Montblanc (4,810m) in Summer
Tips and tricks to climb the Alps classic
by Xavi Coll · Thu 2 Feb 2023
Climb Montblanc in Summer
Montblanc (4.810m) is one of the best known mountains in the world and rightly so, since it is the highest summit in the Alps and the massif that extends to the south of Chamonix (the capital of Montblanc) and borders with France, Italy and Switzerland.
There are 6 classic itineraries for its ascension, and the easiest and busiest is the normal or Goûter route, since it is done via the Goûter refuge.
Every Summer hundreds of alpinists, hikers and climbers travel to the valley to climb the white giant and thus fulfill their dream of climbing one of the most mythical mountains in the world. In addition, the massif offers many more possibilities of all levels so that the adventure in Chamonix is much more complete.
Final steps on the Goûter route to Montblanc
The normal, due to the height of the Montblanc is to make one or two peaks before the final attack, in order to acclimatize, since despite the 5000m high, it is still advisable to make a few days of prior acclimatization to avoid possible symptoms of altitude sickness. Therefore, peaks such as Monte Rosa (4,634), Aiguille du Tour (3,542m) or the Arête des Cosmiques in the Aiguille du Midi (3,842m) are some of the acclimatization options that many people choose to do.
To begin with, Chamonix is the capital of the Alps of the Montblanc and there you will find everything you need to equip yourself, in case you miss some gear or you need to buy anything for your climb. It has a lot of options for accommodation, restaurants, bars, etc. and it is possibly one of the most international sites in France, where you will meet climbers and alpinists from all over the world.
You'll find anything you need in Chamonix
The 5 -day itinerary that we propose in Kookoo Climb is one of the classics and with it you can enjoy an almost safe top (always depending on the conditions, of course, although the top ratio in summer is practically 100%).
The itinerary is divided into these sections or days.
Montblanc day by day
The Goûter Route
Day 1 - Le Tour - Approach to Refuge Albert 1st (2.707m)
We will meet in the morning in Chamonix to go up with the guide by bus to the ski resort of Le Tour. We also have the possibility to meet directly there. After checking the gear, we will take a cable car followed by a chairlift, which will leave us in Les Autannes (2,195m).
There we will begin the approach to the Albert 1º refuge (2,707m), along a beautiful path with views of the entire Chamonix Valley. We will make a long upward journey that will help us to warm up our legs. After turning and contemplating the fabulous views of the Glacier du Tour, we only have to go up the most vertical part of the moraine, but with the refuge already in sight. After about 2 hours of ascent and about 600 meters gain, the refuge awaits us with an unforgettable panorama.
We will arrive at the refuge, where we will leave the things that we are not going to use in the afternoon. Then we will go down to the glacier to do the activity scheduled for this noon: crampon technique, meetings in the snow, use of ice axes, etc. When we finish we will return to the refuge where we will spend the night on a half board basis.
The Montblanc massif from the Lac Blanc
Day 2 - Climb to Aiguille du Tour (3.542m) - Le Tour
After having rested for a few hours, we will get up early to have breakfast and get to work. We will leave the shelter geared up. We will begin by going up a rock path that will take us to the glacier in a short time, where we will put on our crampons and rope ourselves. From here begins a beautiful glacial journey over the Glacier du Tour to the Col Superior du Tour (3,289m) with the last part a little more vertical. This is the passing pass to the immense Glacier du Trient, on the southern slope, where we will go to finish the approach to the base of the needle. From the refuge it will take us between 3 and 4 hours to cover the 850 positive meters of elevation gain to the summit.
An easy climb on rock and snow with grade II steps and a 100-meter drop will take us to the summit of the Aiguille du Tour located at 3,542 meters, with views that we will hardly be able to forget.
We will descend along the same path, passing through the refuge (stop to pick up everything we left behind), and then catch the chairlift again. The descent from the top will take us between 3 and 4 hours, making 1,450 meters of negative elevation gain.
Aiguille du Tour and surrounding peaks
Day 3 - Chamonix-Tren Mont Blanc - Nid d'Aigle (2.372m) - Refuge de Tête Rousse (3.165m)
We will meet at noon in Chamonix, or in the parking lot of the Bellevue cable car (Les Houches), to go up to the refuge, since we have a short and comfortable approach. In the morning we will have time to prepare the backpack and do some shopping if we need to. Before starting we will check our gear and we will take the cable car that goes up to Bellevue (1,794m), from Les Houches. There we will connect with the Mont Blanc rack railway, which will take us to Nid d'Aigle (2,362m), where our walk will begin.
From here we have between 2 and 3 hours of approach, and about 800 meters of positive gain in altitude to the Tête Rousse refuge, located at 3,165 meters, next to the glacier with the same name.
Depending on the season, we can find snow from where the train stops, or find it all dry until we reach the refuge.
Stunning sunsets from Refuge Tête Rousse (3,165m)
Day 4 - Refuge de Tête Rousse (3.165m) - Mont Blanc (4.810m) - Refuge du Goûter (3.815m)
After a rather short night, we will get up at 4am to have breakfast and start our climb. It will be a long day. We will leave the refuge with the headlamp on and depending on the conditions, we will use all the gear (crampons, harness, helmet, etc.). Shortly after leaving the refuge we will cross the famous bowling alley (safer at dawn) and ascend the famous path equipped with cables to the Goûter refuge (3,815m), where we will stop and have something to eat. We will continue the day, now through glacial terrain. Right after, we will pass near the Dôme de Goûter (4,304m), from where we will have a beautiful view of the Vallot refuge (4,362m) and the summit of Mont Blanc, with the Bosses ridge joining them. From here, the ascent becomes a bit more technical and exposed, and we will have to hike the beautiful ridge, sometimes quite narrow, passing between the two small peaks of Les Bosses (Humps) at 4,513 meters. From there, a long ridge will take us to the long-awaited summit of Mont Blanc at 4,810 meters.
We will descend along the same itinerary to the Goûter refuge, all on glacial terrain, where we will spend the night.
Montblanc summit on a very clear Summer day
Day 5 - Ref. de Goûter (3.815m) – Ref. de Tête Rousse - Nid d'Aigle (2.372m) - Chamonix
We are already on the last day and we only have the descent left! Today we'll get up early too, although as much as the previous day. We will prepare everything and begin the descent. It is advisable to go down as soon as possible, to go to the bowling alley early. Once we pass this zone, the objective dangers are minimal. We will pass near the Tête Rousse refuge, where we can make a stop or continue to the train at Nid d'Aigle (2,362m).
In the event that we were unable to reach the summit the day before for whatever reason (altitude sickness, fatigue, weather…), this day we would have another opportunity for one last attempt. We would have to get up early like the day before, and reach the summit very early so that we would have time to get off the train.
The descent will be by the same itinerary as the ascent.
The Goûter Refuge (3,815m) is our base camp right before the final push or before descending back to Chamonix
The 5 days necessary to climb to Montblanc, are something that will remain inside you forever. A unique experience that all mountaineering or mountain lover should have their bucket list. So, don't let this opportunity escape and come to Chamonix next summer!