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Chamonix Summer Explorer
Photography Trek

Duration: 6 days (4 days trekking)
Start & Finish: Chamonix, France
Difficulty: Moderate (more info)

Trip Highlights:

Trekking and Photography around the stunning Mont Blanc Massif
Overnight stay in a wonderful mountain refuge
Stunning sunrise, sunset and night photography opportunities
Explore different areas of the Chamonix Valley for changing views
Optional trip up the famous Aiguille du Midi Cable Car for breathtaking high mountain vistas

Chamonix Summer Explorer

This short trip to Chamonix in the French Alps combines a taste of some of the finest walking in the region with the best photographic opportunities available.

Chamonix Summer Explorer : French AlpsWith a rich history of mountaineering and a backdrop of the highest mountains in the Alps, Chamonix is the perfect base for this exciting trip. We spend the week trekking around different areas of the Valley in order to give us ever changing perspectives of the magnificent high mountain scenery.

From huge tumbling glaciers, beautiful mountain lakes and peaceful wildflower meadows, Chamonix is a walker’s and photographer’s delight. With an overnight stay in a comfortable mountain refuge, we are able to capture some stunning sunrise, sunset and night images. This is a trip that every photographer should make at least once in their lifetime.

Day 1: Join in Chamonix, France

Our trip starts in Chamonix. We’ll meet at our hotel in the afternoon with a trip briefing and introductions. You will have the rest of the
evening to explore the many shops, bars and restaurants at your leisure.

Day 2: Les Houches

After breakfast we head down the Valley to Les Houches, a pretty town nestled in the Valley offering neck-craning and breathtaking glimpses of steep crevasse-ridden glaciers and soaring rocky buttresses on the surrounding peaks. We have the choice of a 2 hour walking ascent or a 5 minute Cable car ride up to the top of the hill and will go with the majority decision. Once at the top we have the option to trek to the summit of Le Prarion, offering magnificent far reaching views up and down the Valley to Mont Blanc, Aiguille Verte, Aiguilles Rouges and beyond. Alternatively we will head into the Bionnassay Valley for more superb views and wild flower meadows. We have a number of trekking options today but all offer some of the best views in Chamonix. In the afternoon we have the choice of descending to Les Houches on foot or taking the Cable car down. This evening will be free to review images, eat at the hotel or in town.

Photographic highlights: Breathtaking mountain landscapes, excellent views of Mont Blanc, giant glaciers, Alpine wild flower meadows.

Day 3: Le Tour

After an early breakfast we transfer to the head of the Valley at Le Tour. We again have the option of taking the Cable car and chair lift to the top of Le Tour in order to gain height very quickly. (We will go with the group decision). We have several possible options for today depending on the chosen method of our ascent. Situated at the end of the valley, Le Tour offers breathtaking views, with the Mont Blanc Massif on our left and The Aiguille Rouges on our right as we look down the entire Chamonix Valley. On clear days we can see yesterday’s high point of Le Prarion. Although a ski hill in Winter, Le Tour reverts back to tranquil summer grazing pastures for cattle, and we trek through beautiful wild flower meadows to the sound of jangling cow bells. A gentle trek to the summit of the Aiguillette des Posettes offers uninterrupted 360 degree views in all directions. An alternative option is to trek to the wonderfully situated Refuge Albert Premier on the edge of the Le Tour glacier. This site offers fantastic views to the magnificent Chardonnay peak and its sculpted snowy ridges. There is a further option to stay up here until late into the day for some wonderful evening photography. This will involve a late descent and arrival back into Chamonix.

Photographic highlights: Breathtaking mountain landscapes, excellent views of the Mont Blanc Massif, Aiguille Rouges, Alpine wild flower meadows.

