Chamonix in winter?

I am planning a short ski trip to Chamonix with some friends soon. I don’t plan on having crampons or ice axe, but it would be nice to activate a summit or two while I am in the mountains, especially since this would be a new region for me as F/WN3F/P.

The best candidate seem to be Le Brévent, F/AB-258 or possibly Aiguille du Midi, F/AB-015. Can anyone advise on the accessibility of the activation zones of these summits in winter from their cable car stations, or perhaps suggest another summit reachable from Chamonix (sans automobile)?


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Le Brévent, F/AB-258 was just activated today by F/SV1DNU, so this seems to be doable. Looking at tracks and pictures, the activation zone is just around the cable car station.

Things to watch out for are that it gets quite cold and with wind and temperatures around zero degrees Celsius this might be more uncomfortable than the dry cold at, say -15° C.

Something that is suspicious is that there are no winter photos on and that there are only 3 winter activations.

Aiguille du Midi (SOTLAS) is even higher and seems to have even less space. (By the way, do not think that this is a drive-up summit, the road shown on is the tunnel 2500m meters below … I was astonished at first to see a road up there at 3842m).

I’d say: take your gear up there, judge on the spot on whether it is feasible or not. If there is any doubt, you’ll have at least a spectacular ride up (and down on skis) and a great view.

PS: Without any warranty whatsoever :slight_smile: YMMV.

73 de Martin / HB9GVW

Update: PS: “Aiguille” in french means “needle”. It pays to reflect about the meaning of speaking local names, they usually have some truth in it.


Aiguille du Midi - possibly the most epic cable car ride on earth! As you reach the summit the wagon almost moves vertically.
You’re not allowed beyond the cramped tourist area even in the summer unless you’re an experienced mountain climber. It’s the perfect spot to work with the KX2+AX1 combo in pedestrian mobile mode! I don’t think you will be able to hang any kind of wire up there.


As far as I remember, you can access the terrasse on top of Aiguille du Midi at 3842m asl, more info is here:

I do not know if you can set-up an HF station there. Be prepared that the extreme gain in altitude might cause severe mountain sickness without prior acclimatization.

Edit: More info is here:

Source/credits: Aiguille du Midi Cable Car - Chamonix to 3842m



I took this picture of the upper platform May 17, 2012. So a bit old. Not sure you can set up a mast in the middle of the visitors, just at the bottom of a communication mast . A VHF handheld with its rubber antenna is likely the easiest way to get the 4 qso´s. I suspect a pile up has a high probability with such a set up. Make sure the lift leading to the platform is working…otherwise you will not be able to reach the activation zone.

73 de Pierre F5MOG


This is me activating Aiguille du Midi Sept. 2022 from the highest platform using CW on a (tr)uSDX with Elecraft AX-2 antenna. It is possible! I also activated Le Brévent on the same trip.
—Jeff KX6I


I comfirm the Brevent is a fine place for radio. When you leave the cable car you must walk a bit up to get on the trig point, which is ok for the sota rules. I have been there and activated the summit.
I also climb the Mont Blanc F/AB-001 and activated in 2016; i went also with my equipement on l’Aiguille du Midi, but did not activated this Ref, because i think this summit does not respect the sota rules, as you do not walk, not a foot up, as you go out of the cable car or the lift.
The is a fine and easy summit Le Prarion F/AB-362 that could suit your wishes.
Have a nice time in Chamonix.
73 Gerald


Takes me back 20 years, my mate & I exited at 4 on the site plan & walked down a horribly exposed arete into the Vallee Blanche & then along the Mer de Glace to Montenvers.


Whatever your plans for sota, the vallee blanche is a great off piste run and pretty straightforward.

I did it years ago and it was a trip on the Aguille de midi cable car, hop a fence and enjoy the glacier.


We visited the Aiguille du Midi in 2019 the day before starting a hike on the Haute Route. Unfortunately it was a group hike where I was the only ham, and the XYL warned there would be zero tolerance for SOTA delays on this trip (no worries, she is much more supportive of my vice on most other hikes). I couldn’t help looking around for possible activation techniques, however. At the time I wondered if it might be possible to top feed a wire dropped vertically over the side of the balcony. Not optimal, but not many other options. The area didn’t look conducive to stringing a horizontal antenna.


Thank you all for the information. I’m not confident that there will be enough local chasers on VHF so I’m bringing my KX2 with ATU and AX1 to try 20m on Le Brévent, F/AB-258 sometime in the Friday-Sunday range. We have hired a guide for skiing Vallée Blanche from Aiguille du Midi on Monday :star_struck: I’m not sure yet if I will bring radio for that one. Anyway I expect to post an alert for F/AB-258 once plans firm up.



Hi Roy,
Thanks for QSO on Le Brévent today. Nice signal congratulations !
Best regards and welcome to France.
Chris F4WBN

Merci bien Chris and thank to all of the chasers - I also recognized @EA7GV. Big pileup which I was sorry to leave before working everyone. Wound up with 1 on SSB (I answered one contest caller and sadly couldn’t figure out the exchange - with a SSB contest I didn’t want to call CQ very long) and 10 CW all 20m. Tricky standing and logging and sending but amazing views.

Roy WN3F