/ Alternatives without Midi cable car
This was released yesterday saying that the Midi cable car will be closed until 7th of July ( https://www.chamonix.net/english/news/plan-de-laiguille-aiguille-du-midi-cable-car-extended-closure ) . That's in the middle of my two week trip.
Originally I was going to do some easier classics up there for acclimatization for an attempt at Mont Blanc, possibly via the Royal Traverse if I can convince my partner.
Are there any other good routes in the area that I can get to from Chamonix to acclimatize? Part of my plans were the Northwest Ridge of Petite Verte and Aiguille D'Entreves traverse. Haven't read up on the approach to those yet, however.
Anything that could be approached from the Midi could be approached from the Italian side. There are plenty of suitable routes elsewhere in Chamonix mind - grab a copy of the Rockfax, it'll give you a great overview of what is there and how it's accessed.
Petite Verte is accessed via the Grands Montets lift, not the Midi lift.
Aiguille D'Entreves is also much closer and reach from the Italian lift in Courmayeur. It's easy to take a bus to Courmayeur from Chamonix.
Yeah that's why I still figured I could do those two. Also L'Index, but I'm not sure if it's high enough to count as acclimatization, but we'll do it anyway.
Do you know any other good acclimatization routes not near the Midi?
> Do you know any other good acclimatization routes not near the Midi?
There are thousands. The alps doesn't equal Chamonix, let the Midi!! Try Valsaverenche just over in Italy. La Tresenta followed by Gran Paradise for example. Or Becca Di Montandayne or Herbetet for something a little harder.
You could easily do a route out of the Torino hut in the direction of Cosmiques and then head for the Cosmiques Hut afterwards. It's not that far. It might even work out for the better because the Cosmiques area will be much quieter. I doubt the French guide will bother to do the same.
Does anybody know what they used to do before there was a cable car?
Oh yeah. That's it. I seem to remember that has some beneficial effect on your aerobic capacity and acclimatisation no? Could be wrong...
If they did that then they would have to carry mountaineering gear and walking gear. Ridiculous!
Yes. Hmmm. Walking around with heavy backpacks at high altitude does sound like a sure fire way to test your fitness. Not sure how well that would relate to being able to climb at altitude.
Don't forget that you can access everything on the Chamonix side of the Grepon-Charmoz-Blaitiere-Plan-Midi from Montenvers instead of the Midi midstation... so there's all sorts of great routes you can do from the last train at Montenvers, bivvy under the route, rap back down, and then walk back to the train or down to town.
In addition to the suggestions above there's a lot to go at off the Glacier du Tour, which is accessible even if the lift is closed - though this early in the season you might want (/need) to take the 'direct approach' up the moraine rather than the usual approach via the Col de Balme area.
What sort of grade are you comfortable on? Knowing that might help people give appropriate suggestions for routes.
No need to be sarcastic, I was talking about "good routes that are high enough to acclimatize on but not too easy or too hard", like there are lots of known alternatives for near the Midi. I was specifically recommended on UKC a short list of routes there which would be nice to get to know the area and know my capabilities in the Alps. Not "any route at all", otherwise I could've figured that out myself. I thought maybe those more experienced would be willing to suggest some routes to a guy who doesn't know the area well yet.
To start with we're thinking AD+ max, but at home I've done some 6a multipitches on rock, and a soft WI4 multipitch, lots of general mountaineering on exposed terrain.
Course there's a reason to be sarcastic. You're asking how to get acclimatised. The traditional way to get acclimatised is to put on an effing great big rucksack and walk up bloody big mountains. You don't need a cable car for that. Besides, jumping on the cable car and going straight to the top is a sure way to feel frickin awful. Many people who are on a budget will either walk up to the Mer de Glace or take the train up, and then climb objectives as they work up the glacier, acclimatising on the way. Your post comes off as you looking to circumvent the pain of getting acclimatised in the normal way. It's a fairly sure way to have a mare. Start low, take a bucket load of food, and work your way up the Mer de Glace until you are high and fit as f*ck. And deciding what routes you are going to do before you get there is to some extent a fools errand. Weather, capability, route preferences, and just how you feel on the day are so variable that getting a list is just going to make things even more confusing. There's so much useful information in a guidebook these days that it's pretty much anyones guess as to which route a complete stranger should get on.
