Autumn Lift Openings & Things to Do in Chamonix this Week

No sooner have we had our first dusting of snow than the lifts are open again for the autumn half-term holidays! Brevent gondola and cable car open tomorrow morning at 9am – here are our favourite things to do in Chamonix, both on and off the mountain.

Photography in Chamonix, guided walking toursDiscovery Photo Walk
Take a guided tour with a difference and find all the hidden corners and secluded backstreets of Chamonix. Teresa has lived in the valley for long enough to know all its secrets and you’ll see whole different aspect with her as your guide. You can either enjoy the walk for its own sake or bring along your camera for some expert tips on getting some great shots – Teresa is also a professional photographer. This Thursday she is visiting the historic Hotel Mont Blanc and meeting their Michelin starred chef, as he invites you into his kitchen to see him at work. For 50€ you will also enjoy a gourmet lunch at the 5* hotel.
Discovery Photo Walks in Chamonix – find out more

Paragliding in Chamonix parapenteParagliding
With two paragliding sites open in the valley this week there are plenty of flight options! You can either take off from the grassy plateaux of Brevent and soar along the valley right opposite Mont Blanc, or take to the skies from Aiguille du Midi and drift over the glaciers of the Vallée Blanche. Either way, you’ll enjoy amazing views and be able to see exactly where the snow has fallen in the past few days.
Paragliding in Chamonix – find out more

Mer de Glace ChamonixGlacier Hike
The Aiguille du Midi cable car and Montenvers train are both open until the end of November, giving access to the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace glaciers. What could put you in the mood for winter more than exploring the icy wonderland that lies between the seracs and crevasses of the Mont Blanc valley? Roped up and accompanied by a guide, you’ll learn how to move safely across the ice using crampons and ice axes to discover another world.
Glacier Hikes in Chamonix – find out more

Lac du BreventLakes & Mountains
Brevent is a great area to explore with a network of hiking trails that lead to a number of beautiful alpine lakes. Now that winter is almost upon us many animals are starting to prepare for hibernation and you’re likely to see marmots bumbling around on the rocks and chamois coming down from the higher terrain to be closer to the forest. You can either grab a trail map and find your own way, or go on a guided hike with an IML who can show you all the very best sights and point out local flora and fauna.
Mountain Hiking in Chamonix – find out more

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World’s Toughest Triathlon Comes to Chamonix with Evergreen Endurance

This weekend see the first of what will hopefully become an annual event – the Evergreen Endurance Triathlon; Chamonix’s first iron-distance competition, boldly billed as “the world’s toughest, most beautiful and most environmentally responsible iron-distance event”!

Chamonix triathlon swim
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

The action starts tomorrow, Saturday 12th September, at 6:30am as the sun comes up over Lac Montriond in Morzine. The athletes will plunge straight into a 4 hour swim, completing two laps of the lake with an Australian exit in between before leaping on to their bikes for a 181km ride across the many climbs of the Savoie and Haute Savoie roads.

Chamonix triathlon, bike ride
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

The bike ride will take them from Montriond to Chamonix via Morzine, Marignier, Le Grand Bornand, La Clusaz, Col des Aravis, Megeve and Domancy. As if 181km isn’t far enough they will also climb a total of almost 4500m on steep mountain roads.

Chamonix triathlon, trail run
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

Once they’ve completed their transition in the centre of Chamonix, they’ll head off into the mountains to run a full 43km marathon by doing two loops of the Grand Balcon Nord. From Chamonix centre they’ll climb up to the Forbes Signal (alt 2188) at Montenvers, traverse across to the Plan de l’Aiguille (alt 2205), then charge down the steep descent past the Cascade du Dard to Chamonix.

If you want to see the action and cheer the athletes as they run past, the best spectator points once they reach Chamonix will be at:

Chamonix webcam imagePlace de l’Eglise: the square in front of the tourist office in Chamonix centre is where the second transition will take place, competitors will be tearing off their bike gear and grabbing whatever they need for the run before dashing off again through town – should be very exciting!

Mer de Glace ChamonixMer de Glace: the steep climb up to the Forbes Signal will pass by the Mer de Glace, via the Buvette du Caillet – hop on the Montenvers train to get a great view of them charging past! The Montenvers train is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass.

hiking-aiguille-chamonix-donkey-01

Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille: this charming old mountain hut sits just below the Plan de l’Aiguille lift station, on the Grand Balcon Nord hiking route. Grab a coffee and a slice of myrtille tart as you wait for the runners to come through. You’ll probably have time to take the second stage of the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to the viewing platforms at the summit and even Step Into the Void, in between the first and second laps. The Aiguille du Midi cable car is included in your Mont Blanc Multipass.

Cascade du Dard waterfall and hiking trail in ChamonixCascade du Dard: one of Chamonix’s hidden gems, this beautiful waterfall is on one of the less frequented hiking routes and is completely secluded in the forest until you get right up to it. There is a lovely little chalet serving local dishes and homemade cakes, so you can hike up and enjoy a nice lunch while you cheer the runners down the descent. Please note that the hiking path is very narrow, so make sure that you look out for runners and give them right of way!

