Across the world, there are endless opportunities to visit beautiful spots for rock climbing, culture immersion, and meeting up with local people. And Chamonix in France is one beautiful location that gets the best of all 3.
In this article, you will learn of some of the best places to check out in Chamonix.
Chamonix Mont Blanc (its official name) offers mountainous terrain in the countryside of France. Among this community, you will be inspired to explore the outdoors and become one with the land. What I love about Chamonix includes its scenery, the vast rock climbing opportunities, and the people you meet while staying there.
Chamonix Mont Blanc Is a Gorgeous Commune in France
Each year, around 5 million people visit the commune of Chamonix. A commune, as defined in France, is the lowest administrative division in the country. For the purposes of this article, “commune” means the same as “village”.
As for proximity to Mont Blanc, Chamonix and its neighboring commune, Courmayeur, both share the summit of Mont Blanc. Located in the French Alps, Chamonix proudly holds the title of the highest commune in France in terms of elevation at over 4,800 meters above sea level.
In 1924, Chamonix Mont Blanc secured its place in history by being the first ever spot to host the Winter Olympic Games. This puts Chamonix among some of the best international tourist destinations. During WWII, citizens helped out by implementing local efforts against the will of the Axis Powers, such as protecting refugees. These citizens were later given the honor of “Righteous Among the Nations.” History abounds here in the valley.
Getting to Chamonix Mont Blanc
When travelling to Chamonix, if you are flying, it is recommended to fly to Geneva Airport. This Swiss airport offers many great airlines that will ensure your safety.
After you’ve arrived at the airport, your options to travel to Chamonix Mont Blanc include private transfers, shared bus transfers, public transport and renting a car. Before making a booking, make sure to check with your friendly accommodation folks to see if they offer any discounted rates for preferred bus companies.
We took Ouibus to get straight from Geneva airport to Chamonix main city centre. One of the cheaper options, this bus also had free wifi and charging points on the bus. If you rent a car, be sure to purchase insurance and carry your international drivers licence at all times. Be warned: speeding fines are very rampant in France so just be a good and steady driver. Once you get within the Chamonix town, there is public hop on hop off bus that you just need to know where to wait at the right pick up spot.
Rock Climbing in Chamonix Mont Blanc
Now that you have safely arrived in Chamonix, you are ready for all that the mountains have to offer! Whether you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate climber, or expert, Chamonix will impress.
Where are the outdoor climbing crags?
Routes for rock climbing in Chamonix Valley include Cosmiques Ridge, Le Labo, La Joux, Dent du Geant, Vallorcine, and Gaillands. Many climbers pick Gaillands as one of their favorite crags in Chamonix. A crag is defined as a small cliff, and it is also the term for a climbing area. Gaillands offers both easy and difficult grades, as well as a south-facing structure with plenty of sunlight.
Chamonix Mont Blanc’s extensive rock climbing and multi-pitch climbing will blow you away. 5 million visitors per year demonstrates its variety and quality. During the morning, Vallorcine’s granite walls offer climbs from intermediate to expert ability. Vallorcine translates to “valley of the bears”. Take the Flegere lift and Index lift into the Aiguille Rogues for a higher-altitude experience. Utilize the bus routes as well to traverse the valley. Lastly, try Le Labo, one of the vallely’s newest cragging spots. It offers shorter routes (18 to 30 meters) and is a great place to practise your stamina.
Rock Climbing Gyms in Chamonix Mont Blanc
Of course, you can opt for a more controlled environment with indoor climbing gyms in Chamonix. Climbing wall Centre R. Bozon is one example of an indoor climbing hall. The well-designed space has 180 square meters of room and 800 holds. Using ropes and harnesses here are not necessary, which means you can practise bouldering and free climbing as well as traditional methods. Entry is affordable at 5.80 Euros.
Mont-Blanc Climbing in Les Houches gives you a second option at an indoor climbing gym. This arena provides options for climbing, canyoning, and via ferrata. A Via Ferrata route uses a steel cable which extends the entire route and periodically attaches to the rock. Climbers secure themselves to the cable, which limits their fall. This method lends itself to both beginner/intermediate climbers as well as experts.
Nearly 120 routes are included at Mont-Blanc Climbing, with 10+ routes exchanged each month. Buy your gear or rent it here, and relax afterwards at their cafe.
Other Sights and Outdoor Activities in Chamonix Mont Blanc
When you wish to explore Chamonix Valley, many exciting things await! The unique perspective living in a commune and experiencing the sense of community here will not be forgotten.
Firstly, it must be said that the skiing and snowboarding in Chamonix is known to have some of the greatest slopes in the world. Chamonix Valley is considered by some as one of the best freeride skiing location in the world! You will experience the mountains from afar as you make your way through 157km of charted escapades, and limitless uncharted areas as well. Chamonix offers a total of five skiing resorts
- Grands Montets
- Les Houches
- Le Tour/Balme
- La Flegere
- Le Brevent.
In terms of shopping and eating out, the centre of Chamonix offers delicious options. I would recommend to check out Monkey, a restaurant with awesome burgers, beer and ambience. I was surprised to find so many different representations of culture in one place! Similarly, Chamonix Valley is literally teeming with outdoor activities to enjoy aside from rock climbing. During winter, the boundless opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and sledding will certainly keep you busy. In the spring, summer, and fall months, try some of Europe’s best mountain biking, paragliding, hiking trails, golf, tennis, and even paintball!
Chamonix Mont Blanc is a Must-Visit for Rock Climbing and Culture
As you can see, Chamonix Valley offers plenty to do, see, and explore! The rock climbing spots feature challenging crags and unforgettable views of the French Alps. The locals will show their kindness and their expertise about the area will keep you well-informed!
In the end, rock climbing means building your community and your life experiences. You grow internally as well as from a health and fitness standpoint. When you see the world and engage in a hobby that you love, your perspective on life expands permanently and for the better. Explore Chamonix Mont Blanc and see for yourself!