About the Vallée Blanche
The Vallée Blanche is a 22km long off-piste itinerary descent from the Aiguille du Midi, down the Glacier du Geant, joining the Mer du Glace, before descending back to Chamonix town.
Skiing down the glaciers is quite an experience. The scenery around you is simply incredible. The surrounding mountainous peaks are majestic - you ski past soaring rocky pinnacles, past towering ice seracs waiting to fall, skirting around crevasses hidden in the snow, crossing snow bridges over the cravasses....
Our video of the Vallée Blanche:
Please feel free to watch our ski video of one of our guest groups skiing down the Classique route of the Vallée Blanche with James, our guide and instructor.
Routes down the Vallée Blanche
There are three main routes down the Vallée Blanche.
- Classique route
- Envers du Plan route
- Grands Envers du Plan route
What level of skier do I have to be?
The answer to this REALLY depends upon the conditions on the glacier.
For the Classique route, at a minimum level you should be confident on red pistes in the very least.
You should be able to stop under control when the guide tells you.
Note: when there is fresh snow, you should be a competent off-piste skier to make the most of your day.
Do I really need a guide?
Quite simply, unless you live in the Chamonix valley and regularly ski the Vallée Blanche several times a season - Yes! You do!
Every year there are a number of incidents where people lose their life on the Vallée Blanche.
Typically they have tried to ski it solo (ie. without a guide) and fall into cravasses, which may be over 50 metres deep, collapse snow bridges, or have stopped under seracs which fall and crush them. There are also avalanche risks.
How much will a guide cost?
A guide will cost you between 280 and 360 euros depending on how long you take him for.
What technical equipment is needed?
Your guide will provide you with all technical equipment necessary...
The minimum equipment provided by your guide includes...
- an ARVA - an avalanche transceiver
- a harness with a cows tail (a sling with a karabiner on it so they can lift you out of a cravasse if the worst happens!)
Also, don't forget....
- Your camera
- Packed lunch
- Sun cream
- Sunglasses or googles
Experienced off-piste skiers would normally also take...
- Avalanche shovel
- Avalanche probes
- Two ice screws
- Randonnée rope (30m minimum x 9mm)
- Dead man
- Selection of slings and karabiners
Remember the FIVE GOLDEN rules of skiing on glaciers
- Always take a guide.
- Never ski below, or in front of, your guide.
- Never remove your skis or snowboard! Ever!
- Never leave the path!
- Don't stop under seracs! They fall!