Mont-Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps and in Western Europe. Its elevation is around 4807 to 4810 meters depending on the snowpack and snowdrift. It was first climbed in 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard. A touchy issue between France and Italy is the exact location of the border. Between the two countries, the ridgeline (which is a line formed along the highest points of a mountain ridge) of the Mont-Blanc massif separates the two countries but the Mont-Blanc summit is included entirely in France on French maps. Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France and Courmayeur, Aosta Valley, Italy.
Southwestern rocky side of the Mont-Blanc Massif with (left to right) Aiguille du Goûter (3863m), Dôme du Goûter (4304m), and Mont-Blanc (4810m). Chamonix, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Mont Maudit (elevation: 4465m), in the lower right the two buildings are the historic Vallot Observatory (4350m), it is a research center and the Vallot Hut (4362m), it is an emergency shelter for mountaineers on the way to the summit of Mont-Blanc. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Aiguille du Goûter (elevation: 3863m) and the Goûter Hut. The new futuristic ovoid Goûter Hut was opened in 2013. It is the highest mountain hut in France, and a most welcomed respite for mountaineers on the way to the summit of Mont-Blanc. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
The Grandes Jorasses (elevation: 4208m) with the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa in the distance. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France and Courmayeur, Italy.
The Grandes Jorasses summit (elevation: 4208m at Pointe Walker). For alpinists in search of a challenge, the north face of The Grandes Jorasses will provide. It is one of the three toughest north face climbs in the Alps, the other two are the Eiger and the Matterhorn. Its north face (in the shade) is in France whereas the sunny side is in Italy. In the distance, 68km away is Monte Rosa (elevation: 4634m). Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France and Courmayeur, Italy.
A little bit of Antartica in the heart of Europe. The Géant Glacier starts around Mont-Blanc du Tacul, its compacted snow feeds into the Mer de Glace making a combined length of 12km, it is the longest glacier in France. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Of all the iconic peaks of the Mont-Blanc Massif, the Dent du Géant (elevation: 4013m, height above its base: 160m) is the most distinctive due to its sheer height and its striking overhang. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, France and Courmayeur, Italy.
Les Périades Needles are a row of granitic pinnacles on a long ridge between two glaciers, they are here casting their long shadows on the Mont-Mallet Glacier. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Les Aiguilles de Chamonix are a spectacular range of numerous jagged peaks stretching for over 5 kilometers, reaching heights up to 3842 meters at the Aiguille du Midi. Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
The Mont-Blanc massif is a wonderful playground for many thrill seakers; not just rock climbers but extreme skiers, speed riders, wingsuit flyers, paragliders, and so on. It is one of the most visited natural site in the world. Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Summit of Aiguille du Midi (3842m) and its unrivaled, breathtaking view of Mont-Blanc (elevation: 4810m). Luckily, this amazing view does not require anyone to be an expert at rock climbing. A cable car can whisk 75 people in about 20 minutes from Chamonix (1035m) to the chilly thin rarefied air at nearly 4-kilometer-high. From such great heights, a viewer can contemplate the Bossons Glacier's toe a dizzying 2.4 kilometers below him. Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
The Aiguille du Midi (elevation: 3842m) with, on its east facing slope, the famed Vallée Blanche. In the winter months, Vallée Blanche offers one of most attractive backcountry skiing in a grandiose landscape. From the Aiguille du Midi, skiers can reach Montenvers (elevation: 1930m) or even Chamonix (elevation: 1035m) depending on the snowpack, in one of the most spectacular scenery in the entire Alps. This ski run is on a glacier which is not groomed or patrolled, it is not technically difficult but dangerous because of hidden crevasses. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
The Mont-Blanc Massif has many legendary peaks, the Aiguille Verte (elevation: 4122m) is one of them. It was first climbed in 1865 by Edward Whymper, Christian Almer, and Franz Biner. This granitic peak dominates the Talèfre Glacier. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Chamonix Needles (left to right): Plan (3673m), Blaitière (3522m) and Grépon (3482m). These southeast facing cliffs, called l'Envers des Aiguilles are a famous spot for rock climbers. They dominate the Vallée Blanche and the Mer de Glace with its distinctive Forbes Bands. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
A Valley Glacier with the Géant Glacier (lower right) merging with the Vallée Blanche (lower left) feeding into the Tacul Glacier and finally the Mer de Glace (with Forbes Bands). Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Forbes Bands (or ogive) are seasonal stripes, they are good indicators of the glacier's yearly speed; between 90 and 120 meters, slowing down at a lower altitude. Mer de Glace, Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Interesting pattern of crevasses on the surface of the Bossons Glacier; they are due to the sharp change of angle of the underlying rock, bending and breaking the ice. The Bossons Glacier has the most vertical drop in the Alps. It starts from the summit of Mont-Blanc (elevation: 4810m) and ends at approximately 1400m (in 2011). It is currently retreating due to global warming, whereas in the 1900's, it reached the bottom of the Chamonix Valley (1050m). It is remarkable for a glacier to reach such a low altitude in relation to its latitude: 45º 53' 26" N. Chamonix Mont-Blanc, Haute-Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.
Les Aiguilles d'Arves (left: Aiguille Centrale, 3513m and middle: Aiguille Méridionale, 3514m) with the Ecrins Massif in the distance. Saint-Jean d'Arves, Savoie, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, France.