At up to 17km long (if skiing to Chamonix) the Vallee Blanche is a wild experience. If you enjoy skiing off-piste, then this is a trip not to be missed.
We normally meet around 09.00 inside the Cafe Vertical at the Aiguille du Midi lift station. You will need an MBU lift pass for the day. Please purchase this in advance. If the meeting time is any different to this you will be contacted in advance. You will then be equipped with harness, avalanche safety gear, and crampons if necessary. We will then join the queue for the lift (having usually reserved in advance).
The lift goes to the Aiguille du Midi in two stages, taking around 30 minutes to reach the top. Once there we will have the opportunity to visit the viewing platform at the summit which offers an incredible panorama of the Chamonix Valley, the Grand Massif, Lake Geneva, Megeve, and of course the Mont Blanc Massif. After that there's time for a final loo stop before we get roped up and pack our skis onto our rucksacks. The walk down the ridge can be a little daunting, but there are usually huge fixed ropes to act as handrails, and the track is prepared to make it easier. However, this trip is not recommended for anyone who suffers from vertigo. Your Guide will normally walk at the rear of the group to safeguard everyone.
Once down on the glacier we will take the rope off and pack our crampons away. Then it's time to click into our skis and enjoy the skiing. There are numerous different routes down the Vallée Blanche:
The Classic Route - this is a long and meandering route, with incredible scenery, and the least technical skiing.
The Gros Rognon - this route is quite long, but cuts the corner of the classic route in order to deliver some fantastic skiing up to 35 degrees.
The Vraie Vallée Blanche - this is the "True Vallée Blanche", descending a little-skied area that can be difficult to access. This route will only be done when conditions are optimal due to the variable nature of the glacier there.
Petit Envers - A more technical descent for good skiers, weaving through vast crevasses and impressive scenery.
Grand Envers- Only for the strongest skiers, and guided at a ratio of 1:3. Very stable conditions are necessary on this route as several slopes are prone to avalanche.
Regardless of the route chosen, lunch will either be taken as a packed meal (carried in your rucksack), or we will stop at the Refuge du Requin where a hot meal can be purchased. After the refuge there are several different routes down, depending on the conditions, arriving below the Montenvers Mer de Glace train station about 90 minutes later. Once there we will decide whether to leave the glacier and take the train down (a 20 minute walk, and then a lift to the train), or whether to ski all the way to Chamonix (involving a 30 minute hike). Skiing to Chamonix is often not possible due to lack of snow. Regardless of route taken you will finish the day at the Montenvers Station on the edge of Chamonix. There are public buses from there to the rest of the valley. Usually you will arrive back in the valley around 15:00-16:00.
Kit to bring: Skis (>90mm width), boots and poles. Helmet (opional, but recommended), sunglasses, goggles, suncream. At least two pairs of gloves. Spare duvet jacket (the ridge can be very cold when you walk down at the start). Warm hat, and a buff/scarf to cover your face on the ridge. Ski clothing. Rucksack* (20L, capable of carrying skis). Avalanche Safety Gear*, Crampons*.
*These can be provided if you don't have them.
NB: The Vallée Blanche can be very challenging for snowboarders due to there being some flat areas. Manoeuvering around some crevasses can also be very tricky. As such the trip is not recommended for snowboarders. Anyone booking MUST declare whether there are any boarders in the group.
Dates and Prices on application.
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