Mont Blanc 4810m is the highest summit in
Western Europe. To get to the 'roof of Europe',
we normally ascend by either the 'Traverse'
route of the Trois Mont Blanc from the Midi,
the Gonella route from the Italian Val Veny,
or via the classic Gouter route.
Our primary focus is on getting you to the
summit, no faffing, no discussion, no fuss.
If you train hard, are focused, and the weather
plays ball, we'll get you up there. If you
want us to wave a magic wand, and not put
in the training before, this really isn't
the mountain for you. We are doers, not dreamers.
For the Mont Blanc ascent you need excellent
fitness, stamina and determination. You do
not necessarily need any previous crampon
or altitude experience, though it would be
a real bonus. Any skills you have will help,
as well as great balance combined with the
ability to move quickly and efficiently over
broken mountain terrain is essential. You
should be confident on steep ridges, but don't
worry as you are taught all the necessary
ropework and skills during the week.
Due to the altitude and the length of the
climb, we never declare the ascent to be easy.
It is an unforgettable experience to reach
the summit, and you will test the skills you
have learnt along the way.
This course is focused on you summitting Mont
Blanc, with other summits and nights spent
at altitude to increase acclimatisation. There
is a dedicated information page for Mont Blanc:
which details the experience and fitness required
for the climb.
principal feature of this course are the evening
theory sessions (optional attendance), where
you can opt to be taught a wide range of extra
skills including; from knots and ropework,
crevasse rescue hoist systems, or route planning.
Click for details.
This helps maximise your climbing time during
are listed in the column on the right, and
they show the live availability from our secure
online booking system. When you book online,
you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine
Information Booklet, course specific kit list
ascending the Bosses Arete towards the summit at dawn,
having ascended via the Gouter.
ethics for Mont Blanc ascents
only offer honest and ethical ascents of Mont Blanc.
our blog post about it (click
here). We insist on a minimum age of 18 if unaccompanied, or 16 if they are climbing with their parent throughout the week. The ages are as per the start date of the course, to allow flexibility for summit days.
only offered when cable cars / trains are operating,
to avoid huge approach walks. The dates for the
Tramway Mont Blanc are mid June - mid September
This limits the duration of our season, but it maximises
your summit chances, and is the ethical way of operating.
the normal route there are two huts you could stay
in, the Tete Rousse 3167m or Gouter 3835m. To reach
the Tete Rousse takes approximately 2 hours from
the Nid dAigle, and the Gouter is a further
2 hour climb above. All our Mont Blanc courses usually
have spaces booked in the Gouter hut, to make the
summit day shorter, and therefore easier. Occasionally
we also use the Cosmiques 3613m, Tete Rousse 3187m (hut / base camp)
or Gonella 3071m, dependent on conditions, weather
sticking with our principles, we are making the
summit a more realistic goal for you, and we are
focusing on safety. We believe that for those of
you who really do their research, you will be more
attracted to a company who wants you to succeed
more than the others. It isnt therefore a
case of how often we operate this trip, but when
and how we operate it.
& Joe on the summit of Mont Blanc 4810m, ascent via
Traverse, descent via Gouter.
you should climb with Icicle
has been offering guided ascents on Mont Blanc for
nearly two decades now, and so we have excellent
local contacts and detailed knowledge of conditions
to optimise your summitting chances, not to mention
being highly aware of risks to keep you safe too.
is through these local connections that we can sometimes
be very flexible with our itinerary to enable you
to attempt Mont Blanc on almost any day of your
course, as we can often arrange spaces in mountain
huts or on cable cars at very short notice, even
in the key summer season.
mid last summer, a new permit system was introduced
on Mont Blanc, where proof of hut bookings was required
and checked by Gendarmierie on the mountain. This
changed nothing for our groups, as hut spaces are
guaranteed. It does help enforce a 1:2 guiding ratio
(1:1 on Traverse) for safety.
the first training day at a 1:6 guiding ratio, you
have four days guiding at a 1:2 ratio. These four
days are more than any other operator provides,
and are essential to give you flexibility for making
a summit attempt on the first weather window.
