Without any doubt, l’Arête des Cosmiques, is the most famous ridge line in the Mont-Blanc massif. Quickly accessible thanks to the Aiguille du Midi cable car, it offers a fun and varied route in a majestic setting. This short route finishes at the Aiguille du Midi viewing platform, where tourists often watch in awe as you hop over the final fence. The route has become popular among climbers wanting to initiate on mixed terrain or just looking for a nice challenging day out in the mountains. The view of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, including Mont-Blanc, is breathtaking ! Timing : 4 to 5 hours (including the Aiguille du Midi cable car).
Aiguille d’Entreves 3600m
The Arête des Cosmiques’ twin sister, this is a pleasant traverse on the Italian side of the massif. The route has some exposed sections, but the climbing is never technically too difficult, making it the perfect option for alpine climbing beginners. The easy approach from the Skyway cable car as well as the great views on the south side of Mont-Blanc makes this ridge a Chamonix classic, which can be done as a single day route, or as part of an acclimatisation programme.
Aiguille de Rochefort 4001m and Dent du Géant 4013m
Another Chamonix classic, any mountaineer who has set foot in the Mont-Blanc massif is attracted to this route. The route that we suggest is to climb the famous Rochefort ridge (Arête de Rochefort), up to the Aiguille de Rochefort (4001m), followed by the Dent du Géant (4013m) all in the same day. This 4000m pair is a great achievement which includes a magnificent, exposed climb. We will first tackle the sharp edge of Aiguille du Rochefort before turning back on ourselves to climb one of the massif’s most iconic and pointiest summits: La Dent du Géant !
Programme : 1-4 days depending on your requirements Example programme, which can be adapted to suit you :
Day 1 – Meet in Chamonix and run through programme, equipment, etc. Rope handling workshop (climbing, abseiling, belaying, building anchors etc.) in Les Gaillands.
Day 2 – Climb the Arêtes des Cosmiques or the Pointes Lachenal Traverse, AD (IV). Spend the night at the Cosmiques Hut.
Day 3 – Travel across the Glacier, Midi – Helbronner, climbing the Arêtes d’Entrèves, AD. Spend the night at Refugio Torino, in Italy.
Day 4 – Climb Arête de Rochefort, AD (III) and the normal route of the Dent du Géant (200m,IV) which includes some fixed ropes. Return to Chamonix by the Helbronner-Midi cable car or via the Mont-Blanc tunnel.
We sleep in 2 huts :
Refuge des Cosmiques (3613m) in France
Refugio Torino (3371m) in Italy
Both huts are fully equipped.
Description of the climbs :
The first day involves climbing at Les Gaillands crag in Chamonix to initially evaluate your climbing level and go over the necessary basic techniques that you will need for the climbs.
The next day we will head up the Aiguille du Midi (3800m) using the lift, from where we can do two beautiful classic ridge climbs: Pointes Lachenal Traverse and Arêtes des Cosmiques. That night, we will sleep at the Refuge des Cosmiques.
On the third day we will warm up with a trek across the glacier to reach the Col d’Entrèves where we will climb the ridge of the same name: Aiguille d’Entrèves Traverse (AD). That night we will sleep in the Refugio Torino (3371m) to finish our progressive acclimatisation and be ready for our main objective the next day.
Leaving early the next day, we will begin the climb to the Col du Géant to continue along the snowy Arête de Rochefort. An abseil followed by a climb will give us access to the Aiguille dé Rochefort (4,001m), where we will summit and turn around. When we get to the base of the Dent du Géant, we will start climbing on the SW face, (D) and gain height by climbing the famous fixed ropes hat will help us through the more vertical sections of the climb.
Be prepared : you will need more strength than technique, and it is worth strengthening your arms before climbing this route ! Required level : Good general fitness is required. Previous climbing experience is required, as well as mountain experience in PD / AD alpine grade climbs.
The Aiguilles Rouges Natural Park is located on the sunny side of Chamonix valley and offers fantastic terrain to learn progression techniques and proper rope management. The easy lift-assisted approach, good quality of rock and the absence of glacial terrain makes the area a perfect playground for mountaineers aiming to learn more or just wanting to experience a good day in the mountains. Amongst many other easy climbing routes, the Crochues Traverse is one of the most popular in the valley.
The day begins by going up the Flégère lift, followed by the Index chair lift. From the chair lift, there is a 40 minute walk/scramble to reach the Col des Crochues, where the traverse truly begins. After 2 hours of travelling across the ridge, we will reach the summit of the Aiguilles Crochues (2849m). A stunning view of Mont-Blanc makes the effort worthwhile ! We will then descend via Lac Blanc, another classic Chamonix location, looping back down to the Flégère lift to take us back down to the valley.
Ratio : 1:2
Total timing : 6-8 hours
Difficulty : PD+/4a
Mont-Blanc du Tacul 4248m
Standing only 7km away from its bigger and more famous brother, Mont-Blanc, the Mont-Blanc du Tacul is another popular summit. From a technical perspective, it is not a difficult peak to summit, and can easily be done in a day from Chamonix valley, taking the first lift to the top of the Aiguille du Midi. Alternatively, it is possible to sleep in the Cosmiques hut the night before if you are not acclimatised. Looking South from the Midi or the Cosmiques Hut, you can see the pointy summit of the Tacul (4248m), with its big snow field surrounded by seracs and crevasses.
Despite its low technical difficulty, this route is not always in good condition, due to it being made up of ice and snow. Following big snowfall at altitude, even in summer, the Mont-Blanc du Tacul can become very dangerous due to the gradient of the terrain, making it prone to avalanches.
All our guides at Chamonixvertical know this mountain well, having climbed it many times. In keeping with our motto, ‘safety first’, they will guide you based on the conditions at the time. If it is too dangerous to climb, they will suggest safer alternatives.
Ratio : 1:2 or 1:3 (depending on conditions)
Starting point : Chamonix or Refuge des Cosmiques.
Timing : 4 hours to the summit / 3 hours descent to the Aiguille du Midi cable car.
Elévation : 630m
The Petits Charmoz Traverse – La Traversée des Petits Charmoz
A forgotten classic! Between L’Aiguille de l’M and the Grand Charmoz, this rocky traverse makes for an ideal start to an alpine trip and gives you that high mountain feel without too much commitment. Very popular in the 50s for guides and climbers searching genuine adventure, these days it’s rare to find another party climbing at the same time. With a convenient approach from Plan de l’Aiguille cable car, this ‘short route’ could be an ideal starting point if you dream of bigger projects in the Mont-Blanc area.
The state of this route depends on the season and recent weather. In winter the traverse can be a snow and rock route, making it an interesting and complete mixed climb, whereas in the summer, it becomes a pure rock alpine climb. Regardless of the season, we can almost guarantee that you will be alone on this lovely route. A forgotten gem of the massif, our guides love this remote and quiet traverse.
Timing : This route can be done as a day tour from Chamonix or can include a night sleeping in Plan de l’Aiguille hut.
Maximum altitude : Petits Charmoz summit 2867m.
Technical difficulty : AD/4c. Good scrambling technique is required.
Physical conditions : Good general fitness is required to endure a day in the mountains.