Alpinrunning in Chamonix Valley

Chamonix is one of the places for outdoor sports. Mostly well know for Alpinism, has been developed during the last decade for other sports as trail running, paragliding, mountain bike, slakline, BASE and wing suit jumping… With easy access from airport and routes this valley has been from longtime a temporal living place for many outdoor enthusiasts. With easy access to big mountains is also a great terrain to practice alpinrunning. Here I select 10 activities I like it, take care and enjoy!


– Via Corda: PD. III, Rock. 1-2h, 600m: A first approach to the scrambling in Chamonix. From Les Bois, run 20 minutes in the cross country slopes until “la Norvege” and follow the Via Corda (or variant Via Calina), a scrambling route to Buvette des Mottets, with great views of Mer de Glace. From there you can run down in the normal trail, or downscramblling the same route it can be a good exercice. Minimal gear: none. Topo:

– Traversée des Aiguilles Rouges. PD, III- IV, 6-7h, 3000m: Starting from Col des Montets, Up to Lac Blanc, to Aiguille de Belvedere (III), ridge to Aiguilles Crochues, Aiguille de la Floria, Aiguille de Gliere (loose rocks). From there you can go down to Planpraz or Flegere and back Chamonix. Minimal gear: none, If you want to do longer, you can start from Buet going to col de l’Encrenaz, Aiguille Martin, Pointe du Lac Blanc, Tete plate, and joining Belvedere (Long rappel 60m) a bit more technical with some IV+, V steeps, needing rope and some gear, here a report from Jeff Mercier:

– Aiguille du Tour. PD, III, 5-6h, 2000m: Starting from Le Tour, go up on a steep trail to Albert I hut, from there take the glacier (attention crevasses, good to rope in) and go or straight to Col Superieur du Tour or ñeft to Col du Midi, and join the base of Aiguille du Tour. You can climb both Aiguilles (North and South) some steeps of II – III. Go down the same way or the other “col”, Albert I and Le Tour. Minimal gear: none but a ice axe, crampons and glacier can be great. If you want to do something more difficult you can climb via Arete du Couloir de la Table (AD, IV+, loose rock)


– Arete de Bochard, Grands Montets. AD- IV, 3,5-6h 2500m: From Le Lavancher or Les Tines go up to “Sources de l’Averyon” and follow the trail on the left to the ridge, on the higher point a “chamois trail” starts going directly up to the beginning of the ridge. Easy scrambling until 2600m, where it starts a easy but narrow ridge until Bochard lift, at 2800m. There ewe can go down or continue to Grands Montets, with some IV steeps, and down via the glacier (attention the crevasses). Minimal gear: none.

– Miage – Bionnasay – Mont Blanc, AD, III, M2, 7-10h, 4200m: Starting from Les Contamines, go up to Domes de Miage via Tre la Tete hut. from there follow the ridge and go down to Durier hut (some down climbing or small rappel), and up the ridge to Aiguille de Bionnasay (some steeps on mixt, M2) from the summit one of the most beautiful ridges, really narrow (attention to the corniches to N side) to Piton des Italiens, Dome du Gouter (from there we can go down to Refuge du Gouter- Tete Rousse and Les Houches) or follow to Mont Blanc Summit. Down via Gouter-Tete Rouse-Les Houches or via 3 monts to Aiguille du Midi (lift down to Chamonix, 40 euros!) Minimal gear: crampons, 1 ice axe, 1 20m rope. A variant is go up to Domes de Miage via Metrier Ridge (a activity also by themselves) AD M2

Arete des Cosmiques, Midi-Plan and Lachenal: AD, IV, 60*: Go up to Aiguille de Midi is expensive (52 euros up&down) but is good to spend some time in altitude and alpine terrain for train, and awesome views. There is infinity of possibilities on short time, to do alone or to do several of them on the same day: Arete des Cosmiques, if you have not many time or to do loops, 30 to 50 minutes, some mist terrain (60* and IV) Need a 30m rope for abseiling, crampons, 1 Ice axe. Need   Midi-Plan: Following the large ridge on the first part and then more exposed and narrow to Rognon du Plan, then climb to Aiguille du Plan (IV) need crampons and 1 ice axe, a rope can be great for down climb: Other options is the Traversée des Pointes Lachenal, in front of Cosmiques ridge (AD-) or Triangle du Tacul (Contamines-Mazeaud AD+ 65*)…


– Aiguille de l’M, D-, V, 3h30-5h, 2000m: From Chamonix up to Montenvers train station and from there taking the traversée to Plan d’Aiguille until Signal. There we start a ridge that takes us to the bottom of the NNE ridge to Aiguille de l’M. There we start climbing in a IV, following the ridge, some V steep (1 piton) until a big diedre (V) that you can skip on the right side keeping the ridge IV) after the diedre, a short V steep and easy to the summit. Down climb on the other side, with some delicate steeps, and following the big couloir until metal steers who takes us down to the Nantillons Glacier. Croise the glacier, and go down to the Aiguille du Plan trail and Chamonix. Minimal gear: climbing shoes, a carbiner and a sling can be great to protect the difficult steeps if we don’t feel confident: 

– Tour du Tour, AD, IV, 50*, 8-12h, 2800m: From Le Tour Village go up to Albert I hut, from there straight up to Pointe des Grands, follow the ridge to Col des Grands and there a narrow and exposed ridge to cross Pointe Du Genepi, (loose rock, IV) It can be possible a 10m abseil) down to Col de Midi and climb the E ridge on Aiguille N du Tour, Aiguille S du Tour and down to the glacier under Grande Fourche to attack Forbes ridge, with snow or ice to the ridge (40*) and then some rock and mixt steeps (III) to Chardonnet summit. Down via N route (snow ridge, 20m abseiling and snow field (attention big crevasses) to the bottom, up to Bec Rouge (scrambling loose rock) and following the ridge to Peclerets and Le Tour. Minimal gear: crampons, 1 ice axe, 20m rope, altitude clothes, helmet…

– Innominata, D+, V+, 50*,M2, 8-16h, 4200m: Starting from Val Veni (Freney Parking) run up to Monzino hut, take the glacier under Pointe de l’Innominata (attention big crevasses) to Eccles Bivouac. There climb to Pointe d’Eccles, a small abseiling or down climb and we reach the V+ steep (1 piton) we climb until a big gendarme and cross to the big couloir (snow on beginning summer, dry on the end) not be late for rocks falling! and scramble up to the summit ridge, some ridge until Mont Blanc de Courmayeur and from there easy to Mont Blanc. Down via Gouter route to Les Houches. Minimal gear: Ice axe (1 or 2) crampons, rope 20m. Altitude clothes, helmet… From Eccles bivouac is possible to do Brouillard ridge on the left (more ridge climbing from eccles) or Peuterey ridge (down to Glacier du Freney and a snow-ice couloir to Mont Blanc de Courmayeur).

Make your one!: be imaginative, take your route and share!