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Alpes,,Randonnée,glaciaire,,alpinisme,,alpi,,facile,,glacier,,chamonix,,mont,blanc,,initiation,,mont-blanc,,vallée,blanche

Glacier hiking - the Vallée Blanche - Chamonix

4 days from 795 € per participant

Guaranteed departure from 4 people

France Montagne Maximum altitude 3842 m Skill level : 1 Montagne Stamina level : 2

In a nutshell

During ski season, the Vallée Blanche is the most popular off-piste glacier skiing area in the Chamonix valley. When summer comes it's possible to do this itinerary the other way round. From Chamonix, we reach the Aiguille du Midi (3842 m) hiking up and across the glaciers. On this unusual way of approaching mountaineering, we spend three nights at the foot of emblematic summits such as the Aiguille Verte, the Dent du Géant and the Mont Blanc. You'll discover mountaineering, use crampons and experience being roped up to climb up, over and cross glaciers. The slopes are not necessarily extremely steep, enabling us to climb up high in altitude and progressively get used to this new environment made of snow, ice and rock. This is a true mountaineering course into the heart of the Mont Blanc mountain range.

Pros

- A glacier hike accessible to beginners

- A welcome in Chamonix with brief and gear rental

- A gradual climb to get progressively used to the altitude

Friends, family or just colleagues at work ?

You wish to customize one of our trips, among friends and at your own convenience ? No problem, contact us so we can adapt a trip to suit you, right down to the last detail ! Our trips are tailor-made so giving you what you want is as easy as 123.

  • Price (VAT inc)

Day to day

Day 1 - Les Houches - Couvercle hut (2687 m)

Get together at the start of the day in Les Houches, gear is handed over before we set off for the Montenvers train station. We use the train to the end of the line. A path followed by a set of ladders enables us to set foot on the Mer de Glace ice fields. We go up the glacier traversing its moraine to join the Leschaux glacier. Steeper ladders followed by a path lead to the Couvercle hut (2687 m) where we spend the first night.

Approx 5 - 6 hrs walking

Ascent/descent: + 700 m

Meals included: picnic and dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut

 

Day 2 - Couvercle hut (2687 m) - Requin hut (2510 m)

Early morning start to reach the Talèfre glacier that we cross to a path that leads to the Leschaux hut. We have a stunning view of the North face of the Grandes Jorasses. An equipped section enables us to reach the Leschaux glacier that we descend towards the South to set foot on the Tacul glacier. Another set of ladders is awaiting us before we reach the Requin hut (2510 m), at the foot of the Géant glacier seracs.

Approx 6 - 7 hrs walking

Ascent/descent: + 700 m

Meals included: breakfast, picnic and dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut

 

Day 3 - Requin hut (2510 m) - Torino hut (3371 m)

At daybreak we leave the hut to set foot rapidly on the Géant glacier, climbing up its impressive seracs. We cross the glacier carefully between crevasses, our rope is our safety. In this immense glacier environment, we seem to get closer and closer up to the summit and the Italian side of the Mont Blanc. Above 3000 m in altitude, physical efforts start getting a little more difficult. We easily reach the Torino hut that overlooks the Val d'Aosta in Italy, just as we've crossed the entire Mont Blanc range !

Approx 6 - 7 hrs walking

Ascent/descent: + 850 m

Meals included: breakfast, picnic and dinner

Accomodation included: mountain hut

 

Day 4 - Torino hut (3371 m) - Chamonix (1050 m)

The shortest stage is for the last day: we cross the Géant glacier over some delicate sections, walk along the Eastern slope of the Mont Blanc du Tacul and its 1000 m high slopes. We progress at altitudes of approx 3500 m high, the higher we get up in altitude the slower the pace gets. We reach the Aiguille du Midi cable car (3842 m) via a short airy ridge.

Approx 5 - 6 hrs walking

Ascent/descent: + 700 m

Meals included: breakfast and picnic

 

Please note this itinerary is an example of a mountaineering course in the Vallée Blanche. The guide may adjust certain itineraries according to weather conditions, cable cars and mountain hut accessibilty as well as participants' abilities. We kindly ask you to respect such decision. 

This trip was created in October 2018. Prices are based on  practices and customs of the moment. In case the latter are modified (ex: number of clients allowed per guide, for safety reasons), Azimut respects these guidelines, and we may adjust our prices accordingly.

