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Mont Blanc 'Achievements' 2024
2 weeks - Climb Breithorn, Gran Paradiso, & Mont Blanc
Course overview
The Mont Blanc Achievements course is the Intro 'Summits & Skills' Course with the Mont Blanc Summits course bolted on the end. It gives a total climbing novice the skills for a realistic chance of summitting Mont Blanc. As the course is over two weeks, it is ideal for those wishing to climb Mont Blanc, but who believe that they would benefit from a longer period over which to develop their skills, fitness and acclimatisation.
You need no previous experience of climbing or mountaineering. This course is suitable for keen hill walkers, indoor wall climbers, or ramblers, to introduce you to the key technical aspects necessary for mountaineering.

As with the Mont Blanc Summits course, for the ascent of Mont Blanc itself you should be capable of running a half marathon or cycling for five hours continuously. The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the views.

On the second week of this course, we are as flexible as possible with the itinerary so that, if you feel ready, fit and acclimatised, you make your summit attempt on the first good weather window, Wednesday onwards.
This course is focused on you preparing and summiting Mont Blanc, with other summits and nights spent at altitude to increase acclimatisation. There is a dedicated information page for Mont Blanc: summit focus.
Dates: these 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 and invoice.

Icicle groups on summit ridge of Gran Paradiso

Brief Course Itinerary

Sunday
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
Monday
Meet your guide in the morning, to do a full kit check, and learn how to put it on / adjust it (e.g. crampons & harness) to ensure a good fit. Then set off for the day, typically in the Aiguilles Rouges doing snow skills on mixed terrain. If good snow conditions allow, ice axe arrest can be tried, and you can build some snow anchors. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Evening theory session / meeting with course hosts: click for info. Night in Chamonix.

Gallery: Alpine skills
Tuesday
Day to learn and practice using crampons and ice axes on the Mer de Glace / Argentiere glacier (2000m). You 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 with crampons. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Evening theory session / meeting with course hosts: click for info. Night in Chamonix.

Gallery: Mer de Glace

Wednesday
Snow covered glacier travel skills, practising building snow anchors, crevasse rescue, route choice / probing for crevasses. The day is spent with a journey across either the Vallee Blanche, Pointe Lachenal and the Col du Midi, or on the Argentiere glacier basin. The day is essential for your acclimatisation before your main ascent. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max).
Evening theory session / meeting with course hosts: click for info. Night in Chamonix.

Gallery: Lachenal & Vallee Blanche

Main ascent options - Thursday & Friday

Breithorn 4164m Gran Paradiso 4061m Vincent Pyramid 4215m
A choice of approach from either the Swiss or Italian sides, to reach the from the Plateau Rosa, staying in the Theodul or Guide del Cervino huts. After a night in one of these, you wake up early to start your ascent up to the Breithorn plateau at 3900m, where the slope steepens to around 30 degrees, on the snowy flank of Breithorn to bring you to its highest Western summit. The descent is made by the same route, past the mountain hut again, around lunchtime. After you descend to the valley, you then return to Chamonix for Friday night. Drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Valsavaranches, and Pont at its head, where you trek up to either the Vittorio Emanuele or Chabod mountain hut for the night. After an Alpine start, you set off in the dark, across the moraines to reach the glacier and ascend to the plateau below the summit ridge. Here the route steepens, and you reach the rocky scramble on the top section to reach the summit. Descend the same route via the hut to collect anything you have left, to reach the valley in mid afternoon. Return to Chamonix for the night. A longer drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to the Gressoney area, up to Staffal, where you take the cable car to then trek up to the Mantova or Gnifetti huts for the night. A very early start the next day, as dawn breaks across the mountains, to ascend the Mont Rosa plateau towards the ridgeline including the summit of Vincent Pyramid. The snowy glacier surface steepens as you pass below the rocky slopes to curve up right to reach the summit. Descent via the same route back to the valley, and return to Chamonix for the night.

Photo gallery: Gran Paradiso 4061m. Guiding ratio 1:3 (max).
Saturday & Sunday
Breakfast, then you have two days off to really concentrate on resting and relaxation. Some people opt to book a tandem paraglider flight in the morning to celebrate the first weeks efforts, and prices for this are from c.100€ for a c.30 minute flight. These flights can be booked in resort up to the day before you wish to fly. On the Sunday evening you meet at 17:00 for a briefing on the plans for the second week
.

Gallery: Chamonix rock climbing
Monday
After breakfast you meet our resort team, and guide, for a weather briefing and final kit checks for Gran Paradiso. You are driven by minibus (core season) through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Val Savaranches in Italy, then ascend to the Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II or Chabod mountain hut, where you spend the night on a half board basis. Guiding ratio 1:3 (max) in hut, or 1:6 (max) for approach. Night in mountain hut in Italy.

Gallery: Paradiso National Park
Tuesday
Alpine start (c.4 am) to climb Gran Paradiso 4061, the highest peak completely in Italy. There are 4 possible normal routes to the summit, to cater for conditions / experience, all of which converge on the Col Montcorve. The route steepens to the final summit ridge, which although short is quite exposed, but well protected. The summit views are stupendous in all directions! Descend to Pont for return transfer to Chamonix
. Night in Chamonix.

