Mont Blanc Ascent with Gran Paradiso

Gran Paradiso - the best preparation for the ascent of Mont Blanc




From $3,060 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Traverse the Vallee Blanche to Italy and return on the Gondola
  • Classic route to the top of Mont Blanc
  • Guide ratio 1:2 during the climb of Mont Blanc
  • All uplift and cable car fares (worth up to £54) are included

If you are looking to climb Mont Blanc, this 1-week Alpine climbing holiday preparing and acclimatising on Italy's Gran Paradiso prior to the ascent, offers the best chance of summit success. After a rendezvous and briefing in Chamonix we drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Italy, where we have a session of skills training before making an ascent of Gran Paradiso (4061m), the only 4000 metre peak entirely within Italy's borders. The short approach hike to the Refugio Vittorio Emanuele, followed by the classic, easy snow climb to the summit of Gran Paradiso is a great introduction to Alpine climbing. Returning to Chamonix, we have  a further day of acclimatisation and snow skills with an excursion from the top station of the Aiguille du Midi across the Vallee Blanche to Point Helbronner in Italy, returning on the scenic Gondola. We have allowed 3 days for the ascent of Mont Blanc, with 2 chances of making the summit via the 'Normal Route' from the Tete Rousse or Gouter huts. Our Mont Blanc trips are based at the extremely comfortable Yeti Lodge Chalets in Argentiere, close to Chamonix, offering all amenities including hot tubs, saunas and a great chef! Key to a successful Mont Blanc ascent are good acclimatisation and experienced, motivated guides. Our Mont Blanc package is fully inclusive of local transport and cable cars and all meals with the exception of lunches. This is a great value package, using a superb valley base and our expert guides will offer you every chance of getting to the summit on Mont Blanc.

explore international

Explore International. This is one of our Explore International holidays. Participants on these trips can book through KE or through one of our international partners. This helps us to gather together sufficient numbers of like-minded adventurers to get your holiday up and running quickly. Led by an English-speaking guide, the cosmopolitan nature of these groups can be an important part of the experience!

Is this holiday for you?

This combination of Gran Paradiso and Mont Blanc provides a challenging week of Alpine climbing. Led by professional IFMGA guides using a 1:5 ratio on Gran Paradiso and a 1:2 ratio on Mont Blanc, this trip will provide the opportunity to practice roped glacier travel and guided climbing, using crampons and a single ice axe. The ascents of each of the peaks will be strenuous on account of the altitude and group members should not only have a high level of fitness but also be capable of completing long days in the mountains. The ascent of Gran Paradiso and the ascent of Mont Blanc via the Normal Route (Dome de Gouter) involve little in the way of technical difficulty. However, you can expect to encounter some easy scrambling on exposed ridges at altitude. Ropes, crampons and an ice axe will be used throughout the climb. Previous alpine mountaineering experience is not a pre-requisite and time permitting, full instruction in the various techniques required will be given by the guides prior to the ascents. Participants must have a good level of fitness and previous experience of walking with crampons is useful.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group's chalet in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley.
  • Drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Walk to Vittorio Emanuele hut (2735m). Skills briefing.
  • Climb Gran Paradiso (4061m). Descend to the valley and drive to Chamonix.
  • Traverse of Vallee Blanche from the Aiguille de Midi to Helbronner. Return by Gondola.
  • Cable car and train to Nid d'Aigle (2372m). Trek to Tete Rousse (3167m) or Gouter (3817m) refuge.
  • Climb Mont Blanc by the Normal route. Return to the refuge for a second night.
  • Contingency day for possible delays. Descend to Chamonix.
  • Departure day
Sun 29 May - Sun 05 Jun Code MBA /01/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 05 Jun - Sun 12 Jun Code MBA /02/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 1 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 12 Jun - Sun 19 Jun Code MBA /03/16/ Adult$3,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Tue 14 Jun - Tue 21 Jun Code MBA /04/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 19 Jun - Sun 26 Jun Code MBA /05/16/ Adult$3,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Tue 21 Jun - Tue 28 Jun Code MBA /06/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 26 Jun - Sun 03 Jul Code MBA /07/16/ Adult$3,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Tue 28 Jun - Tue 05 Jul Code MBA /08/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 03 Jul - Sun 10 Jul Code MBA /09/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 10 Jul - Sun 17 Jul Code MBA /11/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 17 Jul - Sun 24 Jul Code MBA /13/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 24 Jul - Sun 31 Jul Code MBA /15/16/ Adult$3,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 31 Jul - Sun 07 Aug Code MBA /17/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 07 Aug - Sun 14 Aug Code MBA /19/16/ Adult$3,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 14 Aug - Sun 21 Aug Code MBA /21/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 21 Aug - Sun 28 Aug Code MBA /23/16/ Adult$3,060 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 28 Aug - Sun 04 Sep Code MBA /25/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 04 Sep - Sun 11 Sep Code MBA /26/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 11 Sep - Sun 18 Sep Code MBA /27/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 18 Sep - Sun 25 Sep Code MBA /28/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
Sun 25 Sep - Sun 02 Oct Code MBA /29/16/ Adult$3,060 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
We sell this holiday on a Land Only basis, joining at the group chalet in Argentiere, Chamonix. The nearest airport is Geneva, approximately an hour's drive away. Please refer to Joining Arrangementsand Transfers in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool & Glasgow and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds Bradford & Belfast. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

