Gondola ride up Mont Blanc

Mar 15th, 2006, 07:09 AM
  #1  
MaureenB
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Gondola ride up Mont Blanc

Has anyone done this? From what I've read, you can start in Chamonix and go down into Valle d'Aosta, but we want to do the reverse: Aosta over to Chamonix. I know you can do it round-trip from Chamonix, so you'd think you can begin in Aosta, but I'm not sure. Anyone have any experience with this? Thanks!
 
Mar 15th, 2006, 07:24 AM
  #2  
 
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Yes i have taken what must be the most thrilling aerial gondola ride in Europe - from chamonix to Entreves, in Italy, where you have bus links the 25 miles to Aosta, the nearest major railhead (Pre-St Didier, en route also has some rail service i believe.)
Yes a thrilling yet perhaps frightening ride - from Chamonix (3,402 ft) you go straight up the mountain to the Aiguille du Midi (alt 12,605 ft, making it the highest cable-car ride in Europe - from there you start the trek across a mer de glace - a sea of ice to Pt Helbronner (11,358 ft), an icy rock top outpost in Italy, from where you descend to Entreves, Italy (alt 4,495 ft). A large gondola goes from Chamonix to the Aiguille du Midi, thenyou transfer to 4-person gondolas to cross the sea of ice - the cars stop often to let people on and off at either end and that's where the nervous types may freak out as the cars dangle silently over the sea of ice far below - a totally weird out of this world type experience. I turned around at Pt Heilbronner and went back to Chamonix - the only problem going thru may be luggage - it would have to fit in the 4-person gondola, which is possible depending on how much you have.
I'm paraphrasing an article in the European Planning & Rail Guide (available free on the home page of www.budgeteuropetravel.com) pg 24 which has a very detailed write up on this amazing journey, including the prices which are as steep as the nearby Alps! An alternative way to get to Aosta from Chamonix is via buses thru the Mont Blanc tunnel.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 07:56 AM
  #3  
 
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> .. making it the highest cable-car ride in Europe ..

For the record, the highest cable car ride has been that of Klein Matterhorn from Zermatt (3883 meters vs ca.3800 meters of A.d.Midi) since at least 25years now. A.d.Midi's ascension certificate reads since then "ONE of the highest " refusing to give up the notion "the highest".

I have done Chamonix-A.d.Midi and Entreves-Pointe Helbronner but not the freigtening part that PalQ described, 4-seat cabins between A.d.Midi and Pointe Helbronner over la Vallée Blanche. A friend of mine has done it once, that 30 minute ride and said once was enough. Perhaps I should do that once.

It is possible to do the return trip from Italy side but you better do it under perfect weather. Once you go to Chamonix and if the wheather changes, the cable might close (happens often at questionable weather) and you will be stuck at the top of A.d.Midi. or you are not returning to Italy but going down to Chamonix anyway? In that case, as palQ said, luggage can be a problem. You don't see tourists with suitecases on these gondolads. Usually those are the people who are already based in Chamonix side or Entreves/Courmayeur side who do these rides free of luggage.
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Mar 15th, 2006, 09:17 AM
  #4  
MaureenB
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Thanks for the info. It sounds like going round-trip would make no sense. And I've been on many gondolas, living in the Rocky Mountains and having skied in the Sierras, too. But this sounds a bit more extreme! And if the weather is bad and the wind is blowing-- yikes. I know taking baggage is out of the question. So I'm trying to figure, if we're in Venice and taking the train, to which town do we go? I'd thought Aosta would be best for us by train, but only if we can go up and back from Aosta, not Chamonix. Is that possible? Thanks for all the details and the link.
 
Mar 19th, 2006, 07:40 AM
  #5  
MaureenB
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I am still needing information on this gondola ride and can't seem to find a definitive website. So if anyone knows of one...
I do think we can go up and down from Courmayeur. But I also need to know if the gondola is even open in mid-May. That might be their off season when it would be shut down, like we do here in the Rockies in May.
Anyone know where to get all these questions answered? I've read the Rick Steves article, and have the BETS booklet, but neither has as much detail as I need Help anyone? Thanks again!
 
Mar 19th, 2006, 10:07 AM
  #6  
MaureenB
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I finally found the website
http://www.montebianco.com

And I sent an e-mail re: open in May. The price list for 'winter' includes through May, so they may be open. I'll report back any info. I get.
 
Mar 19th, 2006, 12:44 PM
  #7  
 
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http://www.compagniedumontblanc.fr/e...lle/index.html

It's EXTREMELY popular in the summer BTWand is definitely open
alanRow is offline  
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