When possible, go trekking or climbing with the help of an International Mountain Leader (IML) – responsible tourism companies will use one of these super qualified guides on Mont Blanc
The emergency number in Europe is 112. In and around the Mont Blanc massif, mountain rescue operations are carried out by the Peloton de Gendarmerie de Haute-Montagne (PGHM Chamonix), based in Chamonix.
The Office de Haute Montagne in Chamonix is an invaluable source of information on conditions, weather, current risks and issues and generally how to stay safe in the mountains.
If you are planning on climbing high up into the snow-covered terrain of Mont Blanc, you will need all the proper equipment as well as training. Such as a probe, a shovel and emergency beacons.
Don’t hike immediately after a storm, as this is often when avalanches occur. Always check the avalanche forecast. There can be avalanches even as late as May, so you need to be switched on. There might not be snow where you are walking but, if there is a big melt higher up, it can travel down the valley.
Avoid the really steep slopes if you can. Slopes pitched less than 25 degrees are safest, while 30 to 45 degree slopes are most avalanche-prone.
If you are walking on glaciers, you need to be wary of ‘seracs’ or pinnacles of ice that develop which can melt and fall when the weather starts to warm up.