Honest:Many of those who are thinking of booking a Mont Blanc trip, find our 'The Hard Facts' booklet a useful and honest reality check. We encourage all climbers to give it a read before they book; click
here. You won't find a more brutally honest, and realistic summary out there. If it puts you off an ascent, that's probably for the best for everyone. Mont Blanc isn't an ideal first 4000m peak, it's ascent has a potential of relatively high objective dangers, and it's physically harder than almost every climber thinks. Please read it!
of teams illuminating the route from the Col du Dome to
Vallot shelter and the summit ridge.
can I improve my chances on Mont Blanc?
Mont Blanc isn't technically difficult, however you require excellent fitness and stamina, as well
as great balance combined with the ability to move
quickly and efficiently over broken mountain terrain.
Also your footwork, and ability to cope with great exposure on steep ridges is highly important. If you are unsure about your fitness and skills, consider booking on a UK
Alpine Training weekend in the Lake District.
no experience is required for Mont
Blanc, every single bit you do have or get before
the course will stack the odds in your favour. Experience
helps increase flexibility in terms of weather windows,
routes, speed, and safety. Higher levels of experience
will help raise summiting chances. You can also attend a FREE Mont Blanc open evening (more
details) in our Windermere office.
can't book the weather, but we do guarantee to do
our best to maximise your summit chances by tailoring
the course to you, the individual. There's no reliable
way of predicting weather on a particular week,
but we only offer ascents in the key season where
the weather is typically stable anti-cyclonic pattern,
not pushing into the early or late season where
weather can be more unsettled with fresh snowfalls.
ascent of Mont Blanc should not be underestimated,
and you should arrive for this course in good physical
condition as the climb will probably be the greatest
physical exertion of your life. Please don't ignore
this issue. You should be at least half marathon
fitness, in a respectable time. It's even better
if you are marathon fit! We highly recommend that
you read our training page (click
here) for details.
It's naive to say that 'X'
days is 'ideal' for Mont Blanc ascents, as every
exra day you spend at altitude will improve your
acclimatisation. It can be as simple as reading
a book at the Aiguille du Midi, sleeping in a rented
hyperbaric chamber at home, or in tens of other
ways. We recommend that you book on an Acclimatisation
to extend your trip. By acclimatising earlier you
provide more summit flexibility.
Jo & Jonathan on the summit of Mont Blanc 4810m,
having climbed via the Gouter Route.
Brief Course Itinerary
note that whilst the itinerary below is an ideal, the
weather and conditions, as well as your skills, fitness,
experience and acclimatisation all play a part too. In
our decade of experience, we have found that hardly two
weeks ever run the same, and even on a particular week
sometimes different summit groups go on different days
from different huts. Whilst the itinerary notes outline
this, it is imperitive that you understand how flexible
this course must be. You are dealing with the high mountains
and extreme altitude, not a prescribed coach tour!
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in
followed by and course safety and itinerary briefings.
There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment.
Briefings are over by 19:00 and the team accompany
the group to pre-dinner drinks. Many clients opt
to travel out a day or two early to do an acclimatisation
weekend course to provide an extra night of accommodation,
and to ascend a 3000m peak. Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Chamonix town
to learn and practice using crampons and ice axes
on the Mer de Glace glacier (2000m). You also climb
vertical ice, create ice anchors, and learn glacier
travel skills. This is one of your most important
days of the course in terms of skills development
as it is essential to have good footwork on Mont
Blanc. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max).
theory session / meeting with course hosts: click
Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Mer de Glace
route to a summit. Continue to a mountain hut for
the night or return to Chamonix. The aim is to develop
your skills at altitude. The choice of the 1 or
2 day routes is made in reaction to which day you
attempt Mont Blanc, as we can alter the itinerary
to maximise your chances. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max).
theory session / meeting with course hosts: click
Night in Chamonix or hut.
Gallery: Cosmiques Arete
route to a summit. Either an Alpine start from the
mountain hut or a second acclimatisation route.
