Mont Blanc - 3 Mounts Blanc Traverse

Mont Blanc - 3 Mounts Blanc Traverse

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 45.83270°N / 6.84430°E
Additional Information Route Type: Mountaineering
Seasons Season: Summer
Additional Information Time Required: One to two days
Additional Information Difficulty: PD + (Alpine Scale)
Sign the Climber's Log


The 3 Mounts Blanc Traverse (Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit, Mont Blanc) is probably the longest but the most panoramic amongst the Normal Routes to join Mont Blanc summit. This route is a "MUST HAVE" for alpinist CVs: it starts at the Aiguille du Midi and ends on the summit of Mont Blanc. For the descent route you will have the choice between the Dôme du Goûter Normal Route, the Grands Mulets Route or by coming back again to the Aiguille du Midi. Note: The 3 Mounts traversee follows the Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit normal route for the first part of the ascent.

Getting There

Getting to Chamonix is quite simple: if you come from the south (from Italy), go through the Mont Blanc Tunnel, you will join directly Chamonix. From Switzelrand you may come from Martigny by driving up the Forclaz Pass and the Col the Montets, or from Geneva using the "Mont Blanc highway". As you reach Chamonix you will certainly see the cables of the enormous cable car of the Aiguille du Midi... You can't be wrong. Take the cable car up to the Aiguille du Midi (36 Euros)and follow the indications "Alpinist Exit" as come on the to of the Aiguille. (If you have a few time, visit the panoramic terrasse of the Aiguille du Midi, you will appreciate the entire route up to the summit of Mont Blanc.

Sleeping there

As it is quite impossible to do the traversee whithout sleeping somewhere on the route, a good idea is to make a reservation into the Refuge des Cosmiques (3617 m), which may be reached in around 30 minutes of easy glacier walk from the Aiguille du Midi. The Hut is really nice and the cook is great! As it is a private hut of the French Glaciology Service, the prices are quite high (29 Euros for sleeping + breakfast and 46 Euros if you take the dinner too). If you prefer to stay alone, you have the possibility to set up your tent on the Col du Midi, under the hut. Camping is allowed from arond 5 PM until 7 AM. (You normally have to dismantle your camp before leaving for the summit. You can let the tent there in its bag, no one will steal it, but you will have to come back here from the summit to recover it).

Essential Gear

Ice Axe, crampons, rope (50 m), 1 ice screw per person, Helmet. And the normal high altitude equipement for cold weather. In the beginning of the season think about a Barryvox. It may be 5°C and -15°C 1 bour later...

Route Description

The 3 Mounts Route

If you sleep at the Cosmiques Hut, leave it ar around 1.30 AM and reach the Col du Midi (3532m) 100 meters below. From here walk south and begin climbing up the North face of the Mont Blanc du Tacul. The face becomes steeper and you will have to walk around some seracs and crevasses. The route changes every year or even more frequently because of the glacier movings. This first step brings you to the Epaule du Mont Blanc du Tacul at around 4100 meters.

3 Monts traverse - topo from Shoulder du Tacul
3 Mounts traverse - The itinerary from the Shoulder of Mont Blanc du Tacul -  Photo nattfodd

From the Epaule go on walking south until the Col Maudit (4035 meters) and from here move to the right to join the North Face of the Mont Maudit. The face is really steep but less dangerous of the fisrts one because of the seracs. The North Face ends with a 40-50° degrees ice climb to reach the Col du Mont Maudit (4345m). This key passage is often the point where people decide to stop the climb. As you have crossed the Col du Mont Maudit you walk south once again to reach the Col de la Brenva (4303) and from here once again to your right to climb up the steep wall of the Mur de la Côte. Over this wall you stand on the Plateau de Petits Rochers Rouges (~4550 meters). Now you just have to walk up in N-W direction to the summit of the Mont Blanc (4807 meters). The ascent will take you around 6 hours depending on the seracs conitions and the people on the route.


The descent from the same route is quite long and when you have finished the descent reaching the Col du Midi (3532 meters) you will have to climb up 300 meters to take the cable car on the Aiguille du Midi (3842 meters)... The route takes around 5 hours. If you have enough legs after the ascent you may go down from the Grands Mulets Normal Route and reach the midle station of the cable car at Plan de l'Aiguille (2310 m)... It takes almost 6 hours from the summit and is a bad idea in bad weather conditions. Choose this way down if you have skis with you! Most of the teams are descending by the Dôme du Goûter Normal route and then down to the little train at Nid d'Aigle.

Red Tape

No particulary restrictions

Huts and Bivouacs

Refuge des Cosmiques m. 3613 – C.A.F.

Accomodation in Chamonix

Chamonix is a primary destintion, offering several accomodations (hotels, huts, gites, renting rooms). Numberless campsites are situated both in the Northern and Southern ends of the town.

Main campsites:

- Camping Glacier d'Argentière - Argentière (8 km. North to Chamonix) +33(0)450541736 - Camping la Mer de Glace - Les Praz (3 km. North to Chamonix) +33(0)450534403 - Camping les Deux Glaciers - Les Bossons (3 km. South to Chamonix) +33(0)450531584 - Camping les Arolles - close to the centre of Chamonix - +33(0)450531430 - Camping les Cimes - Les Bossons (3 km. South to Chamonix) +33(0)450535893 - Camping les Marmottes - +33(0)450536124

When to climb

The best period goes from July to September


Meteo Chamonix 

Meteo Regione Valle d'Aosta

Useful information

- Office de la Haute Montagne de Chamonix Phone +33 0450 532208 Office de la Haute Montagne

- Cable-car informations Phone +33 0450 532275 Compagnie du MontBlanc

- Office du Tourisme de Chamonix Phone +33 0450 530024 Chamonix Mont-Blanc

Guidebooks and maps


“Monte Bianco Vol. I” di Gino Buscaini, Collana Guide dei Monti d’Italia CAI TCI, 1994.

“Monte Bianco - Guide Vallot” ed. Mediterranee, 1999.

“Il massiccio del Monte Bianco – Le 100 più belle ascensioni” by Gaston Rébuffat, Zanichelli Edizioni,

“Rifugi e Bivacchi delle Alpi Occidentali” by Cesare Re, Ed. Guide Macchione, 2005

“Rifugi e Bivacchi del CAI” by Franco Bo, Ed. Priuli e Verlucca, 2002


CNS 1:50000, Courmayeur, foglio 292  Kompass 1:50000, Monte Bianco, foglio 85  De Agostini 1:50000, Monte Bianco


Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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nattfodd - Sep 2, 2009 1:54 pm - Hasn't voted


I added three photos with the route marked, shot from different points in the climb (shoulder du Tacul, col de Brenva and the summit). You might want to add them in the main article next to the one shot from Aiguille du Midi.


gordonye - Jul 28, 2013 2:28 pm - Hasn't voted

My trip report July 6, 2013

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