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Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 11:44 am
by waXology
Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone had some advice regarding hiring a private guide for Mont Blanc this year. I've unfortunately been turned around twice on Mont Blanc due to bad weather. Too warm and rockfall (2011) and wind (2012) and am determine to get there third time lucky.

I’m not really happy with those week long groups as they offer no flexibility at all and cover a lot of the stuff I’m familiar with already in the days before. What I am trying to do is:

- Hire a guide for 2days possibly 3 for ascent on route with best conditions at the time. ( I will do my own aclimitsation)
- Obviously any extra days will be negotiated with the guide if they are not booked elsewhere etc
- Trying to keep costs down. and if possible make it cheaper than week long group. So guide hire and all the huts, cable car and other bits to come in under a week group cost.

My question is, is it acceptable to just walk in to Compagnie des Guides in Chamonix when I’m ready to go up and just hire one then and there? Or are they all pre-booked?

Any tips or advice would be appreciated.


Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2013 4:59 pm
by wkriesel
The guide also turned me around in 2009. A Canadian kid I met in Chamonix simply pitched his tent near the Cosmiques hut and waited a few days for good weather for a solo trip. If you think you are bold enough to solo the ridge descent off of Aiguille du Midi, then you can probably solo the whole trip. Just follow the trail.
Bon Chance.

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 7:09 pm
by FreeHueco
I'm also curious about this...

I have plenty of mountain experience. My wife and I will be in France/Switzerland/Austria/Italy for a couple of weeks in July. I read online somewhere that 70% of non-guided climbers fail to summit, versus only 20% for guided climbers? This seems a bit off to me, is it just the guides trying to scare people into giving them business?

How does Mont Blanc compare to peaks in California or Nepal difficulty-wise? I've been near the summit of Island Peak (almost to 20,000 feet (and my wife's been almost as high on Kilimanjaro)). So the altitude is not an issue. We're planning to climb Mount Shasta as a shakedown cruise a month or two before the trip to Europe.

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 9:46 am
by Flachlandtiroler
I wonder how to count the non-guided ascends, as there is no registration etc. at all for climbing Montblanc. :?

Technically the normal (Gouter) route is easy, the main challenge being altitude and stamnia. So a guide wouldn't help that much here.

IMHO the normal route is definitly easier than Island Peak (which is quite steep ice nowadays AFAIK) but more serious than Californian or Colorado 4k peaks, as far as the climate is concerned. The weather at Montblanc can change to arctic conditions very fast, even in summer.

Btw., altitude adaption is a funny game... if you spent weeks at altitude like eg. in Nepal you may find it simple. Coming from sea level and immediately tackling Montblanc is a different setup. Of course here the retreat is extremly simple, compaired to the himalayas. Neverthelesse it should be kept in mind.

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 7:40 pm
by FreeHueco
Thanks for the reply.

I've been to 14,000 feet from sea level in less than 48 hours and been fine. It can still hit, but my experience has always been quick adaptation to altitude. We will most likely attempt Mont Blanc during our second week in the Alps, so we'll have some hiking and cycling under our belts to help acclimatize (we're planning to watch the l'Alpe D'Huez stage of the Tour de France, and climb some of the other legendary passes on the bike, and do some easier peaks and hiking.

We'll also be doing some hiking and biking in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and PEI before we head over there. Hopefully we won't be too trashed when it comes time to climb!

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 3:04 am
Hi FreeHueco,

We are booked for 28th June - 5th July to attempt summit following last years avalanche as we were the lucky British Team that decided to turn round as we made our way towards Maudit and could hear the avalanche 2 nights before each attempt. We are trying to gather a large group of any solo climbers and currently have 10 confirmed. We have opted for the Gouter route and hope to make it a successful climb this year. Acclimatising at Aiguille and on 2 day trek prior to summit attempts. ... ont-maudit

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:10 am
I'm delighted to say we made the summit on 2nd July. I suffered severe altitude sickness 400 metres from top on our 1st attempt as we didn't have time to acclimatise but 24 hours later I returned with my Canadian friend Duncan and we did it. The only section I would seek for a guide would be the grand couloir crossing and the rocky climb to Gouter refuge from Tete Rousse. We climbed as a free group of 7 and teamed up with a couple who were ascending on their own.

Details of the climb and Gouter route are on my website

I'm looking at running 7 marathons back to back this May before planning a trip to Alaska and attempting Denali (mount McKinley)

Stay Safe everyone.

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:55 am
by Langley
A group i was with a few years ago climb MB via the gouter route with a weeks acclimatisation. 1 night at the cosmique (sp) hut and a day on the col du midi before climbing a few days later.

Missed my opportunity but out there end of june so will have a go at that route.

I would not use a guide, too expensive and they do drag folk up regardless of their climbing experience which is a danger. seen it and not impressed.

Doing a solo attempt just requires detemination and being absolutely sure of your climbing skill.

Re: Mont Blanc 2013 - Guide Hire

PostPosted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 10:20 am
by waXology
I'll second that.

So after i started this thread I ended up going with a mate who had climbed MB before. Both of us are competent and were great roped together. Weather was perfect and managed to get up there via 1 night at the Gouter. Unfortunately had no time to aclimitise. Just got to Chamonix, went up the tramway and did it. Luckily both had no effects of altitude sickness and got up and down safely. About time. 3 years of being turned around by weather :)