A staggeringly beautiful day of mountaineering through Himalayan-esque scenery









FATMAP difficulty grade



The second day of the Mont Blanc Royal Traverse, and a fabulous mountaineering adventure, this is as good as it gets for the mid-grade alpinist.

Start the day at the Conscrits hut, which lies in a fantastic high-mountain setting.

There's no need to get up super early, just aim to be out of the hut by sunrise and you should be fine for time. Once out of the door, head north-east up mellow slopes to the Aiguille de la Bérangère, a nice little peak which is technically easy to reach.

There's some slightly steeper snow and very easy scrambling just below the summit but basically the 2 - 2.5 hours it takes to get from the Conscrits to the summit are easy, non-glaciated walking.

Go north off the summit along an easy but exposed ridge (which is home to the occasional loose block, watch out for these) which leads to the Col de la Bérangère.

From the broad and wild-feeling col, take a look down to the left and you will see part of the Armancette Glacier, a popular and classic ski descent in the Spring.

Continue north-east on a steepening snow slope to the left of a ridge crest to the first of the Dômes de Miage summits, Pointe 3670m.

Carry on along the easy but often very exposed snow ridge to Pointes 3666m and 3633m before descending down to the Col des Dômes. Carry on north-east over the final (and highest) point of the Dômes de Miage, Pointe 3673m, and continue along a rocky and exposed ridge over a small summit.

Go right around the next peak you encounter (which has an unusual twin-topped summit) and then rejoin the ridge crest via a snowy gully.

Once back on the ridge you can see the broad Col de Miage and the Durier Hut that sits on it below you.

Keep on the ridge as it begins to descend towards the hut on ever more exposed rocky and snowy terrain.

When the ridge peters out, abseil 30 metres down to the left from a bolt belay which is about 5 metres below the ridge crest, and tricky to spot.

If you've only got a 30 metre rope, you can do 2 x 15 metre abseils instead of the 30 metre option. From the foot of the abseil and carry on down straightforward but exposed snow and rock all the way down to the Durier hut.

The hut itself is tiny, and booking it in advance is essential because the guardian might not be there if he isn't expecting any customers! Settle in and get ready for the big day tomorrow!