our mountaineering boots to work on footwork and technical climbing skills. We also do some fixed rope practiced in the afternoon. We spend the night at a hotel in Zermatt.
Day 11: We ride the Klein Matterhorn Cable car to the top of the (Klein Matterhorn 3700m). We traverse the massive glacier behind the famous Breithorn and climb Polux (4092m), a steep snow and rock climb. To help our acclimating process we spend the night at a beautiful hut on the Italian/Swiss board, Val D'Ayas (3420m).
Day 12: We wake up early and leave the hut. Retracing our steps back towards the Klien Matterhorn we climb the Briethorn (4165m) doing the famous East-West Traverse. Once done climbing, we ride the lift back down to town and spend a night at the hotel in Zermatt.
Day 13: Approach the base of the Hornligrate ridge.
Day 14: Climb the Matterhorn via Hornligrat ridge, which is a 1,200m (4,000ft) technical ridge climb requiring high level of physical energy and technical ability. Our goal is to reach the summit in 5-6hrs and then reverse our descent to the Hornligrat Hut. We awake early for an alpine start to begin our ascent of the Matterhorn. After walking 10mins on a dirt path we begin the 1200m (4,000ft) technical ascent of the Hornligrat ridge. We climb a mixture of the East Face and staying directly on the Hornligat ridge for the first 2-3hrs before reaching the Moseley Slab. We climb up the Moseley Slab which leads directly onto the balcony of the emergency Solvay refuge (4003m). From the Solvay refuge we climb the upper Moseley and then back directly to the ridge crest. The ridge crest incline decreases as we reach the Shoulder (4200m). Above the Shoulder we ascend fixed ropes and the final steep snow slope to the summit 4478m. We take a long break at the hut before retracing our exact climbing route for the descent to the Schwarzee. We spend the night at the hotel back in Zermatt celebrating our successful climb. Climbers should plan on an 8-12hr day of intense physical exertion.
Day 15: Weather day, possible extra summit day on the Matterhorn. Night in Zermatt
Day 16: Depart Zermatt via train to Geneva. Fly back to country of origin.
*Guides might change the Itinerary due to weather and climbing conditions on the Matterhorn.
*In 2014 the Hornli Hut is under renovations to be restored for the 150th anniversary of the first ascent of the Matterhorn. If open, space to sleep will very limited. Climbers should plan on camping near the hut in the 2014 season. In late spring, we should have an update on the condition of the hut for the summer.
We also offer a stand alone Matterhorn program: to learn more about The Matterhorn and access the gear list, see our Matterhorn climb