Mont Blanc Climbing Routes

Since the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786, by the French farmer Joseph Balmat and the Doctor Payot, the Mont Blanc has never stopped to fascinate and attract people in search of adventure and mountaineering challenge.

These two fearless explorers opened the historical route through the Grand Mulet on the north side of Mont Blanc and invented alpinism in the meantime.

Many years later, in 1861, the first ascent of the « Voie Royal » or The Gouter route was opened by several English alpinists, with local guides.

Every summer, the summit of Mont Blanc becomes the ultimate goal for mountaineers from all over the world, striving to summit the top of western Europe and pushing their limit.

Today we have two major routes on Mont Blanc, the classic Normal route (Gouter route) and the Cosmique route: The 3 Mont Blanc traverse.

People usually choose one of these two routes to climb Mont Blanc from Chamonix but we can mention as well the Italian normal route: the Aiguille Grise route, which is longer but wilder.

The slightly easier and reliable route is via the TMB tramway du Mont Blanc, then up the Aiguille du Gouter and the Bosse ridge to the top.

While the climb of Mont Blanc has become on fashion, it require a high level of physical fitness and technical experience.

Climbing Mont Blanc – Normal Gouter Hut route

This is the most popular route to climb Mont Blanc. Be aware that you have to book your hut online prior your climb.

First day

Mostly people take the Bellevue cable car from Les Houches and then the TMB to the Nid d’Aigle top of the train at 2372 m.

The first stage will be the Tete Rousse hut after 3 hours of walking on an easy trail unless it is still covered by ice and snow in early or late season.

It is nice to have a quick snack and drink there, and if you want to sleep in you can book online.

The next stage will be much more technical and you need a serious mountaineering experience for it.

You first have to croos the « couloir du Gouter » and then climb and scramble on the Gouter spur to reach the old Gouter hut at 3800 m. From there it’s an easy snow walking the reach the new one.

Gouter hut: Don’t forget to book your place before you climb to the hut.

 

Second day

You start in the night and follow the snow ridge to climb then an easy long snow slope that lead to the shoulder of the Dome du Gouter (4200 m).

You carry on down to the col du Dome and reach the Rescue and Scientist Vallot Hut after a short steep slope.

From there the climb become steeper and you ascend the two « Bosses » which are steep and sharped.

The climb keep going on the steep and narrow ridge to the Rocher de la Tournette, and finally to the bottom of the summit ridge.

After 20 minutes of concentration you reach the top of Mont Blanc.

It take about 4 to 5 hours from the Gouter hut to the top.

You must then consider the way down more challenging and exposed, du to fatigue and lack of concentration.

There are two choices for the way down, back to Gouter hut or to the Aiguille du midi which is much more challenging.

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Cosmique routes: The 3 Mont Blanc traverse

You must reach the Cosmique hut with the Aiguille du Midi cable car (3842 m). Then you have to walk down the charped snow ridge to get onto the flat glacier and reach easily the hut (3613 m).

The next morning you have to start in the night at 2 or 3 am and climb the Mont Blanc du tacul on steep and exposed slopes. Crevasses may appeared after warm temperatures and the snow can be hard. You must have a very good crampons technic.

When you reach the shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul descend and traverse the col du Mont Maudit to start the climb of Mont Maudit.

The first part is exposed to seracs fall don’t slow done here! Then the slopes is getting steeper to the final 70 m of technical and steep icy pitches. It require an excellent vertical crampon technics on front spikes and with good ice axe.

From the shoulder of Mont Maudit it is a long descending and exposed traverse to reach the famous col de la Brenva with awesome scenery all around from Italy to Switzerland.

From the col there are still 500 m to the top of Mont Blanc, relatively easy but quite slow due to the effects of altitude. You have to count 2 hours more.

This route takes usually 6 to 7 hours from Cosmique hut to the summit. Descend the same way or via Gouter route, completing the traverse of Mont Blanc. You must consider about 4 to 5 hours more to reach the Nid d’aigle and the TMB.

This route is more demanding than the Gouter route, both technically and physically, tackling steeper slopes and exposed traverse. A good mountaineering experience is required, but the reward for it will be the wonderful scenery, and a less crowded route.

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The Grand Mulets route

Due to global warming, this route is only used in spring from April to June with ski.

You must start from the plan de l’Aiguille the first part of Aiguille du Midi cable car and then by a long traverse at the bottom of the aiguille du Midi, reach the « Jonction ». Here you enter the big Bossons glacier that you’ll have to cross until the Grand Mulet hut.

The next day you start at 2 am to ascend the north ridge of the Dome du Gouter and reach the Vallot Hut. Then you follow the normal route to the top.

The descend can be done from the top right down in the north face but watch out the serac in the lower part, and the from the grand plateau you ski down to the petit plateau and reach the Grands Mulets Hut.

For an epic end of ski season challenge, hire a mountain guide to help you ski the Mont Blanc.