Are you coming to the French Alps soon? Then discover the 8 Best Places to Climb in Chamonix Area!
With its high mountains and magnificent cliffs, the Alps are certainly one of the best destinations for climbing! A mecca for French skiing and winter sports, the Chamonix Valley is also an emblematic and legendary site for climbing in the heart of nature.
After all, this is where mountaineering would have been born! It is considered that Horace-Bénédict de Saussure invented this sport.
The latter proposed in 1786 a bonus to the first who would climb Mont Blanc, called the “cursed mountain”!
Two Chamoniards succeeded in this challenge, an event that put Chamonix in the spotlight and attracted tourists and enthusiasts worldwide. Even today, the whole Earth and its mountaineering enthusiasts meet at “Cham'”!
In summer, the milder climate allows you to discover the cliffs and blocks of the Chamonix valley. Don’t know where to practice your passion in the French Alps?
To help you in your sporting adventures, we show you the 8 best places to climb in the Chamonix area. According to the topographic guide, the area is home to 19 climbing school rocks.
These eight sites are among the most accessible and reputable. You have to put on your slippers and equip yourself to discover these exceptional spots!
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Here is the list of the Best Climbing places to go in Chamonix:
8 Best Climbing in Chamonix (Sports and Rock Climbing)
1. Mountain Climbing in Chamonix: The Gaillands
Located south of Chamonix, the climbing rock of Les Gaillands is internationally renowned! This spot is also historic. Indeed, the first climbing school in France was probably developed there in the 1930s by Alfred Couttet and Roger Frison-Roche.
Located at the bottom of the valley, the Gaillands are very easily accessible by car, as by train with the Saint-Gervais-Vallorcine line, stop the Pilgrims.
The spot offers a large climbing surface where all difficulty levels are represented. You will find more than 100 channels, ranging from 3c to 7c for quotes.
It is an ideal climbing rock for families since you will find many easy routes. The foot of the tracks is also not dangerous. Note that the rock is made up of gneiss. Facing south, the spot is often sheltered.
In front of the Gaillands, there is also a bar where you can rest and quench your thirst. To reach this spot by car, you will have to take the Route Blanche and follow the signs “Taconnaz, Les Bossons.”
Then look for The Lac des Gaillands on the right. The site is on the left, well before Chamonix Centre.
2. Rock Climbing in Chamonix: Barberine
You will find the Barberine site, named after the local river, just before the Swiss border. Only about thirty minutes separates Barberine from the Alpine resort.
After the village of Vallorcine, you will see a small signposted path on the left. You will have to walk between 10 and 20 minutes steeply uphill to reach the site.
To avoid blocking the small access road, we recommend that you park a little before the village of Barberine. This spot is undoubtedly one of the best places to climb in Chamonix.
It’s partly in Switzerland, so be sure to stock up on chocolate at the border or pay attention to your mobile connection there! Here, you can also admire the Black Water, a beautiful torrent that descends from the mountains.
As for the spot of Barberine, it houses between 25 and 50 lanes, whose quotations range from 4a to 7a. They are spread over several granite cliffs, some of which are exposed to the sun.
The altitude at the foot of the tracks is 1,300 meters, and the longest is 200 to 300 meters high. The latter is very physical. They require skills and solid experience in climbing.
However, the spot is not recommended for families, the foot of the tracks is dangerous for children.
3. Ice Climbing in Chamonix: Vallorcine
Located in the north of the valley and just before the spot of Barberine, Vallorcine is home to one of the best places to climb in Chamonix. The cliff is on the right when you go down from the Col des Montets to the village of Vallorcine.
You will find between 10 and 25 lanes and quotes ranging from 4a to 7a. Facing the northeast, you can practice climbing ideally from May to October! You will be able to climb in the morning in the cool during the summer period.
But the strength of this spot lies above all in the fantastic landscapes that surround it. You will have a magnificent panorama of the Vallorcine valley on this protruding wall!
As for access to the spot, we recommend parking at the old Buet station with a large car park. A short 15-minute walk through the meadow will take you to the wall.
The spot can also be reached by train. Note that the foot of the tracks is not dangerous for young children.
4. Best Climbing place in Chamonix: La Joux
Located not far from Argentière, La Joux is undoubtedly one of the best places to climb in Chamonix! The rocks of this spot are home to between 50 and 100 lanes, whose quotations range from 3c to 7b. La Joux is also an excellent spot for families.
First, the foot of the tracks is comfortable and not dangerous for young children. Secondly, you will find ways for everyone, regardless of level or age! Thirdly, the spot is south facing. This makes it a nice place to picnic.
To reach this spot of La Joux, you will have to go to the hamlet of the same name, then park next to the railway. After crossing the track on foot behind the iron gate, turn right into the hamlet and across the woods.
A trail goes up to the small climbing rock. About ten minutes will be enough to reach the spot. A nearby paravalanche is equipped with a few lanes. We can thus make the block!
5. Sport Climbing in Chamonix: Servoz
All mountaineering enthusiasts know Servoz! This authentic village, guardian of the valley, lives serenely at the foot of the Fiz range, facing the legendary Mont Blanc. You will also find one of the best places to climb in Chamonix.
It is located not far from the village, with the climbing rock houses between 50 and 100 lanes. Quotes range from 3a to 7a. It also offers some good challenges, with well-physical overhangs and 2 or 3-length tracks from 5 to 6b.
Facing south, this spot has a charming setting in summer. There is a small bar to refresh and relax. Be careful, though; the foot of the tracks is dangerous for young children!
To reach the spot of Servoz, it’s very simple: follow the D13 along the Arve. The cliff is well signposted.
6. Rock Climbing place in Chamonix: The Col des Montets
Do you prefer the block to the long tracks? Rest assured, we have not forgotten the block lovers! The Col des Montets, located not far from the Joux and the Argentière, is undoubtedly one of the best places to climb in Chamonix.
You will find several blocks suitable for the initiation of climbing and many passages on the gneiss offering a wide range of difficulties!
Located at 1,500 meters above sea level, the spot is home to about fifty passages spread over 2 zones. Blockquotes range from 3a to 7c.
To reach this climbing spot, stop at the first free car park in the hamlet of Tré Le Champ Le Haut. A short 10-minute walk uphill from the car park will allow you to access the different blocks.
The spot is ideally visited from June to the end of September. Also, note that a crashpad is highly recommended here!
7. Sport Climbing Place in Chamonix: The Lab
The Lab is a fairly new spot. This cliff is the last equipped for climbing in the Chamonix valley. You will find it in the town of Les Houches (Coupeau). The tracks are rather short on this spot, ranging from 18 to 30 meters.
They are spilling and explosive. This Le Labo spot is for you if you are looking for challenges! The site houses 13 lanes ranging from 6b to 7c. To reach Le Labo, you will have to reach La Flatiére (Coupeau) or the Montvauthier car park.
A 45-minute walk through the forest will allow you to reach the spot, normally well signposted. Le Labo is certainly one of the best places to climb in Chamonix. It offers nice challenges to seasoned climbers!
8. Best Climbing in Chamonix: The Brevent
The Brévent plates are a friendly and quiet climbing site facing Mont Blanc. You will find a good fifty lanes spread over several cliffs, with ratings ranging from 5b to 7a.
This spot offers beautiful challenges and many exciting passages. It is therefore well recommended for experienced climbers!
To get there from Chamonix, you will have to take the gondola to Planpraz at 2,000 meters, then the cable car to Brévent at 2,525 meters.
A short 5-minute walk will finally take you to the spot from the cable car’s top. Pay attention to the time of the last descent for the return.