"Climbing, Hiking, Mountain Biking, Skiing" Top 5 Page for this destination Chamonix-Mont-Blanc by firechick
Chamonix-Mont-Blanc Travel Guide: 323 reviews and 684 photos
As this is my home town, I will try every season to put some recent updates on this page.
In addition to the detailed tips here on VT, there is a page of links I maintain for another web page, and it has some ways to find even more great information on Chamonix and the surrounding alpine region including the border sections of Italy and Switzerland.
Winter 2011/2012 and 2012/2013
An amazing winter with tons of snow early in 2011 -- including a major snowstorm on New Year's Eve that made things fun :-).
2012/13 is looking like it will be the 2nd good winter in a row as close to 2m of snow fell on an already good base and it is not even Christmas yet !
For current Chamonix weather, the best site is: Chamonix Meteo. Other sites are not nearly as accurate. Like mountain weather everywhere Chamonix has very changeable forecasts. Be sure to check the forecast the day before you go out - it often changes day to day and often is useless to check more than 3 days ahead.
Get real time listings of lifts in town from the Compagnie du Mont Blanc website for most of the valley's hiking access, and also from the Les Houches website. which a lot of people use for mountain biking, as the hills there are not as extreme as in Chamonix. Mountain biking trails have also been put in at Le Tour / Vallorcine (Domain de Balme) and that lift now runs in summer season to accommodate the bikers.
Argentiere is just up the valley from Chamonix (10 min) and is part of the same commune. The town is much smaller, but has in my opinion a more beautiful old section. It is at a higher altitude than Chamonix (by about 600 ft) and so gets more snowy in the winter.
Skiing in winter at the Grandes Montets is just amazing and this ski area is almost too well known for 'extreme' skiing and off-piste. In fact, it gets tracked out quite fast in high season!
In summer, hiking up to the Argentiere Glacier is a very cool thing to do (you can also hike on it and ice climb on parts of it in winter). You can also quite easily hike from Argentiere to the Swiss border.
By hiking up the trail at the right side of it, you can get good (and safe) views of this glacier, and see the enormous crevasses that could swallow a house...... If you sit and watch it for awhile, you can sometimes hear the glacier moving with large 'cracking' sounds or even get lucky enough to see a large chunk of glacier fall from the big seracs near the end where it spills over a steep edge, down towards the valley. A very impressive glacier!
I have included Argentiere activities in these pages, rather than create a separate page for this town.
Other nearby towns also in the commune of Chamonix are (from down valley to up valley) Les Bossons, Le Mont, Les Pelerins, Les Praz de Chamonix, Les Tines, Argentiere, Le Tour & Vallorcine (which is the last town before the Swiss border). Anything in the Chamonix commune will be covered on the Chamonix page and the commune of Les Houches, which is just next to Les Bossons (ie 'down valley') is also included.
- Pros:Mountains mountains mountains
- Cons:Unpredictable weather, crowded in town in 'high season'
- In a nutshell:Wouldn't want to live anywhere else
It is becoming a real problem with certain routes such as climbing Mont Blanc and the Tour du Mont Blanc that huts are... more travel advice
Multi-day hiking adventures on the famous Tour du Mont Blanc trail can start from Chamonix or nearby Les Houches. This... more travel advice
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