/ Aiguille du midi making the last cable car

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Simon Cahill - on 24 May 2012
With a 2am start from the Cosmiques hut is it usual to summit Mt Blanc, return via the hut and make the last cable car down at 6pm. I know people have done so and others have spent an unplanned night sheltering at the cable car station. Accepting some of us are quicker than others and conditions change any guidance for times would be appreciated.
highclimber - on 24 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill: having spent a night at the station, i'd say it's the last place you'd want to be stuck in after an ascent on MB.

that said if you are acclimatised and slick you'd eaisly make it back in time for the last car.
Nordic - on 24 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill: We made it (just) and our admin was pretty shoddy on the day, lots of faffing around trying to work out how to ascend and descend the trickier bits.

One tip, don't underestimate how long it takes to get back from the Cosmiques to the cable car station, we were pretty knackered at that point, and having got back to the hut at 3pm relaxed a little too much, I think we started up the final snow slope at 5:30 in a bit of a hurry!
Simon Cahill - on 25 May 2012
In reply to Nordic: Thanks for the tips, it pretty much sums up what I thought, fit, swift and don't hang about the hut on the way down. Does anyone else have any experiences to share?
lowersharpnose - on 25 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill:

We did it from a tent on the Col du Midi.

Summit at 8 a.m. , back at tent 12:30. Had a brew, took the tent down and trudged back up the Midi. That trudge was easily the hardest part of the day. It was very hot, the snow was soft, and we were tired and loaded with our kit.

The Midi was seething with tourists and there was a long queue for the lift. Fortunately, the lady handing out cable car times (they do this when it is busy) gave us a ticket for the next one down. We must have looked knacked.
David Rose - on 25 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill: Why would you want to do this? If the conditions are right, a descent via the Grands Mulets, or failing that the Gouter, will be far easier. If the Mulets are safe from seracs etc, you can sit on your bum in what will be a large trench and glissade most of the way, holding you ice axe in the same way a kayaker holds a paddle. Huge fun, very little effort. From summit to the Plan cable car in maybe 3 hours.
JohnnyW - on 25 May 2012
In reply to highclimber:
> (In reply to Simon Cahill) having spent a night at the station, i'd say it's the last place you'd want to be stuck in after an ascent on MB.
>

Here here. Been there, got the tee shirt. Spent too long on the Pointe Lachenal followed by the Cosmiques, and had a chilly, uncomfortable and long night in the toilets at the Midi.....
BruceM - on 25 May 2012
In reply to davidoldfart:
I agree with the oldfart. Don't know about the 3 hour bit though.

I've done it twice from a bivvy hole on vallee blanch. Once descended down the Gouter/train/hitch to Cham, the other via Mulets and across to Midi Plan, and both times returned back up on the Midi to the bivvy on/in the vallee blanch for a very relaxing and satisfying evening. Brilliant days both.

The next day you can go for something on Tacul, Cosmiques, or just go home smiling.
Simon Cahill - on 25 May 2012
In reply to davidoldfart: I like the sound of that, unfortunately this time the route choice has been made by others whose wedding I have been invited to attend in Chamonix. The climb is a post wedding activity. My objective here to make sure the times allowed are going to work for folks travel plans. I think a few should add an extra day just in case the 6pm deadline in not met.
highclimber - on 25 May 2012
In reply to JohnnyW:
> (In reply to highclimber)
> [...]
>
> Here here. Been there, got the tee shirt. ...and had a chilly, uncomfortable and long night in the toilets at the Midi.....

It was lovely and warm as we had the heater on but this was the noisiest thing in the world and when it kicked in every ten mins it made an almighty bang. There was a Tstorm during the night and the electric went off and the extractor fans too which left the smell from the cesspit lingering in the air!
jon on 25 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill:

I really hate to disagree with David, but reversing the route to the Midi is by far the quickest way back to the valley - even if it doesn't feel like it as you trudge back up the arÍte. I can say this with absolute certainty as I've done all three a number of times.
John Roberts (JR) - on 26 May 2012
In reply to jon:

I'd agree with this. We summitted at about 9am after the Brenva Spur and made it back over 3 Monts. We had to break trail in shin to thigh deep from the col du Brenva to the top of the Tacul. The arete can be tough though at the end of the day...
David Rose - on 28 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill: If it's critical you get down, and you do take the 3 Monts option but get back to the Col du Midi too late for the last benne of the day, there is of course one possibility: walk down the Vallee Blanche and Mer de Glace and on to Chamonix. Utterly exhausting, but possible.
martgarf - on 30 May 2012
In reply to Simon Cahill:
We stayed at the cosmiques hut, got up at a leisurely 3am to avoid the crowds because the forecast was fine for the whole day (which it was). Got to the top and back by 2pm (I think it was a little before). We happened to be well acclimatized. We could have happily made it up to the cable car that afternoon even with a break at the hut. As it happens, we had 2 nights booked at the hut just in case, so stayed the 2nd night and went up via the Cosmiques Arete the following day.
Another time, we got up at 2am and it was too busy. We were held up for ages on Tacul for absolutely ages by the queues and people messing around with ropes. Then the queues for Maudit were even worse so we packed it in. Could have stayed in bed for an extra hour without losing any time.
John Roberts (JR) - on 30 May 2012
In reply to davidoldfart:
> (In reply to Simon Cahill) If it's critical you get down, and you do take the 3 Monts option but get back to the Col du Midi too late for the last benne of the day, there is of course one possibility: walk down the Vallee Blanche and Mer de Glace and on to Chamonix. Utterly exhausting, but possible.

And probably arrive around the same time as the first bin the following morning! I'd cut losses and go to the cosmiques (or the Perroux), you should know you're going to miss it by then...

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