Chamonix Events | Fete des Guides

This weekend marks a special tradition in Chamonix – La Fête des Guides. This annual event honours the men and women who have made the mountains their life and their livelihood; the mountain guides who keep thousands of people safe every year, whether they’re climbing Mont Blanc in summer or skiing the Vallee Blanche in winter.

Rock climbing in Chamonix


Friday 12th August, Le Lavancher

The festivities begin today in the little village of Le Lavancher with a traditional bread baking session in the old wood oven. You can buy a freshly baked loaf from midday to 4:30pm, while the children take part in climbing demos and various entertainments. A special dinner will be held at 7pm, followed by music and dancing; tickets cost 15€ not including drinks.

Fetes des Guides in Chamonix


Saturday 13th August, Les Houches

Fun and games at Les Chavants near to the Prarion lift station in Les Houches from 2pm to 7pm. The lake and climbing wall will be the venue for various activities hosted by the Compagnie des Guides de Chamonix such as hiking, climbing, orientation, rope work, etc. At 6:30pm there will be a short speech by the mayor of Les Houches, followed by a sing-song with the mountain guide choir accompanied by alpine horns.

fete-guides-04


Sunday 14th August, Argentiere

Argentiere hosts its own Fête des Guides today with entertainments and activities in the town from 9am to 12:30pm for children and adults. There will be a display of the beautiful crystals that have been found in the mountains and make sure you don’t miss the traditional ceremony at 5:30pm when all the guides turn out in their official uniforms. From 8pm there will be a party with live music, bar and snack stalls.

Fete des Guides in Chamonix


Sunday 14th August, Chamonix

The main celebrations take place on Sunday at Les Gaillands in Chamonix, starting at 5pm with activities such as climbing and slacklining to try your hand at. The PGHM will be doing a helicopter rescue demo at 5:30pm and you can learn all about the stars in the planetarium. Tombolas, live music, beer tents, snack stalls and plenty of entertainment make this a great afternoon for everyone of all ages. The grande finale is the sound and light show; a fascinating and usually quite surreal spectacle enacted by the guides themselves on the sheer stage of the climbing crag, followed by a firework display over the lake.

Fete des Guides in Chamonix


Monday 15th August, Chamonix

The official ceremony takes place this morning in the centre of Chamonix from 10am to 2pm. All the members of the Compagnie des Guides will gather in the Place du Triangle de l’amitié, dressed in their traditional uniforms for the blessing of their ropes and axes. New guides will be welcomed to the company and everyone will pay their respects to former guides, with a homage to those who have lost their lives in the mountains and a medal presentation for long-serving guides. The square will be lined with stalls, displays and refreshments.

Fete des Guides Chamonix


All profits from the Fete des Guides are donated to the Caisse de Secours, which supports guides who have been injured in the mountains and the families of deceased guides. Many of the events are free to enter, with the option to buy food and drinks. Entry to the festival at Les Gaillands on Sunday evening is 15€ per adult, and 5€ per child under the age of 12, entry is free for children under 5 years old. Please note that the programme may change according to the weather forecast.

Chamonix Bureau des Guides Mural


Chamonix Mountain Guides

The mountain guides of Chamonix enable us to explore the massive playground that is on our doorstep. Chamonix and the Mont Blanc massif is an amazing place to hike, climb, ski, run, ride and fly but the risks should never be underestimated. The beautiful wilderness of the mountains and particularly the glaciers are best discovered with a qualified mountain guide who will not only keep you safe but will also share their wealth of knowledge and experience with you. Contact us directly or visit our website if you would like to find out more about mountain guides in Chamonix.

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Summer of Adventure : Chamonix Summer Events & Activities

Chamonix is world-famous as a ski resort and winter sports paradise but did you know that’s it’s also an amazing place to visit in summer? Mountains, music and myriad opportunities for adventure await you in Chamonix this summer…

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Mountains
Mountaineers flock to Chamonix from all around the world to challenge themselves amongst the peaks and even summit Mont Blanc. It’s not just for elite alpinists though, there is plenty of opportunity for rock climbing of all types, you can learn new skills on an alpine course, or venture out onto the mythical glaciers of the Vallee Blanche and the Mer de Glace.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Summer Events
The summer is jam-packed with events of all sorts including the Marathon du Mont Blanc, Climbing World Championships, Bastille Day, Cosmojazz, Ultratrail du Mont Blanc and more – you can find the main ones listed on our website, or keep an eye on our Facebook page for all the latest updates.
Find Chamonix accommodation for summer events

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in Chamonix
Photo credit : Michel Cottin

