Tour of the Mer de Glace

For all experienced hikers and


Organized 3-days hiking trek

Day 1: Refuge du Requin (2, 516 m)

Take the rack-train that takes you to the Montenvers upper station (1,913 m) in 20 minutes. Head for the start of the ladders, 250 meters overlooking the Mer de Glace. Do not hesitate to make sure the guide belays you going down the ladders which is impressive for a first time.

Shortly after joining the moraine on the left bank of the glacier, you put on crampons for an introduction to glacier walking. Nothing fancy on slopes < 30°. After this first experience and depending on weather, the guide will make you remove your crampons, which is surprising at first.

You then go back up the tip of the Mer de Glace toward the Shark refuge.

You go back up amidst the crevasses. After about two hours, you leave on the left the Leschaux glacier and proceed toward the Tacul glacier which supplies the Mer de Glace. On the top right hand side you can see the Envers de l’Aiguille refuge where the glacier becomes flatter.

You progress on the glacier, you reach the glacier’s moraine on the left bank then you climb up the rock face leading to the refuge, firstly by metal ladders then finally by a path. You arrive at the Requin refuge in the middle of the afternoon (4 hours of actual walking). The site is magical of course. The refuge is perched on a headland overlooking the Glacier du Geant’s séracs, its famous “Salle à manger” (Dining Room).

The refuge is mostly visited in winter and in spring, which is a stop and a pause from the ski descent of the Vallée Blanche from the Aiguille du Midi. Dinner and overnight stay at the refuge (120 beds).

Day 2: Refuge du Requin to the Refuge du Couvercle (2,687m) via the Refuge de Leschaux (2,450m)

Early in the morning, you will start by going down the ladders taken the day before to reach the glacier. Then back down the Tacul glacier to the junction where Leschaux glacier comes from the right.

Going up the Leschaux glacier, you might be lucky to see a herd of chamois. Otherwise, pick up a few pieces of quartz, smoked if possible!

Ignore to the left the ladders leading “directly” to the Couvercle refuge.

You continue to climb the glacier with, in the background, the North Face of the Grandes Jorasses.

Picnic on the glacier before once again taking on a steep climb of ladders to the Leschaux refuge.

After a break at Leschaux facing the majestic Grandes Jorasses, the hike continues through a rocky trail to the Talèfre glacier that must be crossed before tackling the steep path which joins the Couvercle refuge.

A great day, in a magical place, where the view embraces both Mont-Blanc and the Grandes Jorasses.

Dinner and overnight stay at the shelter (120 beds).

Day 3: Return to Montenvers

The return to the top station of Montenvers is made via an overhead balcony footpath overlooking the Aiguilles de Chamonix and the Mer de Glace. Very little walking on the glacier for this last day, except to reach the bottom of the ladders used the first day which will have to be climbed up. In theory, you are “vaccinated” after all this going up and down ladders, so you should be able to tackle this final ascent with confidence (250 m nonetheless) !

Arrival in Chamonix mid-afternoon.

© All reproduction prohibited.