/ Chamonix rock guidebook
Taking a mate climbing on the rock around Chamonix. Need stuff from easy single pitch to trad multipitch. I have no guidebooks for Chamonix and I've never been there. Is there a good all-round guidebook that will cover my bases?
This is probably a better bet for what you want: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crag-Climbs-Chamonix-Fran%C3%A7ois-Burnier/dp/2910672212
I know I am biased, but believe me, you really do want the Rockfax. There is so much more in it that could be of interest to you.
Piola has brought out 2 guidebooks to the Aiguilles Rouges opposite Mont Blanc. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Aiguilles-Rouges-1-Michel-Piola/dp/B00746SYW4
And also to the Envers des Aiguilles above the Mer de Glace https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mont-Blanc-Massif-Envers-Aiguilles/dp/B007QTUO3Q
Also for the Mont Blanc side you have the JME guides :
> This is probably a better bet for what you want: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crag-Climbs-Chamonix-Fran%C3%A7ois-Burnier/dp/2910672212
Second vote for this, been buying them since the first edition. There’s a few tasters in there for some of the really excellent bouldering to be found too. Covers the valley really well, is small enough not to notice in your rucksack. For a first day doing easy single and multi pitch, try Servoz. There’s a bar directly opposite the crag so you can sit outside and consider the next climb with a cold drink and frites. Actually some harder routes too, and all very generously bolted!
That sounds like my kinda crag! A French Tremadog!
Is Servos accessible from the valley bus service?
The Rockfax book looks amazing so, particularly since the other one isn't in stock on amazon, I'll be buying the Rockfax - can't go wrong with it in my experience. Rockfax has gone from strength to strength over recent years!
Just pop into Snell Sports in Cham and you can pick up all the guidebooks.
you other question. You’ll have to check, but I think the no.3 bus goes to Servoz, but don’t think it’s as frequent as the rest of the valley.
FYI, if you want to take your mate on some easy multi pitch, there are some great ones on the aiguilles rouge. Some near the Brevent cable car, which makes for a great day out, or head up to Argentiere on the bus, then walk up to Les Chesrys where there are great easy mutipitch routes. All well bolted, although there are some sparsely bolted old school routes which need some trad gear.
while you’re up there it’s worth checking out the bouldering at the Col De Montet. All on the bus route, and there’s a night bus if you’ve head-torches. Last recommendation is pizza in the Stone Bar in Argentiere on the way back
I think the choice of guidebook is really dependant on what you want. If you are planning on going valley cragging, and venture a bit higher in the Aiguilles Rouges, the Burnier (Vamos) valley guide is brilliant - and the format is a bit smaller so it fits in your pocket!
Rockfax isn't bad - it covers some of the more popular areas on the Mont Blanc side - but this is a much more serious proposition, and you need to have your alpine wits about you.
The Piola guides to the Aiguilles Rouges are fabulous. You could spend a long time (years) climbing there and there are some big and adventurous routes. I haven't used the ENvers guide so I can't comment.
Finally, there are a bunch of more specialist guides - a couble of granite guides (inc specialist crack guides, and IIRC correctly a Mont Blanc Plasir (i.e. mid-grade) guide.
Personally, I would say that if you don't know about climbing in alpine settings, then Rockfax is possibly a bit wasted on you. Get the Vamos guide, climb in the AIguilles Rouges: Les Gaillands, Les Cheserys, Montenvers (OK that's the other side) and Brevant.
There will always be another opportunity to come back - and Chamonix is probably not the place to start thinking about alpinism. It is too big and too scary (I know - my first alpine trip was based out of Snell's Field - aged 17!).
OTOH, if you are comfortable in an alpine setting, and want to spend a couple of weeks all over the valley, including up on the Chamonix Aiguilles side, then Rockfax is pretty good.
> Personally, I would say that if you don't know about climbing in alpine settings, then Rockfax is possibly a bit wasted on you. Get the Vamos guide, climb in the AIguilles Rouges: Les Gaillands, Les Cheserys, Montenvers (OK that's the other side) and Brevant.
All these crags are covered pretty extensively in the Rockfax.
True - but if you don't have the Rockfax guide then you won't (for example*) end up trying to find the abseils down the Couzy on the M in the last of the light, scared witless!
* I don't have the Rockfax to hand, so I don't know for sure what routes on the M are in it - but my point is that if you only have the Burnier guide, and you are an inexperienced alpinist, you won't get into trouble.
I think there’s also the point that the Burnier and Piolet guides are locally written and fit in with the feel that you’re away on a trip, they’ve got some character. I was at La Joux last year when someone pulled out the RF Chamonix. With the homogenous corporate style, if you blurred your eyes, you could be just about anywhere.
I’m an absolute guide junkie, and recognise how RF have transformed guidebook production and really raised the bar. I’ve got every RF since they started except one, the Cham guide was just one step too far.
ps it might be heresy, but the local bouldering guides are also great. On a crazy hot day in the valley last year, we turned up at a place with Font style colour circuits in a pine forest and cool breeze....
Bought the Rockfax guide. Thanks all for the input.
In response to the politics, I tried to resist but failed, so here goes:
I understand the appeal of a local guidebook but there's nothing to stop the local writers using the Rockfax guide to improve their own guides - perhaps they will become better than the Rockfax guides as a consequence.
Competition produced by consumers making their purchasing decisions based on what is best for them, politics aside, is what delivers continual product improvement for consumers and upskills the producers.
... take note... if you are buying the Burnier: Crag Climbs in Chamonix guidebook, the new edition is about to be published... this is an expanded and updated version; should be available any day now...
Don't forget, you can also peruse (and often photocopy) virtually every guide ever written for the area at the OHM. With that in mind, I'd probably get (or rather have got*) the Vamos guidebook and use the OHM to find bigger trad objectives.
I disagree that Chamonix isn't the place to become involved with alpinism - you just need to pick your routes sensibly.
What's the OHM?
The place you go to get up-to-date information on conditions, peruse guidebooks, check what's been done recently, or just to marvel at their 3D model of the Massif. Top floor of the building previously mentioned.
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