Gallery: Gran Paradiso 4061m
Wednesday
This day is flexible to allow you to normally climb another acclimatisation route to a summit, or to start your ascent of Mont Blanc if weather or hut spaces dictate. Typical routes for the day include Cosmiques Arete, Aiguilles Marbrees, Pointe Lachenal or Aiguille du Toule. Return to Chamonix to prepare for Mont Blanc. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Evening briefing session / meeting with course hosts: click for info. Night in Chamonix.

Gallery: Petite Aiguille Verte
Thursday
Equipment and bag checks before you set off to climb up to one of the high huts, either the Gouter / Tête Rousse / Gonella mountain 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
Friday
Summit 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, lowest windss, and to minimise the risks of stonefall or afternoon storms on the descent. You typically reach the valley in the afternoon. Guiding ratio 1:2 (max). Most teams opt to meet up to go out for drinks and a celebratory meal. Final night in Chamonix.

Gallery: Mont Blanc Gonella
Saturday
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
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionally we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.

Course Prices
An Introduction course (£999) followed by Mont Blanc Summits course (£1899), totals £2898, so you save £49!
Standard course
10 days guiding, 14 days holiday in total £2849
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system

Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain Guide for ten days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Evening technical instruction / briefing sessions, 4) Twin / double room self-catered accommodation in Chamonix (inc. linen, bedding & towels) for the 2 weeks, so you don't move out when in huts, 5) Three nights half board in mountain huts / base camp for you and guide (1 on first week, 1 on Gran Paradiso & 1 on Mont Blanc), 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 and transfer to and from main ascent area on first week, and Gran Paradiso on second week, 10) Icicle discounts privilege QR code list for reductions in local shops and restaurants in Chamonix.

Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Equipment hire, 3) Cable cars & uplift for 5 days on first week, and last 3 days of second week (c.23.5€ return for Mont Blanc tramway), 4) Optional second night (not normally required) in Mont Blanc hut on a half board basis for you and guide, 5) Transport (inc. tolls / bus / tunnel ticket) and uplift for you and guide not specified in the inclusions, 6) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals in valley, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 7) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 8) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.

Course upgrade options
Many clients on this trip consider upgrading with one or more of the following course additions...
 
Private
room
Big 5 Alpine
extensions
Technical
kit rental
Acclimatise
weekend
  Upgrade to single from
£300-£500 in addition to
standard course price,
depending on week.
Extend by 2 days after
to ascend one of the
Big 5 Alpine peaks as
an extra summit.
Rent all technical kit
for a week. Full Alpine
Bundle costs you just
£100 for the week.
Saturday night spent in
Chamonix, with choice
of self-guided or guided
on Sunday. From £70.
  Click for details Click for details Click for details Click for details
 
Standard 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 invoice.
FREE Alpine summits open eve
This 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 from 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.
Weekend dates
Course spaces and dates for the UK Alpine Training Weekend (link)...


Course Dates
Alpine training weekend
  • [5+] 9 - 10 Mar 2024
  • [5+] 1 - 2 Jun 2024
Col of Gran Paradiso
Current course availability

Course Dates
Mt Blanc Achievements
  • [ 0 ] 30 Jun - 13 Jul 2024
  • [ 1 ] 14 - 27 Jul 2024
  • [ 2 ] 28 Jul - 10 Aug 2024
  • [ 4 ] 11 - 24 Aug 2024
  • [ 0 ] 25 Aug - 7 Sep 2024
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Price: £2849 Book online

Alternative courses
Alpine Autonomy course
Alpine Introduction course
Mont Blanc Summit

Winter Mount Toubkal

Client feedback


I just wanted to say thank you for the most fantastic two weeks this summer. I had such an amazing time, loved every minute of it. You guys do such a brilliant job and i am so so greatful to you both for 'looking after' me. I am already trying to think of things to do next summer and I'm really keen to come out again for a few weeks. I have attached a few of pictures I took, thought the one of the three of us girlies with the guides at the top was a good one! I hope you are all well, and hopefully see you again next year!

Laura O , Achievements

Guides were very proactive with teaching and understanding of beginners. Course was good. Covered a wide range of stuff

John A , Achievements

Fun and informative all the time

Jess W , Achievements
Testimonials
Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
Location data for this trip
The 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.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Films from the summit
Free resources


FREE Podcast
Training for Mont Blanc
A no holes barred podcast, to fully explain what an ascent entails physically and technically, including several examples of hill training.
Download podcast (3.48 MB)
See all the Icicle podcasts
Equipment - summit day kit list...
We 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.
Basic 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 / plastic 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)
Altitude gear
- Synthetic or down insulation jacket
- Goggles in case of high wind
- Neoprane face mask in case of wind
- Thick waterproof over gloves
- Windproof over trousers (eg PacLite)
General 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
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
Pro top tips - geeks corner!
Why choose our trips?
See our Alpine blog, by clicking on the Word-press logo to the right.
Icicle Blog
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather windows on any day, to maximise your summit chances.
Our prices are fixed in £ Sterling, to protect you from euro fluctuations, so you can budget accurately.
There is a choice of routes to opt for, depending on the weather, conditions, and your experience.
Any further questions?
A 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.



Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor.


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