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Aiguille du Midi in August

We are taking the My Way Alpine tour beginning August 21. We've made a few advanced reservations and are wondering if advanced (before we leave) reservations are needed for the Aiguille du Midi and the télécabine to Helbronner?

Secondly, in August, are cold weather jackets recommended for the high altitude treks?

And finally what shoes are recommended for us lightweight hikers? We have Merrill hiking boots which are bulky to pack.

Thank you

Posted by
3307 posts

I have been up and around the Aiguillle du Midi and Mont Blanc numerous times in August and have always encountered snow, ice, and cold temperatures. When I hike in that area I always layer so that I can peel off and replace them as my body temperature adjusts to the changing weather and to my own exertion levels. Hiking in this part of the alps varies greatly depending on what you are doing. If you are hiking directly from the station near the top of the Aiguille across the snow fields then you will want to get the proper crampons as well as a guide to take you out. There are no trails from that point that I would attempt to do on my own - it is quite treacherous especially if you don't have experience in that area.
If you are looking for normal hiking trails you won't hike from one of the high stations around Mont Blanc - you will take trails that are lower down - there are some nice trails from the first station.
My favorite hikes are actually on the other side of the valley around Lac Blanc from the Flegere gondola. The views are stunning across to the Mont Blanc massif and several glaciers up and down the spine of the alps on that side pf the valley.
I've hiked quite a bit in the area with a good pair of running shoes - you don't need hiking boots in my opinion.

Posted by
31030 posts

I was there in September and didn't bother with reservations for the Aguille du Midi or the Helbronner cable cars, but just bought on the day of the trip. It may be busier in August, but I'd probably still just buy when I get there, perhaps the day prior to the trip.

Could you elaborate on what "high altitude treks" you plan on doing? I doubt that you'll be doing those from the Aguille du Midi as it's on a pinnacle of rock as I recall. You won't be able to go down to the glacier without a guide. There are lots of hiking opportunities around that area at lower altitudes so "high altitude" won't be required. The type of clothing to use will depend on where you plan on hiking.

One other very important thing to mention is that you'll have to give some thought to the issue of "altitude". The top level of the Aguille du Midi is at about 12,600 feet and that may be an issue for some people. Between Pointe Helbronner and the Aguille du Midi, I found that it was tolerable for a few hours but beyond that I started to have problems. The effects I experienced are not something I'll soon forget.

With the short time you have in Chamonix on the tour, the Aguille du Midi is probably all you'll have time for. You could also book a couple of additional days post tour, and do more exploring in the area or try Paragliding in the French Alps.

Posted by
546 posts

We were on the My Way Alpine tour last September (in Chamonix 9/22) and it appeared to have snowed the night before we went to Aiguille du Midi; it was stunning and COLD but we were prepared with layers! We are hikers, but did not attempt to hike from there; we hiked at the half-way point where you have to change gondolas. We all wore light hiking boots (if on a hiking trip, I always wear the boots on the plane and bus days). But the trail was so nice, you might be able to do it in other sturdy shoes with a good sole. On that hike, we ate at Refuge du Plan de L'Aiguille which is right on the ledge overlooking Chamonix; gorgeous view and wonderful food. The omelet was the BEST I've ever had anywhere! Enjoy!

Posted by
395 posts

Let me just add that I agree with the above, the two lifts opposite Mt Blanc yield some wonderful hikes that can be one in athletic shoes or day hikers. There is a bit of shale on the one on the descent, or you can take the tram/cable car down.

I do also remember being immediately woozy at the top -- it's a rapid ascent and it literally takes your breath away. It's been a while since I moved away.

August tends to be busier than September. If you plan to go on a weekend, I would book.