The Chamonix valley is rightly popular with skiers. It has everything from resort skiing to ‘full on’ steep skiing with everything in between!
The area has an abundance of quality day tours focusing on either peaks or as much skiing as possible (or both!). The Aiguille Rouge range in particular is suited to intermediate skiers whilst on the other side of the valley there is little to better the ‘Vallee Blanche’ for sheer alpine grandeur. January to May.
Sample Day Tour:
The Crochues – Berard Traverse (2701m)
This classic of the valley takes between 4 – 6 hours and includes ascent (not including uplift) of 500m. The good news is that it involves a huge 1430m of descent in the wild and unspoilt Berard Valley. The day starts at the Flegere lift and the ‘Index’ is taken to the top. With skins on we follow (or put in) a good track to just beneath the col. We then ‘boot up’ with our skis on our rucksacks the last steepening to the col (1hr). Now we traverse and descend above the ‘Combe de la Balme’ until beneath the second of the days cols: the Col de Berard. This is ascended in around 45 minutes to access the Berard bowl and valley. This gives a fantastic and scenic run encountering all types of snow into the small village and train station of Le Buet.
The Vallee Blanche
The Vallee Blanche is the classic off piste run. Not strictly a tour – though there are many variations where skins can be useful. We meet early outside the booking office of the Aiguille du Midi. Here we fit harnesses and transceivers and get rid of last minute butterflies! A cable car takes us in two stages to the Aiguille du Midi. The panorama is incredible on a clear day and peak after peak can be seen in France, Italy and Switzerland. After a photo stop/coffee we descend the Arete of the mountain. In winter this is equipped with thick rope attached to metal stakes and we are all tied to the Guide’s rope. At a flattening of the ridge we stop to don skis and set off! The run itself can vary from immaculate powder to wind blown crud and everything in between. Often it is well tracked and somewhat ‘pisted’. We are on a glacier however and it’s really important to follow the Guide as he’ll be avoiding the crevasses and taking the best line. Around lunchtime we can stop at either the ‘Salle a Manger’ – a flat area or go to the refuge. From here the less steep Mer de Glace is followed amongst an unrivalled vista – remember to look around! In good conditions a 30 minute walk leads to the ‘Buvette’ and the ‘James Bond Track’ down to Chamonix otherwise we catch the Montenvers train back to town. A fantastic day out!
“Firstly many thanks for a brilliant couple of days. Al and Angie would also wish me to convey their thanks. Despite the fact that they have done loads of touring they reckoned that was their most full on and best day ever! Impressive route finding on your part at the end” MJ Day Tours 2014