Typical routes for the last two days include Cosmiques
Arete, Gran Paradiso, Petite Verte, Pointe Lachenal
or Aiguille du Tour. Return to Chamonix to prepare
for Mont Blanc. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max).
theory session / meeting with course hosts: click
Night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Petite Aiguille Verte
and bag checks before you set off to climb up to
one of the high huts, either the Cosmiques / Gonella
/ Gouter / Tête Rousse hut for the night.
Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). The choice of route that
you take on Mont Blanc, and which hut(s) you stay
in is a function of the weather, conditions, and
your skills and fitness. Often different teams suit
different plans to maximise their summit chances.
Night in hut on Mont Blanc.
Gallery: Mont Blanc Gouter
Mont Blanc 4810m from an Alpine start from the high
hut, and descend to Chamonix. It
is usual to reach the summit just after sunrise,
to take advantage of the best snow conditions, and
to minimise the risks of stonefall or late afternoon
storms. Reach valley afternoon, celebrations in
the evening. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max).
In the evening there are optional drinks and a celebratory
meal. Final night in Chamonix.
Gallery: Mont Blanc Gonella
Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by
10:00. Most arrange their transfers for around this
time for a flight from Geneva about midday. Some
people opt to book a tandem paraglider flight in
the morning to celebrate the weeks efforts, and
prices for this are from 100€ for a c.30 minute
flight. These flights can be booked in resort up
to the day before you wish to fly. Depart for home.
Gallery: Icicle Windermere office
NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain
adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionaly
we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case,
suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this itinerary
as a guide to the types of route / activity you attempt.
arriving at the Gouter mountain hut, which is the most
popular route choice for our teams.
our team to answer your queries
your ascent of Mont Blanc, you'll doubtless have loads
of queries that pop into your head. Many people find that
to speak to someone face to face is far easier and more
informative that hundreds of e-mails, so we offer two
options; 1) Book in a meeting with a course advisor in
our Windermere office, or 2) Attend an open evening.
Alpine summits open evening
is an event extra to the UK
Alpine Training weekend course. It is
FREE and open to those booked on our Mont Blanc
/ Eiger / Matterhorn trips. The event runs 18:00
to 19:30 at our Windermere shop, to show films of
the routes, and discuss kit and training. You don't
need to be attending the weekend course to join
the open evening (more
details). E-mail us to reserve space(s)
and confirm availability. Dates are the Saturdays
of the weekend dates on the right.
Course spaces and dates for
the UK Alpine Training Weekend (link)...
Course Dates Alpine training weekend
[ 3 ] 8 - 9 Feb 2020
[ 4 ] 2 - 3 May 2020
[ 4 ] 30 - 31 May 2020
yet another thing that really sets us apart from web-based
companies. Meet the real people in a real office, who
you speak to on the phone, who answer your queries, and
who are there to help manage logistics both before and
during your trip. Ours is an infrastructure that is tangibly
there to support you from start to finish.
of the new Gouter mountain hut, showing the sleeping pods,
and beds with pillows and duvets.
days guiding, 7 days holiday in total
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guide
for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics
& briefings, 3) Evening technical instruction / briefing
sessions, 4) Twin / double room B&B accommodation
in Chamonix (inc. linen, bedding & towels) for the
whole week, so you don't move out when in huts, 5) One
night half board in mountain hut / base camp on Mont Blanc
for you and guide, 6) Pre course information booklet,
7) Equipment discount voucher for our UK shop, 8) Free
36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 9) Road
transport in Chamonix valley, 10) Icicle discounts privilege
QR code list for reductions in local shops and restaurants
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Equipment hire, 3)
Cable cars & uplift (c. 80 euros depending on itinerary),
4) Optional second or more nights (not normally required)
in a mountain hut / base camp on a half board basis for
you and guide, 5) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches,
evening meals in valley, & any purchases in mountain
huts / hotels / restaurants, 6) Road transport outside
Chamonix valley (not usually required), 7) Sunday pre-dinner
drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 8)
Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
This course assumes 1:2 guiding from Tuesday to Friday,
after a shared glacier day of up to 1:6 ratio on the Monday.
