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

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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.

Spring Discounts on Chamonix Lift Passes

bluebird ski day in ChamonixSpring skiing is definitely here – and with it comes discounted lift passes! With the exception of a couple of drizzly patches the weather recently has been wall-to-wall bluebird days and we are celebrating by offering a free day with all 6-9 day Mont Blanc Unlimited lift passes.

Take advantage of these great discounted prices and contact us now to book your lift pass:

  • 6 days : 262€ (save 23€)
  • 7 days : 285€ (save 32.50€)
  • 8 days : 317.50€ (save 32.50€)
  • 9 days : 350€ (save 32.50€)

ski touring in chamonixThe weather is perfect at the moment for ski touring – there’s no better way to explore the Chamonix mountains than to take a hike up and away from the lift system into the backcountry and ski back down off-piste untracked snow in the sunshine. If you go on an all day tour you can pack a flask and some sandwiches to enjoy a picnic lunch in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stunning views and vast horizons. The best part is that you don’t need to be an amazing skier/snowboarder or gnarly alpinist, you just need a bit of confidence on off-piste terrain and a guide who knows all the best spots!

Aiguille du Midi ChamonixWe’ve also had a heads-up from our mountain guides that fresh snow is on the way with temperatures set to drop on Sunday and Monday, before it clears up again during the week with Tuesday looking like the prime opportunity to ski the Vallée Blanche. This iconic route starts at 3812m at the pinnacle of the Aiguille du Midi, amongst the spectacular summits of the Massif du Mont Blanc. The 23km descent takes you past seracs, alongside glacial crevasses and amongst towering peaks – it really is the experience of a lifetime. Contact us now to book a mountain guide to ski or snowboard the Vallée Blanche.

Chamonix Adventure FestivalThis week has been a great one for adrenaline addicts, with the Chamonix Adventure Festival showing a packed schedule of films in the cinema, in bars and even on a giant screen in the centre of town. Today there is an adventure film and  photo workshop taking place in the Hotel Heliopic, followed by an apres-ski screening of short films and teasers at MBC from 5pm and then full length films and Q&A with the filmmakers from 8pm at Chamonix Cinema Vox.

There are photography exhibitions up round town and another day of films and images lined up for tomorrow. The festival ends with a big party at MOÖ Bar on Saturday night from 10:30pm – check out the full schedule and details of all films here.

Don’t forget that the clocks change this weekend, so from Sunday onwards we’ll have longer days and lighter evenings – perfect apres-ski conditions!

Vallée Blanche – the world’s most famous off-piste descent is open!

It’s the news that we’ve been waiting for… the Vallée Blanche is now roped up for access and our mountain guides have announced that they are happy to take groups of up to 4 people at a time on to the glacier!

Vallee Blanche, Chamonix Mont Blanc

The Vallée Blanche has not been “closed” as such – as an unpisted, unpatrolled area anyone can access it at any time. However, the lack of snow early in the season has made it inadvisable up until recently and guides have been reluctant to take any more than 2 people down it at a time. Now however, the Compagnie du Mont Blanc has given the green light by equipping the arete (the ridge that leads out from the Aiguille du Midi) with safety ropes, making access to the 20km off-piste descent much easier.

Crevasses in the glacier, Vallée Blanche, Chamonix Mont Blanc
Crevasses in the glacier, Vallée Blanche (photo not taken this week)

That said, regardless of snow conditions, it is never a great idea to ski or snowboard down the Vallée Blanche without a mountain guide. The Vallée Blanche is not a technical descent and the route is not particularly difficult, anyone who can ski or snowboard confidently down a red piste and handle a few icy or bumpy patches shouldn’t find it too tricky. The point is that a guide is able to spot any potential dangers such as crevasses and seracs and steer you away from them before it is too late. If the worst happens and you do have an accident, your guide will know how to carry out a rescue and get you down the mountain safely. Could you handle that on your own?

Our favourite part about hiring a guide is that they always know all the best spots to find powder and can give you loads of inside tips about where else to go in the valley! This coming week is one of our busiest of the whole year, so contact us now if you would like to hire a mountain guide.

Vallee Blanche Chamonix Mont Blanc
Vallee Blanche in all it’s glory

If you’re not sure about your ability then why not sign up for a Vallée Blanche clinic? Half a day at the top of Les Grands Montets with a qualified ski or snowboard instructor, brushing up on your off-piste skills before hitting the VB for a full day. It’ll give you the confidence to enjoy your descent on one of the world’s most famous runs to the max! Just 150€ per person, includes half-day of tuition and one full day of guiding.

If you want to fine hone your skills on all types of terrain, including steep and technical descents then have a look at doing an All Mountain Course. During 3 half day sessions, your instructor (who is also a qualified mountain guide) will take you to the best spots to nail your technique in powder, in heavy snow, on ice… whatever the conditions can throw at you! By the time you’re done, there won’t be anything you can’t handle and you’ll have mastered skills that will last a lifetime. Not bad for 195€ per person (3.45 hours x 3 consecutive days).