Pricing Notes

Hut Reservations: A non-refundable deposit is payable against our hut bookings for this trip. On account of this, a higher than usual deposit is required. Confirmation of your booking on this trip is subject to confirmation of bed reservation in the hut. Irrespective of the above advertised 'Availability' of your departure you should not make any non-refundable travel arrangements until we have confirmed the reservation to you.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • peaks
  • point
  • trip direction
  • trek
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group's chalet in Argentiere in the Chamonix Valley.

    Rendezvous at the group's chalet in Argentiere (altitude 1240m.), just outside Chamonix. Here, you will be welcomed and made to feel at home. In the evening, we will have an informal chat about the week ahead. There will also be a chance for the guide to check out your clothing and gear and to decide if you will need to pick up any further items of equipment before setting out in the morning. KE Land Only package services begin with the evening meal, an excellent 3-course dinner.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals d

  • Drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. Walk to Vittorio Emanuele hut (2735m). Skills briefing.

    After making final preperations and sorting out any equipment hire, we will drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Italy and the Gran Paradiso National Park. A 2-3 hour walk through forests and over moorland takes us to the Vittorio Emmannuelle hut (2775m) situated at the foot of the Gran Paradiso, where we spend the night. After checking in, the guides will brief us on the technical skills required foir the climb. We can then relax and enjoy the scenery from the hut terrace.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 2 hours

  • Climb Gran Paradiso (4061m). Descend to the valley and drive to Chamonix.

    From an early alpine start (around 3am) at the hut, we climb to the summit of Gran Paradiso (4061m), the highest peak lying entirely within Italy. The route is very varied, beginning as straightforward trail leading to the glacier where we put on our crampons. The final 100 metres is an exciting, exposed, but well protected scramble along the rocky summit ridge. The summit supports a ‘Madonna’ figure and is a fantastic viewpoint for the entire alps, particularly of the Mont Blanc Massif. The climb takes 4-5 hours and around 3 hours to descend back to the hut aiming to arrive early afternoon. After some refreshment we descend to the valley and drive back through the Mont Blanc tunnel to Chamonix. Continuing to Argentiere we re-check into our comfortable chalet and enjoy an excellent dinner.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

    • Time 8 hours

  • Traverse of Vallee Blanche from the Aiguille de Midi to Helbronner. Return by Gondola.

    We take the early morning cable car from Chamonix up to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m), the highest cable car station in Europe. Exiting the station by the alpiniste's tunnel we emerge onto the ridge with a spectacular view down to the Chamonix Valley. Descending from the ridge into the Vallee Blanche itself we then traverse the glacier with lots of opportunity to practice our snow skills and receive valuable pointers from our guides. After approximately 4 hours we will reach the Helbronner Gondola Station on the Italian border (the highest border station in Europe). As well as offering the opportunity to further practice roped galcier walking, this excellent mountain walk also provides unbeatable acclimatisation. From Helbronner we return via the spectacularly scenic gondola ride to the Aguille du Midi and take the cable car back down to Chamonix. Overnight in Argentiere.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

    • Time 4 hours

  • Cable car and train to Nid d'Aigle (2372m). Trek to Tete Rousse (3167m) or Gouter (3817m) refuge.

    Now that our training is over, we are ready for the ascent of Mont Blanc. The group will be joined by more guides (ratio 2 clients to 1 guide), in order to give us the best chance of success. We will climb Mont Blanc by the Normal Route, taking advantage of the uplift provided by the Mont Blanc Tramway which will take us to Mont Lachat (2115m). From here, we follow a rocky trail for approximately 3 hours to the Tete Rousse Refuge (3167m) where we will stay overnight or the guide may opt to continue a further 2 hours to the higher Gouter hut (3817m). Staying overnight at either of these huts is part of the experience of climbing Mont Blanc and the majority of the climbers staying here will be aiming for an ascent.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 3 hours

  • Climb Mont Blanc by the Normal route. Return to the refuge for a second night.

