The high level rock climbing in Chamonix is without doubt world famous. The ability to climb high in the mountains on good quality granite with the relative security of bolted anchors opens up a huge amount of accessible rock. Despite well bolted belays and abseil stations rock climbing in the Chamonix Aiguilles still requires the traditional approach of the alpinist.
Mountain Rock Climbing in Chamonix
High level mountain rock climbing has seen an explosion in the last forty years, as climbers have moved away from traditional routes taking obvious lines of weakness. Suddenly the likes of Michel Piola started to explore the blank slabs and walls of the Mont Blanc massif. What exists now is a plethora of routes giving some of the finest climbing on granite anywhere.
The constant retreat of the glaciers means that some of these routes can be approached in boots or trainers, making for a light sac. Alternatively, for those who enjoy climbing high above the glaciers it's possible to leave "the tools of alpinism" at the base having approached on snow by foot or ski.
A trip to climb in Chamonix doesn't need to be extreme and there are plenty of traditional objectives at all grades. With routes from F4a upwards. Not to mention the classic rock ridges that can be climbed in 'big boots'.
There is a huge amount of climbing in the Chamonix Mont Blanc massif, as well as some fine areas within a reasonable drive. Here are a few selected locations, and some examples of routes. Also check out the photos below...
- The Envers des Aiguilles and the Requin - Fantastic climbing close to the Refuge de l'Envers des Aiguilles and the Refuge de Requin. Check out 'Bienvenue au George V' and 'Le Marchand de Sable'.
- Chamonix Aiguilles - Good traditional climbing including the likes of the 'Arête des Papillons' and the 'Voie Contamine-Vaucher'.
- Aiguille d'Midi and the Tacul Satellites - High quality granite lines high above the Vallee Blanche including 'Le Lifting du Roi', 'Voie Baquet-Rébuffat' etc
- Orny - Trient - Great rock with mellow grades positioned close to the welcoming Cabane d'Orny e.g. 'Voie du Bon Accueil' and 'La Moquette'.
- Val Ferret and the Italian side on Mont Blanc - Climbing on the wild side of Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco) near the Dalmazzi and Monzino Huts e.g. 'Les Chamois Volants' and 'Voie Ottoz'
- Valle dell'Orco - Italy's version of Yosemite in the Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso. Amazing climbing in cracks e.g. 'Incastromania', 'Fessura della Disperazione' and 'Diedro Nanchez'.
The best part of the season runs from June until mid September, although good conditions can emerge and indeed remain outside these periods. As soon as the rock is dry, it's game on...!
Matt Stygall on the steep line of 'Squatteurs de lune' on the Pointe Vouilloz. Adventure climbing with bolts. enlarge