The mountain resort of Chamonix might be the world’s outdoor sports capital. It is the top destination for alpinism, hiking, trad climbing, sport climbing, skiing and long distance running. Chamonix has a lot to offer both in summer and winter, and outdoor sports lovers flock to the town year round. The steep walls over Chamonix offer superb climbing on granite and gneiss set in the stunning scenery of high mountains. The town itself lies at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of the Alps, which rises 4808 metres above sea level.
Climbing in Chamonix is the essence of the Alpine experience. To access many of the classic routes you have to cross a glacier and the routes themselves require more mountaineering style commitment than ordinary trad climbs. Climbing in the Alps is rather suitable for climbers with previous experience of technical climbing skills and the mountains.
The Mont Blanc massif offers granite cracks and fine slabs, while the Aiguille Rouges is a somewhat sunnier environment with the highest quality gneiss climbing.
The Alpine environment is demanding and you have to be weary of frequent weather changes but luckily there are many lower crags in and around Chamonix which give you the option to choose the most suitable venue depending on the season. Nevertheless, the best time to climb in the high Alps is summer when the days are long and even the highest crags are snow free. Lower in the nearby valleys, there are many areas with easy access which can be enjoyed in autumn.
Chamonix is a great destination not only for trad climbers and mountaineers but also for those who prefer sport climbing, or even bouldering. Several valleys in the area remain snow free from late spring on. They offer good quality sport climbing and there is a wide range of grades and styles. The rock here is a somewhat peculiar mixture of granite and granter gneiss. You can climb single pitch sport routes, as well as equipped multi-pitch lines.
If you feel like bouldering, Chamonix will not disappoint! There are some great boulder problems scattered around the area, some of them isolated, and some of them gathered in little Fontainebleau style circuits. The rock is of great variety: from high mountain limestone (Col de la Colombiere), to granite (Les Bossons) and superb quality gneiss (Medonnet).
The bouldering sectors are also located at different altitudes and with different exposures, so it is possible to find good climbing conditions almost at any time of the year.
Apart from being the world’s top outdoor sports destination, Chamonix is famous for its vibrant community and exciting nightlife. It may be a small town, but it is full of like-minded people, who love mountain adventures and good parties!