The first stopping point for alpinists who wanted to conquer Mont-Blanc
The successful expeditions of Jacques Balmat and Dr Paccard on August 1786 inspired many adventurers to try to conquer the highest summit in Europe.
The idea of a hut followed naturally. However, it did not materialize overnight and it had several twists.
The first cabin at Les Grands Mulets was built between 1853 and 1866 on the southern summit.
The lack of obvious space pushes the men to build a second cabin a little lower on a terrace. It was used from 1866 to 1880, the date of the end of Sylvain Couttet's lease.
A third cabin followed, and the current Grands Mulets refuge was built in 1960 and it is located at 3,051 m (10,009 ft) altitude.
The Grands Mulets refuge will finish the season at the end of July
The present Grands Mulets refuge is much larger and suitable than the previous cabins, and it offers 68 beds.
However, one needs to be an experienced mountaineer to climb on that side of the mountain, which is why the Grands Mulets refuge is not used very much lately.
In fact, access to the refuge is an adventure in itself, with passages where you have to cling, especially on the Bossons glacier.
The Grands Mulets refuge is a unique place, full of history, which offers breathtaking landscapes, and it is open from late March to the end of July.
How to get to the Grands Mulets refuge?
- The main access, lasting from 3 to 4 hours, starts from the Plan de l'Aiguille at 2,310 meters above sea level (the first section of the Aiguille du Midi cable car). Then, you need to cross the top of the Bossons glacier to reach the refuge.
- The second access, for the more athletic, is from the Mont-Blanc tunnel, to reach the Glacier station and then catch the crossing of the Plan de l'Aiguille.
- The third access, the oldest, goes through the route taken by Balmat and Paccard in 1786. At the start of the Bossons (on foot or by chairlift), the climb takes place by the chalet Pyramids and the cottage at Balmat, before a walk on the junction between the glaciers of Bossons and Taconnaz, to the refuge.