Day 4: Lac Blanc & Aiguilles Rouges

After breakfast we walk to the bottom of a Gondola in Chamonix and take this up to Planpraz in the Aiguilles Rouges. Having quickly gained height we follow the route of the classic Tour de Mont Blanc traversing across the Aiguille Rouges until we reach Flegere. From here we trek slowly upwards towards Lac Blanc 2 hours walk away. This beautiful mountain lake high above Chamonix offers breathtaking views across the Valley to the Mont Blanc Massif. We will spend the night here and will enjoy a well earned meal at the refuge. Once the day visitors have departed we will be able to capture some wonderful sunset images across the Valley. After dark we will be perfectly placed to take some stunning night images with Mont Blanc as our backdrop.

Photographic highlights: Breathtaking mountain landscapes, excellent views of Mont Blanc, tumbling glaciers, Alpine flowers, mountain lake and night photography.

Day 5: Lac Blanc - Chamonix

Today we rise early before breakfast in order to capture sunrise from our high mountain vantage point. We will return to the refuge for breakfast then descend towards another cluster of mountain lakes, Lacs des Cheserys. We may see Ibex and marmots today as they are often seen in the Aiguilles Rouges. We continue our descent onto the Balcon Sud, a high level traversing path taking us back to Flegere. From here we have the option of descending back to Chamonix by Cable car or a pleasant downhill walk through the forest. On route we pass the wonderful Floria Refuge perched on the forested hillside, The views down to Chamonix from here are wonderful and a perfect place to stop for a drink. Once back in Chamonix we return to our hotel and have the rest of the day to rest and review our images. We head into Chamonix this evening for dinner and a drink.

Photographic highlights: Breathtaking mountain landscapes, sunrise over the Mont Blanc Massif, Aiguille Rouges, Alpine wild flowers, possible Ibex and Marmot sightings.

Day 6: Trip ends

Our trip ends today after breakfast. Depending on your travel arrangements and flight times there are several excellent photographic options available. A trip to the top of the Aiguille du Midi Cable car offers some of the best and most easily accessible and safe high mountain panoramas available. The Cable car takes you up to an altitude of over 3800m in around 20 minutes and the views from the various observation decks are stunning. This option is not included in this itinerary but your leader may accompany you depending on their travel arrangements.

This trip involves Adventure Travel in mountainous regions. We make every effort to keep to the above itinerary but we cannot always guarantee it. Weather and trail conditions and the health of participants, alterations to flight schedules infrastructure and operational factors can all contribute to changes to the prescribed itinerary. Your leader will always try to ensure that we keep to the itinerary detailed but a flexible attitude is needed and appreciated if changes need to be made.

What’s included:

Experienced UK Expedition International Mountain Leader Photographer
In country transportation by bus, train, taxi or private vehicle
3 star hotel accommodation in Chamonix for 4 nights
Mountain Refuge accommodation for 1 night
All breakfasts and dinner in the mountain refuge

What’s not included:

International flights
Transport to and from Chamonix
Alcoholic or soft drinks not supplied with meals
Lunches and dinners (with the exception of dinner in the refuge)
Cable cars if used (allow approx. €15-20 per single journey or €20-25 per return journey)
Items of a personal nature e.g. phone calls, laundry, etc.
Personal Equipment
Travel Insurance
Emergency evacuation (cover must be included in your travel insurance policy)

We use clean and comfortable 3 star hotels for this tour. Most (though not all) have Wi-Fi availability. Hotel accommodation is provided on a twin share, single-sex basis. If you book as a couple you will be sharing the same hotel room. If you book as an individual you will be paired with someone of the same gender. Single supplement accommodation is available if you would prefer to have your own room. There is an additional cost for this which will be confirmed on request. We aim to spend 1 night in a mountain refuge. These refuges usually have dormitory accommodation and blankets, pillows and mattresses are provided. It is usual to bring a sleeping bag liner or sleeping sheet for hygiene reasons.


This itinerary is based on a Bed and Breakfast basis. A continental breakfast is usually served at most hotels. An evening meal will also be included in the refuge. These usually consist of a traditional Savoyard cuisine e.g. potatoes, cheese, soup, bread etc. Lunches are not provided but we would usually have the option of stopping in a mountain hut or bringing a packed lunch. You are free to eat at a restaurant of your choice or at the hotel.

