Summit: Mont Blanc 4810m is the highest summit in
Western Europe. To get to the 'roof of Europe',
we normally ascend via the classic Gouter route,
or by the Gonella route from the Italian Val Veny (early season). The week starts with a 2 day acclimatisation and training ascent of Gran Paradiso 4061m.
USP: 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.
Skills: You need excellent
fitness, stamina and determination. Following the glacial evolution during the heatwaves of 2022, sections (e.g. Bosses Arete) are more technical, so a minimum of 2 days crampon experience is now a pre-requisite, and ideally a 4000m Alpine peak / altitude experience. Great balance, combined with the
ability to move quickly and efficiently over
broken mountain terrain, is essential. You
should be confident on steep ridges. You are taught any necessary
ropework and skills during the week.
Effort: 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.
Acclimatisation: Our itinerary includes an ascent of Gran Paradiso 4061m, at the start of the week. This helps you to acclimatise and develop skills, and the night is spent half board in a mountain hut at altitude. You are then ideally prepared for your main ascent of Mont Blanc, climbed over two days, with your second mountain hut night spent on Mont Blanc. By acclimatising early you
provide more summit flexibility.
principal feature of this course are the route / weather briefings and kit checks for your main ascents. The principle sessions are the welcome briefing on Sunday, a Gran Paradiso briefing and kit checks on Monday before you set off, and a Mont Blanc briefing the evening before your ascent.
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. To read more about seasons, please click here.
ascending the Bosses Arete towards the summit at dawn,
having ascended via the Gouter.
can I improve my chances on Mont Blanc?
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.
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 far into the early or late season where
weather can be more unsettled with fresh snowfalls.
Preparation: To help prepare for an attempt on Mont Blanc, we recommend you book on at least one or more of these training and skills courses, to build up your fitness and skills to an ascent, to give you the very best chance. Experience
helps increase flexibility in terms of weather windows,
routes, speed, and safety. Higher levels of experience
will help raise summiting chances. Train hard, climb easy!
Mountain Training w/e
Winter Toubkal 4167m
Lakes Rock Climbing
Scottish Winter Skills
Lake District weekend mountain training trips to develop footwork and hill fitness. 1:6 ratio; link
Climb the highest peak in the Morrocan Atlas, and develop crampon skills on the climb; link
Weekend of roped scrambles & multi pitch rock climbing, on a 1:2 instructor ratio ; link
Fort William based winter skills course. 2 days guiding 1:4 to build your crampon skills; link
& 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 well
over two decades, and so we have excellent
local contacts and detailed knowledge of conditions
to optimise your summitting chances, not to mention
being highly aware of the objective risks, and how best 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, once you are acclimatised and ready, and if requested can book extra hut nights for training climbs even during the week.
Permits: For the past few years, a new 'permit' system was introduced
on Mont Blanc, where proof of hut bookings was required
and checked by Gendarmerie 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 ascent of Gran Paradiso (1:3 on summit day), you
spend the rest of the week at a 1:2 guiding ratio. This gives you a little more flexibility on the mountain for making
your summit attempt, or to adapt to suit your training needs / weather / conditions, to help maximise your summit chances.
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.
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.
Seasons: We offer ascents in core season, and also in the low season... Core season -
course dates from 18 June - 9 September 2023
In this period, ascents
are operated when all cable cars / trains are due to be operating,
to limit approach walks. The dates for the
Tramway Mont Blanc are mid June - mid September
This limits the core season to a 12 week period, but it maximises
your summit chances, and is easier physically. Low season -
courses from 4 -17 June and 10 - 30 September 2023
During low season, it is quieter in the mountains due to less infrastructure being open, but there typically is cooler conditions with more snow on the route. Dates during these seasons are operated remotely, with no resort team other than the guides. Icicle hire kit isn't available, but you can rent locally.
the normal route there are two huts you could stay
in, the Tete Rousse 3167m (hut / base camp) 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. We also use the Gouter 3835m, 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.
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 then you are free to go out for 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
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
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
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
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
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
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 on 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 3
Book in a meeting with a course advisor in our Windermere office, Attend an open evening on an UK
Alpine Training weekend course, Join one of our pre-trip Zoom / Facebook meetings and presentations.
Human - it's
what sets us apart from web-based
companies. Meet the real people in a real UK 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. Our infrastructure 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
IFMGA mountain guides for 5 days
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 self-catered accommodation
in Chamonix (inc. linen, bedding & towels) for the
whole week, so you don't move out when in huts, 5) Two
nights half board in mountain huts / base camp for you and guide (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 Gran Paradiso, 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 for last 3 days (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) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches,
evening meals in valley, & any purchases in mountain
huts / hotels / restaurants, 6) Sunday pre-dinner
drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 7)
Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
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.
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.
night spent in
Chamonix, with choice
of self-guided or guided
on Sunday. From £70.
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
What kit do you pack for climbing Mont Blanc?
Course Dates Mont Blanc
[ 2 ] 4 - 10 Jun 2023
[ 1 ] 11 - 17 Jun 2023
[ 0 ] 18 - 24 Jun 2023
[ 0 ] 25 Jun - 1 Jul 2023
[ 1 ] 2 - 8 Jul 2023
[5+] 9 - 15 Jul 2023
[ 2 ] 16 - 22 Jul 2023
[5+] 23 - 29 Jul 2023
[ 1 ] 30 Jul - 5 Aug 2023
[ 0 ] 6 - 12 Aug 2023
[5+] 13 - 19 Aug 2023
[5+] 20 - 26 Aug 2023
[ 2 ] 27 Aug - 2 Sep 2023
[ 4 ] 3 - 9 Sep 2023
[ 4 ] 10 - 16 Sep 2023
[ 4 ] 17 - 23 Sep 2023
online Early bird discount of £100 is applied to all bookings with deposits paid by 31/12/22.
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.
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
P , 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
R , Mont Blanc Summit
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
to the hut?
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.
Why Icicle for Mont Blanc?
Well over 20 years experience of running these ascents safely, and with high summiting records.
Great guide ratio's on Mont Blanc (1:2), and Gran Paradiso (1:3) on summit days, to keep you safe.
2 nights in huts are included, 1 on Gran Paradiso, and 1 on Mont Blanc, to acclimatise you well.
Resort team to help you with kit checks, briefings, forecasts, and all the logistics for the week.
We usually start from the high huts on Mont Blanc
(Gouter or Gonella), to give
the shortest summit climb.
flexibility to allow you to take full advantage
of the weather windows for 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.
In event Mont Blanc is not possible, the costs for an alternative peak (hut and transport) are all included.
Well over 20 years experience of running these ascents safely, and with high summiting records.
No need to check out of our valley accommodation when you are staying in mountain huts.
UK office for you to contact or to meet us, to help you prepare, and maximise your summit chances.
our Mont Blanc blog, by clicking on the Word-press
logo to the right.
others cost more
many offerings out there that cost upwards of £1000
more than us. Why? In most cases this is for luxury half board chalet accommodation in Chamonix.
We save you c.£100 per night on these prices. A
bed is a bed, so we include accommodation, that is functional
with 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!
Prefer 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 about this trip 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