Note that in the exceptionally rare occasion where is
there is just one person booked on a course, less 1:1
guiding days can be offered, however accommodation will
be provided for the whole week, and guiding options and
locations will be discussed with you within the budget
Many clients on this
trip consider upgrading with one or more of
the following course additions...
to single from
£300-£500 in addition to
standard course price,
depending on week.
Blanc two day;
1:1 £1199, 1:2 £599pp
(booking together). Eiger
or Matterhorn 1:1 £1299.
from B&B to
have 3 course evening
meals in Chamonix for
5 nights for £99pp.
night spent in
Chamonix, with choice
of self-guided or guided
on Sunday. From £50.
course accommodation - normally clients are based
in self-catered flats (details),
so take a look, and decide if it's for you. For
more luxury, contact us for quotes in higher standard
apartments, or hotels of any standard required.
If you have / source your own course accommodation,
or we cannot provide an upgrade, the standard course
price has a £100pp reduction applied on your
Course Dates Mont Blanc
[ 3 ] 14 - 20 Jun 2020
[ 3 ] 21 - 27 Jun 2020
[ 4 ] 28 Jun - 4 Jul 2020
[ 3 ] 5 - 11 Jul 2020
[ 3 ] 12 - 18 Jul 2020
[ 4 ] 19 - 25 Jul 2020
[ 2 ] 26 Jul - 1 Aug 2020
[ 4 ] 2 - 8 Aug 2020
[ 3 ] 9 - 15 Aug 2020
[ 4 ] 16 - 22 Aug 2020
[ 4 ] 23 - 29 Aug 2020
[ 3 ] 30 Aug - 5 Sep 2020
[ 2 ] 6 - 12 Sep 2020
course? If your ideal date is showing
as full on the list above, get in contact,
as we also offer private 1:2 and 1:1
trips on any date during the season.
The 1:1 price is £2499, and the
1:2 price is £1649pp. To book
a bespoke 1:1 or 1:2 Mont Blanc trip,
book one place on the 1:1 course (click
for link) and we will
adapt the invoice.
action filled week, and a perfect ending
reaching the summit of Mont Blanc
on a clear day. From the top we could
see hundreds of miles Alan
N , Mont Blanc Summit
Mont Blanc was harder than I thought,
but so rewarding too Sally
, Mont Blanc Summit
summit, 100% happy, 100% thanks! A
once in a lifetime holiday.
I can't explain how much your support
and knowledge meant to me. It gave me
a total sense of confidence and trust,
which was essential during the final
, Mont Blanc Summit
trips are based in the Chamonix valley in the French Alps,
at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a
90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
from the summit
to the hut?
for 2019! Helicopter drops are not allowed in France,
but if you wish to avoid ascending the Gouter couloir,
or to save energy, you can now arrange to fly in and out
of the Gonella hut on the Italian route. This costs 300€
per flight (not included in the course price), and it
can carry up to 5 people and a pilot.
Is it cheating? No more than taking the cable car and
tramway on the Gouter route, or the cable car to Aiguille
du Midi. Start at Nice beach at a low tide if your ethics
are really that stringent.
for Mont Blanc
A no holes barred podcast, to fully
explain what an ascent entails physically
and technically, including several examples
of hill training.
send a course specific equipment list to all those booking
on our courses, but due to the popularity of this course,
we outline a typical packing list for the Mont Blanc summit
day in the list below.
clothing - Light coloured long
sleeve wicking layer
- Schoeller / soft shell climbing trousers
- Mid layer fleece jacket / gillet
- Fleece hat and gloves, and sunhat / cap
- B3 leather / hybrid boots, and gaiters
Equipment - Harness, helmet, ice
axe (without leash)
- 12 point crampons andanti-balling plates
- 1 x 120cm Sling, 1 x karabiner, 1 x prussic
- Telescopic trekking poles with snow baskets
- Head torch (LED style is lightest type)
gear - Synthetic or down insulation
- Goggles in case of high wind
- Neoprane face mask in case of wind
- Thick waterproof over gloves
- Windproof over trousers (eg PacLite)
kit - Close fitting sun glasses
(Factor 4 for snow)
- Pocket snacks for summit day (eg Haribos)
- Water bottle (bladder type may freeze)
- Rucksack (up to 35 litres max is ideal)
- Basic blister kit, Aspirin, suncream
full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, click
choose our trips?
