Things to do at the Aiguille du Midi
Lots of people head up the Aiguille du Midi purely for the views over the glaciers towards Mont Blanc, although it is also a hugely popular start point for many mountaineering and skiing routes. Walking onto the glaciers from the Arete of the Midi or the Helbronner side of the mountain is not advised unless you have the proper equipment and are preferably with a high-mountain guide.
Arriving at the Top
Another thing that strikes you as you arrive at the summit (aside from the sheer size and vastness of the massif) is just how much development has been done on this peak, which means that peaks that would otherwise remain the preserve of skilled climbers and mountaineers, are now accessible to a great many visitors.
The top of the Aiguille du Midi has been pretty much hollowed out to form an intricate labyrinth of rooms and corridors that weave their way through the rocky, mainly granite peak. This in itself is impressive enough but it also allows space for multiple exhibitions, displays and viewing platforms which greatly enhance your time at the top.
The views over Mont Blanc and the valley are breath-taking, giving you an up-close vista over age-old, splintered ice flows which have cracked to form huge crevasses as they’ve edged their way down the mountainside. It feels almost as though you’re at the epicentre of the Alps, enormous peaks spilling in all directions punctuating the horizon as far as the eye can see.
Lift to the summit Terrasse
An elevator cut through the pinnacle of the Aiguille which gives access to a high viewing terrace surrounding the massive TV transmitter on the summit (the iconic metal shard on the peak, visible from miles around). Note, queues are common here so factor in at least a 15-minute wait to access (longer in summer months). The views are worth the wait though.
Le Pas dans le Vide / Step into the void (free)
Accessed from the summit lift and Terrasse 3842, Step into the Void is a 2.5m glass box suspended from the side of the Aiguille, 1000m above the glaciers below. Vertigo sufferers should probably avoid.
Accessing La Vallée Blanche
A tunnel cut through sheer ice walls leading to the famed Ice Steps allowing climbers and skiers access to the Vallée Blanche descent and beyond. At 20km long with a vertical drop of 2700m, the Vallée Blanche is one of the most famous off-piste routes in the world. Expect to see hardened mountain types, bedecked with crampons and ice axes preparing to exit onto the glacier.
Countless viewing platforms
With 360’ access around the summit, you are spoiled for choice with views that extend far into Italy, France and Switzerland. Were it not for the cold, you could spend hours up here.
The Panoramic Mont-Blanc gondola (open June to September)
A 5km gondola ride linking to the Pointe Helbronner above Courmayeur on the Italian side, over the Glacier du Géant. This glacier is a huge permanent icepack which feeds the legendary Mer de Glace and Vallée Blanche.
In summer mountaineers can choose to access various trails (including paths to the summit of Mont Blanc) and refuges from the roped ridge known as the Arete. During the winter, the narrow arete down from the Aiguille du Midi is the starting point of the famous 18km off-piste route, the Vallee Blanche.
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Also see: Sports & Activities in Chamonix, France