Chamonix in summerChamonix Centre: the two-lap course ensures that the athletes will be passing through Chamonix at least once before finally crossing the finish line in the centre of town – no matter where you are, you’re sure to see some of the action!

If you have friends or family who are competing in the Evergreen Endurance Triathlon, you can follow them online here – best of luck to everyone taking part!

Fete des Guides : Mountain Guide Festival in Chamonix

This weekend is the annual Fetes des Guides; a celebration in honour of the men and women who dedicate their lives to the mountains.

Fete des Guides ChamonixThere have already been events throughout the week in Lavancher, Les Houches and Argentiere but Saturday is the grand finale. The day begins with a special church service at 9:30 to remember all those guides that have lost their lives in the mountains, followed by a traditional ceremony in the centre of Chamonix to bless the ice axes and welcome all newly qualified guides to the company.

Fete des Guides ChamonixThere will be stalls, entertainments and face painting in the centre of town until 4pm when the party moves to Lac des Gaillands. There is an entry fee of 13€ for adults and 5€ for children aged 5-12 (free for under 5’s), all the proceeds of which go to Caisse de Secours – a charity fund that supports the families of deceased or injured mountain guides.

Fete des Guides ChamonixThe celebrations carry on into the night with live music, a helicopter rescue demonstration, outdoor games, BBQ and the essential giant tartiflette. The guides themselves will star in a “grand spectacle” played out on the rock face with laser lights and sound effects – expect lots of whizzing about on zip wires and swinging off ropes. Their acrobatic skills are very impressive, even if the storyline is incomprehensible and the acting a bit dodgy… The night ends in a blaze of fireworks, set off over the lake against the night sky.

Without the expert skills of qualified mountain guides, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy a fraction of what you can do in Chamonix; here are some of the fantastic things you can experience when accompanied by a mountain guide:

Mer de Glace ChamonixExplore the Glaciers
Thanks to the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Montenvers train, the glacial terrain of the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace is amazingly accessible. If you want to do more than just sightsee you’ll need alpine equipment such as crampons and harnesses, as well as the knowhow to explore the crevasses and marvel at the seracs in safety. You can join a group or organise a private trip tailored to your own interests – contact us now to book your glacier hike.
Glacier Hiking in Chamonix – find out more

Hiking in ChamonixHike the Haute Route
A legendary trek from Chamonix to Zermatt, taking you from the foot of Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn via alpine forests, glaciers, meadows, mountain trails and remote refuges. See the brightest stars you’ve ever seen as you settle into your lodge for the night and work up a hearty appetite for classic dishes such as cheese fondue and saucisson. This trip can be done over 8 or 14 days, depending on the route – contact us now to plan your Haute Route hike.
Haute Route Chamonix to Zermatt – find out more

Rock climbing in Chamonix
Photo Credit : Chamex

Rock & Ice Climbing
Thanks to its high altitude terrain, you can find superb mixed climbing routes even in summer – huge granite crags leading to spectacular ridges high amongst the snow covered peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif. From one day ascents to multi-day expeditions, we offer a range of options to suit all levels – contact us now to find out more.
Alpine Climbing in Chamonix – find out more

Mont Blanc ChamonixClimb Mont Blanc
Summit the highest mountain in the Alps, venturing amongst the glaciers and seracs to reach the pinnacle at 4807m. Setting off from Chamonix you’ll traverse high ridges, sleep over in mountain refuges and see the sunrise over the mountains as you set out for the summit. This is a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll never forget – contact us now to plan your Mont Blanc expedition.
Mont Blanc – find out more

Ice Climbing & Glacier Hiking in Chamonix : Unusual Summer Adventures

With this summer having been so hot you’d be forgiven for thinking that ice axes and crampons are winter-only gear. In fact, the amount of glacial terrain in the Chamonix valley means that you can be in a world of ice and snow at any time of the year, often within just a few minutes. Here are some of our favourite options for a day of alpine adventure.

Aiguille du Midi cable car ChamonixAiguille du Midi
The easiest way to get up amongst the snowcapped peaks is to take the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to it’s summit at 3842m. Walk through the ice tunnel to the gate that marks the start of the famous arret – a narrow frozen ridge that leads out into the wilderness of the Mont Blanc Massif. Don’t even think about going beyond this point unless you are with a qualified mountain guide – you can enjoy the view in perfect safety though from one of the many panoramic terraces. If you’re brave enough you can Step Into the Void, a glass box suspended over a 1000m precipice, with nothing but crevasses and seracs beneath you… Access to the Aiguille du Midi is included in the Mont Blanc Multipass.
Mont Blanc Multipass – purchase online

aiguille-du-midi-chamonix-01Traverse the Vallée Blanche
If looking on from the sidelines is not your thing then hire a mountain guide and venture out from the top of the Aiguille du Midi onto the world-famous Vallée Blanche – the longest off-piste ski run in the world. Despite the high altitude and jaw-dropping surroundings, the traverse is actually not too technical and can be experienced by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and a steady head for heights. Roped up and wearing all the necessary safety equipment, you’ll be lead through spectacular glacial terrain by your guide for an unforgettable day in the mountains.
Vallée Blanche Traverse – find out more

