Going up the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car on your vacation in Chamonix is a must. It's not just that the views are truly spectacular, it's also an appreciation of the superb engineering...and all this was created before the helicopter was invented!
This is the lift terminal in Cham Sud
The name translated means "Needle at Midday" ( aiguille = needle) and you get to the top via a series of lifts that takes visitors up 3800m and lastly there's an elevator to the needle.
The Needle At Midday
Skiers start their Valle Blanche adventure from this second stage. On exiting the lift, go through a tunnel which then exits onto a steel stair case.
You'll see them descending the staircase then onto a steep mountain slope carrying their skis over their shoulders. It's much easier getting down the slope with crampons over ski boots.
a small level platform where they then strap on their gear before
heading off on the most unique skiing adventure, crossing snow bridges
over crevasses, skiing through seracs and ice forests. It's dangerous
skiing and best done with a ski guide.
This is the starting point of the ski down the Valle Blanche.
This photo was taken from the top of the Aiguille du Midi
Amazingly, there's a further lateral lift that takes visitors to the Italian side at Pointe Helbronner.
The journey is staged with smaller lifts as the peak approaches .
Here's the timetable and pricing. There's a discount if you travel on both the Montenvers Train and the Aiguille du Midi Cable Car on the same day.
The views across the Alps from the top are truly awesome!
The cable cars take sightseers to the peak to take in the vast views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. It also takes skiers to the start of their ski adventure down the Valle Blanche.
building that houses the Aiguille du Midi terminal is located in the south part of town.
Although just about everything's close by it still is about a 10 minute walk from the centre of town.
The little free village shuttle, the "Le Mulet" services this stop. You can't miss this stop. The building that houses the terminal is truly enormous.
The best time to go is after peak hour, about 10 am so that you miss the worst of the queues.
Cable Car Journey
There are two lifts in the journey up to the peak. The first staging area is Plan de l'Aiguille at 2300m. The second one is a little smaller and lighter telecabin which travels over the Les Pelerins Glacier and then heads up the North Face of the mountain.
At the second stage at 3800m is a platform with open terraces, a coffee shop, restaurant and souvenir shop. There's also an excellent display of the engineering works and the history of its development.
It's fascinating to read that this project was conceived at the start of the last century in 1905! The first stage was completed in 1924 - that's before the First World War. This must have been the frontiers of engineering at that time.
At this level, you'll find the elevator that takes visitors to the peak, at the needle. From the open decks at the top, are just the most magnificent views of the Alps that seem to stretch forever. You'll also see the skiers heading down the Vallee Blanche.
Activites for Non-Skiers: