Birthplace of western mountaineering, location of the inaugural Winter Olympics, and the basecamp for the 2016 Barry Blanchard Climbing Classics.
Join us at the end of August for one or two weeks in Chamonix with Barry Blanchard, Yamnuska Associate Director, and legendary backcountry chef Theresa Calow at the Chalet Chintalaya. Could it get any better?
All-inclusive packages for hikers or climbers.
Read about the 2015 trip to Chamonix in one of the guests trip report here.
Barry’s been guiding me for over 20 years, and this was one of the best adventures – classic routes on snow and granite, a cozy chalet to call home for a week, and excellent meals. I was well looked after.
Our Approach: Guiding and Instruction
We have set up the guide ratios to allow us to adjust to your climbing ability and personal objectives. You may prefer to just get out and climb or you may prefer a little more emphasis on instruction, either way our ‘small team’ approach will allow you to get the most out of your week (or two). Climbs will be chosen to give you the right amount of challenge and to showcase the climbing this area has to offer.
The trip objective is to provide the opportunity to climb challenging routes for all levels of ability.
August 27 or September 3: We meet at the Chalet Chintilaya in Chamonix at 4:00pm. After introductions we will discuss the weeks goals, objectives and itinerary. This will be followed by a delicious home cooked meal by Theresa Calow, that will set the scene for the coming days.
Day 2-7: We start early most days, striving to get the first lifts up to the mountaineering objectives or rock routes. In the evenings, the guides will review anticipated objectives and rope teams for the following day, taking into consideration weather and route conditions. Some objectives will require an overnight hut stay.
Examples of classic routes in the Mont Blanc Massif area include:
- L’Index (2595m): A classic rock peak in the Aiguilles Rouge, accessed from the Index/Brevent telepherique. The approach is non glacial and the climbing is relatively easy, accomplished in seven pitches and back to the chalet in time for appetizers and wine.
- Cosmiques Arete (3842m): A highly enjoyable route and an excellent introduction to alpine mixed climbing. This route is accessed from the Midi telepherique station, and follows a series of snowy gullies and ramps, interspersed by rocky sections, ending on the observation platform of the Aiguille de Midi station.
- Aiguille du Tour (3544m): A scenic peak at the Eastern end of the Mt. Blanc Massif. This peak is usually climbed from the Albert Premier Refuge or the Trient Refuge. A glacial approach is followed by a snow slope and a rocky scramble to the top. Although this route can be exceptionally busy in the summer months, there is considerably less traffic when we will be there in September.
- The Petite Aiguille Verte (3512m): North West Ridge. A lovely peak situated near the top station of the Grand Montets lift. The approach is across a short and straightforward glacier, but once across the bergschrund things get steeper. The route then winds its way up a snowy ridge, through rocks and icy sections to the summit.
- Mont Blanc (4807m): Depending on conditions, we have the option of the Tre Monts traverse, a classic high altitude route that begins from the Refuge Cosmiques and traverses over Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit before reaching the highest point in Western Europe. Alternatively, there is the Gouter route, slightly easier and a more reliable option via the Tramway du Mont Blanc to the Nid d’Aigle, then up the Aiguille du Gouter and the Bosse ridge. An attempt on Mont Blanc requires an overnight at either the Cosmiques Hut or the Gouter Hut.
- Les Gaillards: a popular crag on the outskirts of Chamonix, with a spectacular backdrop of Mont Blanc
- L’Aiguillette d’Argentiere: accessed via a scenic hike to the two pillars
- Aiguilles Rouges: Fantastic views and climbing on the pleasant gneiss rock on the sunny and lower side of the Chamonix Valley.
In addition to mountaineering routes, there are hundreds of rock routes accessed via the valley train and extensive lift system.
Route descriptions in the area can be found at www.chamonixtopo.com/climbing/alpine.climbing
Instructors & Group Size
Your guides are certified by the internationally recognized Association of Canadian Mountain Guides or the UIAGM.
Barry is an Associate Director of Yamnuska involved in promotion of modern alpinism and mentoring of junior guides. Canadian Mountain Guide and alpinist, Barry Blanchard, was born in Calgary, March 29, 1959. Twelve years later three boys navigated the Bow River through the western side of the city on a raft of nailed together railway ties, Barry was at the helm steering the adventure. He found mountain climbing in the books of his high school library, some of which are still in his possession. A six month trip to the French Alps in 1980 set the course of Barry’s life: to climb the steepest and most complicated faces of the world’s great glaciated peaks. Barry has enjoyed some success: the first ascent of The Andromeda Strain, 1983; the North Ridge of Rakaposhi, 1984; the first ascent of the apocalyptic North Pillar of North Twin; the West Ridge of Mt Everest, 1986; surviving the Rupal Face of Nanga Parbat, 1988; a solo first ascent on the North Face of Kusum Kanguru, 1991; an attempt on K-2, 1993; first ascents in the St Elias mountains; M-16, a first ascent -in winter on the East Face of Howse Peak, 1999; the third ascent of the Infinite Spur on MT Foraker, 2000; the first ascent of Infinite Patience on the Emperor Face of Mt Robson, 2002. More importantly Barry has enjoyed all of his outings, even the ones not included in the narrow definition of “success”. Barry moved to the mountains in 1982 to pursue his Mountain Guiding career (he is an internationally certified -IFMGA- mountain guide) and has included making Hollywood features such as “K-2”, “Cliffhanger” and “The Vertical Limit” in his professional life. Barry recently completed his first novel ‘The Calling’ and became the winner of the 2015 Boardman Tasker Award for outstanding mountain literature.