Avoid the standard jump on the cable car, do the Cosmiques with your lungs falling out of your arse, then return to do sod all for the next week because you're spent. Take it slow and steady and you'll get far more done.
Tour Ronde North Face gets D but the lower and upper parts are AD type climbing and pretty easy if you're happy moving together with the odd runner. The middle pitches are easy angled ice. Given the route is only 350m you would have time to pitch the middle part if you really wanted to. Tour Ronde is easy to get to from the Torino Hut.
The SW face of Dent du Geant is the other obvious option from the Torino Hut. AD+. Not done it personally.
> Does anybody know what they used to do before there was a cable car?
They probably walked up the Valley Blanche. Not exactly an easy prospect in summer these days though given the crevasses! You could probably make your way up the Glacier d'Envers du Plan from the Requin Hut and do the Midi-Plan traverse in reverse.
Exactly. By the time you get to the Midi, you'll be fit. Warm up on the Aiguille de l'm, sleep near the train station, then carry on to the requin as a lighter day, and continue.
The Aiguille Purtscheller (among other routes) from the Albert Premier may be worth a look. It's about 3,500m with excellent climbing up to grade 5.
You're making a lot of assumptions, is what I'm saying. Everything you're saying, I already know. Of course taking the cable car to the Midi isn't a shortcut to acclimatizing, who would even think that? It's a shortcut to the routes up near the Midi station.
Of course you could walk up there, but as I'm saying I haven't been to Chamonix before, and would like to get acquainted with the area before doing a multi-day climb to avoid getting in over my head.
Ignoring all the wild assumptions I'll still consider your points and take it easy, you just have a very unsympathetic way of giving them.
Sorry I was channelling the ghost of Norrie Muir. Look, I know that you know that I know that you know, so... the thing about cham which is why I don't like it particularly is the easy access. It means you are (No matter how often you've been to the hills) tempted to just jump on things that are bigger and harder than you've done before. Mainly because you don't have massive walk in. Personally I dont acclimatise well and it leads to being way out of your depth in a state of hypoxia, which you then spend a week getting over. I.e. wasting your time. You hesitate for a day after your knackeredness then you get a day of rain, then the forecast changes to bring a weather window forwards that catches you by surprise and you haven't packed so you think maybe going up on the lift wasn't so bad and you repeat. The lifts lure you into getting your ass tanned. So you have an opportunity here to do it right. Take it slowly, gain height at a modest pace and you'll get much more from your trip because rather than rushing up and down you'll be able to go up and stay up for a week. Even if you have day out it won't matter because the climbs are still just there. And you'll be away from the bars, the dancing, the shops and other distraction of the twinkling lights. Trust me, I've done exactly that and it was a waste of my time...
PS, how about rather than focusing on Mont Blanc, let that settle into the back of your head and start out with a week beneath the Chamonix Aiguilles. Start at the train station, and work your way along. There's a bergillion stellar routes along there which can take you high. Either bivi or stay in the hut by the Midi mid station. That way food is not a necessity, you just have to focus on the climbing. Then if you get in a few routes, move your focus and if you feel ready, you can head up. Go and do the Mallory-Porter route to the Midi and stay at the Cosmiques hut. Take a day off, and then you will most likely be in a position to go at the very least to the Tacul or Mont Maudit, and with a tail wind to the top. Along the Balcony there are things to do on the l'M, Blaitiere, the Aig. du Peigne with routes as easy or hard as you want which you can chose according to how you feel. Added to this the walk between them is not massive.
Each to their own. It sounds like you don't acclimatise well. Personally I like to get the acclimatisation phase over with as quickly as my body will allow, come back down to recover for a few days and then go back up and get on with some proper objectives knowing I'll be able to move quickly enough. The more efficiently I get the acclimatisation done the bigger the weather window I have left for longer more committing stuff. I'm generally time limited in the Alps more than anything else - for longer trips I'd rather go to more remote places. I know everybody acclimatises differently obviously. This is just me.
