Vallée Blanche Traverse


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1 day

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3 climbers per guide

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Combine with:
Aiguille d'Entrèves
Cosmiques Arête
Mont Blanc du Tacul

Descending the Aiguille du Midi

The incredible scenery situated at the head of the Géant glacier has to be among the most spectacular and exciting in the world. At traverse of the Vallée Blanche takes us right through the heart of the this fantastic landscape. We pass close below the east face of Mont Blanc du Tacul where granite spires tower above us, we walk through sérac fields where we can look into deep blue cavernous crevasses, and we see the Mer de Glace sweeping away below us to the north east.

The largest glacier in the Mont Blanc Massif has its head in a giant horse shoe of high peaks, hidden from view from the valley below. At the north end of this ring of peaks is the the Aiguille du Midi, our starting point, which is easily and amazingly accessed from Chamonix by téléphérique. The southern end forms the Franco/Italian border and the conclusion of our traverse at Point Helbronner, accessed from Italy, also by cable car.

From the top of the Aiguille du Midi, we rope up, don crampons and venture out a tunnel in the ice to enter the world of alpinists. The traverse begins with a steep and exposed descent of a sharp snow arête. Below this the route levels out a we cross the plateau below the South Face of the Aiguille du Midi and pass between Mont Blanc du Tacul and the Gros Rognon. We continue our traverse descending to its lowest point at about 3180 meters below the Pyramide du Tacul before beginning to climb again. Soon we find ourselves in among very large crevasses, and get a close up view of their dark interiors. The route continues to climb up to point Helbronner at about 3460 meters.

Once we arrive at Pont Helbronner the conclusion of the walking part of the Traverse, we can enjoy a good Italian cappuccino here before completing the last stage of the trip, the Panoramique do Mont Blanc, a high cable car strung between the Midi and Helbronner. This is an amazing ride and takes half and hour to get back to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi. From here we ride the cable car back to Chamonix.

Vallée Blanche Traverse
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The Panoramique ride


This is considered one of the easier alpine outings in the Chamonix area. But it is still a moderately long hike at high altitude. The traverse takes about 4 hours, and is entirely on snow and glacier. We will be roped up for the entire traverse and usually wear crampons for much of the way. If the weather is difficult it could be cold and wet.


Though no previous technical experience is necessary a good level of fitness and experience with rough hiking and climbing on snow is necessary. Previous experience in glacier travel and with crampons is helpful but not required.


There are two huts on this traverse, the Refuge des Cosmiques at the Aiguille du Midi end, and the Refugio Torino at the Italian end. By staying in one of these huts, you can do additional climbs, using the huts as a base. From the Torino hut the Traverse of the Aiguille d'Entrèves is a good choice, and from the Cosmiques, either the Arête des Cosmiques, or Mont Blanc du Tacul by its normal route.

Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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