Climbing the Mont Blanc, France

The Mont Blanc

The Mont Blanc (white mountain) is part of the French Alp’s. In the old days, around the 18th century, the Mont Blanc was also often called: Mont Maudit(e) (the damned mountain). This was because there used to be a strong belief among the locals that evil spirits haunted the mountain’s top. With its snowy top, the Mont Blanc has been measured to be 4808,73 meter high. The third highest mountain in Europe. On 8 Augustus 1786, the top of the Mont Blanc was reached by two climbers for the first time: the French Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard.

Picture: View Mont Blanc area Picture: View Mont Blanc area

What an amazing view!

Nowadays, you can actually sign up for guided group climbs up the Mont Blanc. MontBlancGuides is one of the specialty tour operators for Mont Blanc climbs. Many first time mountain climbers choose the Mont Blanc over the Andes or the Himalaya. But it is by no means an easy climb or less dangerous.


Climbing the Mont Blanc

To start, climbing the Mont Blanc is dangerous. To reach the top, you are mostly dependent on outside factors, like weather conditions. Furthermore, it is important to be prepared when it comes to circumstances you can influence. But what do you need to do exactly for preparation? The following things are of importance:

Stamina

First off, you need to be physically fit to climb the Mont Blanc. Don’t underestimate the muscle- and will power you need to reach the top. As prep, you can go for runs or climb walls indoor. Also, eat sufficiently on the way up, you need the energy.

Gear

Secondly, you need to have the right gear to climb the Mont Blanc. You need to have the right wardrobe, keeping you warm while you maintain flexibility. Shoes, we cannot stress how important good shoes are. They can make or break the journey. They need to be warm and tight for support, but not so tight that they cut off your blood circulation. Rookie-mistake: wear new hiking shoes for the first time on your trip. Big no!! The shoes need time to form around your shoes. Furthermore, there is the actual climbing gear. There are many expert mountain climbing stores, get informed about the best clothing for your trip. Climbing the Mont Blanc is not a hike!

Safety gadgets

Yes, we are gadgets fans, but snow gadgets can actually safe your life. A locater, signalling your position out in case of an avalanche or an inflatable avalanche ball, all pretty bad-ass gadgets that also give the people back home some peace of mind.

Team

It is not required per se, but it is very much recommended to make the attempt to the top with a group of people. If you are an experienced climber, it is possible to climb up to the summit alone. Having said that, having a buddy on your side, or even better; a guide, is more safe.

Picture: Mont Blanc Picture: Mont Blanc

As a rule: Aim for the best,

but prepare for the worst! 

Even if you come prepared, there is no guarantee that you make it to the top. It is mentioned that on average, only 75% of the well trained and prepared people, hiking up under professional guidance, makes it up all the way to the top.


Dangers

Among others, but not limited to:

Altitude sickness: Not likely to occur with experienced climbers, but possibly with first time climbers. If you feel nausea or a headache or lightheadedness coming up, alert your guide.

There are three routes leading to the summit, with different (main) dangers:

  • Le Gouter route – danger: takes you past Grant Couloir, known for falling rocks.
  • Grand Mulet route – danger: stepping into ice gaps.
  • Trois Monts route – danger: falling blocks of ice

Avalanches: when parts of snow start to slide, it starts to slide. Be very careful, even if you stay on the routes.

But be on the lookout for all mountain dangers in every route you go.


Reaching Mont Blanc summit 

The last meters towards the summit is fuelled with will power and Perseverance. To reach the top of a mountain and to just stand there taking in the feelings of joy and accomplishment, is a moment that you will remember for a long time. It is both breath taking as well as motivational to sound a deeply hidden roar over the valleys silence. Because, oh my, it is quiet up there. Nothing but the sound of the wind and the squeaking of the snow with every step you take under your snow boots. You never realize how quiet it is, until you stop to realize how quiet it is. At these heights, you can actually see the rounding of the world. Just magnificent.

Picture: View Mont Blanc area Picture: View Mont Blanc area

On top of the world- Grasp a notion of the

power of nature and you will feel humbled…

Are you intending to climb the Mont Blanc, or any other mountain, or have you done it already? We would love to hear about your experience (so far). Leave a comment in the comment section below!


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