Dietary requirements:

We try and cater for vegetarian diets where possible and can assist with medically recommended diets (allergies and intolerances). Please discuss your dietary requirements with us well in advance so we can determine whether we can cater to such requirements. There may be times when those with very specific requirements may need to provide their own food. We are unable to guarantee a peanut-free or allergen-free trip so strongly encourage that travellers with life-threatening or severe allergies take all necessary medical precautions to prepare for the possibility of exposure. Passengers must travel with all necessary medications for food allergies and be capable of self-administering these medications.


No specific vaccinations are required for France. We advise that you consult your doctor or a travel medical specialist in order to get the most current advice regarding vaccination requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are adequately vaccinated. Good websites to check are:, and

Health & Hygiene:

We advise taking some simple precautions in order to reduce the chances of becoming ill or picking up stomach upsets whilst on the trip. We encourage participants to keep their hands clean whilst on the trek with the use of hand sanitising gels. We carry a comprehensive first aid kit on the trek.

Fitness, Training and Experience:

We have graded our Chamonix Explorer Trek as a Moderate trek (click here for full details about the trip gradings). Although not at particularly high altitudes this trek does contain some strenuous days. Trails are predominantly undulating though there are options to ascend and descend to the top and bottom of the route on most days. This trek is possible to achieve with a moderate to good level of fitness. Previous trekking experience is not necessary but endurance and stamina will help, along with a positive mental attitude. Participants should be comfortable with walking around 4 – 8 hours per day. In order to maximise your enjoyment and potential success on this trek you should be in sound physical condition. If in doubt of your ability we highly recommend checking with your doctor before undertaking this trek.

Flight Information:

This is a ‘Land Only’ package meaning you are responsible for arranging your own international fights and your trip will begin at our accommodation in Chamonix. You will be responsible for arranging transport to and from our hotel but this can easily be arranged. The easiest way to get to Chamonix is to Fly into Geneva then take an airport transfer straight into Chamonix. These cost approximately €30 – €35 each way and depart regularly. We can assist in arranging this.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not book your flights until the trip has been confirmed by Dreamtreks Photography.

Visa & Passports:

Most nationalities, including UK citizens, don’t require a visa for entry into France. Your passport should have at least 6 months validity left on it from the date of entry. You should check the entry requirements with your nearest Embassy.


It is a condition of booking that you have adequate travel Insurance which covers rescue, repatriation and medical expenses. We advise that you take out adequate insurance as soon as your booking has been confirmed. We will require a copy of your insurance prior to departure.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must ensure your travel insurance covers you for trekking up to 3000m (Some travel insurance policies will exclude this option). We also advise that you have adequate insurance cover for your camera equipment as most travel insurance policies impose single item limits. We can advise of a few suitable travel insurance policies to consider.


Summer is usually a great time for trekking in the Alps. Temperatures in the Valley can sometimes reach up to 30 degrees C but is usually cooler the higher out of the valley you go. Summer thunder storms and bad weather are also possible. Night time temperatures (especially at altitude) can sometimes drop to below freezing. These conditions offer us some fantastic opportunities for stunning night photography of star trails and the Milky Way. As we are trekking in a mountainous environment it is never possible to predict the weather conditions as they can change suddenly. You should be suitably prepared and equipped to deal with any weather conditions beyond those indicated above.

Participation Statement:

Trekking activities do come with a risk of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.

Itinerary Accuracy:

This trip involves Adventure Travel in mountainous regions. We make every effort to keep to the above itinerary but we cannot always guarantee it. Weather and trail conditions and the health of participants, alterations to flight schedules infrastructure and operational factors can all contribute to changes to the prescribed itinerary. Your leader will always try to ensure that we keep to the itinerary detailed but a flexible attitude is needed and appreciated if changes need to be made.

Suggested Trekking & Camera Equipment:

In order to ensure that you are fully prepared for your trip we suggest bringing the following essential items with you. Ideally your equipment and trekking clothing (especially walking boots) should be well worn in and familiar to you before you travel.

