Getting ThereThe Aiguille des Grands Montets cable car station is located in Argentiere just north of Chamonix. The station has a big car park, and is also serviced by a regular bus service and is within walking distance of the railway station. If your staying in the area you will get a free bus and train pass so both options are worth considering.
The cable car will take you in two stages to 3296 metres to the cable car on the Aiguilles des Grands Montets. Descend the metal steps to the col between the station and the Petite Aiguille Vert. The route starts at the station side of the col, within a section of the glacier cordoned off by a tape fence. Don crampons and rope up here.
Although the first section of this route is technically part of the approach, but I’m going to include it here as it involves glacier travel and all the bits and pieces that go with it.
From the col descend onto the Glacier des Rognons from taped enclosure. After a short while you will be presented with a medium sized bergschund, you should have little difficulty crossing it. This is a popular route and you should have no problem following the tracks mountaineers passed. Continue to descend the glacier to a fork in the tracks one of which veers right towards the Argentiere Hut, the other bears left; follow the left tracks, and traverse the slope beneath a rocky spur. After around 200m you will be at the base of the East Face and ready to make your ascent towards the summit.
Cross the bergschund and ascend the snowy slope. This shouldn’t give you much trouble, but in poor snow conditions it may be necessary to move in ‘pitches’ i.e. one climber moving at a time. Gain the crest of a broad ridge and follow it to the summit face, and the upper part of the rocky spur which you passed under earlier. Follow the spur rightwards to the start of a series of metal ladders, and climb the ladders towards the cable car station, where you will emerge on its upper viewing platform amidst a throng of tourists; be sure to look suitably heroic, you're going to be a magnet for their cameras.
You’re already on top of the cable car station, take the cable car!
When to Climb and Essential GearMost people choose to climb in June, July and August. You will need an alpine style ice-axe, crampons, harness, rope, sunglasses and warm clothing.
Chamonix - Mont Blanc 3630 OT
Mont Blanc, Grand Combin 5003
Massiccio del Monte Bianco/Mont Blanc (4)
Mont Blanc/Monte Bianco K85
Grenoble/Mont Blanc 53
GuidebooksEasy Ascents in the Mont Blanc Range
Snow, Ice and Mixed: Vol 1
Snow, Ice and Mixed Volume 2
Office de Haute Montagnes (OHM)
Bureau des Guides