Chamonix with an American guide

The Alps of France, Italy and Switzerland offer town and hut-based mountaineering and climbing for all abilities. Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn are the most popular because they are tall, but many other peaks have even better climbing. Joe's personal favorite trip is to meet in Chamonix and climb moderate technical day routes each day. Let's climb! 

Hire your guide directly

Hire a guide, not a guide service. A guide service is just an office. The guide is who keeps you alive. All American guides in the Alps are IFMGA-licensed. If you hire a guide directly, rather than go through a guide service, it will cost you less, the guide will make more, and you will both be happier. Find one of the 100+ IFMGA-licensed American Mountain Guides on the AMGA Hire-A-Guide page. 

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July 25 - Sept 20, 2020

Joe's choice itinerary: Chamonix climbing

Climb the Chamonix classics. Depending on conditions and your interests, we can choose from classics such as: 

  • Cosmiques Arete, the classic intro-level mixed route on the Aiguille du Midi.

  • Lachenal Traverse, an introductory mixed route above the Vallee Blanche.

  • Entreves Traverse, easy fifth class climbing on an exposed ridge high above Courmayeur, Italy.

  • Rebuffat Route (5.10-) on the Aiguille du Midi, climb ten pitches of orange granite above a glacier.

  • Frison-Roche (5.10-) on the Brevant.

  • Chapelle de la Glière (5.9) in the Aiguille Rouges, a long and moderate alpine rock climb.

Popular itinerary: Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Europe at 4,810m (15,774’). The normal, Gouter router on Mont Blanc is a big climb. Compared to normal routes on Mount Rainier, the Gouter route has an additional 2,000 feet of scrambling and goes to a higher altitude. You must be fit and be able to scramble.

Day 0: Meet at your hotel in Chamonix for gear check and trip overview. 

Day 1: Hike to Albert Premier Refuge (2,702m). Review ice skills. 

Day 2: Climb to Trient Refuge (3,170m), reviewing glacier skills along the way. 

Day 3: Climb Aiguille du Tour (3,529m). Return to Chamonix. 

Day 4: Hike to Tete Rousse Hut (3,187m) on Mont Blanc.  

Day 5: Climb Mont Blanc via the Gouter Route. Stay at the Gouter Refuge (3,815m/12,582’). 

Day 6: Return to Chamonix. 

Popular itinerary: Matterhorn

The Matterhorn is the most iconic mountain in the world: tall, pointy, with little comparison in the lower 48 US. Maybe a steeper and bigger version of the Grand Teton. The Matterhorn has 4,500 vertical feet of exposed fourth class scrambling and some low fifth class to an icy summit slope. The descent is harder and takes long than the ascent. You will need endurance for 7-10 hours non-stop scrambling at altitude, plus climbing strength for the steep sections. You also need very good footwork, especially when down climbing fourth class terrain while facing out. If the guides feel your fitness, footwork, climbing ability are not adequate, the objective will be shifted to an alternate mountain. All days are at 1:1 guide to client ratio.

Day 0: Meet at your hotel in Chamonix in the evening for gear check and trip overview. 

Day 1-3: Climb routes around Chamonix to prepare fo the Matterhorn: Cosmiques Arete, Entreves Traverse, Papillons Arête, etc.

Day 4: Travel to Zermatt, possible afternoon climb on the Rifflehorn.

Day 5: Hike to the Hornli Hut (3,260m/10,700’). 

Day 6: Climb the Matterhorn (4,478m/14,692’), 7-10 hours round trip. Stay at the Hornli Hut. 

Day 7: Alternate summit day. Return to Zermatt. 

Chamonix rate

  • 1 client: $600 USD per day

  • 2 clients: $350 USD per person per day (moderate-technical)

  • 3 clients: $275 USD per person per day (non-technical)

  • See booking.

Switzerland rate

  • 1 client: $700 USD per person per day

  • 2 clients: $400 USD per person per day (moderate-technical)

  • 3 clients: $300 USD per person per day (non-technical)

  • See booking.


  • AMGA/IFMGA Mountain Guide Joe Stock

  • Guide lodging, transport and food

  • Hut booking

  • Rope and rack

  • Navigation and first aid kits

  • Emergency communication and shelter

Does not include

  • Personal gear. See Alps Mountaineering Gear List.

  • Client hut fees: about €50 per night per person, except about CHF150 at the Hornli.

  • Client transport: about €25-60 per day, except CHF100 in Switzerland. A rental car is a nice addition to keep our options open beyond the Chamonix valley.

  • Client food. Breakfast and dinner are included with hut fees.

  • Rescue insurance, required.

  • Trip cancellation insurance, recommended.

  • Wire fee, if applicable.

Photos of Alps mountaineering

Joe is an absolute pleasure to work and hang out with. Appreciate so much his great company, easy going relaxed approach and kindness through the trip.
— Elena Todorova
Look forward to climbing together again soon because you were FANTASTIC as a guide and a person on this last trip.
— Garry Menzel
Thanks for the great photos, Joe! Charlie and I agreed that you were an ideal guide. We had a great trip because of you.
— Howard Tomb
My thanks again for your excellent climbing, mentoring, and customer service skills!
— Dave Chamberlin


Getting to Chamonix from Geneva 

  • Alpy Bus

  • Cham Express (most reliable)

  • Mountain Drop Offs

  • about €20-35 each way

  • To find the bus when arriving in Geneva, exit baggage claim, walk directly across the hall to the info booth, purchase a ticket for the next shuttle to Chamonix. Then check in at the shuttle service booth, which is 200 feet right of the info booth. Shuttle takes about and hour and a half to Chamonix.

Staying in Chamonix

Eating in Chamonix

  • Joe's favorite Chamonix eating zones:

  1. Cham Sud for burgers and beer at the Monkey Bar or Bighorn. Happy hour at Beckett and Wilde.

  2. Train station for food and beer at Elevation, Chambre Neuf or Moos.

  3. Rue des Moulin for pizza or a fancy meal.

  • Annapurna: Indian

  • Elevation: salads, beer, coffee, people watching.

  • Midnight Express: fast and cheap sandwiches.

  • Monkey Bar: perhaps the best burger in town.

  • Moos: small burgers, but nice location and Swedish service.

  • Neapolis: pizza and Italian food.

Zermatt Links