Guided Mont Blanc Ascent

Climb the highest summit in western Europe with one of our experienced IFMGA Mountain Guides

Mont Blanc is western Europe’s highest peak. It’s been the focus of mountaineers since the first ascent in 1786. Every year hundreds of hopeful climbers come to have an attempt at the summit.

Our normal route of ascent follows the Gouter route, past the Tete Rousse and Gouter refuges. This route offers a long but technically easy ascent. There are other routes we also guide to the summit, but these often require more technical skill and some (like the 3 Monts route) are much harder to predict conditions wise. The Gouter route is an aesthetic route, first traversing the Dome du Gouter before ascending the Bosses ridge, a series of elegant snow aretes leading up to the summit of Mont Blanc.

Mont Blanc Sunrise
Mont Blanc Sunrise

It is important to acclimitise before attempting Mont Blanc. Spending a night or two in a mountain hut and reaching a summit above 3700m is pretty crucial preparation for success. For our trips we head through to Italy and climb the Grand Paradiso, which is one of Italy’s favourite mountains and a good peak in its own right, with the top being just over 4000m.

Over the course of the week we aim to prepare you technically for Mont Blanc as well as getting everyone acclimatised. We use crampons and an Ice axe, as well as being roped up at all times on the glacier. We also aim to get some scrambling/climbing practice before the Mont Blanc ascent, in preparation for the Gouter ridge.

People have to abort their Mont Blanc ascent for a number of reasons, weather, altitude sickness, conditions for example, but the overriding reason for having to turn around is fitness. The summit day will typically take around twelve hours with up to 1700m of ascent and descent, all done at altitude. You will need a good level of hill fitness to have a successful and enjoyable week.

Although no prior mountaineering experience is required to climb Mont Blanc, you will need to be physically and mentally fit. Some good long days out in the UK hills is good preparation, especially getting in some vertical ascent similar to Mont Blanc.

How technical is the route?

Mont Blanc certainly isn’t just a walk. Taking the Gouter route as an example, there is some rock and snowy mixed ground to scramble up for about 600m from the Tete Rousse hut, which would be about a grade II scramble in the UK. Often we wear crampons for this section. Higher up on the Bosses ridge, there are some narrow sections, and here you will need good crampon skills and a head for heights. It’s not nearly as exposed as some alpine ridges, but you will need to be happy on a reasonably narrow ridge.

What equipment would I need?

We have a kit list page  – here.

Do I need to hire a guide to climb Mont Blanc?

There is no requirement to hire a Mountain Guide to climb Mont Blanc, and you will see many groups heading up without a guide. There are of course many advantages to hiring a guide even if you have done some mountaineering ascents before such as further training & mountain education as well as safety. Our Mountain Guides are all fully qualified and know Mont Blanc intimately. We have a good handle on mountain conditions and weather and use a conservative approach to maintain good safety standards, often turning around before other teams if conditions are becoming unsafe.

I would highly recommended Vertical Frontiers and will be using them again for another adventure in the Alps soon!!! Chris B 2015

Example itinerary for a six day Mont Blanc ascent:

Our programme is tried and tested and is designed to provide you with crucial training and acclimatisation whilst arriving at the foot of Mont Blanc with energy and motivation for the final ascent. If you have previously climbed the Grand Paradiso, then sign up to one of our private trips, where the schedule is bespoke and we can climb elsewhere for the first three days.

  • Day 1 – 0800 meeting with guides in Chamonix. Equipment check. There is time to buy snacks for the mountain and a packed lunch. We then head to the excellent rock climbing venue near Chamonix called Les Gaillands. We spend a couple of hours here climbing easy rock routes in big boots which is good practice for mountaineering and scrambling. It’s also an opportunity to use the harnesses and practice your knots.We then drive through the tunnel into Italy and into the Grand Paradiso National Park (1 1/2 hour drive). The ascent to the hut takes around two and a half hours, and is a stunning alpine walk through forests with ever changing views, and hopefully some wildlife spotting along the way.
  • Day 2 – Ascent of the excellent Grand Paradiso (4061m), second night in mountain hut, such as the Emmanuele refuge. Generally the ascent of the Paradiso takes 5-7 hours, with the return trip from the summit taking around 3 hours. More details of the Grand Paradiso can be found on out Grand Paradiso trip page. By spending a second night in a mountain refuge at 2800m we benefit from further acclimatisation.
  • Day 3 – From the refuge, we walk back down to the car and return to Chamonix, optional Rock Climbing training and scrambling in the Chamonix valley.
  • Day 4 – Ascent to Tete Rousse refuge. This is a deliberately easy day and should take around two and half hours. The aim is to arrive at the refuge feeling not too tired and ready for the long summit day ahead.
  • Day 5 – Ascent of Mont Blanc – starting from the Tete Rousse refuge we usually begin very early in the morning. The ascent to the summit usually takes six – eight hours including short stops. From there we descend to the Gouter refuge at 3800m in around two – three hours, where we spend the night.
  • Day 6 – Spare summit day/return to Chamonix. From the Gouter refuge it is a two hours descent to the Tete Roussse, and then an easy walk back to the tramway and lifts to Chamonix – time for a beer whatever the outcome of our summit bid!

We run two types of Mont Banc courses. You can book a private week course as an individual (1:1) or with your group. We will arrange suitable dates for you and your party. The second option is to join one of our scheduled trips, which we generally run twice a year and are listed below more details here.

Upon receipt of your deposit and medical form we will email detailed joining instructions and equipment list.

We have a Mont Blanc FAQ’s page, which has the answer to most questions and you are welcome to email us any questions you may have :

Six day guided Mont Blanc ascents – 2017 prices

For private group bookings;

The first three days of the programme are bespoke, and there is opportunity to climb an alternative mountain to the Grand Paradiso.

  • One climber – £2095
  • Two climbers – £1495 per person

2017 Mont Blanc open trip dates;

Our open courses require a minimum of two bookings for the trip to run, and are run with a maximum of four climbers.

A guiding ratio of 1:4 for the first three days and 1:2 for the Mont Blanc summit days.

£1295 per person for 2017.

  • Sunday 23rd – Friday 28th July  2017

Our prices includes:

  • Guiding fees
  • Travel whilst in Chamonix and to the Grand Paradiso
  • Hut reservations made on your behalf
  • Group safety equipment such as ropes, shelters & first aid kits

It does not include:

  • Travel to Chamonix
  • Accommodation in the Valley (Minimum of three nights)
  • Half board in Mountain refuge’s
  • Rescue and travel insurance
  • Lunches and snacks
  • Equipment hire if required
  • Beer money!

You can also see more Mont Blanc photos from the 2014 season here.

The summit ridge
The summit ridge