Fair enough. But we're not talking about you or me. And this being the Fastings first trip to Chamonix it's not beyond the realms of possibility that it's also the first time in the alps, or one of the first times. I.e. it's also possible that he doesn't know how he acclimatises. If you look at his logbook he has 5 alpine routes, all at a modest level and all within Norway, so unaffected by at the very least altitude, although possibly also glaciers, recommending a considered approach is not exactly ridiculous. If he came on here and said "dudes, I'm going back to Cham but I see the lifts are out of action, here are some of the routes I've done, what would you recommend as a next step up?" then that would be a different story - he'd already have had direct experience of the environment, the type of climbing, what to expect of a certain grade. But he' not. He's expecting to jump on Mont Blanc within a 2 week trip on his first trip and is pissed off that the lifts aren't running to aid his way to altitude quickly, and to then acclimatise by climbing classics at well above what most would consider a reasonable acclimatisation altitude for their first trip. But hey, maybe I'm reading too much into it.
On my second trip to the Alps we went up to the Albert 1er via the moraine path, did the Aiguille du Tour and walked down the next day in a very short window of good weather between incessant rain.
I couldn't walk for a few days afterwards - heading up the hill to my tent in the valley, or down stairs, was torture. Despite being an active 20-something year old who played ice hockey twice a week and wasn't in the slightest unfit. In comparison, I seem to cope quite well with heading straight to 4000m and getting on with it.
The point isn't 'oh look at me, I'm immune to altitude', more that everyone is different and what works for some isn't necessarily the best approach for others.
I'd like to think I'm hill-fitter now, but my knees would still scream abuse at me at the thought of a long avoidable slog uphill with a heavy sack. I suspect many people like Chamonix because they can get out and get on something without a huge energy-sapping slog uphill, especially in today's time-limited world where people are just as likely in the valley for a week or two as a season. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing as long as they're realistic about their objectives, fitness and abilities.
> He's expecting to jump on Mont Blanc within a 2 week trip on his first trip and is pissed off that the lifts aren't running to aid his way to altitude quickly, and to then acclimatise by climbing classics at well above what most would consider a reasonable acclimatisation altitude for their first trip. But hey, maybe I'm reading too much into it.
See, this is why I prefer not asking for advice on UKC. There's always some guy who comes in and makes loads of assumptions about me and goes through my logbooks looking for weaknesses, then goes on some rant about "ugh climbers today, am I right?"
Every time I need to do the same old song about how I've been mountaineering for 10 years before I started logging on UKC, and 90% of the mountains I've been on aren't in the database, so I've only logged the few who stood out. Also, people on UKC have no idea about Norwegian mountains and think I have no idea how to behave myself in an alpine environment because they think our mountains are like Ben Nevis or something. I've crossed glaciers, climbed in whiteouts, climbed in fog, climbed unroped over cliffs, climbed at night, climbed through the night, had multi-day trips in -25C, climbed ice in gale force winds and in roasting sun, etc.
Your assumption that I somehow think I should spend my time at 3800m when I don't know what that altitude even feels like now, is wrong. I'm going to start at the altitude I already know, ~2500m, and work my way up from there. Part of that plan was eventually getting to 3800m and then above that.
I feel like I shouldn't need to explain this anymore but I'll have to update my logbook I guess.
Have you had a bad day Mike? You've gone into keyboard warrior mode!
Were you there when wicks and I climbed the frendo about 6hrs after arriving in chamonix direct from Sheffield? We were fine with the altitude even with a leffe based hangover. I know thats not textbook but knowing we both aclimatise reasonably quickly we knew we'd probably be fine. He might be fine too.
In reply to the OP, why not go for a day in the rouge (index or chappelle de gliere are both fun also lots of other rock routes there), sleep in valley, 2 routes on the petit verte biviing near the station between, something from the Albert prem (tour or chardonnet maybe) then walk up the mer de glace ready to try something higher. The weather and snow conditions will probably force a load of rest days in there too.
> why not go for a day in the rouge (index or chappelle de gliere are both fun also lots of other rock routes there), sleep in valley, 2 routes on the petit verte biviing near the station between, something from the Albert prem (tour or chardonnet maybe) then walk up the mer de glace ready to try something higher. The weather and snow conditions will probably force a load of rest days in there too.
I was planning something like that actually, but would it be feasible to do a few days then head back into town so we don't need very heavy backpacks to do several days on the mountain at a time, or are the distances too big. On the map it looks like a few km here and there, but the map and what it looks like on the ground are usually very different things especially with glaciers thrown in the mix. Talking about how long it takes to hike up to Albert 1er, and then back to Chamonix, or from Albert 1er up to Helbronner for example.
