– France, Europe 4,808m / 15,774ft.
Climbing in the European Alps is unique in that tram access from Chamonix valley to the glaciated climbing terrain of the Mont Blanc massif allows one to acclimate very quickly. With lavish mountain huts situated throughout the Mont Blanc massif, we travel light knowing that our meals and a comfortable bed await! We can easily review climbing techniques such as self-arrest, rope travel, cramponing, then make our summit attempt when the weather window is optimal.
For climbers continuing with us to climb the Matterhorn, we journey a few hours from Chamonix to Zermatt, perhaps an equally beautiful setting located in the Swiss Alps. The Matterhorn, although slightly less in elevation than Mont Blanc, is technically more challenging because of the steep rock ridgelines we ascend on our way to the summit.
- Dates and Costs
- Gear List
- Why Madison Mountaineering?
Day 1: Depart country of residence.
Day 2: Arrive in Geneva, Switzerland, then travel by private car to the village of Chamonix in the afternoon. We then meet for an orientation and welcome dinner.
Day 3: After breakfast, we conduct a gear check then leave the hotel and take the tram to access the high country. We hike to about 9,000’ where we reach our mountain hut. Here we practice self-arrest, rope travel, and crampon technique.
Day 4: After a leisurely morning we pack our gear and depart the hut for a day of glacier climbing. We attempt to summit at least one peak today, then descend back to the hut for a well-deserved meal.
Day 5: We make another summit attempt on a nearby peak, furthering our exploration of the massif, and then return to the hut, then descend the mountain before heading back into town.
Day 6: After a leisurely morning in Chamonix we review our climbing strategy for Mont Blanc. Then we take the tram and from the top station, we hike a few hours to reach the Tete Rousse hut.
Day 7: We climb from the Tete Rousse hut to the Gouter Hut. This climb involves scrambling up a rocky ridge with spectacular views.
Day 8: Summit day! We awake early and climb glaciated slopes until reaching the summit, and gaze at the surrounding peaks in France, Italy, and Switzerland. We descend back down to the tram station and take the cog train back to Chamonix for a much-needed shower and meal at one of the many fine restaurants.
Optional Matterhorn Extension (see ‘Dates and Costs’ for more details)
Day 9: We drive to Geneva and depart for home. If climbers are continuing to the Matterhorn we travel by train today to Zermatt and check into our hotel.
Day 10: After a leisurely morning we head up to Schwartze and check into our hotel for the evening. We discuss our climbing strategy and have an early dinner to prepare for our alpine start!
Day 11: We depart before dawn and hike to the start of the route, then ascend steep rocky slopes until we gain the summit ridge where we don crampons. The summit is spectacular, and we gaze into Italy on the other side, with a panorama of the alps before us. We descend to the Schwartze hut and spend the night.
Day 12: Extra day in case of bad weather.
Day 13: We descend from Schwartze to Zermatt and have a celebration dinner and recount the summit climb the day before.
Day 14: Depart Zermatt for Geneva, then fly home that afternoon.
Mont Blanc climb
- July 12 - 20, 2023
- August 16 - 24, 2023
Deposit: USD 2,500
Mont Blanc and Matterhorn: $11,850
adds 5 days to the itinerary
- All tram, lift and hotel fees
- All group climbing gear such as ropes, snow pickets, ice screws, etc.
- All fees for four nights at French and Swiss Huts
- Three nights of lodging in Chamonix hotel
- Welcome dinner
- Breakfast and Dinner in the huts
- All transportation once trip has started
- Six Trams/lifts, and train fees
- Park fees, trekking permits and all tour fees
- IFMGA certified mountain guide fees
Costs Do Not Include:
- Bank or wire transfer fees, if applicable
- Meals not listed above (meals in Chamonix)
- Lunches during the climb
- International airfare USA – Geneva – USA
- Shuttle from Geneva to Chamonix
- Personal gear (see gear list)
- All personal snack/lunch food
- Alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks (bottled water)
- Any extra nights lodging in Chamonix beyond itinerary
- Trip cancelation insurance or the required medical evacuation insurance
- All expenses incurred in the event of early departure (evacuation fees, transport, extra hotel nights, etc.)
- Excess baggage charges and airport taxes
- Charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of Madison Mountaineering
- There are no refunds for the deposit or balance payments for this expedition. This includes but is not limited to, expeditions that conclude without reaching or making progress towards expedition objective(s) (for example, the summit) due to route conditions, weather, insufficient manpower, or any other factor outside the control of Madison Mountaineering.
- Expedition leader has the final say on the expedition conclusion and will make all best efforts towards reaching expedition objective(s) within our margin of safety.
- Participants that choose to leave an active expedition for any reason are not entitled to any refunds
- Madison Mountaineering, LLC highly recommends trip cancellation insurance for all expeditions
- Due to the nature and heavy costs of government and operator permits, Madison Mountaineering must adhere to a stringent refund policy
- Deposit due with registration materials
- All balances are due 120 days prior to departure date unless otherwise specified
- Participants whose balances are not received by the 120-day deadline as stated above, risk forfeiture of their funds and their place on the expedition
Note: Madison Mountaineering, LLC reserves the right to waive any fees. As we offer personalized service, we will attempt to accommodate changes and cancellations when necessary, waiving certain fees when feasible. Deposits paid by participants acknowledge the above cancellation terms.
