Chamonix - Just how much can I get away with?

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 Bobbydoc01 26 May 2024

Hi all, I'll preface this by saying that I am aware that the rules regarding camping in the alpine are in place for a reason and I am a very firm believer of 'leave no trace'. Above the huts around Chamonix there is frequently climbers bivvying and tents setting up tents. My question is basically: where is this the easiest? 

I have seen firsthand tents on the Col Du Midi, but I am also aware of them being removed by French mountain police. I know that above the Albert Premier hut is a common bivvying spot and around the Aiguille d'Argentière also. I have also heard of people staying in the Midi station and Punta Helbronner after dark (is this still possible?). 

I obviously don't intend on sticking up a tent above the Gouter refuge, but I have a NF Mountain 25 and was wondering if I could put up the inner layer for a bit more shelter for a 2 person bivy 'near' some refuges?  I will be spending some time around the Torino refuge, but I haven't seen many photos of tents on the glacier du geant, is this possible? 

Alongside this, I would like to ask whether it is possible to stash bivvying gear in moraines throughout the day, as I don't think that leaving a tent up is very wise. 

Sorry for the long rambling post, but this is a concern for an every-penny-counts student who is new to climbing in the area  

 deacondeacon 26 May 2024
In reply to Bobbydoc01:

Up just before dark and down early doors. You'll be fine just about anywhere.

 CantClimbTom 27 May 2024
In reply to Bobbydoc01:

In col du midi, I was told the rule of thumb was you didn't pitch a tent until comfortably after the last telepherique had gone down for the evening, and you absolutely didn't leave it up while out on a route. That way who's going to see you apart from other climbers?

 wbo2 27 May 2024
In reply to CantClimbTom:

Presumably the people who patrol the area and remove tents

OP Bobbydoc01 27 May 2024
In reply to CantClimbTom:

In both this and another post on a Facebook group, I'm getting an ambiguity. By not leaving it up, do you mean that I would have to:

a) take down the tent but leave it in place (saw this last summer a lot) 

b) stash inside a bag and leave near the site to collect after route 

c) take all gear on route


 rattusrattus 27 May 2024
In reply to Bobbydoc01:

Last year we climbed Rebuffat Baquet intentionally late to avoid traffic, then abbed down to our kit. 

We finished earlier than expected so went and bought a beer at the Cosmiques Hut. Waited until before the sun started setting then headed out to a spot a good distance from the hut and set up as the sun set.

Woke up around 3 to climb the Chere, but took down and bagged all our tents and kit neatly. Retrieved them on the way back. I saw a few people leaving tents up, but we didn’t want to risk it/add time after the Chere. One thing I would have considered was either saving the location on a map, or leaving a pole with a flag up as there was a brief panic when we couldn’t quite find our way back.

The rule we went for was set up after lifts are finished and it’s going dark. Take down before the sun is up, and camp a distance from any huts to avoid irritating anyone

 CantClimbTom 27 May 2024
In reply to Bobbydoc01:

I've done B) and C) before

When stashing gear I've never had it stolen. Put in a tied up black bin bag with note "ne touche pas, Je reviendrai,  Merci!" but probably it's risky! I wouldn't do it with expensive stuff though!

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