Skiing Vallee Blanche Chamonix Mont BlancIf you really want to make the most of what the Chamonix Valley has to offer then consider buying the Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass – not only do you get all the ski areas including in Chamonix Le Pass but you also have unlimited access to the Aiguille du Midi cable car, the Tramway du Mont Blanc and the “top bin” at the Grands Montets. You can now buy your lift pass online at Mountain Lifestyle and have it waiting for you when you arrive – no more trotting off to wait in line at the lift pass office on your first morning! We’ll hand it to you on arrival, together with a piste map and any advice we have about the upcoming week and then all you have to do is decide where to ski first.. check out the different Chamonix ski areas here.

3 Fantastic Off-Piste Experiences Besides the Vallée Blanche

chamonix weather forecast
Chamonix weather forecast looking good for the weekend

There’s snow on the way and the week ahead is looking promising! We’ve been receiving a lot of calls and emails this week asking us what the snow’s like and, actually, it’s not bad! Wet weather early this week brought fresh snow up top, with more forecast for the weekend. Keep an eye on our Snow & Weather page for the latest reports.

This season’s been a funny kettle of fish so far, it’s not as bad as people seem to be expecting: pistes are reasonably well covered, there’s powder to be found if you know where to look and there’s a lot to be said for not having to dig your car out every morning.

Vallee Blanche Chamonix Mont Blanc
Vallee Blanche in all it’s glory (photo not taken this week)

However, the snow that we’ve had has come down in massive dumps then been interspersed with long dry spells and unseasonably warm weather, which makes for fairly unstable conditions up there. Mountain guides are understandably reluctant to take inexperienced skiers and snowboarders or large groups up the Vallée Blanche as they need to be extra alert for hazards and confident that they can lead their clients safely down the glacier. While they are still taking clients down the Vallée Blanche they are insisting on no more than 2 people per guide and those 2 people must be competent off-piste skiers, capable of handling conditions other than soft powder.

Crevasses in the glacier, Vallée Blanche, Chamonix Mont Blanc
Glacial crevasses, Vallée Blanche (photo not taken this week)

The Vallée Blanche is not technically a difficult route, it is often compared to no harder than your average red piste, which is why it is so accessible even to those who don’t have huge off-piste experience. It is glacial terrain though, which is why it is essential to take a guide. Glaciers constantly shift and evolve, with crevasses opening up and changing shape with every different weather pattern. This is why none of our guides would ever compromise your safety by taking you down if they thought that conditions were too bad or that you weren’t ready to tackle it.

Off-piste in Chamonix is not all about the Vallée Blanche though, it has so much more to offer and there is some fantastic terrain over at Les Grands Montets. An ideal way to explore (and to learn essential safety skills) is by doing an off-piste course. There are a number of options to choose from and once you know how to handle all types of terrain you’ll be shredding like Candide Thovex (kinda).

Skiing Les Grands Montets, Chamonix Mont Blanc
Do you know where the Dream Forest is?

All Mountain – one of our favourites, this 3 day course takes you all over the Grands Montets into bowls, gullies and powder fields where you’ll learn how to ride off-piste, make steep turns, attack moguls and handle bad conditions such as ice and hardpack. Your guide will seek out the best places for the conditions and teach you how to master the mountain like a boss. Split over 3 half days at 195€ per person, this is ideal preparation for doing the Vallée Blanche – your guide will let you know if you are ready to do it.
Find out more about All Mountain

Skiing Vallee Blanche Chamonix Mont Blanc
Escape the pistes to find fresh tracks

Ski Touring / Split Boarding – to find the best powder, sometimes you have to put in a little effort! Ski touring will take you away from the lifts and pistes into the back country where you will hike to find the best snow, then make fresh tracks all the way back down. This is an initiation tour, so the hike won’t kill you and your guide will give you plenty of tips on how to get the hang of it. At just 90€ per person, it is a fantastic day out.
Find out more about ski touring / split boarding

Snowboarding Les Grands Montets, Chamonix Mont Blanc
Play safe off-piste with avalanche awareness

Avalanche Awareness – learn invaluable skills and have a great off-piste experience. If you want to explore then you need to learn how to do it safely, especially with the snow pack being as unstable as it is this winter. This half-day course will take you into the mountains and teach you the basics of assessing the snow conditions, evaluating the avalanche risk, carrying out a search using a transceiver and what to do if the worst happens. At just 69€ per person it’s an investment that you’ll use every time you go off-piste.
Find out more about avalanche awareness

Mountain guide in Chamonix Mont Blanc
Off-piste at Brevent with a mountain guide

We also have a ton of other options to offer such as private ski/snowboard guiding, off-piste lessons for everyone from beginners to experiences skiers/snowboarders, longer ski tours with overnight accommodation in mountain refuges, snowshoe treks and so on. Please visit our website or contact us for more details.

In the meantime, have a great week and enjoy the snow!