Mont Blanc- the highest point in the Alps

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Mont Blanc

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Mont Blanc 45.832600, 6.865200

There are so many superlatives to use when describing the Mont Blanc. The snow-covered dome of the Mont Blanc has always intrigued adventurers and its first ascent was followed shortly thereafter by the birth of the mountaineering sport. As a result, the villages of Chamonix and Courmayeur received a tourism boom still profit from itto this day.

About the Mont Blanc

Reaching 4810 meters of altitude, the Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps and in Western Europe. Yes, we do say Western Europe since Mount Elbrus in the Kaukasus region in Russia is considered the highest peak in Europe—a fact questioned by the people of Chamonix as they consider the Elbrus to be in Asia. The Mont Blanc is part of massif which contains many peaks including Aiguille du Midi, Grandes Jorasses and Dent de Géant.

The peak is located on the border of France and Italy, although the normal route is the Gouter Route which starts at the French side of the mountain. Despite being the highest mountain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc is technically not that difficult and is rated PD. However, climbing it should not be underestimated as the route traverses crevasses and requires a basic knowledge of alpine mountaineering. Mont Blanc is one of the mountains with the highest number of deaths. Every year, several climbers die on the Mont Blanc massif.

The summit was reached for the first time on August 8th, 1786 by two local people of Chamonix: Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard. Due to this feat, they could claim the price that Horace-Bénédict de Saussure had promised.

Accommodations around the Mont Blanc

Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around Mont Blanc, with Chamonix in France being the best, if you are looking for a fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Hotel Mercure Chamonix les Bossons, a 4-star contemporary chalet atmosphere at the foot of the Bossons and Taconnaz glaciers, close to the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Mer de Glace train. Relaxation is guaranteed in the wellness area with sauna, indoor pool, whirlpool bath and a view of Mont Blanc.

Le Refuge des Aiglons, this 4 star establishment, resolutely contemporary, in the heart of Chamonix gets a makeover before the winter.

Hotel Le Morgane, a 4-star hotel with the sporty atmosphere of Chamonix. The style and concept of the Morgane stand out from the traditional Alpine hotels.

Chamonix

Chamonix
Chamonix, Photo by Matthew Roberts

The valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking, and as a starting base for an ascent of the Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street of the village is full of bars, restaurants, and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix are – as you can expect – pricey. The high number of campsites offer a budget alternative but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay; the neighboring villages of Argentière and Les Houches is your best choice.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur
Courmayeur, Photo by Franco_F_a

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views on the Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodations are similar to those in Chamonix.

Refuge de Plan Glacier

Refuge de Plan Glacier
Refuge de Plan Glacier

Tel: +33 782 753 686

An old style mountain hut, simple and authentic at 2700m, in Saint Gervais Les Bains: Plan Glacier sits on the moraine of the glacier, facing the Dômes de Miage.

The hike is demanding but outstanding, as it starts in the forest, climbs through green pastures and ends in High Mountain atmosphere.

The tiny hut allows warm welcoming by the guardians Annabelle & Yann, whose cuisine will reward your walk.

Refuge des Cosmiques

The Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the the second highest mountain refuge in the French Alps. It is located at an altitude of 3593 meters and is often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds costing 42 euro (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Gouter Hut

Mountain hut - Gouter Hut The Gouter Hut is a mountain refuge located on the normal climbing route to the summit of Mont Blanc. In 2013, the old Gouter Hut was replaced by a new, more modern-looking building thatopened that same year. It is the highest refuge on the trail and offers a great alternative for the Tete Rousse hut, situated a few hundred meters lower. The Gouter Hut has 120 beds available for mountaineers.

Refuge du Lac Bleu

This mountain hut can be found in the heart of the Aiguille Rouges mountain range close to Lac Bleu, a popular hiking destination. This makes the refuge a popular lunch stopover during a hike to Lac Bleu. Besides lunchtime meals, the 2352-meter high mountain hut can accommodate up to 40 people. It can easily be reached from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station.

