The weather on the Haute Route is famously finicky. As a result Alpine Guide incorporates an extra day into the trip in case of weather. We were extremely lucky with the weather on the trip, so much so that we use that extra day to ski in Italy and France along the iconic Vallee Blanche!
The Vallée Blanche starts at the top of the Aiguille du Midi lift and finishes in Chamonix, traveling over 20 km and descending over 2,700 meters. The lift to the top of the Aiguille du Midi lift typically has a long line and is expensive, so we decided to travel to Italy thru the Mont Blanc tunnel to the town of Courmayeur, which has a cheaper and more modern lift access, plus that Italian flare!
The drive over was uneventful and after purchasing our tickets we headed up for a warm-up run, a cappuccino, and croissant – mmmm. This also allowed the glacier snow to soften a bit.
The lift to the top of the Italian side of the Vallee Blanche is fabulous! It is a huge pod that rotates 360 degrees as it whisks you to the top – incredible!
Once at the top, we skied around some smaller peaks to the head of the Brenva Glacier. There were a series of stairs, ladders, and cables to descent until we were on the glacier proper – quite entertaining!
Once on the glacier the snow was perfectly luscious spring corn – delicious!
Once down we took the lift back up to the top again for a nice lunch at the top surrounded by these iconic peaks!
With full bellies, we began our descent back to Chamonix through the Vallee Blanche. The skiing was pretty good but the view was just sooooo distracting you have to be careful to not fall into a crevasse!
In the winter, it is possible to ski down to Chaminox but this time of year you have to ascend several hundred steps to reach a short tram ride down to the valley. We took an alternate path and did some Via Ferrata (think ladders on vertical/near-vertical rock faces) to reach the tram. Awesome!
Well that was quite the way to end such a spectacular trip with one of my best friends!