Chamonix

16 messages
28/07/2011 at 14:22
Hi
Looking to visit chamonix next summer for a week or so and would like to get some good runs in whilst there. Does anyone have any good routes, recommendations of things to do or see, books or maps we should buy?
Thanks
Nick
28/07/2011 at 14:30
Go in the winter - the skiing's fab!
28/07/2011 at 14:56
yep - agree the skiing is fab but it's also superb in summer

we had a place in Chamonix for over 10 years before we sold up (too many Brits spoiling the town frankly - it lost it's Frenchness) so know the valley extremely well.

things to do - absolutely tons but the must do's are

cablecar to the Aiguille du Midi - 3800m - and fantastic views of Mt Blanc and surrounds and of the whole area. go on a clear day natch and take warm clothes as even on a hot summer day it will be cold up there.

take the Montenvers cog railway to the Mer de Glace - a glacier that comes all the way down from the top of Mt Blanc. has an ice cave to visit in summer and is just a great viewpoint.

cablecar to the top of Brevent - views across the whole Mt Blanc massif


as for runs/walks/hikes - the valley has something like 500km of marked trails from valley level to high altitude. you can run all of them if you want but most people stick to the valley ones for that. Chamonix hosts an annual marathon (very tough with lots of climbing)and the world famous Ultratrail du Mont Mlanc (UTMB) which is an 122km trail race around the mountain taking in high passes in France, Italy and Switzerland. not for the faint of heart and tough to get into (you need ultra experience)

you can hire mountain bikes, do climbing courses (all French mountain guides are trained in the town), go glacier walking, paragliding, horse riding. so much and so many things to do.

great bars and restaurants from basic to swish. a must visit is the Brasserie du Mt Blanc - a pub that brews it's own beer - we know it well! bookshops aplenty with guides and maps to cover everything you can think of.

and for gear junkies - sports shops with as much technical kit that you would never use in a lifetime. make sure you have a good credit card limit!!

I could go on but it's easier to point you at the Chamonix website for info.

one note of warning - avoid the place in late July and August as it's absolutely heaving with holidaymakers as over 100000 people descend on the place. it's mayhem. be warned. June and September are fab

if you want any specific info - PM me.
28/07/2011 at 14:56

you can buy 1:25000 scale maps - and also a basic 'trails map' while you are there.

There are lots of cable cars, so my advice generally would be to plan a run where you use one of the cable cars to either climb or descend part of a run.....just be aware of the 'last cable car time'

 THere are lots of refuges in the mountains where you can get some supplies.

Or of course you could just follow the Tour Du Mont Blanc....160km or so route.

28/07/2011 at 14:58
It's a quaint ski resort, not very high but I would imagine that you should be able to run around the resort fairly easily.
The access road may not be too bad to run on, but as it's summer the traffic situation may be a little busy.
From what I remember I don't recall seeing may footpaths outside of the resort.
28/07/2011 at 15:04
"It's a quaint ski resort, not very high"

eh? quaint is the last word I would use to describe what is an international visitor town!!

and not very high?? the town is at 1000m, Mt Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe, and the skiing goes up to 3300m at the Grands Montets which is amongst the highest in Europe!

and you weren't looking if you didn't see many footpaths - there are tons!
28/07/2011 at 15:09

Last September was perfect... Lots of great walks going up one cable car, along and then down another.

We used the cicerone mont blanc walks book we got from the library, Where else can you have a beer and a meal at the half way point on a walk high in the hills

and for a bit of fun we drove thro the tunnel to have lunch in Italy.. (it was on a day when we were too knackered to walk.. We are almost as old as FB)

28/07/2011 at 15:14

Quaint? It is rather cosmopolitan, yet almost tacky in some places.

LOADS of footpaths!!! 

28/07/2011 at 17:36
Would love to do the utmb route but can't convince my gf.
Is it possible to run/walk aiguille du midi or brevent?
Thinking of going in June, will everything be open then?
28/07/2011 at 18:20
if you are a skilled mountaineer you can climb to the Aiguille du Midi!! even then it's no easy task......so take the tourist route and use the cablecar.

But you can walk to Brevent - we've done it a couple of times from valley level. There's a few routes but the best is to go via the Belachat Refuge (stop for a cuppa/lunch) and then crack on to Brevent. It's a tough hike with a vertical climb of around 1700m.

Most stuff will be open in June but the only thing is that some of the highest level trails may still have a fair quantity of snow on them still from winter, so you might need crampons to walk some of them.
28/07/2011 at 18:36
Have a look here nice informative website
29/07/2011 at 11:52
Gaz - if you'd looked a little further up the page you'll find I already linked that site.....

also try Chamonix Net - it's run by some Brits and is perhaps a little more informative than the Cham OdT site
29/07/2011 at 12:10

Ummm .......... I browsed the content but obviously did not pickup on the link highlight only that you mentioned the Chamonix website for info.

 must wear my specs more often.

Edited: 29/07/2011 at 12:11
29/07/2011 at 12:15
I believe that specsavers have a 2 for 1 offer on at the mo.....

29/07/2011 at 12:46

Forget the sking, take up boarding, much more fun. Just get a splitty for the flat bits...

Echo what FB has said, so much to do, so many trails.

Another suggestion if you want a bit of rest from running take the cable car up to Midi and wander out the gate, across the Vallee Blanche to Italy and get the cable car back. If you've got no experience of that sort of thing you will need a guide and the right equipment. Leaving Midi is not for the feint hearted. You could also do a bit of ice climbing in some of the larger crevasses on the Mer de Glace if you're going in the summer. There are some very good ice climbs in the winter. If you do any rock climbing there are more routes than you could ever hope to do in several lifetimes, most of them are bolted.

29/07/2011 at 13:48
Check the Marathon du Mont-Blanc (http://www.montblancmarathon.fr) which also features the Cross which is 24K. Great run, great organisation and great surroundings!

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