On Your Bike
From gnarly downhillers to lithe lycra-clad road bikers, it seems that everyone in Chamonix gets about on two wheels. If you’re one of the mud-covered full-body armour types then you’ll find heaps of single-track, steep descents and challenging cross-country trails to get your teeth into, find more information on Chamonix mountain biking here. If skinny tyres and padded pants are more your thing then Chamonix is definitely the place to be this summer, with no less than 3 stages of the Tour de France taking place within pedalling distance! Get in touch if you want to be part of the action and join us at the start/finish lines.
Find out more about Chamonix lift passes in summer

Chamonix triathlon, bike ride
Photo Credit : Evergreen Endurance

Music Festivals
The big music event of the summer is Fete de la Musique, a celebration that takes place every midsummer. Free concerts, live music and DJs get the whole town dancing in the streets from midday until sunrise the following morning. Throughout the summer you’ll find live music being played almost every day – hip jazz bands at the Maison des Artistes, chilled acoustic sets on the terraces of bars and cafés, DJs spinning tunes late into the night… And if you want big names you don’t have to travel far – this year sees Elton John, Muse, ZZ Top, Amy Macdonald, Jamie Cullum and many more playing in the surrounding area. Not forgetting, of course, the annual Cosmojazz festival right here in Chamonix that keeps on getting bigger and better every year.
Find Chamonix accommodation during the festivals

Cosmojazz Chamonix

Hiking & Trail Running
Run to the hills and immerse yourself in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The Chamonix valley is criss-crossed with miles and miles of hiking trails, from easy riverside meanders to high altitude ridges. You’ll discover alpine meadows, ancient glaciers, remote mountain refuges and hopefully spot lots of local wildlife such as marmots and bouquetin on your travels. Hiking with an IML guide makes the trip so much more rewarding as they have a wealth of knowledge about the local area, flora, fauna, etc and know the valley inside out. If you’re looking to improve your fitness or are training for a race, you can hit the trails with a qualified running coach and multiple ultra trail finisher to pick up lots of top tips and expert advice.
Find out more about Chamonix lift passes in summer

hiking-chamonix-fiz-cows-01

La Vie en Rose
One of the best things about life in France is enjoying the simple pleasures of a warm croissant at a café first thing in the morning, trying out the lingo and sampling local cheese at the market, dipping your toes in a crystal clear lake on a hot day, spotting a timid chamois amongst the pine trees, sipping a cold rosé whilst watching the sunset turn the mountains pink… once you come, you’ll never want to leave!
Find Chamonix accommodation this summer

Chamonix in summer with flowers and Mont Blanc

Climb Mont Blanc – Discover the Alternative Route

Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps, the biggest glacier in western Europe, and at the top of many people’s bucket list of “must do” experiences.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Tramway du Mont Blanc in Les Houches, ChamonixThousands of people flock to Chamonix each summer to see this magnificent sight, hundreds are fortunate enough to reach the summit at 4809m. The classic Mont Blanc route starts with a ride up through the pastures of Les Houches on the Tramway du Mont Blanc, a night in the refuge, followed by a dawn ascent. It is an incredible experience, but often one that is shared with a lot of other people, especially during the busiest months of the summer season.

But… did you know about the other route? The path less trodden? The Italian Mont Blanc route is slightly longer and more technical, with more daily ascent and no lift assistance, making it a more authentic experience for “purist” mountaineers.

Val Veny in ItalyStarting from the beautiful valley of Val Veny, you spend a night at the Rifugio Gonella, a remote mountain hut at 3071m nestled beneath the Miage and Dome glaciers. The ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc is via the Piton des Italiens route; a long but spectacular climb amongst breathtaking scenery.

The solitude of this itinerary means that you have a greater chance of seeing alpine wildlife such as ibex and chamois, as well as enjoying the tranquility of the mountains. After a full day on your feet you will reach the summit and find yourself looking out over the peaks of France, Italy and Switzerland from the highest point in the Alps.

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Take a while to soak up the view and experience the emotions that come with such an achievement before beginning the descent via the Gouter refuge, back down to the classic route to Chamonix. The beauty of this trip is that you get to experience both sides of Mont Blanc!

Climb Mont Blanc with a Chamonix mountain guide

Training to climb Mont Blanc in ChamonixDue to the technical and physically challenging nature of the Italian route, this is best suited to experienced mountaineers with a love of authentic alpinism. However, you do not have to be an expert as our mountain guides will spend three days prior to the trip preparing you for the terrain amongst the crags and glaciers of the Chamonix valley; ensuring that you have all the necessary skills needed to use crampons, axes and ropes effectively.

If this sounds like your kind of adventure then visit our website or contact us directly for more information. Places are already booking up fast, so don’t delay!

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

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