Just trying to get the lay of the land, don't bite my head off or anything.
Well that's the thing isn't it. I'm NOT making assumptions. You've not stated what your experience is so how are we supposed to actually make sensible suggestions? If you put down in your log book a range of alpine routes in Norway which are of a reasonably modest nature but actually you're an ED warrior, then how would our suggestions make any sense? That's pretty much one of the main points of logbooks.
And to be fair all you've got to do is click on graphs on your profile to see those routes so it's not exactly trawling through it...
Done exactly the same on the Frendo and spent the night in the midi toilets feeling awful...
To be fair, Mike is far more experienced than I am and his advice is probably best. Unless they are really short routes with almost no walk in (like the petit verte) you won't want to do things in consecutive days as you'l be tired. You'd need to ask someone that had been there recently about how easy it is to move around at the moment.id stick to the normal approach routes rather than linking things together.
Routes from the Albert 1er are doable in two days with or without the lift; up to the hut on day one, alpine start the next day and straight back down to the valley will get you in the pub by 16:00 unless you've done something big, had a 'mare or are particularly slow. Equally, there's plenty to go at in the area to justify spending a couple of days in the hut.
I can't recommend traversing from the Albert 1er to Helbronner unless it's via the 'Arve Direct' route (ie the valley).
Heh I just realized the Albert 1er refuge is in a completely different place than I thought, so hiking from there to the Helbronner seems like not what I thought it would be. But, going up from Montenvers to Tour Ronde or Dent du Geant, how long would that generally take, or is it done at all? Do most people just go under the mountain and up the Helbronner lift?
> See, this is why I prefer not asking for advice on UKC.
> Every time I need to do the same old song about how I've been mountaineering for 10 years before I started logging on UKC, and 90% of the mountains I've been on aren't in the database (...) I've crossed glaciers, climbed in whiteouts, climbed in fog, climbed unroped over cliffs, climbed at night, climbed through the night, had multi-day trips in -25C, climbed ice in gale force winds and in roasting sun, etc.
> I feel like I shouldn't need to explain this anymore but I'll have to update my logbook I guess.
... doesn't really sit very well with this:
> Heh I just realized the Albert 1er refuge is in a completely different place than I thought, so hiking from there to the Helbronner seems like not what I thought it would be.
My advice to you would be to forget about Chamonix if the lift is down but you still want to climb in the Massif, and just go to Courmayeur. It's 20 minutes from Chamonix. You can access all the same routes around the top of the Vallée Blanche, you'll have a 4000m summit and other training peaks just an hour down the valley and great rock climbing a little further down for when the weather inevitably craps out. All round, it's just a nicer friendlier place. With better food. Have a great trip.
We did a trip that consisted of :
Day 1 up to Montnevers via train, walk up to Requin Hut, quick recce of start of route for next day.
Day 2 south east Arete du Chapeau a Cornes AD
Day 3 Rest plus short route of V+ on pointe 2784 recommended by hut guardian
Day 4 Walk up to Torino Hut
Day 5 Dent de Geant SW face
Day 6 back to Chamonix via Courmayeur because high winds had stopped cable cars across to Midi.
We were 40 somethings not that fit, climbing at HVS, 3rd trip to the Alps
and lucky with the weather.
This was 10 years or so ago so no idea of suitability now of the glacier section from the Requin to the Torino
I'd say the Traversée des Crochues (PD+) makes for a good acclimatization day if you're new to the area. You're mostly operating between 2300-2800m and can move together over most of the ground (if happy to do so) but still get a bit of practice in before taking on more challenging objectives and higher mixed ground once better acclimatized. You can take the Index lift or slog in and out if you really want to give the legs a workout
Traversée des Crochues (PD+ 4a)#overview
> ... doesn't really sit very well with this:
> > Heh I just realized the Albert 1er refuge is in a completely different place than I thought, so hiking from there to the Helbronner seems like not what I thought it would be.
Yes of course, because everyone who has any experience in the mountains will automatically know how the layout of mountains in other countries without looking at a map. What a silly thing to think. I was just asking some simple questions, and we're talking about a slightly different area that I thought I'd spend a lot of time in or have to hike through.
