Aiguille du Midi

Apr 2nd, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Aiguille du Midi

My husband and I are traveling to the Savoie region in October of this year. We would love to take the Aiguille du Midi from Chamonix to Italy. How long is the trip by gondola? Does it go directly to Courmayeur or stop somewhere else? Thank you for your assistance.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:44 AM
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Topping
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 11:54 AM
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Ah yes the most incredible aerial gondola ride in the Alps - especially in the middle when you dangle over the sea of ice hundreds of feet below - the 4-person i think, may 2 gondolas stop frequently as they load, unload on either end, leaving you with the eerie feeling of dangling over the Antartic-like scapes below - wondering if you will ever start up again. You end up at Entreves, Italy, from where there are buses to Courmayer or to the nearest railhead at Aosta (or Pre-St-Didier though that has limited service). Actually my copy of the European Planning & Rail Guide has a very detailed description of the whole journey Chamonix-Aiguille du Midi (huge gondola) then across the Mer de Glace - sea of ice in tiny open-air gondolas to Pt Heilbronner and Italy from where larger gondolas go down to Entreves. (pg 24; free from www.budgeteuropetravel.com) But this is an incredible experience the easily scared! An rather expensive. Also buses Chamonix-Courmayeur via Mt Blanc tunnel if going back to Cham - if going one way i don't think the small gondolas are luggage-friendly.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:02 PM
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It's been six years since I've been there. We stayed in Chamonix.

There's different stages of gondolas and you pay for how far you want to go. At first you're on a large gondola where everyone stands. It probably holds over 20 people. This gondola takes you to a stopping point where some people get off to ski from. On this gondola there is room for skis. At the stop there is an ice tunnel.

You then ride a 4 person little gondola to the top of the mountain in Italy. This was our turn around point. But you can take another gondola from there to go to Courmayer. I think from the next stop you can also hike to Courmayer.

It may be expensive but it is an experience you will never forget.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:24 PM
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Make doubly sure about the weather. Even if it's bright and sunny in the Chamonix valley, it may be shrounded in mist 10,000 feet up and you see nothing. Also the weather condition can change rapidly. Normally it starts to cloud over at the top from around midday, so it's best to take an early ride up, having checked the weather report and forecast (displayed at the cablecar station) before spending your money on ticket.
Alec is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Thank you so much for the information. How long does the trip take? That will be the determining factor whether or not we go. I would love to do it, but my husband will need convincing and if the trip is not too terribly long, I can talk him into it. Thanks again!
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 12:58 PM
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The trip just up to the top of the mountain in Italy and back took all of the morning. I think if you were to go all the way to Courmayeur you would need the better part of the day.

Coming back there was a line we had to wait in to get a gondola. People kept line jumping. We probably had an hour wait.
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Apr 3rd, 2007, 01:11 PM
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dlb, we tried to do the Aiguille du Midi last August but the weather was so foggy with drizzle that very few gondolas were working from any of the places. We tried two days in a row but weather in August 06 in Chamonix was unseasonable miserable. The second day we just kept driving until we found some sunshine which wasn't until we got to Matigny Deborah
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Apr 4th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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Well it you just want to experience the most dramatic part - where you swing over the awesome Mer de Glace between Aiguille du Midi and Pt Heilbronner, you can turn around at Pt Heilbronner and come back, shortening the whole excursion by a lot - and the descent into Italy for Pt H is about the same as the one up from Chamonix.

As i remember it's about and hour and half one way to Pt He and then same time back. And you may want to wait in lines sometimes at all stages. And prepare to pay about $70 i believe, but not sure, for this jaunt - well worth it to me for the lifetime of memories!
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Apr 4th, 2007, 07:18 AM
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I was not sure whether the Télécabine Aiguille-du-Midi - Pointe Helbronner part would be open in October so I went to the cable car company's site.

http://www.compagniedumontblanc.fr/p...hedules_2.html

As I feared it says that part will close on 23Sep (even that date is unsure depending on the actual weather). Looks like you have no choice but do only Chamonix/A-d-M return trip.

FYI, Chamonix - Plan de l'Aiguille : 10 minutes gondola ride in a 70 person gondola.
P.de l'Aiguille to A.d.M is another 10 minutes ride in a slightly smaller 60 person gondola. Of course the time is not considering waiting time but in October you can do this pretty quickly without much waiting.

A.d.M.to Pointe Herbronner when it is running is about 30 - 40 minutes I believe.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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My goodness, thank you for so many replies. I must apologize in advance -- I am tenacious and very detail oriented, so I do have a few other questions about this. Kappa -- with your time estimations, it looks as though the gondola ride from Chamonix to Pt. H will take approximately one hour. From there, from what I have read from the posts, is that you can continue from Pt. H to Courmayeur. Is that correct, or do we take a bus to that town? If we go to Courmayeur via gondola, how long does it take from Pt. Heilbronner? The cost is not my main concern. I really want to do this, but if it takes too terribly long to go all the way, my hubby won't go for it. If that is the case, we will just do a gondola ride to the Mer de Glace. We can always drive to Courmayeur as I gather it is not far from Chamonix. Thank you again so much for your patience and your answers to my questions. I'm sure I will have more on other topics. My trip is in October and I am a planner.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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dlb716,

I believe the point of kappa's post is that the Mer de Glace portion, from Aguillle du Midi to Heilbronner, is scheduled to close September 23, so you will not be able to do that portion of the trip in October. You can still do the 2-stage ascent to the Aguille du Midi, however.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Note that the gondolas across the Mer de Glace cease running Sep 23 as Kappa quotes from web site above. So scratch your planning - can't go above Aguille du Midi if you're going in October.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 09:06 AM
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Kappa, I'm sorry. I did not read your reply carefully enough. It looks as though we will drive to Courmayeur if we want to see it. But, it looks as though the two-stage ascent to Mer de Glace. I can definitely talk my husband into that. Thank you all again so much!
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Apr 4th, 2007, 02:24 PM
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Enzian and PalenQ, thank you for confirming my thought. I was away so I could not reply to OP right away.

> it looks as though the two-stage ascent to Mer de Glace.

dlb, Not exactly. Mer de Glace is reached by Montenvers train. With Chamonix - Aiguille du Midi cablecar, however, you can reach the top of the Aiguille-du-Midi (3842meters as I still remember that I learned a long time ago) and close to the starting point of la Valle Blanche ski run that is open only in mid-winter to early spring This CHX - ADM part takes only about half an hour even including some wating time, that's a very easy part most tourists do without difficulty (except some who can not stand the high altitude). In any case you would feel it slightly hard to breathe up there, usually that's all.
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Apr 4th, 2007, 05:53 PM
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Yes go to Aiguille de Midi at least! Though Montvernevers trains take you up there as well
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Apr 5th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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Montenvers trains do NOT take you up to Aiguille du Midi (3842m) - only to the Mer de Glace glacier at 1913m, and about 6km east.
There is also a train (Mont Blanc Tramway or TMB) from St Gervais-les-Bains to le Nid d'Aigle at 2386m, with a great view of Mont Blanc.
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Apr 5th, 2007, 06:04 AM
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I meant that train would take you to the Mer de Glace, not Aiguille du Midi - poor phrasing on my part. I've taken the Montenvers train to the glacier and i even think that's better than Aiguille as you can walk to the glacier whereas Aiguille as i remember is just a rocky outpost with little wiggle room unless you're a skiier or expert hiker. I could be wrong - memories fade at times.
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