Haute Savoie - In the land of the Mont Blanc

Climbing and bouldering paradise between Chamonix, Annecy and Albertville


The climbing area "Suets" and the Mt. Blanc in the background.

Who does not know it, the Mont Blanc, with its 4810 m the highest Peak of the Alps and West-Europe. Also very famous is Chamonix, the small town at the base of the Mont Blanc. Less famous though is the name of the French Departement here - the "Haute Savoie" (Dept. 74).

Abroad of the tourist hurly-burly around the Mont Blanc you can find an original mountain world with fascinating animals and plants. Huge differences in altitude between the valleys and the mountain passes make this region to a very popular destination for the Tour de France each year. The cyclist will adore all these passes and the countless Mountainbike circuits. But also the friends of rock will find a huge potential for climbing and bouldering in the rock types granite, gneiss and limestone in many variations.

The region is quite unknown as climbing and bouldering destination outside the departement itself. Almost unbelievable, as this is the nearest French region to Switzerland, Italy and Germany. A huge amount of cliffs and boulders offer climbing and bouldering fun in all grades. You can find cliffs for beginners as well as routes in the French grade 9a and the list with routes 8a and harder counts almost 300! For the motivated climber cliffs like Foron, Suets, Chapelle St. Gras, Bionassay, La Forclaz or Petit Bornand are a must. On some of these walls can be found also easier routes, for the moderate grades a visit at the Col de la Colombière, in Ablon and many other areas can be recommended. There is everything from single pitch sportsclimbing to multi pitch routes. And if you search the Alpine adventure - the Mont Blanc is not far!

At the Col de la Colombière the wildlife is amongst you...

The situation of the climbing area at the Col de la Colombière is amazing, the boulders are just some hundred metres around the corner.

Foron is one of the most beautiful areas in the region offering steep pocket climbing and excellent routes in the grades 6c to 8b/c.

Bionassay - a quite new area with mostly hard routes in a fascinating landscape.


Recently the region around Chamonix is becoming a high quality bouldering destination. Thanks also to the local climbing-teacher and mountain-guide Emmanuel Ratouis coming originally from Fontainebleau. He published not long ago a topo to the bouldering possibilities around here: "Les blocs de la région de Chamonix".

Besides the classic boulder fields at the Col des Montets less famous areas as Médonnet, Bossons, Lavancher or the Col de la Colombière can be found in the topo which describes 12 areas around Chamonix. But besides the developed spots countless possibilities for first ascents are waiting for the ambitious boulderer. An overview and basic information to the areas can be found here.

The different types off rock offer a great variety also in bouldering. The different altitudes of the areas offer good conditions almost throughout the year if the snow situation allows bouldering in winter. Overhangs, roofs, slabs, arêtes, traverses, highballs - the variety in the world of the small blocks is extremely high also in this region. Not only the climbers from here but also internationally well known stars such as Anthony Lamiche developed the area and love to come here from time to time.

One can see, the Haute-Savoie offers a huge potential for mountaineering, Alpine climbing, sport climbing, bouldering, cycling, hiking, mountain biking,.... in one of the most beautiful high mountain landscapes of Europe.

The bouldering guidebook "Les blocs de la région de Chamonix" is available at the GEBRO Verlag (distribution Germany, also A, CH,...).

For climbing guidebooks it is best to visit the sport-shop "Au Vieux Campeur" in Sallanches.

Further information to the climbing in the Haute Savoie on the following website: http://www.escalade-74.com.