Normally done in descent during winter/spring on skis. Exit the Midi tunnel and get down the arête. Tip: If there are crowds, put on crampons and walk on the outside of the fixed line trench, passing all the tourists and guided groups who do not have crampons. If no crowds, slide down the trench with just ski boots using the fixed line. If no fixed lines (May-January) and good snow and you are feeling brave, you can sideslip or ski down, slightly below the ridgeline on the North Face. It is not recommended to ever rope on on the Midi arête, except when taking unskilled partners, because it is not protectable. There have been many deaths here. Be careful.

Halfway down the arête you can put on skis and descend the South face shoulder (35-40 degrees, sustained) or continue on foot to a large plateau, then ski a brief steep slope (35-40 degrees, often icy and bumpy). Ski across the nearly flat plateau near the Col du Midi making a large left-turning arc towards the Gros Rognon. At the Rognon it gets slightly steeper - bear towards the Italian border making a wide left-turning arc.

From here the route varies depending on the state of the glacier. Generally you want to stick to the left bank of the glacier (skier's left) aiming generally for the Refuge de Requin. However this area is complex and full of nasty crevasses and the route meanders among them, sometimes precariously.

When about level with the refuge, turn right and thread through the zone just below the Seracs du Geant. This zone is likewise riddled with crevasses and the route typically zigzags wildly between them.

When nearly in the centre of the glacier, turn straight downward, negotiating a bit more remaining glacial nastiness, until you finally reach safety at the long and flat Salle a Manger. Late on a Spring day or early on a powder day, this may require a lot of effort to push through. Continue down this nearly flat and boring glacier for nearly five kilometres, picking a route among the mostly-harmless glaciated terrain. Aim for the Montenvers train station which appears on the left bank.

Towards Montenvers the glacier again becomes complex and potentially dangerous. Route finding is not helped by the countless trails of lost skiers so take some time to plan a good route instead of blindly following the path in front of you. You have three choices at this point - 1) Montenvers by the gondola - aim straight for it, negotiating some tricky final terrain. A gondola takes you to the train, which takes you back to Chamonix. NOTE: This is included in the ChamSKI pass but not in an Aiguille du Midi ticket. 2) Descent to Chamonix - continue along the centre of the glacier past Montenvers 500-1000m until you reach a place where the left bank moraine can be climbed. Climb up 100m or so to reach a path that climbs gradually to a small indistinct col where there is a nice little buvette. Then continue down a narrow switch-backing path, sometimes pisted, sometimes wild, bumpy, icy, and/or rocky. You eventually cross the train tracks and reach the Planards pistes which make for a gentle final stretch to Chamonix. CAUTION: Be careful in the zone just before the train tracks. The owner of the farm there likes to dump rocks onto the trail and put up makeshift barricades to prevent people from jumping the train tracks. Many have been injured here due. Slow down, even if it means losing speed on the flat traverse.

THIS IS NOT A PISTE! Even if the high traffic makes it look like one. The Vallee Blanche is the most sought-after ski run in Chamonix and because of this it receives a lot of traffic that it shouldn't. ** Many people die on the Vallee Blanche each year ** and many more make the descent in a way which endangers their lives. A qualified mountain guide is recommended for any parties with questionable ability.

All people in the group must have adequate crevasse and avalanche rescue skills. All people in the group must wear a climbing harness and carry on the harness the minimum equipment for crevasse rescue: 1-2 ice screws, 1-2 slings, 2 prussiks cords. In addition, there should be at least two people in the group carrying a 30-45m rope (so that is, at least two ropes per party) and additional gear for building anchors and pulley systems.

All members of the team must carry avalanche rescue gear - beacon, shovel, probe - and be trained in their usage.

All members of the team must be able to ski confidently as you often ski within a meter of death by crevass fall. You should be at least able to descend black pistes that are icy and mogully (bumpy), perhaps slowly, but confidently and without falling.

Ideally, one member of the team should have already skiied the route. If not, review guidebooks and maps before and during descent. Be aware there are dozens of variations, some quite dangerous and difficult. It is very easy to get off route.

RuthW 07/Aug -
Mike.Kinge 14/Jul Lead O/S
with Owen Williams
JonWoolacott 16/Jun -
Hidden 11/Feb TR
stugreen75 ??/2015 -

Skied and boarded many times. Brilliant scenery.

batterj2 16/Aug/14 AltLd O/S

Followed a group along upper route at crevasse section near Hellebroner. Route wasn't clear and middle route was too crevassed so took lower route. Just under 4 hours for our first independent route! Scared myself silly descending the soft ridge at the start!