    The Big Day! We make an early start - approximately 1 a.m. from the Tete Rousse or a little later from the Gouter. From the Tete Rousse, we cross the Great Couloir and then a rocky scramble leads up to the Gouter Refuge (3817m). From here the remaining 1000 metres of ascent to the summit of Mont Blanc is entirely on snow. The climbing is never technical being mostly on a broad shoulder with an uphill slope mostly below 30 degrees. However, the final ridge becomes narrower and we can look down one side to Italy and the other into France as we make the final steps to the top. We are very high up now and the air is thin, so slow and steady is the way forward. The ascent can take from 5 to 8 hours depending on conditions and our starting point, and we aim to be on the summit soon after dawn, in position to enjoy some of the most spectacular views in the whole of Europe. We will make our descent via the same route and we should reach the hut by early or mid-afternoon (in time for a late lunch). We spend our second night at the hut.

    • Accommodation Mountain Hut / Refuge

    • Meals bd

    • Time 9 hours

  • Contingency day for possible delays. Descend to Chamonix.

    If we have not summited the day before, we may make the attempt today if the conditions permit and in this case. after summiting, we will descend via the Normal Route all the way back to the valley. If we have summited on day 6, then we have a leisurely start and make an easy descent to the valley in good time for lunch. In the evening, we have the opportunity to reflect on the adventures of the week during the course of a celebratory dinner at the chalet.

    • Accommodation Chalet

    • Meals bd

    • Time 3 hours

  • Departure day

    The KE Land Only package services end after breakfast.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • Professional IFMG qualified guides
  • Local transport including cable car fees
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan

  • Travel insurance
  • airport transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

The group will rendezvous at the Yeti Lodge in Argentiere on the evening of Day 1 of the trip itinerary. For clients arriving by air, the easiest way to get to Argentiere is to fly to Geneva Airport and make use of an airport transfer service. We recommend KE clients can get transfers from €27 each way by entering the promo code YETI. Please note that transfers are subject to availability and your flight details are required a minimum of 72 hours before your arrival in Geneva. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation. If you are driving to Chamonix we will provide route details and directions to the group hotel/chalet in Argentiere. Parking is available for clients arriving by car.

This holiday involves going to high altitude. During the course of your trip you will reach altitudes in excess of 3500 metres. This is not something that you should worry about; the human body is quite capable of adapting to a very wide range of altitudes, but it is important that we follow some simple rules in order to acclimatise successfully. Before coming on this holiday you should read the advice on trekking at high altitude on our website which can be viewed via the link below. You can also talk to one of our trekking experts if you have any concerns about altitude.

During this trip, the group will spend a total of 4 nights in chalet accommodation in Argentiere. Accommodation here is in either twin or triple rooms. Whilst in the mountains, there are 3 nights spent in mountain huts, where the accommodation is on a non-segregated, dormitory-style basis. Depending on availability, it may be possible to arrange single rooms for the nights in chalet accommodation in Argentiere at exta cost. For single supplement price please refer to the dates and prices section for this holiday on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

The food in Yeti Lodge and in the huts is varied and plentiful. Continental breakfasts and full 3-course evening meals are included everyday. Packed lunches can purchased from the chalet for €8 and hill food snacks are available fom the village shops or local supermarket. On some days, there is the possibility of buying a late lunch in the huts, if we arrive early enough.

All meals except lunches are included in the trip price. Lunches or hill food snacks can be bought in the valley or at some huts.

The package price includes valley transport, cable cars and mountain railway tickets, all accommodation, meals (except lunches), and guiding. You will need to allow an amount for lunches or hill food snacks. Yeti Lodge offer an “honesty bar” for wine and drinks with your meals. In mountain refuges you will need to pay for drinks, including bottled water. €200 should be sufficient to cover all personal expenses. There are cash point facilities in Argentiere, close to the chalet. If you are intending to hire or purchase items of equipment, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect).

On this trip, we will take a maximum of 8 clients. Sometimes the actual maximum group size can be dictated by the availability of beds in the mountain huts. The number of guides employed will depend on the group size. Guiding is at a ratio of 1:5 during the first day of training and on Gran Paradiso. The guiding ratio is at 1:2 for the ascent of Mont Blanc. All the guides for this trip are IFMGA qualified.