Meeting and leaving

Meeting points

  • Rocky Pop Hôtel - les Houches

    See on the map

    Meeting time:
    Leaving time:
  • Briançon in front of the Train Station

    See on the map

    Meeting time: 5:15 am
    Leaving time: end of the day
  • Oulx-Cesana (IT) - TGV train station

    See on the map

    Meeting time: 6 am
    Leaving time: end of the day

Get together - practical information

Please wear your mountaineering clothes on day 1.

End of trip in the afternoon in Les Houches, Chamonix Valley.

Therefore we strongly recommend you to buy train tickets that can easily be modified in case of delay.

How technical does it get ? How fit should I be ?

Skills required

This is course is accessible for beginners on the ball ! No specific difficulty. However, you are advised to have some experience walking with crampons and to be used to walking off trail in the mountains carrying your backpack with some gear in it.

 

Stamina required

You should be used to outdoors' sports and do endurance sports on a regular basis (cycling, hiking, cross country skiing, swimming). Expect approx 5 to 7 hours of physical activity per day, and approx + 700 m to 850 m of ascent.

 

Good to know : If you haven't got the level required, the guide will be able to ask you to leave for the well-being of the rest of the group. If any doubt, please do not hesitate to ask us !

Group size

4 to 6 participants

Guiding

Azimut mountain guide.

Daypack

You will have to carry your personal belongings, picnics and mountaineering gear. Your backpack will weigh approx 6 to 8 kilos (please leave behind any useless excess baggage). 

Ski lifts

Aiguille du Midi cable car fared included - Montenvers train not included.

Pricing

The price includes

- Trip logistics

- Certified and expert mountain guide services (including all his expenses: meals, accomodation, transportation, ski lift fares)

Half board for 3 nights in a mountain hut

- Picnics for 4 days 

- Group security equipment

- Azimut welcome pack 

The price does not include

- Transportation to/from the meeting point

- Drinks, including those with meals, personal costs and extras

- Personal gear rental

- Personal insurance

- Any other costs not mentioned under the section “the price includes”

Payment

A 30% deposit, as well as the insurance cost if you choose to subscribe the latter, is required to secure your booking. You will receive a reminder email 35 days prior to departure for the outstanding balance due latest 30 days prior to departure. 

Insurance

We strongly recommend you to be properly insured for the chosen activity. You should be covered for medical expenses, personal accident & liabilité, third party risks and rescue (helicopter), as well as trip cancellation or curtailment.

Repatriation and research insurance are mandatory when booking a trip with Azimut. We have a full range of Europ Assistance insurances on offer to suit the trip you select and the risks that it may incur. 

Tipping

Tipping is no obligation. However participants usually hand round an envelope for those who wish to tip the guide.

Getting around

Azimut's minibus is used throughout the whole trip. Not only does this make the trip easier, but it also makes it more pleasant and open: we can chat, sleep and listen to our own music !

Accommodation & meals

During the trip

Accomodation in dormitory in a mountain hut, bed linnen and towels not provided, blankets and duvets provided, sleeping bag liner obligatory and not provided.

Breakfast and dinner will be served in the mountain hut, picnics are provided for lunch.  

Before & after trips

Once we've received your booking, we'll provide you with a list of accomodation in case you need to book a night before or after the trip. All accomodation listed is close to the meeting points. You may often benefit from preferential rates.

 

Phone & WiFi

In case of emergency or delay, you can either contact your guide (a phone number will be provided before departure) or contact Azimut on: (+ 33) 04 92 23 07 24.

Please inform your friends and family with these details before departure.

No wifi available in mountain huts, and remember: cash only.

4G and mobile coverage is unreliable.

Equipment - clothing & gear

Technical gear

- Crampons

- Harness

- Ice axe

- Helmet

- Folding walking sticks recommended: those made by Z-pole are compact, light and easy to stow away in your bag

- Gear for the group (such as ropes) is provided 

If you don't have the adequate equipment for the trip, don’t worry and travel light: we rent out the required gear and hand it over at the start of the trip ! Our equipment is relatively new, if not brand new, of good quality and adapted to your choice of activity.