Anyway I'm done with this thread. Thank you those who gave me good advice instead of trying to be judgemental UKCers trying to prove their superiority (as usual).
I WAS giving good advice, not being judgemental. You were revealing that you need it. Why ask otherwise? I don't doubt you've done a lot of climbing in Norway. I was trying to help with an area that I know very well and that clearly you don't.
For what it's worth, getting to Helbronner from the Albert Prem, following the ridgeline as much as is practical along the lines of Chardonnet, Argentiere, Tour Noire, Dolent, Triolet, Talefre, Leschaux, Jorasses, Geant... would be a pretty f*cking spectacular outing.
I look forward to reading your trip report ;)
This thread for me highlights all that is wrong with UKC. Unquestionably good advice from all concerned, but often made with an undertone of aggression. It might not be the intention, but sometimes it reads that way and I can imagine it must make posting a request for advice particularly daunting sometimes.
Haha yeah. Epic way to get to Tour Ronde for the North Face. Would feel like a cool down at that point
> Does anybody know what they used to do before there was a cable car?
> See, this is why I prefer not asking for advice on UKC..........
To me fair to beardy mike, he only had your OP to go on (and your logbook) and the fact that you felt you needed to ask about acclimatizing in Chamonix when the Midi telepherique is shut certainly made you come across as naïve and inexperienced (whether or not this is actually the case). So I think that he was absolutely spot on in advising against going straight up to the Midi, which would be asking for trouble unless you have enough experience to know you would cope with the altitude.
You are acclimatizing for what is basically a high altitude snow plod (with an exposed knife edge crest thrown in if you go on over the Bionassay), so my advice would be to forget the distraction of more technical rock recommendations and concentrate on snow plods at increasing altitude. The trouble is that Chamonix is a bit rubbish for this unless you want to potter about the Vallee Blanche, so my advice would be to go to the Pennine Alps and climb a few classic F/PD snow peaks and then nip over to Chamonix if you feel acclimatised and fit enough for Mont Blanc and the forecast is good enough. That way you'll at least climb some really superb mountains unless you are very unlucky with the weather and gain good experience for next time.
> This thread for me highlights all that is wrong with UKC. Unquestionably good advice from all concerned, but often made with an undertone of aggression
Seems like a male 'gang' thing to me, testing the newcomer so as to judge his reaction
Not unreasonable in the circumstances (risk of death)
Final piece of advice from me if you really are interested in giving advice rather than trying to talk down to people: If a person asks a question, answer the question, instead of making assumptions and insinuations about that persons experience or knowledge. That will work just as well for life in general.
I started this thread by asking for alternative acclimatization routes when the Midi car is out. What I got in return was people thinking I was going to acclimatize by going directly up to 3800m and just staying there, or people saying because I'd misread the location of a hut then suddenly the 10+ years of experience I pointed out earlier was invalidated. Then, there were some that actually responded with some good suggestions for routes and answered my question.
One way is wrong, the other way is right.
This keeps happening on this specific forum, I've never had that problem anywhere else. It's a culture problem within UKC. Because UKC is UKC, now I'll get a bunch of grief for daring to be a "newcomer" (who's been here since 2016) and pointing this out, but I thought I'd at least highlight what I got frustrated about since you didn't seem to understand it.
> I've crossed glaciers, climbed in whiteouts, climbed in fog, climbed unroped over cliffs, climbed at night, climbed through the night, had multi-day trips in -25C, climbed ice in gale force winds and in roasting sun, etc.
Err, you do know who Jon is, don’t you? If not, I suggest you find out, and try to benefit from his rather extensive experience...
I don't know who he is, but like I said, if he wants people to listen, he should know how to convey information without belittling the recipient. There are lots of very experienced guys who aren't able to pass on what they know because they don't know how to talk to those less experienced.
Go to Swiss and bag some snow plods, heed Rabs advice, he knows his onions.
Horses for courses innit, my second route was the Nord face of the Droites.
Keep digging kid.
You know there is an old saying about don't knock free advice. There are a few folk here with 20, 30, 40 years alpine experience... that's not 1-2weeks most years, many have a few months summer and winter every year.
They might not tell you what you want to hear, you can decide to ignore their ideas... but I wouldn't knock their views, just because they don't match your aspiration or you dislike their tone.
