Concentrating on Mont Blanc allows us to put all our efforts into continually improving our program. Our courses have been carefully designed to emphasise the following:
We are very proud of our safety record. Accidents are always possible in the mountains and the fact that an operator has had one does not necessarily mean they are a bad operator; however in over one thousand clients to date, we have had nothing worse than a badly sprained ankle and cuts and bruises.
This is hugely important as most people need at least three days to acclimatise for Mont Blanc, so this time must be used as efficiently as possible. We maximise the amount of time you spend sleeping in high mountain huts at gradually increasing altitudes, as this is more effective than going high for the day then returning to the valley. See the altitude section of our FAQ database for more information.
We allocate three days in the week for the actual Mont Blanc ascent (with additional guides) instead of the usual two; this is achieved without compromising on acclimatisation at all, and gives us much more flexibility in the event of bad weather. We reserve two nights in the (highly competitive) Mont Blanc huts, so we can decide when to make our attempt based on the latest weather forecast.
We have developed an original approach to our timetable on Mont Blanc itself, which means that we are completely out of sync with the majority of climbers on the mountain, and are often alone on the top. This contributes significantly to the overall enjoyment of the climb, and makes for much more of a "wilderness experience".
As well as acclimatisation, your first three days with us are spent learning the necessary skills and practising them on training peaks in the massif. We'll make sure you've covered all the different types of ground you'll encounter on Mont Blanc and are prepared to deal with it, as well as having a solid understanding of the use of ice axe and crampons, and how you'll be moving on the rope with your guide.
Our guides will always be happy to explain any decision they make to you, and to answer any questions you may have; rather than just guiding you to the summit, our aim is to show you how the whole process works, and give you an insight into the world of mountaineering.
We think the following points are important in considering us as your Mont Blanc guiding company:
By concentrating exclusively on Mont Blanc, we've focussed all our experience and effort into what we believe is the best Mont Blanc program available.
Our testimonials section. Please note that everyone who gave us feedback kindly agreed to add their email address so they could be contacted by prospective future clients with questions about us.
We are an owner operated company, and our director (John Taylor) is himself an IFMGA guide based in the Chamonix valley at the foot of Mont Blanc, and works on many of our courses.
Our price includes all guiding fees, half board accommodation in luxury chalets in the valley (i.e. with breakfast and evening meal, see accommodation section), half board accommodation in mountain huts, all lifts and valley transportation. The only things not included are getting to and from Chamonix, equipment hire (as people often have their own; about 140€ for the week for axe, crampons, helmet, harness, boots) and midday snacks while climbing.
Arrive in Chamonix on Wednesday or Saturday afternoon, depending on course selected. 6pm welcome drink and presentation followed by dinner.
(moderate day): Meet in the valley after breakfast to check equipment and hire additional boots, crampons, ice axes etc. as needed. Ascend to Chabod hut (2750m, about 900m of ascent usually taking around 2 1/4 hours). Evening meal and begin acclimatisation process.
(demanding day): leave hut around 4:30 am to take advantage of hard overnight snow, which is much easier to walk on. Ascend Gran Paradiso (4061m, 1300m of ascent over 4-5 hours) before descending to Vittorio Emmannuelle hut (2775m), aiming to arrive early afternoon. Evening meal at hut.
(recovery day): after brakfast at the hut around 7:30am, a short session of technical training before descending back to the vehicles and returning to Chamonix. Rest of day spent relaxing, sorting out any gear problems, and buying snack food for the main ascent:
Days 4,5, and 6
These days are reserved for climbing Mont Blanc itself. Given good weather we ascend to the Tete Rousse hut on day 4 (moderate day), climb Mont Blanc with an early start on day 5 (very demanding day), then descend to the valley on day 6 (easy day), but this plan may well change according to weather. Not having a fixed summit day greatly improves the chances of making a successful ascent, and the extra time means we can avoid the crowds starting from the Gouter hut. If you've still got some surplus energy on Friday afternoon we can go rock climbing or try a via ferrata, but you may well prefer just to sit in a café in the sun by then!
The course finishes officially at 5pm on day 6, though you’re welcome to stay another night with us (no extra charge) if you prefer to travel the following day.