Mission 4.000: summiting Mont Blanc


The first blog in the Mission 4.000 series is about my first ever climb  above the altitude of 4.000 meter above sea level, the climb of the mighty Mont Blanc. It was my introduction to climbing in ice and snow, at the time I was only climbing a little bit at the local indoor climbing gym and walls in Germany and Belgium. 

As many of you know the Mont Blanc is the highest mountain of Western Europe with an altitude of 4.810 meters.  It’s the highest peak of a massive granite mountain range on the border of France, Italy and Switzerland.  This area is very popular for climbers because those kind of granite nature walls can’t be found anywhere else in Europe.

Summit Mont Blanc

Summit Mont Blanc

In 2006 I got the opportunity to climb Mont Blanc on an expedition with co-workers. During this expedition, we traveled to Chamonix in France, from where you can make beautiful mountain trips to the high peaks around the area. In the summertime the place can be really crowed with both tourists and climbers.

During this trip we had ofcourse mountain guides to help us reach the summit of Mont Blanc.  We took the ‘easy’ way up, also known as the Goûter route. This path leads through the Goûter Corridor which can be very dangerous, especially later during the day because of rockfall. The night before our ascent we slept at the Tête Rousse hut, which we left in the middle of the night to climb the mountain.  The altitude of the hut is at 3.167 meters and as we planned on getting up at 01.30 am, we went to bed straight after dinner. There is also the possibility to stay overnight in the Refuge du Goûter at 3835m. This hut is more crowded than the Tête Rousse hut and because of the high altitude it’s more difficult to reach, which means less time to sleep before the summit climb.

 

Mont Blanc morning view

Mont Blanc morning view

 

Mont Blanc climb early morning

Mont Blanc climb early morning

 

The hard climb to the top took us six and half hours from the hut . The last hundred meters below the summit were physically demanding because you could feel the amount of oxygen decline in your lungs while taking it step by step to go forward. After reaching the summit we got the company flag out and enjoyed the view. All around us where mountain peaks, I really felt like I was on top of the world. After an early phone call home (at 7:00 am on a Saturday morning) to let Anto know I reached the top, it was time get down again. The way down was not as hard as expected, I got an adrenaline rush from reaching the summit which gave extra energy.

The climb was a unique adventure what made me realize how much I just love the mountains. It awakened my passion for climbing and reaching more summits in the future.

Although you don’t need techinical climbing experience to summit Mont Blanc, you need to be in perfect shape and need to be courageous. If you have mountaineering skills and experience it’s not necessary to use a guide, however we do recommend it.

summit_selfie_mont_blanc_t

Summit selfie

view over the alps

Want to read more about the mountains?
– Hiking and biking around Maroon Bells in Aspen, Colorado
– A hiking trail tale: Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia
– The Inca Trail, can you do it? About hiking up to 4.200 meters… 

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