mer-de-glace-01Glacier Hiking, Mer de Glace
Armed with crampons, ropes, harnesses and ice picks, our mountain guides will lead you across this spectacular sea of ice. Marvel at the unbelievable crystalline blues and peer into deep crevasses. Whether you’ve never set foot on ice before, or crampons are as familiar to you as a pair of slippers, this is an experience not to be missed. The adventure starts with a ride up to the glacier on the historic Montenvers train, included in the Mont Blanc Multipass. The glacier hike is a half day activity but you are welcome to spend the rest of the day at the Mer de Glace if you wish to explore the area and visit the ice caves.
Mer de Glace Glacial Hike – find out more

Cosmiques Arret, Chamonix Mont Blanc
Photo Credit : Chamex

Cosmiques Ridge
The Cosmiques Ridge or “Arete” is a spectacular journey through snow, rock and ice. Starting out from the Aiguille du Midi your guide will help you rope up, fasten your crampons and step out into another world. Making your way along a steep icy ridge is the first challenge, then you’ll follow an extremely exposed route with breathtaking views in all directions as well as two sections of abseiling. The route is stunning but not too difficult as long as you are comfortable with heights, and you’ll be in very safe hands with our guides.
Cosmiques Ridge – make an enquiry

Petite Aiguille Verte, Massif du Mont Blanc
Photo Credit : Chamex

La Petite Aiguille Verte
At 3515m, the Petite Aiguille Verte is a genuine high-mountain experience that involves glaciers, bergschrunds and mixed climbing on rock and ice. The climbing is not extremely difficult and takes you on to some spectacularly exposed ridges. This route is an excellent introduction to alpinism and is ideal for anyone who wants to improve their alpine climbing skills. Accessed by the Grands Montets, this is an opportunity to explore one of the finest day climbs in the Mont Blanc Massif.
La Petite Aiguille Verte – make an enquiry

These are just a few of the many incredible excursions that we have to offer; from gentle hiking to summiting Mont Blanc, our mountain guides are fully qualified, insured and experienced in all alpine activities. Please contact us for further details and tailor-made adventures.

Summer of Adventure : Our Top 5 Adrenaline Highs in Chamonix

Summer in the Alps isn’t all cow bells, accordions and stinky cheese – sometimes it can also be about thrills, spills and ice axes. Here’s our guide on how to get your kicks in the mountains.

chamonix rafting

White Water Rafting
For an introduction to rafting the River Arve that runs through Chamonix is ideal. But for a full-on wild ride through some intense rapids we’ll take you through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the Dorea Balta in Italy for 30km of fast and furious adventure. You must be over 15 years old and a competent swimmer to take part.
Rafting in Chamonix – find out more

Skydive chamonixSky Diving
On a sunny day you can guarantee that the skies over Chamonix will always be filled with brightly coloured parapente wings, floating serenely past the snow-capped peaks, twisting and twirling with the thermals. But what if you want something a bit faster? How about taking to the skies in a helicopter, flying high above the valley until conditions are just right to lean out of the door and… jump! Strapped to an experienced and fully qualified skydive pilot, you will plummet for a few heart-stopping seconds before deploying your parachute and taking a huge breath of relief as you drift back down to earth.
Sky Diving in Chamonix – find out more

Chamonix climbingExtreme Rock Climbing
There are countless rock climbing sites in Chamonix, many of them super-accessible and therefore very popular. Get away from the crowds by going up high; you can kit up with crampons and axes to go ice climbing at the Mer de Glace, or step out onto the Cosmiques Arret – a stunning ridge of rock and ice at almost 4000m high. Accompanied by a mountain guide, you’ll see Chamonix from a whole new perspective once you’ve scaled it’s highest peaks.
Rock climbing in Chamonix – find out more

mountain-bike-01Downhill Mountain Biking
Get kitted up like Streethawk and take to the trails on a full suspension downhill mountain bike, with a guide who will show you the very best trails in the Chamonix valley. Most of the lifts are bike-accessible, meaning that you spend less time slogging uphill and more time tearing downhill. See those great big mountains? Pretty much anything that is skiable in winter, is bikeable in summer on excellent trails that snake down from the high peaks through pine forests back to the valley. If you’re really up for a challenge then how does biking the Tour de Mont Blanc sound? 200km over 5 days of thigh busting climbs and gnarly descents through three countries…
Mountain biking in Chamonix – find out more

mont-blanc-01Climb Mont Blanc
You don’t have to be Sir Ranulph Fiennes to summit the highest mountain in the Alps, you just need a decent level of fitness and a qualified mountain guide. The ascent takes 2-3 days, depending on weather conditions, with nights spent in a remote mountain refuge. If you want to build your confidence before you strike out for the summit then join one of our 5 day courses that will teach you invaluable skills that you’ll use every time you go into the mountains.
Climbing Mont Blanc – find out more