The Skyway (Mont Blanc cableway) is the large cableway system that starts near Courmayeur and reaches 3466 m at Punta Helbronner, in the Mont Blanc massif. The recently built facility allows you to enjoy an exceptional view of the entire central part of the mountain range.
Where it is located
The Mont Blanc cable car concerns the Mont Blanc massif, from the Italian side of Courmayeur to the French side of Chamonix (or vice versa).
Mont Blanc is a unique case in all of Europe. In fact, it is not a single mountain nor a simple chain of peaks lined up side by side.
On the contrary, it is a huge mountainous massif, consisting of several chains of peaks that delimit large glacial valleys. The largest of these glacial valleys, called Vallée Blanche, is dug in the center of the massif, forming two mighty bastions on either side that overlook each other. On its descent, the glacial valley continues with the meandering mass of the Mer de Glace.
What is it about
The Mont Blanc cable car allows you to climb over the massif from the Italian to the French side and appreciate its indescribable beauty.
First you climb the bastion that overlooks the Italian side, up to 3466 meters at Punta Helbronner (the stretch that corresponds to the real “Skyway“). Then, you cross, suspended in the air, the great glacial valley that separates the two bastions (the Vallée Blanche), up to 3842 meters of the Aiguille du Midi, on the French bastion. From there it goes down in France, to Chamonix.
How it works
The Mont Blanc Cable Car is a large Italian-French cable car system.
From a practical point of view, it is divided into three parts, the first and third of which are divided into two sections.
It is the first stretch, completely in Italian territory. The journey takes place uphill from Entrèves, a hamlet of Courmayeur (1306 m) to Punta Helbronner (3466 m), divided into 2 sections: Pontal-Le Pavillon (2173 m), Le Pavillon-Punta Helbronner (3466 m).
2) “Télécabine Panoramic Mont-Blanc”
It is the second stretch, in French territory. The route is a long, slightly uphill traverse from Punta Helbronner (3466 m) to Aiguille du Midi (3842 m), which flies over the Vallée Blanche with a single huge span, suspended on the ice.
3) “Téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi”
It is the third section, also in French territory. The journey takes place downhill (or uphill, depending on the starting point) from Aiguille du Midi (m. 3842) to Chamonix (m. 1035), divided into 2 sections. From the panoramic terrace of the Aiguille du Midi (m. 3842), passengers take the lift down to the arrival station of the cable car (m. 3777). The two sections by cable car follow: Aiguille du Midi-Plan de l’Aiguille (m. 2317), Plan de l’Aiguille-Chamonix.
The itinerary can be followed in both directions. Also, you can choose to stop it at any point. For example, you can go up from Entrèves to Punta Helbronner and not continue further. Or, you can stop at Pavillon. Or, you can go up from Chamonix to the Aiguille du Midi.
When it is in operation
The service works all year round, except for November and a few days in May for maintenance.
The summer season is in effect from the end of June to the beginning of September. In this case, the first departure is at 6:30, from both sides, Italian and French, and the last at 17:00. During the same period, all sections of the cable car are in operation, including the crossing.
During the winter season, the first departure is at 8:30, from both sides. The last one at 16:20. Only sections 1 and 3 are in operation, while the crossing is stopped.
To whom it is indicated
The route does not require particular physical efforts. It is, therefore, an experience for everyone: adults, children, the elderly.
Of course, there are some precautions to be observed. Including being in good health and eating a healthy diet. Furthermore, the high altitude does not recommend the crossing for people suffering from cardio-circulatory and / or respiratory diseases. The ascent is also not recommended for children under 3 years of age.
To comfort the anxious, the total safety of the system can be guaranteed. The ropes and trusses are checked regularly and precisely. The cabins leave and arrive without tugging. And at the slightest danger of turbulence or storm at high altitude, the affected part of the system is stopped.
What is so extraordinary about it
There is no such circumstance in all of Europe to experience the sensation of being completely surrounded by rocks and ice. The spectacle is so overwhelming as to amaze even those who have climbed those peaks and glacial valleys on foot, with crampons, ice axes and ropes.
At the beginning, you rise up over crests and pinnacles, surrounded by walls and tongues of ice. During the crossing, you will fly over huge glaciers and gigantic seracs, such as the Gigante glacier and the Mer de Glace, where you can see rope teams of mountaineers. All around, famous peaks rise, often more than 4000 meters high: Dente del Gigante, Tour Ronde, Mont Maudit, Grand Capucin, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Aiguille du Midi. And further away, Mont Blanc on one side, the Grandes Jorasses, the Aiguille Verte and the Dru on the other. Then, during the descent towards Chamonix, you can contemplate the white cap of Mont Blanc to the west and the jagged array of the Aiguilles de Chamonix to the east. What else to add? …
As already mentioned, the itinerary allows for various solutions, each recommended. The choice of whether to travel only one stretch or make the entire crossing depends on many things: the weather conditions, the time available, economic considerations, etc.
Perhaps the most exciting part is the intermediate one, where you experience the unique sensation of being enveloped by the mountain to the fullest. But also the ascent on the brand new Skyway and the superb views enjoyed from Punta Helbronner are such as to amply reward the tourist.
For those who decide to stop in Pavillon, a visit to the Saussurea Alpine Botanical Garden is recommended, with many rare species of plants and splendid specimens of crystals from the area. In addition, it is possible to take the 75′ hike up to the scenic viewpoint on the Brenva glacier.
Hotel Aigle is the ideal base for ascending Mont Blanc with the Skyway.
Pontal, the starting point of the cable car, is an offshoot of Entrèves and is 700 m from the hotel. Therefore, it can be reached in a few minutes on foot without moving the car!
At our hotel you will find all the information material to plan your visit.
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