On Thursday, three members of the Chamonix All Year Reservations Team headed up the Aiguille du Midi as guests of the Compagnie du Mont Blanc to learn more about their continued investment in Chamonix’s lifts and to test out the already infamous “Step Into The Void”.
Kerry and Flore, along with team member Charli, were lucky to have a very warm and sunny day to appreciate the stunning views from the “Rooftop of Europe”. Don’t miss their top tips for a visit to Aiguille du Midi at the bottom.
Once we’d been whisked up the mountain on the highest cable car in Europe, we ventured straight up to one of the topmost viewing terraces where we took in the views and were welcomed by the Compagnie du Mont Blanc, who told us all about the continuing improvements to the Aiguille du Midi visitor site, as well as some of the other developments in the valley, including:
- the opening of the Step Into The Void this past winter, which has already proved so popular that they want to build more!
- proposed camera installations around Step Into The Void to capture your visit in 3D
- the scheduled works next winter to improve lift access to the top terrace and Step Into The Void
- the ongoing works at Les Grands Montets to replace the Plan Joran chair lift with a faster cable car, in time for Winter 2014-15
We also made the most of the occasion to take our own first “Steps Into the Void”, which none of us had had the chance to visit since it opened during the winter.
Queuing round the top of the viewing platform, the anticipation built as we took in the spectacular vistas across the Mont Blanc massif, and by the time we were putting on our special slippers to avoid damage to the glass floor, Flore was feeling decidedly nervous. Holding hands (and our breath!) we stepped off the solid floor, onto the glass bottomed box. With the rock and ice plummeting beneath us, we really had the sensation of floating above the earth. Kerry and Charli smiled as one of the members of staff took our photos – however, it very quickly all became too much for Flore, who leapt out of the box and left Kerry and Charli to step towards the far corner of the box for a final photo!
Once the experience was over, we headed together to the other side of the Aiguille du Midi and from one of the viewing platforms watched some base jumpers leaping from the top platform and flying down over the Glacier des Bossons, which was quite exciting as our nerves were already on edge.
After taking the cable car back down to Chamonix, we had a lovely lunch at the Vertical café at the base of the Aiguille du Midi. Many thanks to the Compagnie du Mont Blanc for a great day!
Our top tips
Here are our recommendations for making the most of your trip to the Rooftop of Europe:
- Get up early! In the peak summer weeks, people come from all over the world just to see Mont Blanc from the top of the Aiguille du Midi, so to make sure you see everything that you want to at the top, you do need to get there early. From 7th July to 24th August the cable car is open at 6:30am and you can reserve a cabin for free with your Mont Blanc Multipass (or 2€ without). If you arrive after 9:30am, there’s no guarantee that you will be able to visit the Step Into the Void.
- Take your camera – you can give one camera per group to the staff at the Step Into The Void to capture the experience for you, and we’re sure you won’t want to leave without a photo of Mont Blanc.
- Pick a sunny day – the views of the valley are at their best in the sunshine so we recommend looking at the weather forecast and setting your alarm for a nice day, but remember that everyone else will probably be doing the same thing!
- Bring some warm layers with you – it might be a scorching hot day in Chamonix (as it was for us) but the temperatures at the top of the Aiguille can be up to 20°C cooler than they are in town, so it’s always worth taking a warm jumper or jacket.
- Have a good head for heights – the views from the top are unmissable and well worth a visit but bear in mind that those with vertigo may find the altitude overwhelming and might not enjoy the experience of the Step Into The Void.