Group members will carry all of their personal equipment during the ascent and it is vitally important to keep the overall weight of your equipment to a minimum. Since you will not be required to carry either a sleeping bag or a camping mattress a 35/40 ltr rucksack is more than adequate and it should be possible to keep the weight of your pack to under 7kg/15lbs. Whilst overnighting in the refuges, you will leave your main luggage and travel clothes at the group’s hotel/chalet.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Mountain Boots (see notes below)
  • Gaiters (long or short)
  • Socks – technical walking socks are best (2/3 pairs)
  • Warm mountain trousers
  • Waterproof over trousers (with leg zips)
  • Trekking trousers (not cotton)
  • Underwear
  • Shorts (for non-glacial travel)
  • Thermal Base Layer x 2 (one with long sleeves for glacier travel)
  • T-shirt or casual shirt
  • Fleece jacket or warm jumper
  • Waterproof jacket (with hood)
  • Extra warm layer/ duvet jacket – (prima loft or lightweight down)
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat and balaclava
  • Eyewear – sunglasses – category 3/ 4.
  • Ski goggles (for snowy/windy conditions)
  • Thin gloves – leather or thermal
  • Warm and waterproof gloves/ski gloves
  • Climbing Rucksack – 35-45 (MAX) litres (no external frame)
  • Head torch – with new battery
  • Sun Protection (high factor for skin)
  • Lip salve – with sunscreen
  • Water bottle 2x 1 litre
  • Trekking poles x 2 (with baskets)
  • Small Wash kit
  • Plastic Bag to keep essentials dry
  • Sleeping bag liner/sheet sleeping bag (silk is lightest)
  • Basic First Aid Kit

Mountaineering equipment:

  • Crampons – MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates
  • Crampon bag
  • Ice Axe
  • Helmet
  • Mountaineering harness
  • 1 x screw gate karabiner

The following items are optional:

  • Thermal underwear (long johns)
  • Travel Clothes
  • Travel Shoes
  • Earplugs (particularly if you are not the one snoring!)
  • Hand sanitizer (water in huts can be limited)
  • Camera
  • Penknife
  • Trek Bag (KE)
  • Small Padlock (for trek bag)

Equipment Notes

  • Mountaineering Boots: Recommended boots for this trip are comfortable, warm and stiff - to take a crampon securely/deal with cold conditions. Either a B3 or B2 boot will be suitable, but NOT a B1
  • Crampons: Modern strap on 12 point crampons are perfectly acceptable for this climbing trek and will fit any boot. All crampons MUST be fitted with anti-balling plates. ‘Grivel’ crampons - G12 with a strap system/or semi-strap/heel clip are excellent and they come fitted with anti-balling plates. Make sure they are compatible with your boots.
  • Equipment hire / rental: The following equipment can be hired from KE: Crampons (with anti-balling plates) and crampon bag; Climbing helmet; Harness (with karabiner); Ice-axe. This can be reserved either when you book your trip or closer to your departure but we advise booking hire equipment as soon as possible to ensure availability. See the website for details of hire charges. Individual items can also be hired. We do not hire mountaineering boots, but there are several shops in Chamonix/Argentiere renting boots that are suitable for this trip.
  • Sleeping bags/extra shoes: These are NOT required as bedding and hut shoes/slippers are provided at mountain refuges. However, you must bring a sheet sleeping bag

Online advice

  • PHD Gear Advisor: PHD specialise in cold weather equipment, from the world’s lightest right up to the most protective for Everest or the Poles. It’s a large range. So to help you choose what you need to keep you warm, PHD have listed the gear that is appropriate for this expedition.
  • >> Click here to go to the PHD Gear Advisor for Mont Blanc Ascent
  • Needle Sports: Needle Sports is the English Lake District's foremost specialist climbing shop supplying mountaineering, rock, ice, alpine and expedition equipment worldwide. Internationally recognised as among the very best of the UK's top technical climbing gear retailers. They have a good range of equipment appropriate for this trip and offer knowledgeable advice both on their website and in store. View >>

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

Know before you go

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

Generally, the temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be reasonably warm, in the range 18 – 28°C / 64 – 82°F. At night in Argentiere, we can expect the temperature to drop to 10 – 15°C / 50 – 60°F. The weather is usually stable at this time of year, but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and occasional rain and even stormy weather cannot be ruled out.

Most people in this area of France speak very good English. However we do recommend you try to learn some simple French phrases and greetings as attempts to speak in the local language will always be appreciated and is all part of the fun.

Srie Bleue Topographic Survey 1:25,000 IGN

The French survey's excellent detailed topographic map series. For full coverage of all possible routes on Mont Blanc, there are two sheets: Chamonix & Massif du Mont Blanc (sheet. 3630 OT) covers the north of the range and east from the summit. and St.-Gervais-Les-Bain & Mont du Mont Blanc (sheet. 3531 ET) covers the south and west. St-Gervais-Les-Bain & Mont Blanc covers the Normal Route.

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