We will be staying in a hotel in the Chamonix Valley so you will be able to leave your belongings that you don’t need on the trail each day. We will need to check out of our rooms on the day that we will be staying in the mountain refuge but we will be able to store any luggage not required at the hotel. You will need to carry your own day pack each day containing your camera equipment, extra layers, waterproofs and water.

International flight baggage weight allowances will vary depending on airline but we will need to be mindful of how much equipment and weight we can carry in our day packs each day. Any spare equipment, lenses, laptops etc. that we don’t need during the day can be left in our hotel room which we can access each evening on arrival at our hotel.

As photographers we appreciate that equipment weight limits are always a consideration both on flights and what we are physically able to carry. As it can sometimes be difficult to stick to these weight limits we do employ a few tricks of the trade. Wearing trekking boots and bulky down jackets on the flight saves space and weight as well as carrying your camera around your neck and perhaps sticking a lens or two into your jacket pockets.

Camera Equipment:

With this type of expedition there is always a trade off in regards to what camera equipment to bring. The more equipment you bring then the heavier it is to carry and the harder and more tiring the trekking becomes.

Camera: Cameras are very much a personal choice and is dependent on individual preference, budget, and experience. Regardless of what camera you bring it is important that you are familiar with its controls, layout and menu system. Although carrying a second camera body is usually too bulky and heavy we do suggest bringing a back up compact camera in case of equipment malfunction.

Lenses: As with cameras, these come down to personal choice and there is always a trade-off to be made. As we will be predominantly shooting landscape, travel and portrait images, many photographers choose one or two zoom lenses. Something around 24-70mm is ideal for an everyday walk around lens. A longer lens e.g. 70-200mm is also nice to have but does come with size
and weight issues.

Backpack & camera bag: You will need to carry a backpack large enough to accommodate both your camera equipment and day to day trekking gear. Your backpack should be comfortable allowing you to carry your equipment over rugged terrain. Backpacks with good, padded shoulder, waist and chest straps will help distribute the weight. Packs should also offer protection from wind, rain and dust. You will also need to consider what bag you’ll put your camera into whilst carrying it in your day pack. A close fitting camera bag
is usually best but you may wish to experiment.

Tripod: Although not essential, bringing a tripod does open up the possibilities of night and long exposure photography. An ideal tripod needs to be light enough to carry comfortably but sufficiently robust to be used in windy conditions. In our opinion it is worth carrying the extra weight as the photographic opportunities are so good.

Filters: As with cameras and lenses, filters are a personal preference. A UV and polarising filter can be useful but bringing too many filters again comes with weight and size issues.

Accessories: Ensure that you have adequate memory cards. There are many photographic opportunities at every turn in the path. Due to the nature of this trek you may wish to bring: a supplementary hard drive and laptop in order to save and review your images each evening; a remote shutter release if you plan to bring a tripod; spare batteries and/or battery charger and cable; lens cloth and small micro fibre towel as the trails can get dusty; spare lens cap; camera manual.

It is never possible to bring equipment for every eventuality on these treks. It is important to remember that if you bring too much kit, the effort required to carry it can spoil your trekking experience and chances of completing the trek.

Trekking Equipment:

On booking you will receive a full kit list in your welcome pack. We are happy to advise and suggest appropriate kit. You will need to bring the following essential items however:

  1. Trekking day pack and kit bag
  2. Sturdy walking boots
  3. Waterproofs
  4. Warm jacket
  5. Head torch
  6. Trekking poles
  7. Trekking clothing
  8. Personal medication and first aid kit
Date 2018: 24th – 29th June 2018
Cost: £1595 (Land only)
Date 2019: 23rd – 28th June 2019
Cost: £1595 (Land only)

The Booking Process:

Firstly contact us by email or phone to confirm that you wish to join us on your chosen trip. We will then forward a Booking Form and will require a 10% deposit to reserve your place. Once minimum numbers have been reached and the trip has been confirmed to run we will ask you for a further 40% to fully secure your place.


We will then forward you a Welcome Pack with a detailed itinerary, kit list and other important information. At this point you will be able to book your International flights, visa and travel insurance. The balance of payment will be required no later than 90 days prior to departure. Please refer to our Terms and Conditions of booking.

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