Get the alps wrong, bad route choice, over extend yourself, poor weather and it's brutal, it takes lives every year. Alpine climbing is a serious hobby.
Besides, it's a small world in the alps in peak season, you might end up sharing an abseil or belay stance with some of them.
I'm not talking down to you ffs. I'm giving you information. If you want to read something into it that isn't there then that's entirely up to you, but you'd be wrong. I suggested you go to Courmayeur because that way you'd a) be able to access the same routes as from the midi b) you'd have the Gran Paradiso down the road with its excellent surrounding training peaks to get you acclimatised if you didn't want to go straight to the Torino at 3400m and c) that the food is better. Not because I thought you wouldn't manage in Chamonix - that's just ridiculous. How is that possibly talking down to you. The fact that you didn't know where the Albert Premier was and thought you could walk to Helbronner from it simply shows a lack of research which I'd have assumed you'd have done. Jeez, I even wished you a nice trip.
Damn... people from the Swedish suburbs like Finland and Norway are usually super chill too.
I wish you a time machine, good sir, to whisk you off to somewhere like Snell's field pre interwebs for this kind of exchange.
I've apologised to you in private for my tone and I'll do it again here. Sorry, looking at a CAD model of a karabiner for 6 hours in a day by the time you post is not always conducive to being on best behaviour. I was initially trying to make a joke. But even when I started making serious points you thought I was being mean. Sometimes I'm abrasive so don't take me too seriously. As for Jon, he's just about as experienced and advice giver as you can imagine. His posts are massively well informed with decades of guiding experience. Ok so the content is slightly terse in the first instance but he's worth listening to. Anyway I'll butt out. Got sleep and climbing yo look forward to.
I didn't see the private message yet but I appreciate you saying that. And of course your advice has already been taken into account for my trip.
Sent it the night before last with some more info. Get yourself a map or get on Google maps and put it in 3d. Get to understand the lay of the land and compare it to your guide books or the logbook on here, so that at least what we're saying makes some sense to you. Climbing in Chamonix is spread out into pockets. Get to learn those and what sort of climbing they offer. Or like Jon suggested go to the Italian side... People tend to forget that you can go from that side for Mont Blanc too.
One thing I might have missed is that I think you've up to now just said 'I' and not 'we'. Does that mean you'll be on your own?
> The Frendo? Though goodness knows how they got back down.
The standard descent from the Midi was descending the Vallee Blanche and Mer de Glace. When we did it we bivvied at the Midi then did the Midi-Plan Traverse and down past the Requin the next day. Chamonix - Frendo - Plan - Chamonix with no cable cars.
I've also done Chamonix - Montenvers - Requin - Marbrees - Midi - Plan - Chamonix on foot with a tent and. Also Forbes Arete, no cable cars, just one night bivvi near the Albert Premier.
We were poor then, as were most Brits in the fifties and sixties who would do stuff like the Dru and Walker Spur with no mechanical aid. I don't recall the old Collomb/Crew guides ever mentioning cable cars, maybe the odd train. And for myself, we only had two weeks too, and these itineraries took care of the acclimatisation without wasting time on 'acclimatisation' or training climbs. We'd plan for three big routes in the fortnight, four if we had the weather and stayed high.
There's loads to go at without cable cars, in fact you can do anything without cable cars.
> There's loads to go at without cable cars, in fact you can do anything without cable cars.
When I was doing a lot in Chamonix in the eighties we would usually do the first few warm up/acclimatisation routes shunning cable cars to gain fitness and to save money. Though I must admit I've never walked to the Midi (unless you count doing a route on the Italian side of Mont Blanc and then descending that way!).
Also recall soloing the Domes des Miage, walking from St Gervais to a bivvy by the Conscrits hut, and after the route walked back to St Gervais. I must confess I hitched to La Fayet and got the train back to Chamonix.
Hi there, currently in Chamonix and the only things running are the half way car to aiguille de plan and the montenvers railway. We walked up to Albert premier via the moraine in 2.5 hours but the path is sketchy in places!! Conditions up high are not great. The snow is softening by 0900 and very little ice up to 3500m. We are off to Torino hut Thursday , hopefully better weather and conditions by then. Aiguille de l'M was ok, aiguille du tour and tete Blanche ok as well. Plenty of snow slides about by noon. Stay flexible with your plans. Enjoy
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