Ethical Mont Blanc?


It’s time to cut the bullshit – forget all the marketing speak for a moment! No mentions of “the glorious sunrise as you make the final steps to the glittering roof of Europe”. Let’s face facts – there are many guiding companies offering this ascent, but we want you to be aware of the ethics (or lack of them) in play on this mountain, and to chose your operator carefully. We have been offering these trips for nearly 15 years, and our guides have led over 1500 clients to the summit, so we know the mountain exceptionally well. We think there are three key aspects to consider, when booking a trip;

SUMMER DATES – Most people climb via the Gouter (normal) Route, and you access the mountain via the Mont Blanc Tramway, which carries you to the Nid d’Aigle terminus at 2372m. The dates this operates are from 14 June to 14 September 2014. We only offer ascents during the season that the Tramway is open, as to hike in from Bellevue has a severe impact on your chances of summiting Mont Blanc. The Gouter and Tete Rousse huts are open a couple weeks before and after the Tramway, so beware of this when booking a trip. We offer ascents in the ethical season.

MOUNTAIN HUT – On the Gouter Route there are two huts you could stay in, the Tete Rousse at 3167m or the new Gouter hut at 3835m. To reach the Tete Rousse takes approximately 2 hours from the Nid d’Aigle, and the Gouter is a further 2 hour climb above. All our advertised Mont Blanc course spaces have GUARANTEED spaces booked in the Gouter hut, to make the summit day shorter, and therefore the summit more likely. The new Gouter hut opened last year, and offers spacious accommodation at an altitude of just 1000m below the summit. We are ethical in advertising, in that spaces are pre-booked in the hut that provides you the best summiting chances.

FOR CHARITY – We aren’t being a scrooge about charity, but there is a place and time for charity challenges, and it certainly isn’t on Mont Blanc. The mountain guides have a tough job on this peak to safeguard you from the objective dangers or rockfall, crevasses, avalanche, and storms, without being under undue pressure for a charity challenge. We do not consider this safe, and feel it is unethical and unsafe to advertise this peak as such. Obviously we don’t mind if you are raising a few quid for your chosen charity, but we ask you not to tell us, and to get all your sponsors to agree to pay you whether you summit or not. Safety must come before charity.

By now you should have a clear idea about our ethics and why they are so valuable to us. By sticking with our principles, we are making the summit a more realistic goal for you, and we are focusing on safety. From a commercial standpoint it might seem to make more sense to join the flood of other operators pushing to lengthen their seasons, but I think that for those of you who really do your research, you will be more attracted to a company who wants you to succeed more than the others. It isn’t therefore a case of how often we operate this trip, but when and how we operate it. We believe that our ethics on Mont Blanc are critical to your success.

Mont Blanc course itinerary: click here
Mont Blanc Tramway timetable: click here

3 responses to “Ethical Mont Blanc?

    • Hi, yes they are generally, but you can never predict the weather week on week, so some weeks they’d be perfect, and others a bit bulky and hot. Generally in early season (now) when there is more snow, and late season (September) when the days are shorter so it’s cooler, they would be fine. As a Sportiva boot suits your foot shape, we recommend Sportiva Nepal Extreme boots, but you can hire them if it looked too warm for the Spantik. Hope this helps.

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