There will be a maximum of 2 participants per guide. There will be a maximum of 10 guests, minimum 6.
We will meet the group at 4:00 PM on the first day at the Chalet Chintalaya in Chamonix. Luggage may be dropped off at the chalet earlier so that you can enjoy visitng the town once you arrive.
Accommodations & Meals
Twin accommodation at the Chalet Chintilaya and all meals with the exception of one dinner are inlcuded. Theresa Calow will be your chef and host at the Chalet Chintalaya. The Chalet Chintalaya is centrally located in Chamonix town centre by the river. Facilities include:
- 5 ensuite bedrooms (one being family room with annex and 2 bunk beds). Other bedrooms configurable as either double or twin.
- Dining Room with Bose Sound Dock
- Lounge with 50″ plasma TV, Bose Home Cinema and Ipod dock
- Study/children”s room with computer, TV and DVD
- Wi-fi (free)
- Heated storage room for boots, skis, bicycles etc.
- Selection of games, books, DVD”s and CD”s
- Hot tub with view of Mont Blanc (winter only)
- Private parking
- Secure garden with barbecue
Please inform us upon booking if you have any dietary restrictions such as vegetarian, gluten-free, lacose-free or any other requirement.
You will be responsible for your costs to arrive and depart from Chamonix. Closest airport is Geneva, Switzerland (GVA). Air Canada and major international airlines fly to Geneva. Approximate transfer time about an hour. Airport pickup and transfer directly to Chalet Chintalaya can be arranged by contacting Tracy at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions from the Mont Blanc Tunnel roundabout to the Chalet Chintalaya:
34 Chemin des Pouvolles
74400 Chamonix Mont-Blanc
Please ensure that you call us approximately 20 minutes before you arrive in Chamonix. If you are
with a transfer company, you may be the last to be dropped off so please check with your driver.
- When you reach the Mont Blanc Tunnel Roundabout (as marked on the map below) take the exit
- marked for Chamonix.
- Continue down the hill to the second roundabout. Take the 3rd exit towards Cham Sud and
- Pass straight over 2 roundabouts (past the Bowling on your left), over the bridge until the 3rd
- At 3rd roundabout turn left onto Avenue Ravanel le Rouge.
- After about 100 metres on the left you will see Le Vagabond gite, take the left turn immediately
- after this, go under the bridge and take an immediate left onto Route Couttet Champion.
- Continue to the end of this road.
- Turn right onto Avenue d’Aiguille du Midi.
- After the small row of shops, (there is shop ‘Tic Tac’ on your right), turn right just before the bridge
- over the river onto Chemin des Pouvolles. Chalet Chintalaya is the first property you come to, #34.
If you have any problems, please call a Mountain Lifestyle representative:
Rep A: +33 (0) 786 205 287
Rep B: +33 (0) 786 205 289
Rep C: +33 (0) 786 205 292
Chamonix with Barry Blanchard – Gear List and What Barry is Bringing
- Crampons, Barry is bringing Black Diamond Sabertooth Crampons
- Mountaineering ice axe, Barry is bringing Black Diamond Venom Ice Axe and Ice Hammer (the axe will sufice for all mountain travel in Cham, with the addition of the hammer steep ice like the Chere Couloir).
- Climbing harness, Barry is bringing a Black Diamond Aspect
- Climbing helmet, Barry is bringing a Black Diamond Vector
- Belay device, Barry is bringing a Edelrid Mega Jul
- Two locking carabiners, two normal carabiners
We recommend you bring:
- Mountaineering boots (must be crampon compatible), Barry is bringing La Sportiva Nepal Evo GTX and La Sportiva Trango S Evo GTX
- Daypack (25-30 litres), Barry is bringing a Black Diamond Speed 30L pack and a Black Diamond Speed 22L pack.
- Sleeping bag liner to use with blankets issued in the huts
- Water bottles to carry 2 litres
- Glacier glasses
- Googles for high alpine routes
- Sunscreen, SPF lip balm
- Headlamp (with fresh batteries)
- Ear plugs
- Blister kit
- First aid items (Our guides carry a first aid kit, but you may bring your own Band-Aids and anti-inflammatory medication if desired.)
- Trekking pole (optional)
Please book as early as practical to avoid disappointment. A 35% deposit DN (including GST) is required at time of booking, $350 plus GST is NON-REFUNDABLE. Final payment is due ten weeks before the start of the trip.
Special booking conditions apply to this program due to the use of backcountry lodges.
For detailed Booking Instructions and Conditions, click here.
Please note that you will be required to sign our waiver before commencing the trip. Click here for waiver copy.
Please ensure that you have appropriate travel and medical insurance.
Dates: August 27-September 3, 2016 and September 3-10, 2016
Call Yamnuska at 1.866.678.4164 to Book
Self Guided Climbers and Hikers Package: $995 CDN/week (7.5 day) – all-inclusive accommodation and meals includes twin accommodation at the Chalet Chintalaya, all meals with the exception of one dinner, free public transit in Chamonix Valley and hiking maps.
Guided Mountaineering and Climbing Package: $3495 CDN/week (7.5 days) – includes twin accommodation and all meals with the exception of one dinner, minimum of 3 days professional guiding, free public transport in Chamonix Valley, hiking maps)
Self-Guided and Guided packages do not include: Airfare, land transfers from Geneva or Zurich airport; lift passes; alcohol and wine; hut fees if attempting Mt. Blanc or other multi-day routes; personal climbing gear; expenses incurred in event of early departure (evacuation fees, transport, additional hotel nights, etc).
Trip cancellation and medical travel insurance is highly recommended.