New Regulations to Climb Mont Blanc via the Normal Route in 2019

Marina ParraApril 29, 2019

(Last updated on June 4, 2019).

 

In an effort to control overcrowding and increase safety on Western Europe’s highest mountain, new regulations have been introduced for those willing to climb Mont Blanc (4,810 m) in several days via its normal route, the Gouter route or Royal Route from Saint-Gervais-les-Bains.

Starting this summer season 2019 (June 1st to September 29th), it will be mandatory for climbers on the normal route to hold a personal reservation on one of the mountain huts of the itinerary. This puts a cap to the number of climbers on the mountain’s most popular and busiest route.

Are you planning to climb Mont Blanc this season? Here’s what you need to know about the new regulations & booking process:


Important: this only applies to those climbing Mont Blanc via the Normal route from Saint Gervais (Gouter route) in several days.


About the reservations

 

It is now mandatory to make an online reservation with the French Federation of Alpine and Mountain Clubs (FFCAM) at one of the mountain huts or at the Tête Rousse base camp. 

 

1) Where can I stay in Mont Blanc’s normal route?

 

These are the accommodation options along Mont Blanc’s  normal route:

  • Refuge du Nid d’Aigle (20 seats)
  • Tête Rousse Hut (74 seats) +  Tête Rousse base camp (40 seats, 5 collective tents of 8 places each).
  • Goûter mountain hut (120 seats)

Camping anywhere else on the Mont-Blanc area is strictly prohibited by law.

 

The Gouter Hut. Photo courtesy of Peaks Hunter Mountain Guide Team.

 

2) How can I make an online booking?

 

You can check availability and make reservations at the mountain huts through the following websites:

3) What information do I need to provide?

 

All the reservations must be personal and indicate the full name of each participant, date of birth and nationality at the time of booking (names cannot be changed later).

In the case of professional mountain guides, there’s some flexibility regarding this point: the names of the guides accompanying clients can be changed up to 48hs before the stay.

It is possible to make cancellations.

4) How do I know if my reservation is confirmed?

 

At the time of booking, you will get an individual receipt. You will need to take with you during the Mont Blanc ascent. This will be checked by hut keepers upon arrival (along with your ID document), members of the White Brigade of Saint-Gervais and PGHM gendarmes (Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute Montagne).

The reasons behind the new regulations to climb Mont Blanc

 

Every summer season, Mont Blanc attracts around 30,000 mountaineers willing to tackle one of the world’s most mythical mountain ascents and reach the roof of the Alps. That means the mountain sees an average of 400 climbers per day on its different routes.

 

Climbers on the Gouter route. Photo courtesy of Stéphane Monari.

Even though it doesn’t entail major technical difficulties, the Mont Blanc ascent should not be underestimated under any circumstance.


Read more about How to prepare to climb Mont Blanc


In the last years, concerns have been raised regarding ill-prepared climbers with inappropriate equipment and adventure seekers lacking basic safety practices and having irresponsible behavior towards the environment, among other kinds of incidents.

At the same time, overcrowding at Mont Blanc was turning into a serious issue. The mountain huts along the Gouter Route were often exceeded on their capacity and people started placing tents outside them to spend the night. Besides, bottlenecks at some of the most dangerous sections of the ascent became frequent, exposing climbers to unsafe situations.  

In 2017, the town of Saint Gervais issued a municipal order establishing a minimum equipment list for those attempting to climb Mont Blanc.  

This year, after discussing different alternatives, an online booking process has been established in order to limit the number of climbers in the mountain.

Hopefully, this will contribute to making the Mont Blanc ascent safer and more enjoyable to all.

 

If you are considering to attempt this iconic ascent, don’t miss our guide with all the things you need to know about climbing Mont Blanc. Ready for the next step? Check out all the options to climb Mont Blanc with a certified mountain guide.

 

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