- Synthetic Short Underwear (1-2 pair): non-cotton style underwear
- Lightweight Long Underwear (1-2 pair): long sleeve shirt and long pants
- Heavyweight Long Underwear (1 pair)
- Short Sleeve Synthetic Shirt (1-2)
- Soft Shell Jacket: to be worn over other layers
- Soft Shell Pants: very breathable and water repellant
- Mid-Layer Top: lightweight layer for use over base layers
- Lightweight Nylon Pants
- Hard Shell Jacket with hood: waterproof and breathable shell jacket
- Hard Shell Pants: waterproof and breathable shell pants
- Heavyweight Insulated Down Jacket with hood
- Insulated Pants
- Warm Hat: synthetic or wool hat (ski hat)
- Balaclava: to protect your neck and face in high winds
- Baseball Cap or other sun hat: to shade your face/neck from the sun on a hot day
- Bandana or Buff: to protect your neck/face from the sun
- Glacier Glasses: full protection with side covers or wrap around
- Ski Goggles: to be worn in the event of high winds – (2nd pair optional)
- Lightweight Synthetic Base Layer Gloves (2 pair): for wearing on warm days
- Soft Shell Gloves: to wear for moderate cold/wind
- Shell Glove with Insulated Liner: to wear for severe cold/strong wind
- Expedition Mitts: large enough to fit a liner glove inside
- Liner Socks (3 pairs)
- Wool or Synthetic Socks (3 pairs)
- Mountaineering Boots
- Hiking Shoes/Boots: comfortable hiking boots
- Sleeping Bag: rated to at least -20°F
- Self-inflating Sleeping Pad: full length is preferred
- Closed-cell Foam Pad: to be used in conjunction with the inflating pad for warmth and comfort when sleeping
- Expedition Backpack: approximately 65L
- Compression Stuff Sacks: for reducing the volume of the sleeping bag, down parka, etc. in your pack
- Trash Compactor Bags: to line backpack and stuff sacks as well as for separating gear
- Backpack Rain Cover (optional)
- Trekking Poles with Snow Baskets: adjustable
- Ice Axe: general mountaineering tool (65cm)
- Crampons: general mountaineering crampons
- Climbing Helmet: must be able to fit over your warm hat
- Alpine Climbing Harness: mountaineering harness, with adjustable leg loops. Not a rock-climbing “sport” harness
- Carabineers: 2 regular, 4 locking
- Belay/Rappel Device
- Headlamp: with 2 extra sets of new batteries
- Large Duffel Bag with Lock: for transporting gear
- Small Duffel Bag with Lock: to store items in the hotel(s) while on the climb
- Travel Clothes and Shoes: for days in cities and towns
- Lightweight journal, sketchbook, pencils, pen
- U.S. cash: for currency exchange to purchase SIM cards or merchandise in cities and towns
Additional Food Items
- Snack Food: bring a few days supply of your favorite climbing snack food such as bars, gels, nuts, beef jerky, etc. variety of salty and sweet is good
- Cup: plastic 16 oz. minimum cup or mug
- Bowl: large plastic bowl for eating dinner or breakfast
- Spoon: plastic spoon (Lexan)
- Water Bottles (2): wide mouth bottles with 1-liter capacity
- Water Bottle Parkas (2): fully insulated with zip opening
- Water Treatment
- Thermos (optional): 1 liter
- Hand and Toe Warmers
- Sunscreen: SPF 50 or better
- Lip Screen (2 sticks): SPF 30 or better
- Toiletry Bag: include toothbrush, toothpaste, toilet paper, baby wipes and hand sanitizer (2 small bottles)
- Pee Bottle: 1-liter minimum bottle for convenience at night in the tent
- Female Urination Device (FUD)
- Knife or Multi-tool (optional)
- Small Personal First-aid Kit: include athletic tape, band-aids, Ibuprofen, blister care, etc.
- Medications and Prescriptions: bring personal medications, antibiotics (Azithromycin, etc.), altitude medicine such as Diamox, etc.
- Handkerchiefs/Bandanas (optional)
- Country-appropriate power plug adapters and power transformers
- Adventure Sports Watch: such as Garmin fēnix 6
- GPS/Personal Satellite Communicator: such as Garmin inReach Mini
- Personal Power System: such as Goal Zero Nomad 28 Plus Solar Panel and Sherpa 100AC Power Bank
- Digital Entertainment: movies, tv shows, music, books loaded on to smartphone, iPad, Kindle
- Camera: bring extra batteries, charger, and memory cards
Madison Mountaineering is recognized for well thought out strategy in leading high altitude climbing expeditions, as well as high-quality service throughout. We have two decades of experience in the planning and coordination of mountaineering expeditions, our reputation is excellent. We strive to make each expedition the best possible experience for our climbers and focus on our 3 primary goals of success in reaching the summit, returning safely, and having fun! Safety is always our number one priority.
Our guides are some of the best and most experienced in the industry, having a strong grasp of technical climbing, expedition, and high altitude experience, along with strong interpersonal skills. Our teams are small and equipped with the best support available to ensure the highest chance of success. We are renowned for our comfortable base camps, high-quality food, first-rate communications, and medical support services, all of which are overseen by a professional member of our team.
Most of our climbers have either climbed with us before, been referred by a friend who has climbed with us, or met one of our teams while attempting another peak and decided to join us for their next expedition. We work hard to facilitate safe, successful, and enjoyable expeditions for all of our climbers. Our track record and past climber testimonials prove we are highly competent experts in our field and love what we do!