Step into the Void - Complete Visitor Information
|From 2016/12/17 to 2017/03/26
|From 2017/03/27 to 2017/05/24
|Weekend of March & April 2017
|From 2017/05/25 to 2017/05/31
Access to the Step into The Void is free, as it is included in the price of the Chamonix - Aiguille du Midi 3777m cable car ride. You can find here the prices for the lift.
Access to the platform may be regulated, depending on the number of visitors, as Step into the Void is very popular.
1. Preparations and Travel Times to Step into the Void
In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to access the Step into the Void from Chamonix in 20 mins, but this would be truly exceptional. 20mins is the actual traveling time spent in cable cars and elevators. The reality is, that there are delays between the stages.
In normal circumstances, expect to take at least an hour. In high season, it may take two or three hours to reach the summit of the Aiguille du Midi and to Step into the Void. It is smart to take an early lift from Chamonix.
The first telepherique departs from Chamonix (1035m) for Plan d'Aiguille (2317m). At this point, there might be a wait, of 20-30 minutes, for the next cable car to the Aiguille du Midi (3842m).
Once in the Aiguille du Midi complex, there is a short walk to the elevator which accesses the top platform. The elevator is small and number of visitors on the top platform is regulated, so that there is no overcrowding. Therefore, access to the elevator may be controlled and this queue can take 20-30mins in high season.
Ensure you have warm clothing and good shoes, as it gets cold very quickly at 3842m altitude. Don’t forget your sunglasses and camera! If you get cold or need refreshments, there are a cafeteria and a souvenir shop open all year round. In summer, the “3842 Restaurant” invites you for savoyarde specialties.
2. The Aiguille du Midi as Access Point
Aiguille du Midi mountain peak (3842m) is the closest you can get to the summit of Mont Blanc without a pair of crampons. The Aiguille du Midi is the starting point of the 3 Monts route to ascend Mont Blanc and many other sports such as off piste skiing and ski touring in the winter season, mountaineering and paragliding in the spring, summer and autumn seasons.
3. Step into the Void - A Remarkable Engineering Challenge
Step Into The Void is a first at this altitude (3842m). Each of the five glass panels is 12mm thick. Each panel is made up from three layers of glass, which have been bound together and they are supported by a metal framework.
Each glass panel is custom built to the highest standards for both strength and safety, using the high quality glass and a bonding process that optimizes the transparency of the panels providing the best possible acuity.
The structure can withstand winds of up to 220km/h and a variation in temperature of 60°C.
The construction was designed by Pierre-Yves Chays, who runs the local design agency, Implicite, based in Chamonix. The project took three years from inception to completion and is an outstanding technical innovation commissioned by the Compagnie du Mont-Blanc (CMB).
The “Step into the Void” was inspired by the "Skywalk", the huge glass walkway overlooking the Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona. The initial idea from the CMB was to create a larger skywalk around the top platform. This wasn't possible for environmental reasons.
4. On-going Renovation of the Aiguille du Midi
The Aiguille du Midi attracts thousands of tourists each year. To improve the visitor experience, in 2011 the CMB began an ambitious project to renovate the Aiguille du Midi. A new base station was completed in 2012. The “Espace Vertical” was delivered in June 2012 and the “Step into the Void” in December 2013. The entire project is estimated at 7 million euros.