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Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc, meaning “White Mountain,” might just be Europe’s most famous mountain; and for good reason. It stands at an imposing height of 4810m, making it the highest mountain in the Alps and Europe’s tallest mountain (west of the Caucasus). Reaching the summit is no small feat, but there are a number of different routes to accommodate climbers and hikers of different skill levels. 

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How to climb Mont Blanc

Best Mont Blanc Treks and Routes

  • Gouter Hut Route

    This is one of the most popular ways to reach the summit, as well as the shortest. Remember, due to its popularity, you’ll need to book the Gouter Hut Refuge well in advance. It’s considered the easiest route overall, but still requires serious climbing know-how and outstanding physical fitness.  

    Distance: approximately 4000 metres from the typical starting point to the summit and back. 
    Average duration: 2-3 days 
    Average difficulty: Challenging - climbing experience and know-how is a necessity on this route, as some days will require upwards of 800m of difficult descent. You’ll need experience using crampons, ice axes, and other climbing gear, as well as clothing which befits the extreme cold that can be experienced on the Mont Blanc massif. A very high degree of physical fitness, as well as mental toughness, will be required to reach the summit. You’ll be hiking at times at an altitude over 4000 metres. 
    Success rate: The success rate depends on whether you have hired a guide and the conditions that year, but tends to be around 65-75%
  • Grand Mulets Route

    This route is beloved by skiers because of the access this route offers to the north face of Mont Blanc. As far as the ascent is concerned, it’s actually the original route that was used to reach the peak by Jacques Balmat and Michel-Gabriel Paccard. Due to concerns over rockfall, it’s recommended to ensure there are good weather conditions when embarking on this route. 

    Distance: approximately 3000 metres from the typical starting point to the summit and back. 
    Average duration: 2-3 days 
    Average difficulty: Challenging - previous climbing experience is highly recommended, as the days will feature extensive treks and climbs, including a 7-hour trek to the summit which is typically done on the second day. Some parts of the Grand Mulets route are also badly crevassed, which makes previous climbing experience all the more important. This route will also include extremely high altitude (anywhere from 3200 to 4500 metres and beyond) 
    Success rate: The success rate here depends on whether you’ve hired a guide and how you choose to implement the skiing component (not all climbers/skiers summit on this route), but around 70% is likely.
  • Cosmiques Route

    This route is entirely on French territory and touches upon all three of the massif’s peaks, which has garnered this route a reputation among climbers as one of the most challenging, but also perhaps the most beautiful. Make no mistake though, this route is very difficult, and though it doesn’t necessarily take long to reach the summit, it’s two days you better be prepared for. 

    Distance: approximately 3500 metres from the typical starting point to the summit and back. 
    Average duration: 2-3 days
    Average difficulty: Challenging - Whether you’re aiming to tackle the summit in 2 or 3 days or not, your final ascent is going to be extremely physically challenging. If you aim to summit in two days, your ascent/descent on the final day could take up to 12 hours, especially if your group is moving slowly. You’ll need working climbing knowledge, and you’ll need an understanding of how to utilize ice axes, crampons, and how to lay properly to maintain body heat. 
    Success rate: The success rate depends on whether you have hired a guide and the conditions that year, but tends to be around 60-75%
  • Haute Route

    This isn’t the typical route when you think of Mont Blanc by any means. Rather, it’s the name given to the famous route between Zermatt, Switzerland and Chamonix, France. Traditionally, it’s conceived of as a route completed by skiers in roughly 7 days, which offers some of the world’s most stunning views. It can also be completed by foot in the summer, but it will take roughly 5-7 days longer. 
  • Tour du Mont Blanc (Mont Blanc Circuit)

    This is, again, not necessarily a conventional “route” as it were, but rather a long-distance walk. It has 10km of ascent/descent overall, and the route offers gorgeous scenes through Italy, Switzerland, and, of course, France. This route essentially circles the Mont Blanc Massif. 

    Distance: 170km
    Average duration: 11 days 
    Average difficulty: Moderate/Challenging. The Tour du Mont Blanc is highly customizable and, as such, it can include a more rugged and challenging path, or a mild one. Regardless, this route does require a base level of physical fitness, and you’ll also need to be wearing the appropriate footwear and clothing to find success, but is doable with the right level of preparation and dedication. 
    Success rate: 100%

Mont Blanc General Facts

Mont Blanc Tours and Trips

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