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“great experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Vallee Blanche

Vallee Blanche
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Chamonix Mont-Blanc Day Trip from Lausanne
Ranked #7 of 65 things to do in Chamonix
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: A beautiful ski area in the Chamonix Valley.
Chamonix, France
Level Contributor
368 reviews
122 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 193 helpful votes
“great experience!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2013

we have been several times up to the Aiguille du Midi to ski in the Vallee Blance and every time it is different.It all depends on the snow conditions,if the crevasses are open if the snow is soft or hard,but we actually go there to be among the snow,the ice,the pure nature .It is an experience that a good skier coming to Chamonix should do.Make sure you are fitted ,bring food for a wonderful picnic in the "salle a manger",a big flat area where you can admire the mountains and the seracs,better if you have a back pack where you can put your skis while you start the first part of the tour because you will need to hold a rope and walk with your ski boots for 15 minutes before you can put your skis and start this wonderful adventure.Look around and take lots of pictures,be aware of the open crevasses ,so do not go to fast and make sure when you book to ask if the small cable car at the bottom of the valley is open and if there is enough snow to get there otherwise you will have to climb with your skis on your shoulders for at least 45 minutes before you reach the path that takes you back to Chamonix with your skis....the conditions change very often.

Visited March 2012
1 Thank Lella P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Don't underestimate the vallee blanche”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 23, 2013

I am a vallee blanche regular and familiar with most ski routes there - cliassique, grand envers, petit envers. It is always a wonderful experience - well, almost always. The key rule in my view is: take a guide, do not go on your own, no matter how skilled you think you are. No matter how well you ski: the issue is not about your skiing ability, it is once you reach the "salle a manger" and you start travelling on the glacier. There are crevasses - usually you see them really well once you are downhill, but not before... - and they constantly shift. I know some will think: why would I pay for a guide when I can just follow the existing tracks? well, imagine this on a snowy day, or early in the morning, when tracks are not very visible, or on a day with poor visibility. Take an experienced guide, you'll have time to enjoy the wonderful panorama or the view on "les drus" - this is the best part. Wondering how you'll avoid the next crevasse or whether the snow bridge will hold your weight is not.

Visited January 2013
7 Thank 713Chris
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Andorra la Vella, Andorra
Level Contributor
662 reviews
146 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 388 helpful votes
“A challenge but not too hard”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 11, 2013

Beautiful scenery and on a nice day pretty easy, but do not be reckless and hire a guide as the weather can change. Maybe it's getting a bit too popular as you will never really get the wilderness feeling. Horrible walk up 300 steps at the end when you are knackered.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank barcaranger
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Amazing valley tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 8, 2013

Stunning scenery - the one thing you must do if you only intend going to Chamonix once. Only with an official guide.

Visited January 2013
1 Thank David457
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Englewood, Florida
Level Contributor
22 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“A Fantastic Ski Experience - But Be Guided and Capable 'Off Piste'”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 4, 2012

My son and I hired into a guided party to do the Valley Blanche off the Aiguille du Midi 9,000 feet above Chamonix. What a thrill! The views from the top installation are awesome. Transceivers, harnesses and roped together (guide in crampons) to get off the top couple hundred feet of snow-ice ridge (the 'arete') from the tram installation to the glacier slope below. There's definately a 'gulp' factor. The guides association cuts a roped Z shaped cleft into the ridge to assist mortals in descending. Even so, it's an experience. We made the mistake of carrying rather than back strapping skis. The idea that one might accidentally drop one's skis into the abyss was almost as disconcerting as one's footing. A direct rope line down the crest of the ridge is available to the foot loose, but it's not really encouraged. Not a season goes by without someone losing their footing and falling to their death here. The Z trail was probably 150-200 yards and took 30 minutes to negotiate. One can approach the Valle Blanche from the slightly lower Italian side and avoid this fearful nonsense, and enjoy some excellent routes too.

Once on the glacier, the route and views are spectacular. Our guide did admonish however, "Do NOT ski ahead of me! When I stop, stop behind me. There are crevasses that are dangerous. Last year, my friend - a certified guide, was killed in a crevasse just over there." [OK - I'm listening!] We were a group of 5 customers. Our guide, Baptiste, was a Basque Frenchman guiding my agile son and less agile I together with a friendly very ski competent mountain experienced German guy. Then... there was the older British couple... They shouldn't have been there. My son, observing the British woman falling repeatedly, quietly said, "I think we're going to see someone seriously injured." She was losing her skis; boot walking a glacier is dangerous. My son merely said what the rest were thinking (including the woman and the guide). Our guide was congenial but he became rightfully alarmed. I quietly related to Thomas that in the busy tram line at the base, the British husband said, "We're intermediates. We don't ski off-piste ever!" Hell - I'd never done the Vallee Blanche! But I thought at that moment, 'Well this is going to be interesting'. The problem with the Vallee Blanche is that mixed messages abound. Ski mag and travel writers broadcast, "The Vallee Blanche is within the ability of [any] competent intermediate!" What does that mean? A 'competent intermediate' - as opposed to an incompetent one!? Or a 'good intermediate' or 'strong intermediate'? Among ski writers - whom get a fair amount of slope time - what do these terms mean? The guides association says something more definitive, along the line, 'one should be comfortable in all off-piste conditions [ice, deep snow, un-groomed]'. They aren't looking to scare away customers. One needn't be a steep freak by any means, but this is no place to find out that you can't handle the steeper 10-15 meter wide sections of deep iced over moguls bounded by rock on one side and crevassed ice fall on the other! That's unfair to the guide, if not downright dangerous! The British husband later murmured, "Well, it has black sections." Uh-huh! Yep - 80% easy sightseeing, but is this anyplace to find out the remaining 20% is over your head? The Vallee Blanche sees lots of guided skier traffic nut it is not place for a groomers only intermediate (guided or not). Fortunately, my sons dark premonition didn't come to pass, but by a third of the way down poor Baptiste was wearing his substantial gear laden pack on his back and the lady's bulky pack on his front! Away from the group, he gave the couple a bit of a tongue lashing and I can't really blame him. The climber's ethos emerged, 'you're creating a risk factor for everyone that isn't right'. At one of these rock and ice fall choke points we noted a single ski about 20 feet off the run plastered onto the blue ice entrance to a crevasse... wonder what happened there? Interestingly, the retreat of the glaciers has made one section of the Vallee Blanche more dangerous than in decades past. Once two glaciers converged and rolled seamlessly over a stretch of mountain terrain. As one glacier has shrunk, the other now spills over a cliff above dropping ice blocks frequently onto the route. The glacier moves 2 meters per day! All in all, it was an experience; weather was fine and with the Brits pulling themselves together plenty of time to take pictures!

Visited March 2012
13 Thank vaudeville
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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