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Itinerary

Climbing Mont Blanc Expedition Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland airport and take shuttle to Chamonix (around 45 minutes). Spend night at a hotel in Chamonix, France.
• Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.

Day 2

Meet at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast and orientation, followed by a check of our equipment. Afterward we will go into downtown Chamonix and pick up any last-minute items along with lunch to go. We will then head up to the Aiguilles Rouges for some alpine rock and snow climbing training. We will ascend the Flegere cable car to almost 2,400 m. A short 40-minute walk brings us to the snow access gulley at the foot of the Crouches. We will climb on the rocky ridge, working on our footwork and movement skills during the day. The descent back down brings us by an alpine lake, “Lac Blanc,” and a café where we can grab some coffee or the tart d’ jour. This training day will help set our climbers up for success later in the week on the Mont Blanc. We will spend the evening in Chamonix.
• Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.
• Top of Flegere cable car: 2,400 m/7,875 ft.
• Top of Crouches Traverse: 2,837 m/9,307 ft.
• Vertical gain during the day: 1,802 m/5,912 ft.
• Vertical gain climbing: 437 m/1,433 ft.
• Travel time climbing: 6-7 hours from cable car back to the hotel

Day 3

The next three days we will spend climbing and working on our skills on the Gran Paradiso (4,061 m). The Gran Paradiso is the highest peak in Italy and a worthy climb on its own. After a gear check in the morning, we will take a taxi through the famous Mont Blanc tunnel to Gran Paradiso National Park. Once inside Grad Paradiso National Park and at the trailhead, we will start working our way up to the Chabod mountain hut. It is takes about 3–4 hours to reach the Chabod Hut at 2,750 m and we often see ibex on the trail. Once at the hut there are incredibly scenic views of our next day’s climbing objective. In the afternoon, our guide team will continue to work on climbing skills and go over the plan for our summit attempt on the Gran Paradiso.

• Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.
• Gran Paradiso trailhead altitude: 1,833 m/6,013 ft.
• Chabod mountain hut: 2,750 m/9,022 ft.
• Vertical gain climbing: 913 m/2,995 ft.
• Travel time climbing: 3–4 hours from the trailhead to the Chabod Hut

Day 4

We will wake up early for an alpine start on the Gran Paradiso. We will have breakfast in the hut and depart shortly thereafter. The ascent of the Gran Paradiso is around 1,300 m from the hut. Along the ascent, the guides will continue to work on cramponing, ice axe use, glacier travel, and more skills to help increase our foundation before heading to the Mont Blanc. The ascent to the summit from the hut takes between 4.5–5.5 hours. After reaching the summit, we will retrace our steps back down to the Chabod Hut and spend the night. Spending the second night at this elevation will help with our acclimatizing process. An ascent of the Gran Paradiso really helps our climbers prepare for the summit portion of Mont Blanc. It is a dress rehearsal for the Mont Blanc ascent and the second toughest day of program.
• Chabod Hut altitude: 2,750 m/9,022 ft.
• Summit of Grand Paradiso: 4,061 m/13,323 ft.
• Vertical gain climbing: 1,311 m/4,301 ft.
• Travel time climbing: 4.5–5.5 hours uphill, 2–3 hours back to the hut, 6–8.5 hours total

Day 5

After a semi-late breakfast at the hut (7 a.m.) we will start making our way back to Chamonix, France. This day is designed to be a rest day and let our bodies recover after our recent ascent of the Gran Paradiso. Our goal is to be back in Chamonix for lunch. In the afternoon, we will go over equipment and gear needed for the Mont Blanc ascent.
• Chabod Hut altitude: 2,750 m/9,022 ft.
• Gran Paradiso trailhead altitude: 1,833 m/ 6,013 ft.
• Travel time climbing: 2–3 hours on a trail back to the trailhead from the Chabod Hut
• Spend the night at Hotel de l’Arve: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.

Day 6

Before leaving the hotel, we will do a gear check review to make sure we have all the adequate equipment and clothing for our ascent of Mont Blanc. We will ride the Bellevue Telepherique from Les Houches. Once at the top of the tram, we board the Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Nid d’Aigle (2,370 m/7,775 ft.) 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 (3,187 m/10,456 ft.) This evening we will sleep at the Tete Rousse Hut.

• Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.
• Top of Tramway du Mont Blanc: 2,370 m/7,775 ft.
• Tete Rousse Hut: 3,187 m/ 10,456 ft.
• Vertical gain during the day: 2,152 m/7,065 ft.
• Vertical gain climbing: 817 m/2,681 ft.
• Travel time climbing: 2–2.5 hours of walking to the hut on a trail

Day 7

Breakfast and leave the hut for an alpine start make our ascent up Mont Blanc. From the hut, we find ourselves ascending the Grand Couloir, which is approximately 600 m. The upper part of the Couloir can be melted out and could involve some moderate and steep scrambling over rocks. From the top of the Grand Couloir, we make our way to the Gouter Hut (3,817 m/12,522 ft.). 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 (4,808 m/15,775 ft.). We aim to be on the summit early to mid-morning. Enjoying the views from the summit of the highest peak in Western Europe, here we take a break. We then retrace our route back to the hut and stay at Tete Rousse Hut (3,187 m/10,456 ft.) that evening.
• Tete Rousse Hut: 3,187 m/10,456 ft.
• Gouter Hut: 3,817 m/12,522 ft.
• Mont Blanc Summit: 4,808 m/15,775 ft.
• Vertical gain during the day: 1,621 m/5,319 ft.
• Vertical gain climbing: 1,621 m/5,319 ft.
• Travel time climbing: Typical time to reach the summit is between 6–7 hours from the Tete Rousse Hut. Descent time is around 4–4.5 hours back to the Tete Rousse Hut. Total climbing time 10–12 hours, round-trip.

Day 8

Descend back down the trail to the Tramway du Mont Blanc retracing our steps back to the valley. Dinner is in town that evening. If the weather and conditions are unsafe on Day 7, not allowing us to make a summit attempt, we try to make a summit attempt on Day 8, if weather and conditions permit, and then descend the same day. We will spend the night in our hotel in Chamonix.
• Tete Rousse Hut: 3,187 m/10,456 ft.
• Top of Tramway du Mont Blanc: 2,370 m/7,775 ft.
• Chamonix altitude: 1,035 m/3,395 ft.
• Travel time climbing: 1.5 hours to descend back on the trail to the Tramway du Mont Blanc.

Day 9

Shuttle back to Geneva and fly home.

*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.

Thanks to guide creativity, I still got in 12 days of interesting climbing and skill work, with a chance to grow in experience and confidence. Jonathon was a great manager as our plans had to be changed multiple times. He pulled it all together to make the trip challenging and fun despite the ugly conditions on the mountain.

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