Following last minute preparations we transfer to the train or cable car to the Nid d’Aigle at 2372m. From the Nid d’Aigle, we commence the trek onto the lower flanks of Mont Blanc. It is a relatively short 3 hour hike that brings us to a short and steep path leading to the Tete Rousse Glacier and the Tete Rousse Refuge (3167m). As we climb higher above the valley we enter an alpine environment of snow, ice and rock. The views as we approach the Tete Rousse Refuge are breathtaking. The Tete Rousse is a new hut perched on the edge of the glacier in a stunning mountain setting. Today is not a long day, but still quite challenging due to the increasingly rugged terrain. We can expect to reach the hut by mid afternoon, giving plenty of time to recover for the climb to the Gouter Hut the next day. It is important to keep well hydrated. Meals at the hut usually begin with soup accompanied by bread & cheese, followed with a hearty meat casserole and dessert of fruit puree or similar, normally served around 6.30pm.
Schedule: 3-4 hours. Vertical: + 800 m.
Our summit strategy:
In this itinerary which includes 3 days on Mont Blanc, we have the flexibility in our program to make a longer summit attempt from the Tete Rousse Refuge (on day 6) and staying overnight in the Gouter Refuge on the descent or to make a summit attempt from Gouter (on day 7) and descend to Chamonix. This flexibility gives our groups a significant advantage of 2 windows of opportunity to attempt the summit on either day 6 or day 7 depending upon the weather conditions or forecast. But please note that after attempting & failing the summit it is important to realize that it is not possible to make a second attempt on the summit on the following day. Over recent seasons our preference has been to attempt the summit from Tete Rousse, which means we cross the Grand Couloir early in the morning on both the ascent and descent when it is frozen. Your guides will be well aware of the forecast and will make a decision on when to attempt the summit.
*PLEASE NOTE: Throughout the season there are times when the Tete Rousse Hut and/or the Gouter Hut are overbooked, although this has vastly improved since the new Gouter Hut was completed. Availability is controlled by French Alpine Club and allocation of beds is on a random basis and released in mid April each year. Please note that booking in advance is highly recommended but still does not guarantee a bed in these huts. From time to time, we may need to stay both nights in Tete Rousse and it may be necessary to camp outside this hut (equipment will be provided).