The Chamonix Highlights
A Short Break Taster of the best Chamonix Hiking and Visitor Sites
This is a popular trip for visitors to Chamonix, especially those on a short break or who are first-time visitors to the region. It gives you a taste of the high mountains but does not require high levels of fitness or lots of time.
You will gain knowledge about the local town, mountain and Alpinist history, our local climate and our glaciers from your guide, enhancing your experience of the sites you visit.
It’s also a perfect introduction to mountain walking and European huts, combined with an in-depth personal tour of two of Chamonix’s most famous mountain sites – the Aiguille du Midi and the Mer de Glace. This hike is suitable for families with children.
We will traverse the Balcon Nord which runs along the top of the Chamonix valley, between the mid station of the famous Aiguille du Midi lift, and the Montenvers train station overlooking the Mer de Glace glacier.
The scenery is fantastic with good views of glaciers and the local mountains including views of the Italian and Swiss alps, Mont Blanc and the Drus. Your guide will give you historical information about Chamonix, as well as up to date information about Chamonix today – such as the effects that the current climate change is having on this valley’s glaciers.
This trip offers a high level of personal comfort. The refuge or hotel food is excellent and both sites have hot showers and toilets.
Photography Workshop Option
You can add in personalised photography workshop to this trip ! We will be sure to stop along the way for plenty of photo opportunities and a professional photographer will discuss taking good photos in the mountains. Exposure, lens choice, strategies for shooting in low-light or contrasty light, dealing with weather conditions, good composition and addressing any specific questions you have about using your camera to it’s fullest capabilities will be covered.
Your instructor will bring a laptop so that we can download, review and discuss the photos you have taken during the day. You can bring those ideas and suggestions for inspiration while photographing the following day. A final review of photos is possible at lunch on Day 2.
This trip can be run as soon as the upper paths are passable on foot without avalanche danger, and the refuge is open. Generally early May – late September.
Please reserve as early as possible for July and August dates, since the refuge can be crowded in peak season. Part of each day is spent on lift-accessed sites and part of it is spent hiking. The hikes are at altitude with moderate uphill and downhill. This trip can be run in 2 directions – Montenvers to the Plan d’Aiguille (more ascent) or Plan d’Aiguille do Montenvers (more descent). You can choose to overnight at the Montenvers or the Plan d’Aiguille.
Note that your mountain leader may alter this itinerary without prior warning due to changing weather or other safety considerations.
Friday late afternoon:
Arrive Chamonix. Chance to purchase last minute personal items at Chamonix sports stores or pharmacies. Purchase of lift ticket and picnic lunch supplies recommended. Overnight at hotel of your choice.
An early morning start – to go up the Aiguille du Midi. Your guide will take you to the various viewing platforms of the site, and explain some of the human and natural history of each mountain range you can see and tell you as much as you want to know about Chamonix and it’s mountaineering history. Lunch at altitude (your choice of picnic or restaurant).
Descend to the mid-station at Plan d’Aiguille. Possible short nature hikes of sites in the glacial morraine at the Plan d’Aiguille. A hearty dinner in the refuge with beautiful views across the mountains and down to the Chamonix valley as it settles in for the night.
Breakfast at the refuge, greet the morning sun and beat the crowds with an early start for our hike along the Balcon Nord. Pack lunch picnic or a lunch at the Montenvers hotel. Your guide will explain various features and points of interest along the way on this 2-5 hour hike. You will have a choice of ‘harder’ or ‘easier’ route to reach Montenvers.
Tour of the Montenvers site overlooking the Mer de Glace. Depending upon your group’s speed, much of the glacial moraine terrain around the Montenvers site can be explored with your guide. Possible visit inside the Mer de Glace ice cave and discussion of glaciology.
Choice of descent to Chamonix by train or by hiking with your guide down a moraine path, with refreshment stop at a beautiful little buvet with an alpine garden overlooking the mouth of the Mer de Glace glacier. Overnight in Chamonix hotel.
Monday morning :
Depart Chamonix (or choose to extend your stay and explore other hikes).
- Airport : Geneva
- Hiking days : 2
- Travel days : 2
- Group size : 4-8
- Per group : €350
plus accommodation costs and lift fees
- Per group with Photography workshop : €490
Equipment required :
15L pack with change of clothes, lightweight breathable rain gear and a warm layer, some water and snacks and of course your camera. All nights are in huts or hotels. Detailed equipment check list provided with booking.
A digital camera, ideally with manual mode and empty memory cards are required for the photo workshop.
Ideally should have completed several half day hikes one month to two weeks before departure date and do shorter walks or runs regularly (weekly). The more endurance you have, the more you will enjoy the hike.
Walking times are 3-6 hours per day at a casual pace, with one steep uphill and one optional steep downhill. This hike includes a lot of stops along the way to admire the scenery and for lunch, snacks etc.. Keen children over 5 have loved this adventure in the mountains.
Rain, wind, poor visibility etc. can be encountered at any time of the year due to changing mountain conditions. If particularly poor conditions present themselves, we will offer alternate hikes at lower altitude, which may provide a better experience of Chamonix.