/ Mont Blanc September 2017 - Advice needed

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Cookio - on 06 Jun 2017

For a long time I have been lured by the alpine mountaineering world.

After extensive hillwalking and EBC this year my friend and I have booked time off in September

We have the 6th to the 15th and are flying into Geneva.

It is the aspiration to attempt Mont Blanc via the Gouter on this trip if possible.

I have just looked online and the hut booking seems full, as its our first time in the region I was hoping for any advice.

Is it viable to bivi or camp?
should we base ourselves in chamonix and if so how many nights
will there be cancellations
what would be good acclimatisation routes
should we also consider Gran Paradiso?
Guided or unguided?

All help and tips would be gratefully received as it feels a little overwhelming trying to plan it with no prior experience of the area.

Thanks in advance

All help and advice would be gratefully received
mysterion on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to Cookio:
Hut bookings will free up closer to the time. Check the date the tram up from St Gervais stops running. Can acclimatise on Domes de Miage from Conscrits hut, either along the glacier or straight up and back if you don't know crevasse rescue. You will need to know all about ice axe and crampons though.
Post edited at 22:56
Chris Huntington - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to Cookio:

Hi mate.

I head out a week Friday on a completely self planned unguided.

Happy to give you some pointers if you want.
Webster - on 06 Jun 2017
In reply to Cookio:

technically wild camping is illeagal in the alps, but it is perfectly viable to bivy on the route. there is a recognised bivy spot near the tete rousse hut, which is probably a more comfortable spot but makes for a much longer summit day. I bivvied right next to the old goutier hut, literally on the balcony ledge. made for a stunning spot to watch the sunset but did mean I got woken up by early starters heading up from the lower hut!

its always far more rewarding to do things unguided, and mt blanc is non technical. but that said you still need substantial mountaineering experience to do it so only you can know if you need a guide or not.

if doing mt blanc then base yourself in the campsite in argentiere if you are on a budget. stay as long as you want/need. you can pay a reduced rate to leave an unoccupied tent up while you are on the hill.

there is no shortage of acclimatization routes to do in the Chamonix valley to suite all needs and abilities. the more you can do the more you will be able to enjoy the final slog to the summit of mt blanc!
chris smith - on 08 Jun 2017
In reply to Webster:

I would strongly recommend staying at the Torino Hut on the Italian side to acclimatize as its high 3375m also its cheap, we could stay in the hut with food cheaper than staying in chamonix, plus the beer is cheaper than chamonix. There are lots of easy walks and climbs around the hut (requires glacial travel). We would stay there for the first few nights as your acclimatizing during sleep etc, also has a cracking view of mont blanc.

We did the Gouter route a few years ago unguided its very easy to do without a guide, just follow the motorway to the top!

Good Luck
gav p - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Cookio:

There is a designated camping area on the edge of the Tete Rousse Glacier, 100m from the hut. Camping above here has been banned since the completion of the new Gouter hut. This rule is being actively enforced by the PGHM. It is easier to get reservations at Tete Rousse (especially in Sept), but the huts on MB are probably the most in-demand anywhere on the planet..

Gran Paradiso is a good acclimatisation peak, used as the warm-up by many of the guiding companies.
RuthW - on 27 Jun 2017
In reply to Cookio:

I climbed Mont Blanc guided last year via the Trois Monts route. Technically it is very straight forward - much like winter walking except for a couple of pitches on the way up Mont Maudit. But you need to know what you are doing with rope work and glacier travel etc.
If your experience is just as it says in the original post, and no more, I wonder if it would be more sensible to hire a guide? I don't think you need them to show the way, as there are plenty of people to follow, but they will keep you safe if, like me, you are an alpine novice!
We descended via the Gouter route, and it seemed straight forward (all though there was a distinct wiff around the Gouter hut, which made me glad we had stayed at Cosmiques.)
Good luck!
andrew breckill on 28 Jun 2017
In reply to RuthW:

Do the guides givve basic instruction on the correct use of the gear etc? might be usefull as well for the OP as gets the tuition thrown in with the cost of the guide.
RuthW - on 01 Jul 2017
In reply to andrew breckill:
In my limited experience it depends on the guide - The year before I went with a couple of French guides who dragged me about on a rope like a dog, with no intent to instruct at all..... which was rather unpleasant.
However, got good instruction with different guides going up Mont Blanc (and the acclimatization week before hand)
Post edited at 21:34
andrew breckill on 11 Jul 2017
In reply to RuthW:
that sounds rather inpleasant Ruth. I cannot recall ever paying much attention to the guides when i have been up there. Does not sound like an enjoyable experience. One wonders if they just treat it like a job they dont like very much? I suppose doing the same thing every day can have that effect.
msp1987 - on 25 Jul 2017
In reply to Cookio:

The Tram Way du Mont Blanc stops running to the Nid D'Aigle on the 3rd of September. Does anyone know how best to access the Gouter Route after the train has finished for the season? Is it possible to walk the train tracks from Bellevue cable car?
Mark Haward - on 26 Jul 2017
In reply to msp1987:

Yes, although not officially allowed you can walk on / beside the tracks from Bellevue cable car.
Ben_Climber - on 26 Jul 2017
In reply to msp1987:

You can walk the train tracks up to the Nid D'agile.
We had to do this in 2015 when the Tram was cancelled due to track issues. It is a bit of a slog and adds an uncomfortable gravel walk onto your first day.

Gouter route can be done without a guide. We had done plenty of walking in Scotland and some winter stuff as well.
Make sure your fit, acclimatised and informed and you will be fine!

Have a good read of this:

mattlee - on 26 Jul 2017
In reply to Cookio:


Give KE Adventure in Keskwick a call. I summited Mont Blanc in September 2015, booking via KE. The guides we used were from Chamex and were superb all the way. We acclimatised on Gran Paradiso Sunday/Monday rested Tuesday and began the Mont Blanc climb on the Wednesday afternoon. We summited Thursday lunch, overnighted at the Gouter Hut Thursday Night and walked/Trammed it back to our lodge in Argentiere on Friday followed by a "Sesh" Friday night . All of our team of eight summited and all hut's were booked and meals provided.

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