our Mont Blanc blog, by clicking on the Word-press
logo to the right.
offer a range of courses to suit you, with 5, 6,
10 or 12 days of actual guiding for your ascent.
There isn't one plan that suits all.
Four days with extra guides (1:2) to make your ascent.
No operators offer as many days 1:2 guiding. Most
only offer 2 or 3 days 1:2.
Four days of 1:2 guiding, enable you to climb other
summits as well as Mont Blanc, rather than some
operatirs who use 4 days of a trip walking up and
down from huts!
We usually start from the high huts on Mont Blanc
(Gouter hut or the Cosmiques or Gonella), to give
you the shortest summit climb.
flexibility to allow you to take full advantage
of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your
prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect
you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the
weather, conditions, and your experience.
you don't choose us?
of the downfalls of not booking with Icicle
for your Mont Blanc attempt are.....
days with the potential for summit weather windows
= less chance of success.
Total itinerary flexibility to make your summit
attempt at the first weather window when ready.
Some operators make you check out of your valley
accommodation when you are in huts!
others cost more
many offerings out there that cost upwards of £600-£1200
more than us. Why? For luxury half board chalet accommodation.
We save you c.£100 per night on these prices. A
bed is a bed, so we include accommodation, that is functional
with basic self-catering facilities. That's quite some
dinner and drinks you could have for the c.£100
per night savings, or you could keep your hard earned
money in your bank account instead!
a virtual ascent?
Streetview and Mammut 360 provide images of virtual ascents,
so you can 'climb', from your sofa ;-) Click on the images
below to link...
key part of choosing a company is being able to come and
talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor
face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know
our clients value speaking to real people, getting open
and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are
British, and our office and outdoor store is based in
Windermere in the English Lake District. Arrange a meeting,
and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person
with a trip
advisor. Many people opt for this service,
and it is an integral part of what we offer, to ensure
that you are prepared as possible.
well as talking though your course, most clients have
queries about the kit they will require, to avoid expensive
mistakes, and we can show you some examples of that to
consider. Others have training queries, about how to best
prepare for your trip, and we will be able to steer you
in the right direction. No question is too silly, and
we'll have heard them all before! An integral part of
booking is the ability to get good knowledgable advice,
and a highly personal service. Unlike companies that only
exist virtually in cyberspace, we are staffed by real
people, in a real office, who offer real honest advice.
Because we are tangible, we are accountable, and we take
great pride in that and the service that we offer you.
Get in touch to come in for a chat soon.
Feedback & photos from Mont Blanc summit...
To read more specific feedback
here, and for all feedback click
photos! And what a fantastic trip! Memories that will last
forever! A huge thank you to the best team and to Icicle and
all our guides! Spot on!" Jo W, Mont Blanc
on frills. High on skills. A no-nonsense week exactly as you
advertised. Great team both on and off the mountain, who all
made it happen for us" Stephen R, Mont Blanc
happy to have reached the summit. Gio was a great guide, who
took care of us, and always made us feel safe. We couldn't
have do it without him" Sophie McM, Mont Blanc
wanted to say a massive thanks (and to the other guys in the office
and the guides) on behalf of me and A, for your support and advice
during the week, and for rearranging the schedule and sorting the
extra night in Gouter at such short notice to allow us to summit safely.
I know that must have been a challenge and just wanted to say it was
much appreciated. We had a fantastic time - a really tough challenge,
but you guys made it so much better and took a lot of the worry and
stress away. Hope to see you again on another trip somewhere"
Vinny H, Mont Blanc