/ Mont Blanc guide?
A lofty and worthy goal you've set yourself for the summer. Just a word of advice for you (and others) on offering a paid opportunity! There are very strict rules governing paid guiding in the Alps, basically for a guide to take you up Mt Blanc legally, they need to have the highest UK/European qualification. For the UK this would be "British Mountain Guide" with a caviet to work in the alps. You can pick them up (locals) in Chamonix with a few days notice, but expect to pay around 800 Euros for the 2 days on mt Blanc (400 each with max guide ratio of 1:2) If I were you I'd would spend some of that money on getting out as much as possible in Scotland this winter and practice your skills with Ice axe and crampons etc. Then come back on here nearer to the time with the same topic. I'm afraid your in a bit of the catch 22 situation, big mountains on low budget = lots of experience. lots of experience = money or lots of time! Have you tried asking at the Uni? most Uni's have climbing clubs, some alpine clubs! Good luck at any rate, get out and get that experience and if you think you need any instruction on basic winter skills give me a shout!
Check out this guy, he's a real nice guy, British and was an officer in the Army in his early career. He charged three of us 300 euros per day (100 euros each). He lives in Chamonix so he's quite flexible. http://www.stuartmacdonald.org
I met him at one of our mess dinners as he went to the same college as me, if you do use him say I recommended him!
Good luck :D
I went on one last year and the course was really good, make sure to get your application in before the deadline, by the look of it they have not opened applications for this year yet. The course would give you the skills to do alpine routes unguided, which is going to benefit you much more than paying a guide for a couple of days. If you're part of a university club it'd help as part of the idea is that the skills can get passed on to other members once you've done the course.
This summer the French police were stopping people near the Tête Rousse refuge. They were turning back parties who claimed to be "friends" but turned out to be underqualified/unqualified guides taking clients at a cut price
For instruction to be able to climb independently, you could look at one of the ISM's alpine weeks for students, which costs £820 each "all inclusive"
When you do go out to attempt it give yourself plenty of acclimatisation time. your body and your guide will be thankful of it. Get comfortable on steep snow gullies in the uk first before heading to the huge mountains of the alps - it's a daunting place the first time you go!
Hi, Im planning to climb MB this year as well (hopefully end of May, 23-30) and I got the same problem, Im going on my own, so the guide will be really expensive, Im looking for the cheapest options at the moment. Maybe we can go together and hire one guide for 3 pers?
Anyway, let me know if you are interested: email@example.com
Why aim at Mt Blanc particularly? By the usual route, it's crowded and not the most interesting climb in the Alps--a long dull slog is how some describe it. (I haven't done it myself, mind, this is just what I hear.)
You'll have much more fun if you aim instead at becoming a competent all-round Alpinist. Do this by finding someone with Alpine experience who'll take you there for a first trip and show you (ahem) the ropes. Go a couple of times and you'll have got a bunch of people to climb with in the Alps, and also the skills and the experience to climb Mont Blanc--if you think that's a priority. (It isn't for me, not by the ordinary route. I wouldn't turn it down if I got the chance to do it, but lots of other things look a lot more fun--the Weisshorn, the Grand Combin, and the Aiguille d'Argentie're, for instance.)
This is not really the best period for Mont Blanc, on foot anyway. It is primarily a period for skiing it (via Grands Mulets/N ridge Dôme du Goûter). The Goûter refuge opens early June. The guide/client ratio is strictly 1:2.
Ah, now skiing the ordinary route might be fun. I assume ski-crampons are necessary? And you rope up?
Well yes, they'd be necessary and yes, you'd rope up - for some sections, anyway - though hopefully not in descent. But what do you mean by 'ordinary route'? The Goûter wouldn't make a very good ski route - carting yer planks up (and down) to the refuge... The Grands Mulets and the Three Monts are the best ski routes.
Right. Tho' presumably you'd want to scope the 3 Ms before skiing it, given recent serac activity there.
Or to put it another way: I do not want to ski the 3 Ms :-)
All the routes have their dangers. You're as likely to get wiped out by stonefall on the Goûter route, fall in a hole or get wiped out by seracs on the Grands Mulets/Jonction, get tired and start crying on the Bionnassay... as get wiped out by serac fall on the Threes Monts. You're right though, scoping out the Tacul from the Midi would give you a good idea of the serac danger. Also, a recent serac fall could well mean that the face has been purged and is deemed 'safe'.
Merci beaucoup. But I was under the impression that les 3 Ms was particularly dangerous right now, and much more dangerous than it has been historically. Is this correct?
No, I don't think that's correct. It depends simply on the configuration of the face at the time. Look at this, fifteen years ago: http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=180394
Eek. A place to sprint past.
Have you found a cut-price, unqualified guide yet?
If you're young enough do a Conville course.
If you're a bit older, hire a guide to teach you the basics and then do some easy (3000-3500m) peaks, ideally in somewhere like Arolla, Saas Grund/Fee or Ecrin. Gran Paradisio is regarded as being an 'easy' 4000er.
Once you've done a season there, then do Mont Blanc under your own steam.
Definitely! A few days with a guide either on the Conville or separately to learn skills..
Plus you can use Alpine techniques here, mostly in Scotland- Aonach Eagach, Tower Ridge..
Ailfroide or Saas might be good for a first trip.
I've been down this way a couple of time in summer (on foot) what's it like as a ski route?
I didn't mean as a ski route, just another route really, and it happened to be the first route that came to mind.
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