18km descending 2800m, without doing a single uphill step!
The most famous off-piste run in the world…and for good reasons! It’s over 18km long and you descend nearly 2800m, without doing a single uphill step.
The Vallée Blanche, or VB, as it’s locally known, takes you on a journey initially descending the narrow snow arête of the Midi, surrounded by towering 4000ers, including Mont Blanc and breath-taking scenery down the Mer de Glace, the longest glacier in France. After leaving the Midi station, you soon enter a snowy wilderness, looking South towards Italy and East towards Switzerland.
Depending on conditions and weather there are a few variations to the VB which allow us to accommodate aspirations as well as overall safety. The Classic VB takes the easiest line leaving the Mont Blanc du Tacul on our right and heading East and then North down the ‘Giants Ice fall’. This impressive crevassed terrain can be demanding at times and requires good control. There’s an option to stop for a hot chocolate at the Requin Hut (approx.2500m), and descent from here onto La Salle à Manger (the Dining Room) and easier skiing leads us to Montenvers and the train back to Chamonix. If conditions allow and snow cover is sufficient, it is possible to ski all the way to Chamonix down the narrow ‘James Bond track’ through pine forests.
This very much depends on snowfall. Some years it is possible to ski it from late January onwards. However, a much safer bet is to plan your trip towards late February into early March when better snow conditions are likely.
This is very much conditions dependant, as these can vary significantly from one day to the next, from champagne powder to wind-blown sastrugi. Later in the season (late March onwards) there could be bumps and it is essential to be able to ski in control through narrow corridors.
In good conditions the descent of the VB is accessible to good intermediate skiers with off-piste experience. You need to be able to ski conservatively and in control through narrow passages between crevasses.
You can come along with your off-piste skis and boots, or snowboard, though if you have ski touring kit then all the better. Because it is glaciated terrain, we wear harnesses and the guide carries a rope. The use of a helmet is recommended. Goggles. If you have your own avalanche kit: transceiver-shovel-probe (or TSP), please bring it along with you. If possible, bring along a small rucksack with food and drink, as well as a spare layer and headtorch. Don’t forget your camera/smartphone! Ibex Mountain Guides can provide the equipment in italics.
The rate for a Vallée Blanche guided trip is £350 for 1:1, then add £20 for every extra person. So a team of 6 would pay £450. This fee is for guiding services and safety equipment. Ibex Mountain Guides can provide transceiver-shovel-probe for up to 6 people free of charge. Our maximum ratio is 1:6.