Bellachat Refuge

Mountain Hut - Bellachat RefugeThe Bellachat Refuge is a very basic mountain cabin at 2152 meters of altitude. There are no hot showers and the only restroom is an outside toilet. The three dormitories available for overnights are side by side, and you should bring your own sheets. Still, the Bellachat refuge is a popular place to visit due to its exceptional views of the Mont Blanc. The sunny terrace is a great place for a lunch stop. Lunch includes typical alpine food such as homemade soups, salads, local cheeses, meat and blueberry tarts.

Hiking in the Region of Mont Blanc

Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers

The hike starts from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station and leads via the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers near Mer de Glace. Most people hike the trail oneway before returning with the Montenvers scenic train to Chamonix station. The hike takes about 2.5 hours and is a great way to admire the impressive mountain ranges of the Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc.

Lac Bleu trail

Views on the Mont Blanc massif from Lac Blue can be found on many postcards in the village streets. Needless to say, Lac Bleu is a popular hiking destination amongst active travelers. The lake itself is not big nor impressive, but this is the way to it; and the views on the nearby Mont Blanc makeit worthwhile. Hiking from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station requires only a 15-minute walk, making it an option for families with children.

Hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets

Another – though more challenging – hike from Plan d’Aiguille is the 3.5 hours hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets. The hut is located just above 3000 meters,requiring a big ascent and a glacier crossing. It is a popular route in winter for ski descents from Mont Blanc.

Lac Noir

Lac Noir
Lac Noir, Photo by Philippe Saire

The other side of the valley offers splendid views on Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2hours 30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not a crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Tour du Mont Blanc

The tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike often completed in ten days. This is one of the best options for experienced hikers with enough time on their hands. It is regarded as one of the best hikes in Europe. The trail contours the Mont Blanc massif and crosses three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Nights are spend in mountain huts or accommodations in the valleys. The many different angles of Mont Blanc make it a hike with diverse views.

Things to do in the Mont Blanc region

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator that goes through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42meters higher, where you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views on the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are no exception. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif. This way, you can descend all the way to Courmayeur.

Another main tourist attraction is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. This train departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

Hiking with kids

Hiking with children in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude difference; however,quite a few trails are suitable for families. Fortunately cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without too much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you.

Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Aiguille du Midi – best view on Mont Blanc

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Aiguille du Midi

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Aiguille du Midi 45.879300, 6.887400

Aiguille du Midi is a mountain peak in the Mont Blanc massif dominating the skyline from the village center of Chamonix, France. Reaching 3842 meters in altitude with accessibilty by cable car from the center of Chamonix, it is one of the closest places one can get to Mont Blanc without having to climb it.

About Aiguille du Midi

For more than 50 years, Aiguille du Midi has been the highlight of Chamonix. With an altitude of 3842 meters, Mont Blanc’s little brother offers a splendid view over the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. Aiguille is French for “needle,” and when you see the peak you will understand why they call it thisname. Every year, about half a million people visit the Aiguille du Midi by cable car, reaching the summit in two stages. A viewing platform on top offers a panoramic shot of the Mont Blanc and the surrounding Alps and a restaurant. On clear days, it’s even possible to see the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa massif, some 200km away. The peak was first succesfully climbed in 1818.

Accommodations around the Aguille du Midi

The Aguille du Midi is part of the Mont Blanc massif located on the France/Italy border. Both Chamonix and Courmayeur are great places to stay to explore the region around the Aiguille du Midi, with Chamonix being the best. If you are looking for fine hotel, these are worth checking out:

Chamonix Lodge owned and operated by mountain lovers! Whether you are here to take part in the numerous winter and summer outdoor activities or just for sightseeing, we want you to feel the love that we have for the amazing town of Chamonix and the stunning mountains that surround us.

