King of the Mountains: Climbing in Chamonix

Desiree Michels

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When it comes to mountaineering, Chamonix is a Mecca for enthusiasts of all standards. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe, and the mountain range it sits in offers a plethora of scenic, thrilling and challenging routes. Alpine climbing is a popular pastime in both the summer and the winter months, which means that year-round you will be able to find abundant opportunities to scale the mountains around Chamonix.

Beginner? Take a Course

If you’ve never tried your hand at mountaineering before, Chamonix is the perfect place to get hooked. There are peaks and climbs that are suitable for any enthusiast who’s up for a challenge. Companies such as High Mountain Guides and Mountain Spirit Guides offer courses of varying lengths to develop your mountaineering skills. They will teach you how to efficiently move over all kinds of terrain, from walking to scaling ice and rock; how to use all the necessary equipment, including crampons, ropes and navigations systems; and how to work successfully as part of a mountaineering team.

These courses allow you to get your adrenaline kicks out of lead climbing and abseiling while being supervised by trained experts. They are the ideal starting point for the amateur alpinist.

Intermediate? Hire a Guide

If you’ve already grasped the basics, it’s highly recommended that you go out with a guide. After all, you’re exploring their own back yard – they can take you on routes that they know you can handle, meaning more awesome climbing and less disappointment!

The Petite Aiguille Verte is a great intermediate climb which incorporates a straightforward glacier and a winding route up a snowy ridge to the summit. If panoramic views are on your wish list, try the Midi-Plan Traverse, which offers jaw-dropped views from the Massif.

Expert? Go it Alone

If you’re a seasoned alpinist with all the relevant skills for climbing, you will not be disappointed by the mountaineering opportunities on offer here. There are two key routes up Mont Blanc, the climb of which is often the ultimate objective for visitors to Chamonix: the Gouter Hut Route, open from June to September, and the slightly more challenging Cosmique Route, recommended between March and September. The sublime views from the top of Mont Blanc, looking down over all the other summits of the Alps, are a life-affirming sight.

If you’re making your trip to Chamonix during the winter, never fear – as long as you’re prepared in terms of fitness, gear and attitude, there is plenty to discover in the winter months. If you’d like to combine a climb with some excellent skiing, you could try the Modica-Noury or Gabarrou-Albinoni routes; if you want the satisfaction of reaching a summit, Rebuffat Gully offers a wonderful one-day climb.

Getting to Chamonix

It is easiest to fly in to Geneva airport in order to reach Chamonix, although the airports of Chambery and Turin are also within reasonable travelling distance. If you’re looking for a way get from Geneva to Chamonix, why not give Shuttle Direct a call? Our fast, professional transfer service will transport you and all of your winter sports equipment from Geneva to Chamonix with the least amount of hassle.

Author Plate

Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you need an airport transfer from Geneva to Chamonix, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you and your luggage get to and from the airport swiftly and safely.


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