How can people often with no experience climb Mont Blanc in only six days? It’s totally achievable if you are fit enough, but six days is only a minimum amount of time to acclimatise for Mont Blanc so you’ll still need as many other factors in your favour as possible. Our ascent program is the result of 15 years and 3500+ clients on Mont Blanc, we’ve climbed this mountain every which way over the years and have now settled on what we think is the best possible Mont Blanc ascent program.
Booking the various huts on Mont Blanc is extremely competitive which means that the program for the week will not always be the same; we use different combinations of huts and even sometimes partially different routes to get to the summit, but you will always have two nights and therefore two possible summit days reserved for you (see Huts and Routes). You will however need to follow our Fitness Guidelines carefully in order to be able to comfortably summit via any route, even in marginal conditions.
And if despite every effort conditions are so bad it’s not even worth trying Mont Blanc? We’ll go pretty much anywhere in the alps to fill your week with exciting mountaineering (no extra cost, see this FAQ). Click on the diagram below to see the basic program for each day:
This is the second toughest day of the week and a dress rehearsal for the Mont Blanc ascent itself. Gran Paradiso is a tough but not very committing mountain, consisting mainly of a long pull up a not-too-steep glacier which is easy to reverse if someone’s fitness isn’t up to it. It is an essential test of preparedness for Mont Blanc however as the latter has the tricky section right at the start and we must be careful not to get above this with someone not strong enough to get back down again.
A 4am start is just what you need when you haven’t slept well, but that’s how we do it in the mountains so grit your teeth and just get on with it. After a not very chatty breakfast it’s kit on and away with as little fuss as possible; though it’s painful getting organised this early it’s actually a very important lesson as when you get onto Mont Blanc you’ll have even less time to waste as it’s a bigger day.
The ascent of the Gran Paradiso is 1400m from the hut to the summit, but we keep a steady pace as it’s the first climb and build in ice axe and crampon training along the way. It’s all about keeping a rhythm and not stopping too much, and the ascent should take about 5 hours in total; there’s a scary but easy traverse to get to the summit, but you’ll know if you’re OK on that (as most people are) there’s nothing as exposed on Mont Blanc.
Going back down is harder work than you think, but normally we get back to the hut around 1:30pm. You’ll be pretty much spent by now so the rest of the day is spent relaxing in the sun at the hut and taking a siesta before the evening meal. There is in fact plenty of time to get back down to the chalet, but we want to keep you at altitude for another night to maximise acclimatisation.
4am start at the Chabod hut for Gran Paradiso, Mont Blanc Guides' course day 2.
Summit of Gran Paradiso 4061m - (not everyone smiles here!)