Hôtel Le Chamonix is located in the center of Chamonix, 50 meters from the tourist office and bus stops that will take you to the foot of the slopes of Chamonix. You will have close to the hotel all the shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs to relax after a good day of skiing. Most of the rooms are facing Mont Blanc and you can admire from your bed the beautiful landscapes of this mountain range.

Hotel Gustavia is a significant landmark in the Chamonix valley. Many of our rooms has a fantastic view of Chamonix’s greatest attraction, Mont Blanc. With its 4810 meters it is the highest summit in western Europe.

Chamonix

The valley in the Haute Savoie is one of the top destinations in the French Alps for hiking, paragliding, biking and as a starting base for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The reputation of this large village mainly comes from the first ascent of Mont Blanc in 1786. This was the birth of mountaineering as we know it today. The main street is full of bars, restaurants and outdoor shops offering the best gear for your hiking or climbing adventure. Accommodations in Chamonix is – as you can expect – pricey. The many campsites offer a budget alternative but for thoselooking for a cheaper place to stay; the neighbouring villages of Argentière and Les Houches are your best choices.

Courmayeur

Courmayeur is to Italy what Chamonix is to France. It is the base for Mont Blanc ascents on the Italian side of the massif. The village is situated at the end of the Aosta Valley, near the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Views of Mont Blanc are more impressive from Courmayer due to the steeper Italian face. Accommodationsare similar to those in Chamonix.

Refuge des Cosmiques

Refuge des CosmiquesThe Refuge des Cosmiques is located on the shoulder between Col du Midi and the southwest ridge of Aiguille du Midi. This makes it the closest mountain hut near the peak and the second highest in the French Alps. Located at an altitude of 3593 me it is ters often used as a starting base for Mont Blanc ascents (Three Monts route) . The hut has about 140 beds at 42 euros (breakfast included) to 66 euro (half pension).

Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille

Refuge du Plan d’AiguilleThe Refuge du Plan d’Aiguille is easily reachable by getting off at the first stop of the Aiguille du Midi cable car (Plan d’Aiguille). Not only is this a great place to start your hike, but the overlook views over the Chamonix Valley make it a great place for lunch. There is one room with ten beds available, even in the winter season. Owners, Claude and Marie-Noelle, accommodate visitors at 2207 meters of altitude. Spending the night here costs 24 euro per person or 54 euros with meals included. Wifi is available and pets are allowed as well.

Refuge du Lac Bleu

Refuge du Lac BleuThis mountain hut can be found in the heart of the Aiguille Rouges mountain range close to Lac Bleu, a popular hiking destination. This makes the refuge a popular lunch stopover during a hike to Lac Bleu. Besides lunchtime meals, the 2352-meter high mountain hut can accommodate up to 40 people. The hut can easily be reached from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station.

Bellachat Refuge

Bellachat RefugeThe Bellachat Refuge is a very basic mountain cabin at 2152 meters of altitude. There are no hot showers and the only restroom is an outside toilet. Three dormitories are available for overnightsside by side, and you should bring your own sheets. Still, the Bellachat refuge is a popular place to visit due to its exceptional views of Mont Blanc. The sunny terrace is a great place for a lunch stop. Lunch includes typical alpine food such as homemade soups, salads, local cheeses, meat and blueberry tarts.

Hiking around the Aiguille du Midi

Plan d’Aiguille, the first stop on the Aiguille du Midi Cable car at 2207 meters, is a popular hiking starting point. Walks along the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, Lac Bleu or descending to Chamonix valley are among the best to explore the area.

Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers

The hike starts from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station and leads via the Grand Balcon Nord to Montenvers, near Mer de Glace. Most people hike the trail one-way before returning on the Montenvers scenic train to Chamonix station. The hike takes about 2.5 hours and is a great way to admire the impressive mountain ranges of Chamonix Aiguilles and Mont Blanc.

Lac Bleu trail

Views of the Mont Blanc massif from Lac Blue are found on many postcards sold on the village streets. Needless to say,Lac Bleu is a popular hiking destination for active travelers. The lake itself is not big nor that impressive, but it’s the way there and the views on the nearby Mont Blanc that makeit worthwhile. Hiking from the Plan d’Aiguille cable car station requires only a 15-minute walk, making it an option for families with children.

Hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets

Another, though more challenging, hike from Plan d’Aiguille is the 3.5-hours hike to Refuge des Grands Mulets. The hut is located just above 3000 meters making for a big ascent and requiring glacier crossing. It is a popular route in winter for ski descents from Mont Blanc.

Lac Noir

Lac Noir
Lac Noir, Photo by Philippe Saire

The other side of the valley offers splendid views of Aguille du Midi and Mont Blanc. The hike to Lac Noir (2540m) is not an easy one, but has great rewards. From Col Cornu, you head towards Col de Gliere via a marked path. To complete the trail, it requires about 2 hours and 30minutes from PlanPraz. The lake is a beautiful but not very crowded picnic setting since it’s often partially covered in snow and ice.

Tour du Mont Blanc

The tour du Mont Blanc is a multi-day hike often completed in ten days. This is one of the best options for experienced hikers with enough time during their holidays, and is regarded as one of the best hikes in Europe. The trail contours around the Mont Blanc massif and crosses three countries: France, Switzerland and Italy. Nights are spent in mountain huts or accommodations in the valleys. The many different angleson Mont Blanc make it a hike with diverse views.
Hiking with kids
Hiking with children in the French Alps may seem difficult due to the altitude difference, however there quite a few trails suitable for families. Fortunately, cable cars will help you gain most of the elevation without much effort. For this reason, the Lac Bleu hike is well worth mentioning, since it only requires 15 minutes to reach from the cable car station. Whether you want to add more kilometers / hiking hours is up to you. Lac Blanc is a 2-hour easy hike from the Flegere lift station. The nearby Lac Blanc hut offers facilities and refreshments well earned.

Things to do around the Aiguille du Midi

The cable car leading to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi is without doubt the top tourist attraction in Chamonix. Return tickets cost about 58 euros. From this point, you can take an elevator through the rocks of the peak to a viewing platform, some 42 meter higher. Here, you get to see Mont Blanc up close. On clear days, views of the Grand Combin and the Monte Rosa are admirable. The restaurant is a great place to have lunch before taking the Panoramic Mont Blanc tramway to Hellbronner on the Italian side of the massif; you can descend all the way to Courmayeur.
Another main tourist attraction is the Mer the Glace train to Montenvers. It departs from the Chamonix train station and leads to the famous Mer de Glace, a glacier between Aiguille du Midi and Les Drus, that used to reach all the way to the valley base.

Barres des Ecrins

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Barres des Ecrins

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Barres des Ecrins 44.922500, 6.360000

Facts About Barres des Ecrins.

Barres des Ecrins is a mountain located in France. Standing at 4101m above sea level. This is the southernmost peak found in the High Dauphine Alps. Hikers climb this peak to get an external view of the Mont Blanc and other peaks as far as the Italian Alps. As the tallest peak found in the National Park. It is subject to certain rules like “No dogs in the park”.

How to get to the top of Barres des Ecrins?

Drive from Pre de Madame Carle for about 4 hours at least to the Ecrins Refuge. From here, walk towards the left side across the Glacier Noir. Summit Post described this path as “across the avalanche debris from the seracs”. You then walk towards the Bergschrund at the foot of the mountain. With the route going 50 to 60 degrees, rock climbing is inevitable towards the saddle. Cross this saddle to trek the main path atop the Ecrins. If the weather conditions are favorable, go up the east ridge. Otherwise, follow the path leading to the Dome de Neige. You reach the peak by the west ridge this way.

What to expect at the Barres des Ecrins?

Speaking of rock climbing, bring a pair of axes, some ice screws, crampons and a GoPro camer. Tuck the GoPro to your chest outside the parka or wind jacket. Book as early as possible in the Ecrins Refuge. The hut is open only between April 13 and May 19 and between June 1 and September 1.