Prices of rental equipment during the entire trip (these competitive prices only take into account the number of days of the trip):

Full mountaineering pack (Helmet, ice axe, Crampons, harness and boots) € 115
Helmet € 25
Ice axe € 30
Crampons € 35
Harness € 25
Mountaineering boots € 40
Walking poles € 24
   
   

You can choose to rent equipment when booking your trip, or lateron by clicking on “my account”. If any of the equipment that you’ve chosen is out of stock you’ll be notified and reimbursed.


If you bring your own gear please make sure:

- your boots are rigid and suitable for crampons

- your crampons fit your feet and boots

- your harness and helmet are less than 5 years old

- you have a light ice axe (not a wooden one !) long enough to be used as a support for walking 

Clothes

This list of clothes is designed to give you an idea of clothes that it may be good to have with you. By no means do you need to have the latest brands nor the latest gear, but if you need to renew your wardrobe, this guide would be a good start. 

Headwear

- Light warm hat or buff / scarf / cap for approach walks / sunglasses suitable for glacier (category 4) / ski goggles for the Mont Blanc ascent

Tip for glasses and goggles: photochromic lenses adapt the light intensity and vary from category 2 to 4, they are very useful. 

Bodywear

- Base layer: a few breathable long and short sleeved tops (merino wool is breathable and has anti-bacterial properties and is therefore less likely to smell as opposed to synthetic fabrics, don't wear cotton, it will not dry). On a glacier and on snow your arms should always be covered in case you fall or slip.

- Mid-layer: a light fleece or lightweight hooded down jacket to wear during breaks under your Gore-tex or soft shell jacket.

- Outer-layer: it should have a breathable and waterproof membrane. Make sure it's lightweight and compact so it doesn't take up too much space in your backpack. 

- Bottom layer: long johns to wear during the ascent, lightweight mountaineering trousers and a pair of trousers with a breathable waterproof membrane (Gore Tex or similar) - those with long side zips are recommended for climbs.

- Hands: light gloves (fleece or soft shell gloves), and pair of silk liners gloves to go underneath. Waterproof and warm mittens (or a second pair of gloves) for ascent day. 

Footwear

- Hiking socks: merino wool socks are warm and breathable 

- Rigid mountaineering boots that are crampon compatible

- Gaiters are obligatory if you rent Gore-tex trousers

- Lightweight shoes for your comfort on approach hikes (we can leave gear in the mountain hut during our stay) 

Odds & ends

  • Sleeping bag liner
  • Flask - 1.5 liter capacity (Camelbacks are not recommended as water often frozes), small bottles are convenient to put under your clothes to avoid water freezing.  
  • Headlight with spare batteries
  • Pocket knife
  • Duck tape
  • Suncream factor 50
  • Duffle type bag holding up to 90 litres that will be left at the hotel or in a vehicle. No suitcases.
  • Backpack: 35/40 liter capacity with a loop to carry your ice axe as well as a padded hip belt.

To be perfectly well organised we recommend you to put your gear in several small and different sized bags.

Toiletries and first aid kit

- Personal toilet bag, only take essentials in the mountains

To make up your first aid kit, check out the data on Ifremmont's website. 

In partnership with

Our guides use the following brands for their gear and you'll have the opportunity to test them during the trip:

Black Crows

Arva

Fritschi Swiss bindings

Haglöfs

Glisshop

Anena

SCOTT

Official partner and service provider for Terres d'Aventure

And last but not least...

Don't forget to

- Leave contact details with your friends and family

- Bring your papers and I.D. (passport and visa if necessary)

- Bring your contract number and documents related to your insurance (if you've chosen not to have insure coverage with us)

- Bring your “carte vitale” and your European health card (EU member states) - if you don't have one you can order one for free online  www.ameli.fr

- Check that you have the right equipment

- Take spare batteries and a charger for your electronic devices (camera, video recorder, tracking devices etc)

- Bring some cash and your credit card

- Bring a delicacy from your home country or area to share with the group

- Leave in a good frame of mind: we're going to have a great time even if we may not happen to not make it to the summit !

- Before leaving: water the plants, empty the rubbish bin, turn off water and gas, and tell your partner that you're going to have a good time (please not by text message), that you've well deserved... If you don't follow the latter recommendation, you'll most probably kick yourself when you get back!

 

 

                                 See you in the mountains !

                           Have great climbs with AZIMUT !