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Requirements for Climbing Mont Blanc (Beginners and Experts)

Thinking about climbing Mont Blanc? This mountain isn't a walk in the park, but even aspiring mountaineers can scale its high altitude peak (with the right amount of planning and preparation, of course). From basic requirements to physical preparation and more, read on to learn what it takes to successfully climb Mont Blanc.

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Requirements for climbing Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc isn’t an extraordinarily difficult mountain to climb from a technical standpoint, but it cannot be underestimated. The main challenge is more around physical fitness and endurance rather than sheer technical skill, but that’s also dependent on the route you choose. 

You should have serious mountain climbing experience, but also implement an intensive aerobic and cardio regime in the months leading up to the climb. While you can’t over-prepare for a mountain like Mont Blanc, it’s entirely possible to find yourself unprepared.

In short, with a good level of fitness, an expert guide, and an enthusiastic attitude, making it to the summit of Mont Blanc is an attainable goal for any aspiring mountaineer.

Preparing for the Mont Blanc climb

When it comes to climbing Mont Blanc, most injuries and fatalities are attributed to improper preparation, so make sure you take the time to prepare the right gear and research your chosen route. This is where a guide can be extremely useful, as they know exactly what you need for a successful climb, and what it takes to get to the top. 
 
Also keep in mind that, like any mountain, different routes are going to require a different level of skill. It’s not uncommon for inexperienced climbers to initially climb lesser summits near Chamonix, then come back at a later date to tackle Mont Blanc when they’re more experienced.

Fitness
 
To ensure a successful ascent, focus on the following types of exercise prior to your climb:
 

  • Strength and endurance training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Climbing conditioning
  • Flexibility training

Technical skills
 
Before you attempt to tackle Mont Blanc, it’s best to familiarise yourself with basic mountaineering skills, such as ice climbing, rock scrambling and glacier hiking. The best way to get some real-world experience under your belt is to make an ascent before climbing Mont Blanc — preferably a slightly easier one.

Equipment and gear
 
Having the proper clothing and equipment is paramount to ensuring you succeed in climbing Mont Blanc. Gear like mountaineering boots, crampons and hiking poles are necessary, along with quality hiking clothing. Refer to our gear and equipment list for a better idea of what you’ll need to bring.

Acclimatising
 
When planning your trip to Mont Blanc, make sure to arrive a few days before your climb and leave ample time to get used to the high altitude. Acclimatising is especially crucial if you’re coming from a low or neutral altitude area. Keep in mind that Chamonix itself is over 1,000 metres above sea level, so you’ll be dealing with some serious height from the onset. 

Climbing Mont Blanc for beginners

As a beginner, you want to ensure you’re choosing the right route to suit your fitness and experience levels. One of the most popular (and least technical) routes is the Gouter Route, which passes the Gouter Hut and the Bosses ridge. This may be one of the easiest routes, but it still requires a good level of fitness, acclimatisation, and adequate preparation.
 
If you’re hesitant to climb Mont Blanc solo — or if you simply want to get the most out of your experience — consider joining a group tour and let an experienced mountain guide show you the ropes.

How long does it take to climb Mont Blanc?

Many of the routes to climb Mont Blanc take around 2-3 days, but you should plan to arrive a few days before your ascent to acclimatise to the altitude.

Mont Blanc temperatures

JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
Average °C-3-7-358141615138-1-6
Average °F261926414657605955463021
High °C-1-5-171015181815101-3
High °F302330445059646459503326
Low °C-6-11-7159121072-5-9
Low °F211219334148535044352315

How to climb Mont Blanc

  • How do I prepare for Mont Blanc?

    Successfully reaching the summit of Mont Blanc requires a high degree of preparation in both your route planning as well as your fitness levels. This is not a mountain which can be climbed on a whim, especially if you lack climbing and hiking experience. 
  • When is the best time to climb Mont Blanc?

    The best time to climb Mont Blanc is during the summer months. June to September is the safest time to climb, but if you want fewer crowds and you’ve got an impressive climbing resume, spring or fall is also an option. Learn more. 
     
  • What permits do I need?

    Despite recent environmental concerns, as well as worries about popular routes facing overcrowding, there is currently no official permit required to climb Mont Blanc. Learn more.
  • Do I need a guide to climb?

    Mont Blanc is the most dangerous mountain in the region and, as such, a guide is strongly recommended - but not required. It’s strongly suggested that first-timers and inexperienced alpine hikers hire a guide.
  • How do I get to Mont Blanc?

    Mont Blanc is actually quite accessible, as it can be reached via road, rail, or air. Fly into Geneva, Lyon, or Haute-Savoie Mont Blanc Airport with Geneva providing closest access (just under 90km away). Otherwise, drive to Chamonix, or catch a train from London. Learn more.
  • What should I pack/what equipment do I need?

    Mont Blanc is one of the world’s tallest mountains and, as such, you’re going to need to bring an array of gear to enable a successful climb. You’ll need an ice axe, helmet, crampons, trekking poles, gaiters, as well as the appropriate clothing to reach the summit. Learn more.

Mont Blanc routes

 

  1. Gouter Hut Route. Distance: 4000 m, average duration: 2-3 days, success rate: 65-75%
  2. Grand Mulets Route. Distance: 3000 m, average duration: 2-3 days, success rate: 70%
  3. Cosmiques Route. Distance: 3500 m, average duration: 2-3 days, success rate: 60-75%
  4. Haute Route. Distance: 180 km, average duration: 12-14 days
  5. Tour du Mont Blanc (Mont Blanc Circuit). Distance: 170 km, average duration: 11 days, success rate: 100%

Mont Blanc tours & reviews

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