Chrissy202 25/Jun/14 2nd O/S
with Charizard, Bart, Jack
John Procter 17/May/14 Solo O/S
Hidden 31/Jan/14 -
Hidden 28/Jan/14 Solo
Hidden 28/Jan/14 Solo
Hidden ??/2014 -
joe.91 20/Sep/13 Solo O/S
Hidden 20/Sep/13 Solo
j.buckley87 08/Sep/13 Lead O/S
dremelmaster 02/Aug/13 2nd
Hidden 08/Jul/13 -
BoulderyDave 08/Jul/13 Lead O/S
steve_gibbs 25/Jun/13 Solo O/S
with Joe Innes
Mr Fuller 21/Jun/13 AltLd O/S
with Paul Gibbison, Joe Barker
andyinglis ?/Apr/13 -

Ski descents of normal route (3) and grande envers (2) routes

Hidden ?/Apr/13 -
williamsd79 13/Mar/13 -
Nigel Bond 03/Jul/12 Solo
with Bern Hardman
Nigel Bond 26/Jun/12 Solo
with Bern Hardman
Prez 22/Jun/12 -
maxsmith ?/Jan/12 -

snowboard descent with guide, lovely fresh powder and sunshine

Hidden ?/Sep/11 AltLd
Hidden 25/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
Hidden 25/Jul/11 AltLd O/S
col3 08/Jul/11 2nd O/S

Third and final day of Conville course. Snow ridge used to descend to the Col du Midi (it was terrifying!) then went up a rock ridge (about PD?) to the Réfuge des Cosmiques. Scary but fun! Had to ascend the snow ridge again to get back up which was better than descending - if it wasn't for the gusts of wind...

with Paul
Paul1 08/Jul/11 2nd
with Convile course, Nicole
Hidden ?/Apr/11 -
Hidden 10/Mar/11 -
switch 14/Jan/11 -

Gros Rognon to Requin hut and down Requin Couloir, and then again going left of Gros Rognon and Bray variation - perfect blue skies and fresh tracks

Hidden ?/Sep/10 Solo
Whitty2012 01/Aug/10 -
Ly-Cilph 18/Jul/10 AltLd

Took quite a detour over the top of the crevasses.

with Clare A
baldie_chick 18/Jul/10 AltLd
with kidB
baldie_chick 17/Jul/10 AltLd


with kidB
Ly-Cilph 17/Jul/10 AltLd

Done in reverse.

with Clare A
Amy Kilpin 14/Jul/10 -
Hidden 11/Jan/10 -
adw07 11/Jan/10 -

Ski descent

Hidden ?/Jan/10 -
Hidden ??/2010 -
Hidden ??/2010 -
Hellflame ?/Aug/09 -
KatieG 11/Jul/09 -
Hidden ?/Jul/09 Lead
Hidden ?/Jul/09 2nd
Howard J 29/Jun/09 -

A fabulous day out. On the way back in the gondolas we saw a helicopter rescuing someone off the Cosmiques Arete.

Hidden 29/Jun/09 -
ebunick ?/May/09 -

ended the season with a quick play down the valley blanche. came down close to the gros rognon. was skiing like a spanner and took one tumble :( last decent day of skiing down hte usual route. one bridge half collapsed under dan and was gone by the time id crossed it. folks behind had to pick another line :P

with Dan (Skiing)
QuentinSu ?/Apr/09 -
Hidden ?/Feb/09 -
Hidden 02/Jan/09 -
ebunick ?/Jan/09 -

first back country foray with adventure base. guy guided and the boss girls came along too.

with Dan (Skiing)
barksmo ??/2009 -
Hidden ??/2009 -
Hidden 21/Dec/08 -
Hidden 21/Dec/08 -
KatieG 11/Aug/08 -
Hidden ?/Aug/08 AltLd O/S
Hidden ?/Jul/08 AltLd
Chad123 ?/Feb/08 Solo O/S

Awesome long ski run, got last lift up and went down the grands envers variation and all the way to Chamonix. Well worth doing. Didn't have to work the moves or fall over but did ask for information so maybe a beta flash.....

AndrewJenkins ??/2008 -
markfairbank 27/Aug/07 Solo
with SteveyM
SteveMyatt 27/Aug/07 AltLd O/S
with Mark Fairbank
whispering nic ?/Mar/07 Solo O/S
with Al Reid
Sarah Bough 27/Jun/06 2nd
Martyn ?/Sep/05 Solo rpt
with James Williams
sacdenouilles ?/Aug/05 -
bpmclimb 14/Jul/05 AltLd O/S
with Cham group
Ly-Cilph ?/Jul/05 2nd
with Guided
Richard Weller ?/Feb/05 -

On ski with the Verdets

Hidden 04/Apr/04 Solo
Zoomer ?/Apr/04 Solo

Ski descent with a guide, didn't need him, it's a motorway!

with Hiedi Sparks
Hidden ?/Jul/03 -
Hidden ??/2002 2nd
Stone Muppet ??/2001 -
Martyn ?/Sep/99 Solo O/S
with Rob Boylin
olekemi 10/Jan/98 Solo O/S

Ski Mountaineering.

with Jerome P
stokesrees ??/1997 AltLd
with Asmus Norveslet
Hidden ?/Aug/92 -
Hidden 01/Mar/90 -
Dan Uneken 12/Jul/88 Solo
with Monique Staal
mark-abz ?/Mar/82 Solo

Ski descent

Hidden ??/1976 -
pneame 28/Dec/75 -
Users with this climb on their wishlist are:
Hidden, alexei.nicholas, Sianny, ebunick
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